Thursday, February 22, 2024
    HomeBody & MindWe took in a homeless man

    We took in a homeless man

    Who also happens to be my recovering alcoholic brother-in-law.

    People, or I should say, one person in particular wasn’t too pleased with the decision my husband and I made to invite him into our home. Believe me, it wasn’t the easiest decision we made, but we had seen {or rather, had heard} of the improvements he had made over the last couple of months and when we heard that the housing he was hoping to get into didn’t pan out, my husband and I agreed that we would give him one opportunity to continue his road to recovery.

    This was especially hard for us because we do have children in our home and they are our main and our top priority. We had a family meeting and shared information that they needed to know {on a tween/teen basis} and told them if at any time they felt uncomfortable or heard or saw something that they didn’t feel was good, that they were to come to my husband and myself and we would take care of it, right then and there. I was surprised at how caring, accepting and giving my children were at that time. My son even told me later that night that he thought we made a good decision. We talked about how we didn’t have sympathy for him, but we have compassion and while he hadn’t done us wrong, we couldn’t sit there and allow him to have a greater chance of falling back into old habits if there was something we could do to help. BUT, the minute he screws up…he’s out, no if’s and’s or but’s about it.

    We provided my brother in law with rules and he had agreed to them without hesitation. It was hard for him to accept our offer since he had been on the streets for just about 2 years. He’s been clean and sober for just about 3 months now. I hadn’t seen him for about 1.5 years and when I walked into the room, we hugged and he asked how I was to which I replied that I was ok and asked him how he was. His reply, “Blessed”. That was it. He was. When we welcomed him into our home, he was very quiet and couldn’t sit down or sit still. He apologized and said that he’s just been used to being on the go that he just doesn’t now how to “sit and relax”. I understood and knowing the person that he is, it was very awkward for him to be in a “home” with a family. He told me that he isn’t sure what to do with himself because he hasn’t been in a home for over two years. He is residing in my unfinished basement right now. We have a couch down there, a table, tv and dresser…amongst the boxes of shit and storage. We have a love seat and two recliners down there, but he prefers to sleep on my daughters gymnastics mat with a bunch of blankets and a pillow. To me, that is super uncomfortable, but according to him, it’s better than what he’s slept on in the past, so he’s happy, and blessed.

    The first couple of days was weird to have someone else in our home, but with my husband not working, it’s also giving them a chance to get reacquainted. My brother in law is always there to help with things like emptying the dishwasher, cleaning something, and is constantly on the computer looking for work and sending out resumes left and right. He’s spent time at the library twice, went on two interviews and immediately found an AA meeting where he meets twice a week. He’s been to three meetings so far. I’m very proud of him. Yes, it’s almost been two weeks since he’s been with us, but I’m hoping that by him seeing that he has a family that hasn’t given up on him…maybe he won’t be so quick to give up on himself. Finding and going to the meetings was one of our stipulations as was finding a job & helping us out with some of our bills. I know that every day isn’t going to be a walk in the park and I’m prepared for that, but I will not dwell on the what could be’s and the what if’s, so just as they say in AA, I too will take this one day at a time. I’m glad we took him in when we did because the following day the temps had dropped to -25 below zero!

    My youngest has a heart of gold. She returned one of Santa’s gifts and received a gift card of $20. One night when I tucked her into bed she asked if we could go to Target to use her gift card. I asked what she wanted to buy. In her sweet voice, she said she didn’t want to buy anything for her, she wanted to buy her uncle a gift because she had seen he was working so hard and that he would be getting a job and he didn’t have a Christmas and she just wanted to find something special for him. I told her that was super sweet of her and that if that’s what she wanted to spend her gift card on, that was perfectly fine by me. The next day when he was at his first meeting, we ran to the store and she picked out a pair of sweat pants, a sweat shirt, a t-shirt, a notebook, a pen, a package of 3 blank page books, and a little stuffed ninja guy. When we got home, she wrapped it up and left it on the table for him with her home made card. He opened it and she told him what each thing was for. When she got to the ninja, she told him that she wanted him to have that because ninja’s are always fighting and that he’d never be alone. *MELT MY FREAKIN HEART RIGHT NOW* He thanked her holding back some tears and asked her for a hug. She happily gave him one. I couldn’t have been more proud of my child than at that particular moment.

    When I shared that we were accepting him into our home with my own family, my mother was less than pleased. She was concerned, as am I, about the kids. She offered her advice with what she’s learned with living with someone who has an addiction, but she also has to realize that they are not the same people and their stories are not the same…hell, even their addictions are different…so you cannot and should not compare. We have not spoken about it since I originally mentioned it. It’s like the elephant in the room, but I’m not bringing it up, nor will I complain or discuss it further with anyone. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t concern them.

    It’s all been so weird. During this time, my husband has been a whole lot nicer to me, which that in itself is strange to me because he’s been so stressed lately about finding work that we just can’t be in the same room together. Now with this, his compassion and loving nature is coming forth. Not all the time, but I see it under there starting to find it’s way out and I like it. He’s helping me more, offering to do things for me and just being nice.

    I don’t know. I don’t know what the future will hold for any of us, but I can only hope that he beats the odds and has a happy, second chance at life. God willing.

    Have you ever taken in a homeless man…or have you taken in a relative in need?


    1. Maybe it was ment to be that you take him in, it sounds like wonderful moments have come out of it so far! My mom has addiction issues, and we support her financially, but I dont know if I could take her into my home. (and she is my OWN MOM) But the difference is she won’t change and doesnt think she has a problem. If she would put herself in recovery then it would be a totally different story. I think you made the right choice.

      • Thanks Lauren. As I explained to my mom, she cannot compare her story with my dad to mine with my brother in law. They are two separate issues and two separate people. Just the same with your mom…no two people or situations are the same and no two outcomes will be identical. I give you a lot of praise for helping her out financially. And…to be honest, addiction or not, I don’t think at this age, I could live with my own mother either! 🙂 I’d be the next one with an addiction problem if that happened! LOL

    2. Dropping by from the sits Girls. I really enjoyed reading your experience and I agree he is blessed to have your family giving of themselves to give him a chance!

    3. This is family, his is compassion. Your child made me tear up. This past summer I took the time to speak with a gentleman who is living on Venice Beach, see my twitter cover photo. he was having a bad morning and I took the time to sit and speak with him. I spent most of my morning/afternoon listening and conversing. I didn’t take him home with me as I was on vacation from IL, but I did make sure he knew that he mattered. I think you are an amazing person, BRAVO!!!!!!!

      • Thank you SO much for sharing your story. What a wonderful testament to all that sometimes all people need is someone to listen. You aren’t expected to “fix” their problems, but some really need is a sounding board and someone who cares enough to take the time to listen. BRAVO to you too! The world needs more people like you! 🙂

    4. Good luck to all of you. So happy that your family was able to make it work so far.

    5. A very good post. Your act of Kindness is and will make a difference in all that it touches. Your post is also a reminder of how important kindness is.

      • Our world is so busy lately that it’s very easy to forget how to be kind to one another. I try to remember how important that is every day and my BIL is a constant reminder of that! 🙂

    6. What an amazing testimony to the love and compassion shown in your home, as well as modeled and practiced by your children! It is so important to raise children that are able to think of others. Unfortunately, I have quite a bit of experience of having loved ones that had addictions, and giving loved ones shelter in my home. Each experience is different as the person. The good news – people can change. I’m living proof. But, it’s true that people have got to want to change. I pray that God would continue to strengthen you on your journey and bless you in the process.

      • Thank you so much Letetia, that means a lot to me to hear your encouraging story. It is true though, it is definitely up to the individual to want to make that change. We’re taking it one day at a time and thankful at the end of the day that it was a good day! 🙂 We are blessed for sure! I appreciate your prayers! 🙂

      • Hi Maria, thank you for stopping by and for your kind words! You’d be surprised at how few options there are here for homeless and/or others with addiction issues. Don’t get me wrong, there are places, but the after care, that is sadly hard to come by, which is why we opened our home to him. I just hope that he continues his road to recovery and lives a full life once he leaves here.

    7. Wow, just wow. I am so glad to hear that your children are handling this transition well and finding a way to pay it forward and that your husband is being nice. Hopefully he continues.

    8. I believe things happen for a reason and this was meant to be for your family. What a phenomenal child you are raising to be so giving. You truly have a heart of gold.

    9. Your story is truly inspiring. I remember when my father took in one of my Step Brothers who was going through a Divorce …* Worst Decision Ever * He didn’t work or contribute to any of the Bills and was a Dictator. He eventually had to be kicked out and its 10 years later and he’s in the same situation. I guess some people make the most out of the sympathies of others while some people don’t

      • Hi Lorane, yes, unfortunately it all comes down to decisions. I can have empathy for my brother in laws situations, but I have no sympathy what so ever. He does contribute and doesn’t want to put me out in any way so he will walk 2 hours to get to work {6 miles away}. I really believe he is {at this moment} taking advantage of our hospitality and putting the work in to make a better life for himself. Thank you for sharing your experience!

    10. It is wonderful to see how you are being blessed in the midst of blessing someone else.

      We’ve taken in family members who were having problems. It is so tough to get a fresh start after years of addiction. It worked out well, and they were able to move out into their own place. Years later, the husband owns his own business now and they are doing better than ever. We aren’t responsible for any of that…but I do believe that the period of time we opened up our home to them did help to make that stretch of their path easier to walk.

      • Oh Tracie, that is so inspiring to hear. That is my hope for him…to use this opportunity as a stepping stone to greater things. I am happy to hear that all worked out well in your family members case. It is nice to know that I am not alone in this adventure. Thank you for sharing that with me!

    11. It’s so incredibly kind of your family to do this. I’m sure it was a hard decision, but compassion like yours can mean the difference between relapsing into addiction or turning their whole life around.

      • That’s exactly what I was thinking when I agreed to let him live with us. It was that or just give him the excuse to fall back into old & bad habits. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t give it and him this one and only opportunity. Thank you for your kind words!

    12. You guys taking him in is really going to help him get back on his feet! You should be proud of yourselves and thankful that your family is becoming closer!

      • Liz, it’s been a wonderful experience thus far. He’s been helping with some bills here and is now saving for a car of his own, has a budget and is slowly getting on his feet. I’m very proud of him.

      • Thanks! It isn’t an easy task letting anyone into your home, let alone an alcoholic, but in this case, he’s been doing really well as of today so that’s all we can hope for. Tomorrow is a new day! 🙂

    13. Oh my gosh, I love your spirit in this whole thing!! And I love your post! Embracing and accepting someone ready to make those positive moves…that’s no small thing, but for me…with family, it’s the right thing! If you’re family’s not going to be there… you know, who is? I’ve helped family. I would again too.

      • It’s great to hear other positive stories. Too often we hear life’s negatives that we forget to look at the positives in greater light.

    14. You guys are a blessing to your brother in law. I’ve taken in a family member and I understand how the dynamics changes in your household. I’m glad you guys involved the kids and gave them the comfort in knowing anytime they are uncomfortable to let you guys know.

      • Thank you Pamela for your kind words. I am so happy and proud of my kids for agreeing to this change. They are learning a valuable lesson about family! 🙂

    15. Wow, you are amazing sister-in-law. I don’t know if I could do it. Looks like you set the parameters and everyone is doing great. Amazing story. I hope he continues on his great path to sobriety!

      • Thank you!! It’s been a blessing to say the least! I hope that he can continue to prove himself…by taking it one day at a time!

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