A story written by a current resident
As one of the first residents in the new building I have had the pleasure of meeting a nice mix of the old-timers and the new wave. My kind of people, misfits of our own lives, guided by the beacon that is The 24.
"Well this doesn’t look too bad," was one of my first thoughts walking up. I never saw the old building, so I don't have a comparison. Stories get told about it: the bedbugs, ceiling possums, and recovery gluing together this lean to fire hazard. I'm waiting for the day they start to include trekking through a blizzard down the stairs for a meeting and fighting a bear to get a hubcap. The new building is solid looking with signs of new construction littered around. A welcoming sight to someone that has been on the streets for four months. We are filling it with our own stories right now, the good and the bad. Ask anyone about The 24 though, even the dropouts, there is always a slight smile.
The first couple days were kind of a blur. I slept like a brick my first night. A friend let me detox in his van for a week before I came in but I'm about a foot too tall for that. Everyone was friendly, but there was an overcast of being in jail, just friends of circumstance. After settling, I focused on shoving as much food into me as possible. When homeless you have this constant hunger you can hold off with using drugs and not eating. I got my standard issue Big Book, called an old friend I knew would sponsor me, lined up my job, and started going to meetings. “Ugh, please don't be like the last time,” I thought. Eventually, the transition turned into routine.
Almost four months have passed. When we first opened there was this comradery; nobody wanted to be the first to fail. It’s been replaced with the reality of our situation, reminders that this isn't a game. “We lost X last night” or some form of “I got this.” Hope comes in a different form now. Early on it was just a future outside of survival mode while finding parts of me worth salvaging. Now I get to build up who I am and what I can be. I started working a new and better job and should be returning to school soon. Time to create a brand new start.