I want to start by sharing this from my dear friend Catherine Lyon:
I can never say enough good things about this man!
Lang has come a long way within GOD’S Love, Care, and Mercy, as even when his health is not good, he still finds ways to be of recovery service to others, and make someone SMILE!
His advocacy might sometimes be a little unconventional (LOL), but his heart is always in the right place. You can’t expect more when he is still on a healing journey of his own…still. It is what his website is all about. Sharing his journey and voice for those who feel they don’t have one or feel lost.
😺✨💞✝✝Advocate Catherine Lyon
This is an article I wrote a few years back as I was invited to share my story about being homeless and addicted to meth with abuse of alcohol. It was printed in several publications and by the Citizens Journal.us, and I was honored to do so. I hope it helps those who have never been homeless better understand the many ways people end up living on the streets.
Most times, it is genuinely not by choice. . .
What caused me personally to become homeless while living on the streets in Oxnard? Methamphetamine use.
Being homeless definitely taught me a whole new learning experience of self-perseverance and survival. The bottom line is to trust no one but yourself!
My number one priority in life while on the streets was to get my poison, my meth. You need money to buy that poison, so how did I get the money? Speaking for myself, I’d commit what’s known as a “booster,” in other words, petty theft. If caught, petty theft, in the eyes of the law, is an arrest and a small stint in the county jail.
With my past incarcerations, committing a felony could have sent me back to prison for a long time. For me, a man of 55, that would be a possible life sentence. I’d steal different kinds of merchandise from supermarkets, department stores, etc. The items I stole would range from hygiene products, clothes, electronics, food, and basically anything I could sell for money to feed my addiction.
Being active on the streets in Oxnard, I learned how some business establishments would even buy your stolen items. Some stores would go as far as to personally tell you what items to steal for them and then pay you 20 to 30% of the actual value. Then they would turn around and sell the items and their store for full retail. This was my profession on the streets to supply my addiction.
My second priority on the streets was food, which I never went without. I learned by trial and error that stores like the Dollar Tree or the 99 Cent Store do not have security or surveillance cameras. There is always plenty of food at these stores to steal, so being hungry was never an issue for me. These stores also have socks and underwear. By stealing these items, I didn’t have to worry about not having clean underwear or socks to wear on a daily basis.
My third priority was to find a hidden spot where no one could find or see me, including the police. Being hidden, you can do whatever you want and get high, as most addicts do! Being hidden is also a safety net from other homeless people on the streets in Oxnard. A homeless person will ultimately find any opportunity they can to steal everything you have, somehow or in some way.
Remember what I said from the beginning, “trust no one but yourself.” Even though we are our own enemies, you still don’t trust anyone but yourself!
At that time, my personal thoughts on the whole agenda were shared at a conference, “Humanizing the Homelessness in Oxnard“.
First of all, I don’t believe that the city of Oxnard cared enough to really bring this over-arching, overdue problem to the public. Not that the people of Oxnard can’t see it for themselves, but really face it. People of Faith say, “there is hope for everyone.”
My question and response to that: “what about them”?
This all happened when college students picked an agenda to do their essays on.
You don’t have to be educated or have a degree to allow yourself to have genuine feelings of care and make a difference. It was the students from CSUCI that cared enough to bring attention to this problem. The importance of people, good people, dying on the streets in Oxnard.
It took college students on Thursday, May 9th, 2019, at 3 p.m. to make the city aware and raise awareness of this, not the city of Oxnard.
Editor’s note: The author told us he’s spent a total of about 6 years on the streets (non-contiguously) in LA and Oxnard and in multiple recovery programs. He says he is clean now and taking one day at a time, trying to help local homeless people.
Publisher’s notes: Even though Oxnard’s efforts were falling short, they were trying, putting a higher priority on the homeless situation, increasing manpower and spending, hiring a homeless guy, developing a strategy, looking for grants, etc.
We were intrigued by Mr. Martinez’s story and inquired about his recovery status and activities, which will be in future articles in Citizens Journal. He sent us the statement below and asked us to rewrite it for him, but it’s just too good to edit!
I was in tears as I read of his passion, sincerity, and pain. I also know that he is backing it up with action, so at least one more person is now added to his list ….
Lang Shared With George, the Editor:
George, I don’t know quite know how to write it, but I want to say it.
That I’ve been sober 3x in 5 years and also worked in RECOVERY, But this time is different because I didn’t want to die like this, knowing that Nobody would say anything good about me! All I want before I die is to have one person say something good about me.
Everyone in my condition doesn’t want to die like this or live like this anymore, and we do make promises to God that… if he would take us out of this misery. What is different about my promise to God this time?
I said, GOD, please don’t let me die like this!
“Please save me one more time, and I will keep my promise this time. I will give it all back to you.”
George, you know what I’m saying, so you write it the way you want; also, I don’t want to be referred by as a homeless person – I’m NOT anymore. I want you to come up with something better. I trust you. I used to be homeless, and all I’m doing is keeping my promise, George.
You have to understand, George, that I don’t ever want to go back to that life again, and the only way I won’t is to be on the STREETS telling others what my Lord and Savior did for me, he can also do for you. I’m proof of God’s miracles.
Mr. Martinez also pointed out this very helpful article on survival tips; he hopes & prays someday soon, it won’t be necessary for people to utilize!