Michael Brown has been homeless for less than 12 hours. Since his daughter kicked him out of her apartment last night, he has been sitting on a stretch of grass at the Gilbert Lindsay Community Center, thinking about his next move.
“I drank too many beers and I said some things and . . . it went too far, and right now I’m really feeling disgusted with myself, not nobody else,” he says. “Sometimes I’m my own worst enemy, the more I see that.”
By his account, he is not an alcoholic, but many of the 59-year-old’s problems are deeply rooted in his drinking habits.
A year ago, Brown started a nine-month prison sentence for showing up to his grandson’s elementary school intoxicated and arguing with the administration.
“They twisted it a little bit, as far as I’m concerned, but I can’t say for sure,” Brown says. “I just know that I didn’t go in there . . . to do nothing to nobody. When we got to court all the witnesses, they said I said I was gonna . . . shoot somebody.”
Brown lost his Section-8 apartment while incarcerated, which forced him to move in with his daughter three months ago.
To add to his struggles, medical complications have limited Brown’s work opportunities for much of the past decade. Seizures and a once-broken clavicle allow him to collect General Relief, but the $200 he receives every month is not enough to meet all of his needs.
Brown has turned to religion as a source of physical rehabilitation to cope with his medical problems.
“I was in church and this guy was anointed,” he says. “I know the way he was speaking, I listened to every word, and I knew he was anointed by God. So after the service I walked up to him and told him about my seizures and asked him if he’d pray for me. He said, ‘Oh you have seizures?’ He put his hands on me and he prayed for me and I believed it. I stopped taking the [seizure] pills right then.”
Brown has not since had a seizure. He says that his faith will direct him to emotional stability as well.
“God sent angels . . . this is telling me that we’re on the same page and I need to just leave the alcohol alone.”
Tonight, Brown will sleep at New Image Emergency Shelter, where he plans to seek help from substance abuse counselors and medical professionals.
“I’m going to have to get into a permanent thing,” he says. “I’m going to have to start a plan to build my life back up.”