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About Down But Not Out, its beginnings, why it came to be and where it is heading
addiction
is rampant in Canada. The primary contributing factor is disaffection with  a social system that has placed the accumulation of wealth ahead of any moral integrity.

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homelessness a view from our perspective

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Al Whitney Dec 31/2010

alibaba707_2000@yahoo.ca

Your story 

Fistly just want to say I first met Ron when I was still an active crack addict myself and like Ron I see a Higher Power working behind the scenes and i believe that's why I met Ron. In 1984 I was the hottest rookie salesman in Canada at a major insurance company I had a wife, 2 small chidren, a new house, new car, etc. and I made more money that year than I ever had in my life. Everyone around me was praising me and my Dad was especially proud because he was a top exec at the same company.Strangely enough my wife,the person whose opinion of me mattered most started criticising constantly and telling me how I should quit my job and how she hated hearing about my work and so on. Next thing I knew I found out she had been doing coke secretely with our neighbour while I was at work. The day I found her out she broke down and cried and she convinced me to do coke with her so she wouldn't feel so bad and as soon as I did it I was hooked. Bottom line I proceeded to go crazy for the next year and ended up losing my job and leaving in disgrace as I stole some company money(embarassed my dad too), almost lost my house (borrowed money to pay 3 months mortgage) and split from my wife. I committed an act of fraud to pay my dealer and with $500 left got on a train to BC without telling anyone. I stayed clean for a while but eventually hooked up with a junkie woman and got back into coke. I ended up moving back to Ontario with her(Belleville) and got work at my parents' B&B for many years. All the while I was doing coke with a couple of rehab attempts sprinkled in for good measure. Stole money and property from my parents, became a semi professional shoplifter for a while(got me busted twice) and even did some B&E's. Left the woman behind in Belleville, both parents passed away, tried living in BC three more times and came back to Toronto 7-8 years ago.Switched from shooting powder to smoking crack cause someone told me it was cheaper.Ha Ha Anyways bottom line I found myself looking back and realizing when I had material wealth and possessions and thought I was doing good My life crashed and burned and I ended up being messed up on coke from 1984 to 2010 I've only got 8 months clean time now but I know I'm OK now cause I live in a small town now with my son and my daughter lives nearby and I've got 2 granddaughters who mean the world to me and I am at peace inside Now I've been diagnosed with emphysema so I'm going to die from cigarettes but I don't feel bad about it. I feel a lot like Ron says about himself I feel Free and at peace with myself Hope I didn't ramble on too much people   Al  

Thanks for sharing this Al. It’s good that you got away from here. It’s almost impossible to get clean while you’re surrounded with drugs and users. I was happy to hear from you after so long. I often wondered how you were making out. Be sure to come by next time you’re in town and call any time you need someone to talk to.

On Jan 5, 2009 the following story about , "My Life As A Homeless Crack Addict" was posted on a website called Homeless Tales. The response was so profound that I have decided to post it with all the comments here. Hope it helps.

Nice shack, but your location is terrible. Why wouldn’t you set up shop in the don valley or somewhere more foresty?

Dazed | Jan 5, 2009 | Reply

·  You write almost as poorly as you lie.

Confused | Jan 5, 2009 | Reply

·  i dont understand why you blame dealers and cops. clearly you are the one taking crack. you are the one not going to rehab. you make your choices, you live your life. no sympathy, sorry.

malcolm | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  “i dont understand why you blame dealers and cops. clearly you are the one taking crack. you are the one not going to rehab. you make your choices, you live your life. no sympathy, sorry.”

Don’t be an idiot. The guy was homeless. If i were homeless, i can tell you for free i’d be a crack user or on heroin, because life would be shit. Go back to fucking high castle.

frank | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Well Dazed, when I built my shack there it was more foresty. They built the road that runs by in front of my shack after I had been there a year.

Ronzig | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Yes you surely are confused.

Ronzig | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  I don’t blame anyone for the choices I made Malcolm. I merely point out some of the reasons why the current response to the drug problem is so ineffective.

Ronzig | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  For those who refuse to engage their imagination in service of having compassion, then you better live perfected lives. Addiction to crack is for most a death sentence. But for the perfected ones who have posted to this forum, obviously to them, death wouldn’t be enough of a punishment. Astonishingly, the fact that this person has risen above his addiction seems completely lost on these perfected tyrants. Yes, anyone who takes crack is a sick person to begin with, but I’d rather hang out with a person who was once sick, who got better, than the three posters above who have the current and apparently severe sickness of being cold assholes.

Brian | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Thanks Frank. You wouldn’t believe how many users only started using as a result of becoming homeless for economic or health reasons.

Ronzig | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  what a bunch of BS… If you actually are a crackhead I hope you get your ass beat by some kids.

actuallywashomeless | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Yes Brian, one of the real problems that our society faces today is the arrogance of people who think that it couldn’t happen to them.

Ronzig | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Well actuallywashomeless, obviously you can’t read any better than you think.

Ronzig | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  I don’t think jail time for street dealers would stop anything. All it would do is throw more people into an already overcrowded jail system. We need to adopt a completely new approach to the problem of drugs. For example if we spend our efforts on reducing poverty less people will need to turn to the sale of drugs to live a half decent life. Secondly I’m of the believe all drugs should be legalized, that way what goes into them can be regulated, and it takes away the ‘cool’ aspect of them. Not only that but it will also stop people involved in illegal activities from profiting from their sale and will also prevent addicts from having to deal with vicious and violent people. I should also mention i don’t think they should be legalized in the sense of selling them behind the counter at convenience stores like cigarettes, but some other system should be worked out.

I just believe that the current system of throwing people in jail for drug related offenses has been proven completely ineffective and making the jail sentences more severe won’t do anything but augment the problem

David | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  David, there are advantages to the concept of government regulated distribution of drugs. You have wisely pointed out some of them and the Methadone program is sort of a move in that direction, but there are a lot of problems with the concept too. I think that a first step should be decriminalizing the use of drugs while maintaining and enforcing the laws against the dealers.

Ronzig | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Thank you for posting this story. I work with the homeless in St. Louis. Not all are addicts obviously, but they need help just as much as anyone! It makes me sick to see how forgiving our society is to celebrities who become addicted…because they have the money to go to high class rehab centers. But those with lower income can’t afford decent rehab and are stuck in a horrible cycle!

This problem needs TONS more advocacy in government…and hopefully with more stories like this we can make some changes! :)

Workswithhomeless | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Thanks Workswithhomeless. I totally agree that bringing as much light on the subject as possible is the best way to force the politicians to rethink the problem and come up with some meaningful solutions instead of the stop gap approach that has been merely a smoke screen to fool the public into thinking that something is being done.

Ronzig | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Hey man… coming from a recovering homeless crack addict with my s*** straight today, congratulations! Not many of us actually make it for the long haul, ya know? I have a little over two years clean now, and never felt better. I sincerely hope you feel amazing today, too.

Jen | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Thanks Jen and congratulations to you too. It’s always a pleasure to make contact with someone who is making it. One of the reasons I do what I do is the memory of the hopelessness that is so overwhelming. Without preaching, I make a point of remaining visible in the community, as an example that there is a way.

Ronzig | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Ronzig, I don’t know if you remember, but there was a woman labeled the “shaking lady”. Broke your heart just to see her begging on queen st in front of the Eaton Centre entrance. I’d give her money regularly and felt sympathetic to her situation. After reading about her awesome scam on our city of Toronto I became pretty jaded to the homeless situation in general. I “think” I may have even past you with a look of disgust convinced you were full of crap. Sorry about that. You’re story has at least changed one guys opinion of the homeless again. Hope you stay clean man.

Rich | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Yes Rich, she really did give us a bad name. We knew what she was doing, but what could we do? If we tried to roust her out, we’d wind up in trouble. In the end it worked out ok. She’s gone and caring people like yourself have continued to help where help is most needed. Thanks for caring and when someone just says hi to someone out there it is appreciated. A smile goes a long way to ease the pain.

Ronzig | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Are you on crack as you write this. This is complete shit and you are bat shit insane.

Soph | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Well Soph, as the saying goes, “Each to his own.” Interesting how articulate your comment is.

Ronzig | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  I have trouble believing this story just because I’ve read a great deal of similar stories which were all invariably exposed as fabrications.

Sir, your tale is quite fascinating, and if it’s true, I hope you stay off crack for the long haul, my friend. In the end, it doesn’t matter if it’s a blatant lie or not, because similar stories are lived by the poor and forgotten homeless in our cities every day. So thank you, at the very least, for doing your part to raise awareness.

Nonetheless, a crack addict is not a victim, but a criminal. Not even so much a criminal, though, as a person who at some point made the conscious choice (usually) to become a crack user. This is an unforgivable sin, because you violated yourself and then you demand our respect because you changed that bad habit you shouldn’t have had in the first place.

Crack addicts should be helped, of course, and rehabilitated, but they should be dealt with invariably with severe legal consequences. Until the structure of the law is changed entirely, we need to do our best to uphold the laws we do have, or they become mockeries and people with stories like yours will begin to pop up everywhere.

Good luck to you!

Peter | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Hi Ronzig,

First of all I want to say Thank You for speaking about your addiction publicly openly and honestly.

I am actually a recovering Crack addict myself, and I just stumbled onto this page accidentally today.

I have been clean now going on 3 years. Every day it get’s easier, but I still have dreams about it. There are some nights where I dream of smoking it and I wake up sweating and still craving that taste.
There are some days if something cooking on the stove or a weird smell will trigger my senses and I’ll just have that craving.

I, like you hit rock bottom too. There way no other way out for me. It was either death or rehab. I chose Rehab..

To tell you the truth, Rehab didn’t work for me.. but the harsh sense of reality did….
I found out I was pregnant and that I was going to have a child…

Needless to say that made me rethink my act, and got me sober pretty quickly. I had been smoking crack for 6 years, this was no easy feat.

Anyways, I have been 3 years clean now and now own my own business and home. There are times though when things are just a little “too” normal and I get that “itchy” feeling. But I know what is important and as you say there are no casual smokers… it will always lead to more.. That’s what they should call the drug: “MORE”.

Anyways, I wanted to say that I enjoyed reading your posts and will continue to on a regular basis. Your stories and others like it help keep other recovering addicts and current ones hope and keep us on our toes.

Angela | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Posted by: PETER
“Nonetheless, a crack addict is not a victim, but a criminal. Not even so much a criminal, though, as a person who at some point made the conscious choice (usually) to become a crack user. This is an unforgivable sin, because you violated yourself and then you demand our respect because you changed that bad habit you shouldn’t have had in the first place.”

How dare you? An unforgivable sin? Really! May God judge you the way you judge others. Shame on you.

Angela | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  This post makes you sound like a way bigger douchebag than the cops.

uh.. | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  That’s an amazing story, Ronzig.

However, I think I would take a different approach to tackling the situation - you seem to focus on drugs, when I think the real problem is poverty. If you were given some real help, a council house, some proper welfare, you would never have had to resort to drugs in the first place.

The same could probably be said for street dealers as well - I doubt that’s what they envisioned their career path being when they were in school. No one really wants to have anything to do with crack, selling or buying - it’s something you resort to out of desperation. If poverty was taken out of our society (which we in the West are more then capable of doing) then crime levels would drop right down. No one steals what they can afford to buy - and no one voluntarily destroys their life with a substance known to be worse then lethal. There’s a good reason why crack is associated with the poorest in society.

I think you’re doing a really good job, and you should have your message heard by as many people as possible.

Wilf | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Angela,
I do not acknowledge the existence of God, and I pass judgment on no person, but on their actions. A life without principles is a life not worth living. Perhaps it was poor wording when I said that he “demanded our respect” when what i meant is that he demanded our sympathy. It is difficult to have sympathy for a crack addict. They were in that situation by their own doing. Yes, they need help to get out of it, and it takes a better person than me to stoop down to pick them up.

I am not saying I’m perfect, and I’m not saying we haven’t all done some wrong things and made some stupid choices in our lives. Anyway, cahoots to the poster for redeeming himself and exposing the flaws in the system. The law is unnecessarily harsh to drug users and not harsh enough to drug dealers. Not only that, but police and legislators don’t do their job well enough to stop this problem when it is not unstoppable at all.

If Ronzig seeks to education, I appreciate his article. If he in any way sought our pity, he should receive none. People should not be rewarded for doing something you’re supposed to be doing in the first place (such as not doing drugs). And people shouldn’t be coddled when they’re doing things that harm themselves.

Peter | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Posted by: PETER
“Nonetheless, a crack addict is not a victim, but a criminal. Not even so much a criminal, though, as a person who at some point made the conscious choice (usually) to become a crack user. This is an unforgivable sin, because you violated yourself and then you demand our respect because you changed that bad habit you shouldn’t have had in the first place.”

That’s very easy to say when you have a house to sleep in.

Wilf | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Another thing. If you’re one of the many saying “What an amazing story” then you’re not doing your job. You should say “What a terrible story”. The story is not amazing; it’s horrifying. To call it amazing or inspiring is to shed a positive light on the author’s experiences. This is both unfair to the author and untrue. The author doesn’t want nor does he deserve people to give him some kind of award for how cool his story is. The point is how awful and appalling the story is, and we should acknowledge it. As I said, pity is not ours to give him. It only creates problems and creates a likelihood for him to go back to drugs.

Many people seek treatment temporarily just to receive praise, and then when they feel affirmed and validated they go back to drugs or their other self-destructive behaviors and habits. There is a name for that, however I do not recall it at this time.

He implies that he has a job and a home now, and is rehabilitated. Good for him. That is worthy of praise for anyone, not just an ex-addict. So Ronzig, congratulations on truly coming back from the brink!

People misunderstand the point of Ronzig’s message. He doesn’t want or need your love or awe. He just wants to get the message out there. So to all the people saying “I hope those kids beat you up you crack addict” and “Wow what a beautiful amazing wonderful story”, you need to seriously reread what was said here.

Peter | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Yes, it is quite easy to say.
Does it make it wrong that I have a house to sleep in? That is an Ad Hominem fallacy, my friend. You cannot attack something about me in an attempt to invalidate an otherwise sound argument.

Peter | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Peter -

It wasn’t ad hom. I could have called you a bourgeois apologist. That would have been an ad hom attack, although not necessarily incorrect.

What I was saying is that I don’t really think you can hold anyone morally responsible for being forced into the kind of situation where they become desperate enough to take crack. You do not soberly and conscientiously “decide” to become a crack addict. Such a notion is completely ridiculous - it’s comparable to saying that the ‘criminals’ in the middle ages deserved to have their tongues cut out for stealing sheep. After all, they made the decision to steal that sheep - there was a perfectly good alternative available, and that was to quietly starve.

Crack addiction for the homeless isn’t a lifestyle choice, it’s an attempt to escape the freezing cold hell they’re subjected to. The real crime is that we as a rich society allow people to end up in the kind of situation where it’s actually a softer option to be on a painkiller as horrible as crack. We are more then capable of ending this human rights atrocity of extreme poverty right now - the Wall Street bailout could have ended world hunger, let alone homelessness.

In short, by saying it’s easy to make that kind of moral judgement when you have a home to sleep in - and no conceivable reason to take crack at all - I was saying that I don’t think you fully understand the reality of our society, and I think it takes an incredibly strong individual not to seek escape in drugs and alcohol when they are faced with such an extreme rejection and apathy from our society. If you lived on $200 a month, had no home, and found yourself in a situation where asking for help was criminalised, I think you would be on crack as well, and I wouldn’t hold you morally responsible for it.

Wilf | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  You don’t decide to become an addict, but you do decide to do crack. Hardship or not, the choice was made, and it was conscious.

And that was an Ad Hominem, period.

“That’s very easy to say when you have a house to sleep in.” It’s implied, but what you’re saying is that I have a house to sleep in so my opinion doesn’t count. You’re attacking something about me in order to discredit my argument. That is Ad Hominem.

Peter | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Ever sell your body for drug money?
Easiest $4 I ever made.

nicole | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  “You don’t decide to become an addict, but you do decide to do crack. Hardship or not, the choice was made, and it was conscious.”

I’m not sure if you understood my argument. What I’m saying is that you cannot hold someone morally responsible for resorting to crack when they live their life starving, afraid and victimised. Crack is an escape, and the moral onus lies on society to prevent people from finding themselves in the kind of situation that Ronzig was in. Proponents of the social conditions that lead to homelessness are the those that are morally responsible for Ronzig’s crack addiction, not Ronzig. I do not recognise Ronzig as having any real choice in the matter. Now, that’s not to say that Ronzig is incapable of committing a morally wrong action - I just think it’s ridiculous to hold him responsible for trying to find comfort in a drug when he was as vulnerable as he was.

As for the alleged Ad Hominem, the implication was exactly what I said it was - that as someone living a sheltered life you have no reason to take crack, and can happily denounce people who do, but I think if you were homeless, you would most likely find yourself addicted to it as well.

I didn’t say your opinion doesn’t count, just that you’re wrong.

Wilf | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Under the horror that was Communism, food, shelter, and work were recognized as basic human rights. Thank goodness we now have unbridled Capitalism, which always takes the side of corporate persons and to hell with the physical ones.

Courage my brother.

Kazimir Strassman | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Hi Ronzig, I am a young man from PR and I’ve seen in my few years that neither homelessness nor are the drug dealers the problem (most of them prefer the life of a drug dealer, you make a lot of easy quick money and the government doesnt really mess with you), its more the moral depravity of the government and how people are so fearful to stand for the morals they believe in, but the people that do stand up are usually moralists with little to no sense of reality and who want to impose their beliefs on others.

I liked what you said about legalizing drugs, to keep enforcing the laws against drug dealers although I believe that once you take away the money from them they have no power, thats how they have all this immunity against the laws of our governments. So drug dealers-drugs=no power.

Im sorry i went on for as long as I did, by the way I admire your almost apathetic way of handling ranting readers especially those who believe that only addicts are fallible, I had four friends killed this year, all younger than 21yrs of age one of them was by a cop, he was beaten bloody. Hope all is well for you and that the drug problem becomes a non issue soon.

Jose | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  A couple of things about this piece and some comments:

1) The author describes his time on the streets as an addict but fails to say whether he was an addict before the streets or after. His tag line blurb indicates that he was once a successful businessman employing >100 people. Would the author elaborate on his addiction status at the time during which he lost his home?

2) Some commenters have used words like ‘bourgeois apologist’ and ‘unbridled capitalism;’ did they fail to note that the author was a beneficiary of a system that provided entreupreneurial access?

3) Society is made up of individuals who must be accountable for their own actions. Did some commenters fail to comprehend that there was a choice made by the author to purchase- using money provided by the generosity of strangers, not centrally managed safety nets I might add- additional drugs and alcohol rather than food or shelter?

I would like to say congratulations to the author for cleaning up his life. I sincerely hope that he never finds it necessary to wage the same battles. May this society made of individuals do as it should and offer him the same encouragement.

libertarianlady | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  “Ever sell your body for drug money?
Easiest $4 I ever made.”

nicole

Glad your proud of that, maybe youll understand the hell it is if it happens to you, although I hope it doesnt.

Jose | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  To Peter, you know the old saying “walk a mile in another mans’ shoes”?

You cannot speak about him in a justifiable way until you do that because you dont know what he’s been through and I find it appalling that you would think yourself so correct in what you are saying, your opinions are neither valid nor do you have a sound argument in that the problem does not actually have to do with the addicts (they just want an escape from their lives which seem more like hell) it has to do with the government not finding a plausible solution to a problem and taking drug money to add to their income.

Jose | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Addiction has no favorites. Just those who are willing to follow. The addiction is stronger then the mind. I pray i never end up on the streets( given the current state of the economy. This could be anyone of us. A friend, brother,mother or maybe your little baby in 20 years. People should open their eyes and realize that codine addiction has risen 90% in the last few years. Take a look in the mirror. I bet there are plenty of you reading this and you are no different. Just because your Dr gives it to you…know of a few codine addicts that are now homeless.

exisaaddict | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  fake

JW | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  “But I know what is important and as you say there are no casual smokers… it will always lead to more..”

That isn’t true. I’ve used it for fun in the past and always able to stop whenever I wanted. Yes, I understand the craving but was always self empowered enough to stop the process. Perhaps most people are just weak like that.

tums | Jan 6, 2009 | Reply

·  Ronzig,

I don’t understand how you have two pictures of your “house.” And who was there taking one when the woman came to check up on you? Is Ronzig your real name?

Caroline | Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

·  I was homeless I got my life together a long time ago, well sort of I am on the edge of bankrupsy. Anyway people should not be homeless it is a situation without hope and with great suffering anyone who has not been homeless and thinks they would make it if they were is an arrogant fool. It should be our goal as a society not to cast away other humans. Society should endevor to create a clear path to success for everybody. In America 1/4 of homeless people are former veterans and 1/3 more are mentally ill.

From.

Erik | Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

·  libertarianlady-

1. If you go to Ronzig’s website, you’ll see a full account of his drug addiction. He got into crack when it was first introduced, long before it was known how incredibly destructive the drug was. “20 years ago, when I became an addict, we didn’t know how bad the stuff was. We thought it was like smoking a little grass. You know; something to share with your friends at a party.”

I doubt any business man, or anyone at all, would go anywhere near crack today unless they had some serious problems in their life, such as extreme poverty.

2. I don’t see how that’s at all relevant. No one’s denying that there are benefactors in capitalism. The issue here is that we’re living in a system that allows people to lose their rights as a person. It doesn’t take much imagination to think of procedures that could be put in place to prevent this from happening.

3. Again, I think it’s incredibly arrogant, misguided and ridiculous to try and hold a homeless man accountable for looking for an escape from the Hell Ronzig described. I won’t readily believe that if you found yourself in Ronzig’s situation you wouldn’t do the same. Indeed, we are a society of individuals, but it’s our environment that largely makes us who we are. I doubt you would have nearly as much confidence as you do if you were faced with the incredible apathy, indifference, rejection and even loathing from society that the homeless are subject to. Your libertarian ideals may, in theory, protect Ronzig from someone forcing him to take crack, but they don’t ensure an environment where it’s actually possible for a homeless man to ever become a recognised member of society again. Any help given to the homeless would be dependent on the odd charitable donation, and if the majority of people think, as you seem to, that the homeless somehow made the choice to live their life that way, the chances of re-entrance would be laughable, much as they are now.

Wilf | Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

·  There is not an easy path to becoming a junkie. It is a total media fabrication taht you are addicted from the first time you try one of these drugs.

You really have to work at it to become a junkie.

Additionally, I can’t really sympathize with someone who in the first paragraph says that the state doesn’t give them enough to live off of. Where is my 200 a month from the state? Provide for yourself and stop sponging off of society. You can build a shack and write a coherent blog but you can’t get a job?

Drew | Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

·  I see what you mean as to how horrible people can be on this blog.

Just Wow.

Very brave to write this

homelessgirl | Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

·  “Where is my 200 a month from the state? Provide for yourself and stop sponging off of society.”

I read this entire blog and all the comments, waiting for someone to say something like this. THANK YOU!!!!

Not that it matters, because sad personal stories are only inspirational when you don’t blame people/government/dealers/anyone else you can point your finger at, and when you actually learn from YOUR MISTAKES! So here’s my short sad personal story.

I actually can say all of the above, with endless confidence, because I have faced homelessness. My father died when I was 4 years old and my mother went to jail for killing her boyfriend. I was in foster care for 11 years of my life, while she serves a 25 year sentence and I don’t know of any other extended family members that I could have turned to. As difficult as the experience was, as soon as I turned 18, I adopted my 2 younger siblings and have been raising them myself. I got my GED, graduated with a Masters degree in Accounting (taking night classes, and working 3 jobs to support my family, my studio apartment, and a babysitter while I was at school). There were several times that my 3 jobs still didn’t make ends meet, and I’ve been evicted once and close to it on another occasion. Nothing about my life has been a smooth ride, I’ve had to take on responsibilities that a child shouldn’t have to, and I came out a successful, somewhat normal adult. I am a productive member of society, and when life was shit, I didn’t turn to something to “ease my pain”.

EVERYTHING IN LIFE IS A CHOICE!!!!! Drugs are a choice, no matter the circumstances, PERIOD. Life is hard, sometimes harder for some then others, I’m sure there is someone out there who has had it harder than I. I feel that I was impoverished, and constantly sick with the thought that myself and my 2 siblings would be homeless. We were always living paycheck to paycheck and never knew if we were going to make the bills. Yet I’ve never gotten or even applied for a handout form the government (except Foster Care, which I was legally kept there, and it was a government funded home). Our ancestors didn’t wait for someone to “help them out” they built their own homes, raised their own food (For a long while, we lived off of our vegetable garden, which is actually quite feasible and inexpensive), and they supported themselves.

Every single liberal on this blog needs to stop crying about the government not helping the poor. I won’t argue with the overwhelming corruption that has become our legal system, but I don’t believe that the answer is to increase welfare. The welfare program was intended as a short term financial relief when someone loses a job, gets hurt at work, or many other appropriate reasons to need governmental funding to help you meet your own financial obligations. It was meant to help someone out until they got back on their feet, not as a generational means of financial support. All this has stimulated is people on the welfare system seeking “under table money” and having as many children as possible to increase thier monthy check. Ridiculous.

Money won’t ever come out of the pockets of government officials, taxes will go up. But at least all you bleeding heart liberals can actually claim that you’re helping. GET OFF THE BLOG AND VOLUNTEER IF YOU WANT TO HELP SOMEONE!!!! Sign up as a foster parent, the number of children in foster care is staggering. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. DO SOMETHING BESIDES COMPLAINING AND WAITING FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO HELP!

Nearly everything is within our grasp and control. I will not waiver on that statement.

Congratulations for overcoming your addiction. Our new goal should be avoiding addiction in the first place. Help yourself. As my boyfriend puts it (when pan handlers ask for money):

“Money is for people who have jobs”

YouReapWhatYouSew | Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

·  This post was always likely to be controversial. I feel it should be clarified at this point that Ronzig has been clean and housed for some time. He does not ask for sympathy nor does he wish or have any need for any. He is well aware of his shortcomings and that to a large extent his failings were of his own making. He does clearly feel that his desire to rehabilitate was somewhat hindered and that more could be done to assist those who make mistakes such as his but wish to make amends.

Despite his advancing age, Ronzig is now a productive member of society and it is that which is far more important than how he lived his life at the time or even who he was before that.

He doesn’t dress up his story or try to hide from who he was or what he has done. He does not seek anyone’s pity, he has the courage to share his story for no other reason than to educate. Sharing the horrific truth of his experiences may just save someone from making the same mistakes or perhaps give hope and inspire someone else to conquer their own addictions and become productive members of society.

Ronzig has gone a long way towards redressing the balance in his life. Regardless of his past, the man he is today is someone I would be proud to call a friend.

@YouReapWhatYouSew, I sincerely applaud your achievements and largely agree with your views. However, not everyone is as well equipped to cope as you were. Are you aware that in the US 45% of all children who age out of the care system become homeless? That is indicative of failings in the system rather than being solely personal shortcomings.

Incidentally, what on earth makes you think that all these people do is blog about it? I see no foundation for that remark whatsoever. Ronzig recommends volunteering in one of his posts and does so, as do many of the other contributors here.

admin | Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

·  For anyone who cares to read this…

Whether or not one was an addict and homeless, or lives a “sin” free life, we are all people. We all deserve love, forgiveness, and understanding. The world today has become so blind, so dumb, to the goings on in today’s society. People have become so caught up in the media; fashion, money, and pop-culture, that we have lost our connection to others. We have lost our compassion.

May everyone find a love for life, and not just for their own….

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” ~Jimi Hendrix

Anonymous | Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

·  *
I failed to mention my reason for writing that. Upon reading Ronzig’s story, then all the unkind and judgmental comments, I was taken aback.
I felt the desire to comment on the lack of understanding society has. I can only hope that people see the issue here; it is not whether Ronzig is right or wrong for the things he has been through. The fact is, he has come through some amazingly hard times. If anything, he does not deserve to be ridiculed, mocked, or hated for going through these things, regardless of why or how they happened.

Anonymous | Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

·  I have a question? How is it that you are homeless but have access to a computer and can write such an articulate article? Nonetheless, I say to you may God help and bless you to get out of this horrible situation you are in.

Di71 | Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

·  I think the government should just give addicts free crack and heroin, or charge a nominal fee. Then they wouldn’t have to steal to get their fix. It would be cheaper than the war on drugs. Drug dealers would go out of business. The product would have some quality control standards. Drug money wouldn’t fund terrorists and gangs. The addicts would have to go see doctors to get their prescriptions instead of thugs. But that’s just my opinion.

Judy | Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

·  Wow.Wake up.The only problem with drugs is the fact that they are illegal.Voluntarily comitting a victimless crime creates a stigma,a higharchy {Sic},a good and a bad,an us and them.When you imbibe illegall substances a label gets supperimpossed over your character eventually leading towards difficulties,loss of earnings,dissapearence of friends and family,incarceration etc.If any person could at will purchase an amount of thier drug of choice without a societial sneer or accussing finger they would most likley be able to spend the appropriate amount of time living thier lives.Being as responsible as say any drunk or ciggarette smoker.
In a free Capitalist system I should have the rights of any god over what I would like to do to or with my body brain or time.
The real gangs in todays drug wars are governments and the real thugs are the millitary and the police,and yes they need drugs to be illegal in order to feed thier petty little wars to control thier petty little populations,who can only visualise a pathetic and petty kind of freedo in which they need thier babysitter to tell them what to do and how to think..Be responsible is the message here,be smarter than the drug,do not let the controlers control you with a controled substance.Stop blaming inanamite things for your problems and use whatever brains you may have left.Being a drug user is not an excuse to ignore your responsabilities to family,friends or yourself.Grow up.

kirk | Jan 8, 2009 | Reply

·  You’re SOOOOO right admin! What a great idea to have a WEBSITE that homeless people can read inspirational stories!!!! I know all of my homeless friends have computers and internet access in their cardboard box homes! GREAT JOB YOU GUYS! I’M SOOOOO GLAD I STUMBLED ON THIS SITE, SO I TOO CAN BE EDUCATED! I mean, hey, what do I know? I only have a job, a home, and my very own computer, what couldn’t I learn from a homeless person?! This website is like going to Michael Jackson and asking for parenting advise?!

YouReapWhatYouSew | Jan 8, 2009 | Reply

·  @YouReapWhatYouSew,

It is hard to see your objection to those comments. Is it the discovery that these people are not just grumbling but working individuals that actively volunteer too that you find offensive?

For the record, many currently homeless people are employed and an overwhelming majority would like to be so. Yes, many own computers too and internet access is readily available to everyone whether they have their own computers or not. I have no idea why you might think internet access might be a privilege exclusively available to the housed. Oh and they don’t really live in cardboard boxes either. Perhaps this does not sit comfortably with your preferred and inaccurate stereotypical image?

Having said that much, I would like to reiterate what I said earlier in that I largely agree with your previous statements and commend your significant achievements.

admin | Jan 8, 2009 | Reply

·  Just so EVERYONE know..GOD LOVES ALL HIS CREATIONS.ALL OF THEM, have u walked a mile in someone elses shoes? hmm i didnt think so

leahl | Jan 8, 2009 | Reply

·  Rozig!! I’m glad you recovered from your addiction! It must have been really hard times for you! By the time someone gets homeless.. Drugs are the easiest way to “survive to the arrogant, money blinded, stupid people” living in this world!! I’ve never been homeless (and I hope I never will), but I see things the way they are!! No one wishes to be homeless.. The drugs become the easiest way to forget hunger.. to make the time pass.. to forget all the problems surrounding a homeless person!
I hate people full of resources, that look at the homeless.. Send them the pity look.. but never help them! Unfortunately, we live in a world were money rules.. not the good intentions.. or love.. or charity..
Never mind these sick bastards that think that this kind of shit only happen to the “others”!

As for your solution for the drug dealers.. I don’t agree with you.. if the police starts busting every street dealer (beside it’s almost impossible to get everyone of them..), the big dealer wouldn’t like it.. and it would start a f**king war.. just like in brazil.. in the “favelas”.. It’s an every day war between the cops and the drug dealers in the middle of the streets!
In my point of view.. drugs should be classified as a disease.. Not a crime.. just like it is in Holland..! They sell the drugs in pharmacies.. coffee shops (depending on the drug) with good quality and in good amounts/price! This method would exterminate all those street dealers with shit products that almost kill you! People wouldn’t be looking for poor quality.. so they would chose the “pharmaceutical” one! This would be the ultimate competition for the dealers.. and they would be forced to leave the business! But this is just my opinion!
My best wishes to you.. Good luck on the rest of your life! =)
(BTW: sorry about my English! I’ don’t live in an English speaking country. Hope you understand my words.)

vit | Jan 8, 2009 | Reply

·  I believe you

aaron | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  Peter, I assure you my story is absolutely true. You mention that if the system were more tolerant to addicts they would start popping up everywhere. I suggest you take a look around you. They already are and criminalization of the illness is neither a deterrent, a cure nor a solution.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  Hi Angela. Congratulations on 3 years. You’re right, it does get easier with time, but I believe we will live out the rest of our lives with the dreams and the urges even though they do get easier to resist. Thanks for the vote of confidence. I do this for 2 reasons. First to give hope where hopelessness is predominant and second to educate the non addict public to the reality of the crisis in the hopes of encouraging a more realistic approach to addiction from the general population and the police and politicians in particular.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  Thanks Mathew. I have no wish to limit comments even though it is disheartening to see the antagonism that comes from some people who seem to have closed their minds to the reality of the situation. Please continue to allow all feedback.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  Sorry you feel that way Allison. Mainly I am sorry for you that you have such a hard heart.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  Thanks for you comment Wilf. Although the focus of this post is addiction, my primary concern is the related issue of poverty and homelessness which I agree should not be allowed to continue in a society as rich as ours.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  I’ve never met anyone yet who woke up one morning and said to themselves, “What’ll I do today. I know, I’ll become an addict.” It just doesn’t happen that way. Addiction is the result of bad decision making on the part of the person and all I’m saying is that it should be treated as a mistake which deserves understanding and help to correct.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  Nicole. No, I’ve never sold my body or done anything except ask for help to get me through, but I would never judge anyone for anything they felt they had to do to make it through the day.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  Sorry for taking so long to reply to your comments everyone. I’ve been in hospital all week with a blockage to my small intestine. They were supposed to do exploratory surgery but canceled each day and now have sent me home, having done nothing. Have to go back Jan 19.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  Kazimir, unfortunately Communism while in theory sounds pretty good, is still subject to human nature and it seems that in any society we can invent there are those who will find a means of exploiting the weak to gain undeserved supremacy. I have no answer to the problem of human nature other than to continue to encourage everyone to seek a newer and better way of doing things than has been tried as yet.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  Thanks for your comment Walls. Life is good for me now and I hope that my mission of education and hope is helpful.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  You’re absolutely right Jose when you say that the real problem is the absolute moral depravity of our government.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  To libertarianlady. When I was a millionaire, I was a very unhappy person and my disaffection with life in this capitalist society was a primary factor in my seeking alternatives. During this seeking process, unfortunately I became addicted to crack.
Neither poverty nor homelessness led to my addiction, but the disaffection I suffered is I believe the root cause of addiction regardless of economic stature.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  exisaaddict, you are so very right about the increase in codeine addiction. Thanks for reminding me. I’ll have to comment on that in more depth in the near future.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  JW. Nope. I’m not a fake and you need to open your narrow mind.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  To tums. You claim to be successful as a casual crack user. I wonder how long you have been at it and whether you still use. In my 20 years as an addict I have seen people go as long as 10 years as a casual user, but they have all fallen eventually. If you can remain a casual user without succumbing to addiction, more power to you, but I suggest you are playing Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  Yes Erik, it is particularly tragic that people who risked their lives fighting for this flawed system are abandoned to homelessness as a reward. Especially when the trauma of war is a major cause of their situation. Of course it is equally barbaric for our society to abandon people who are mentally unable to fend for themselves to a short life on the streets, followed by a premature death in misery.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  You’re right Wilf that libertarianism is flawed. As in all extremist philosophies, it fails to take into consideration human nature. Until a social philosophy can be devised that takes into account the human variable the best we can do is try to moderate the extremes with the hope of making life as bearable as possible for all. Unfortunately at this point in our social evolution we seem to have forgotten this imperative.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  To generalmarky. Obviously you are not speaking from the voice of experience and I pity your shallow outlook on life.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  Thanks for the comment homelessgirl. It is sad that a few uninformed and insensitive people can be so callous, but I encourage all comments. In the long run these negative comments only serve to remind thinking people of the obstacles that still need to be overcome.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  Very commendable youreapwhatyousew. I admire your strength and your accomplishments. Too bad you don’t have a little compassion for those who are not as powerful as you. You are truly exceptional.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  To anonymous. Thanks for the excellent quot.

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” ~Jimi Hendrix

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  And for the kind words.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  To di71. I have been clean and sober since March 2, 2005. I presently live in a seniors building and work in advocacy as well as have a respectable reputation as a local artist.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  To Judy. We have a methadone program for Opiate addicts which is less than perfect, but is still a very useful program. It would be wise for the government to institute something similar for other addictions.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  Thanks for your comment Robert. You are right about addiction recovery being an on going struggle that never ends. I am very happy to hear of your success and agree that Without the help of friends and God it is nearly impossible.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  You make some good points Kirk, but you miss one aspect of crack addiction. The nature of the drug is that the rush only lasts a few minutes and once a user does the first toke, he is compelled irresistibly to do another within minutes. With this drug, it is impossible to expect the addict ot carry on a normal life. His addiction is a full time job which precludes everything else including sleep. When I was on a run, I usually went non stop for 5 to 7 days without sleep until I blacked out from sleep deprivation. With that kind of compulsion there is no hope of a normal life. The only hope is in rehabilitation.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  Thanks for reminding us Leahl. Too many of us forget.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  Your English seems fine to me Vit. Thanks for the comment. Although we don’t agree on everything, the important thing is that there is dialogue. Without dialogue, improvement is impossible. There is much that we do agree upon, for instance, the need to make radical changes from the status quo.

Ronzig | Jan 9, 2009 | Reply

·  This is so real. I can’t believe anyone questions your honesty here. I lived with an addict for years. How well I remember the need for alcohol to slow his heart, and the days I’d beg him to eat something. Nothing would stop his need. I am so glad you got off the crap, my ex is still using.

Laura | Jan 10, 2009 | Reply

·  Sorry to hear your ex is still using Laura. Hope he’s seen this and it inspires him to take the long journey back. About questioning my honesty, I think people don’t want to admit to themselves that there can be so much suffering with so little help in a society such as ours. It’s easier for them to deny the existence of the problem rather than admit that they are partially responsible for the lack of support by their failure to demand a more responsible policy from the politicians.

Ronzig | Jan 10, 2009 | Reply

·  Wow. I have read all your posts after stumbling upon this one. While I don’t agree with everything you say, I want to thank you for sharing your story. I’ve been as apathetic as the next guy at times, but it’s HARD to intentionally look at the ugly side of our society with its broken policies- how much were you involved in charity before you were seduced with drugs? You are right about that part, we are ALL to blame. Then there’s the matter of addiction. You yourself wrote that you panhandled to “support yourself and your addiction.” Therein lies the problem with giving money to people on the streets: you could be helping one person, or hurting another with the same dollar bill. All the people that dedicate their lives- unpaid, to charity recommend the same thing: DON’T GIVE TO THE INDIVIDUALS, GIVE TO A REPUTABLE, CARING CHARITY OR ORGANIZATION. I wish you peace in the twilight of your remaining years, my friend. Mercy is not getting something we don’t deserve, it’s being spared the Death that we all DO deserve. Redemption is only complete in God, Who never stopped loving you. Whatever you choose, I will be praying for you. Good luck with your next surgery!

Mark | Jan 10, 2009 | Reply

·  Thanks for the comments Mark. You miss the point when you tell people not to give to homeless people because you will be supporting their addictions. When a panhandler asks for money it is not all going to go to support his habit. HE NEEDS FOOD CLOTHING, SMOKES AND ALL KINDS OF OTHER THINGS. By denying him assistance on your grounds, you deny him ALL of these and by helping him, you you keep him from having to resort to more socially unacceptable means of getting the money he needs He will get what he needs even if he is forced to resort to prostitution or robbery to do so. Therefore, although your handout may go partially to support his addiction,it will also go towards all the other necessities of life and it will save him from resorting to crime, which he DOES NOT WANT TOD DO. Most panhandlers are begging because they are resisting more unacceptable means of supporting himself, so please HELP him to resit.

Ronzig | Jan 11, 2009 | Reply

·  And more, Mark, these so called experts that tell you not to give to homeless people are the same ignorant fools who order outreach workers not to give homeless people warm clothing or sleeping bags because it will enable them to remain homeless even though there are no viable alternatives to homelessness. They would rather see a homeless person starve to death or freeze to death than see him receive the help he needs. Also, they have a vested interest in redirecting your funds to their organizations. Your money will go to pay their salaries instead of helping those who need it. Only a portion of the money they receive ever reaches the people they profess to help.

Ronzig | Jan 11, 2009 | Reply

·  @Ronzig: As I said, we differ on some issues… I’m not perfect and I don’t have all the answers to this complex, but important social problem. That doesn’t mean we can’t both strive to help those in need. I will give away grocery store gift cards, blankets, physical food, and the shirt off my back but no cash. And again, when I refer to charities, I’m referring to the ones that give away the highest percentage of incoming funds- (80+%) those with DEDICATED NON/UNDER-PAID people. That dollar could go to anyone on the street who looks needy or a caring organization (one example) could give $0.92 to WHERE IT’S NEEDED MOST. You don’t have to like or respect charities, but the best ones have the tools, resources, and the desire to make more of an impact then we as individuals do. The main thing is the desire to help and the determination to actually make a difference. You were forced to claw your way out of homelessness but for many there are easier ways- the key is knowing where to look for real help.

Lastly, I forget to tell you in my first post that I like your Gallery; hauntingly beautiful…

http://www.charitynavigator.org

Mark | Jan 11, 2009 | Reply

·  2nd post
i am 46, just so u know i almost died from my addiction to alcohol 10 years ago, i started drinking at the age of 11 when i found out my father was sexually molesting my sister, and he beat us regularly every day since age 5, i didnt “chose” this life, i was born into it, i made bad decisions (obviously) but at age 11, drink seemed to “help” me out. What people dont understand is, YOU DONT CHOOSE TO BE ADDICTED TO ANYTHING!!!!
So i take full responsibility for my actions.
i PRAISE GOD for giving me my life back and allowing me to love and raise my children.
it makes me sad when posters like peter, who bears the name of one of the most awesome disciples in history, tries to use big words to cover his obvious stupidity and complete lack of conscience.
i may not have much, but its enough, i may die a pauper, but i can live with myself
God Bless you Mr. Ronzig!!!

leahl | Jan 11, 2009 | Reply

·  btw sober 16 years wooohooo, by the grace of God!
peter and all u negative nellies:
heres some good reading if u dare !!
Luke:19-31
dont say u havent been warned.

leahl | Jan 11, 2009 | Reply

·  Luke 16:19-31 this is the correct verse =]
daggum computer lol!

leahl | Jan 11, 2009 | Reply

·  and before u knuckle heads rip me a new one, that 16 years sober in the last post should be 10, oops my bad, guess im not a “perfect” Christian lol

leahl | Jan 11, 2009 | Reply

·  Thanks for clarifying Mark. There are lots of people like you who won’t give cash, but do give food, clothing and other essentials and they are received with gratitude. I was under the mistaken impression that you would not give anything to a homeless person. The charitable organizations do quite a bit of good work, but many if not most of them are misguided and spend the money on programs that are useless and looked upon with scorn by their clients. In cold weather to give out socks, shoes, gloves, warm blankets or sleeping bags or hot food would achieve far better and more immediate results that anything most charities would do. There is a great deal of mistrust out there for these organizations. Homeless people much prefer the direct approach and many like myself almost never use the organizations for anything.

Glad you like my art.

Ronzig | Jan 11, 2009 | Reply

·  Thanks for telling you story Leahl. At 11 years old, nobody should be put in the position to have to make the decisions you did. there can be no bad choices at that age. You acted out of desperation and I doubt there were any other option open to you that you were aware of. If you love yourself and God, I have found that you don’t need much and will always be given what you do need.
Wow, 10 years!!!!! That’s terrific. Besides raising your family, and I assume being a church member, what else do you have on your plate? Or is that enough of a load? Stories like yours are so good to hear. Thank you.

Ronzig | Jan 11, 2009 | Reply

·  I am speaking from experience about drug use. I have tried any number of drugs and was always able to use them in moderation. To become an addict you would have to make a decision to sink into that lifestyle. The recklessness of an individual who can allow that to happen to themselves clearly has much deeper seated problems. The drugs seem to be a symptom of that.

generalmarky | Jan 11, 2009 | Reply

·  generalmarky you speak in general terms. In order to give a meaningful response I need some specifics. ie. What addictive drugs are you using? Are you still using them? How often do you use them? How long have you been using them? Without these specifics, your comment is meaningless and impossible to say anything meaningful about, although you appear to be one of the many who think it can’t happen to me.

Ronzig | Jan 12, 2009 | Reply

·  Hey ronzig,
My name is bri and i currently reside in Alabama. At my school we have something called Senior Project. It is a semester project where we have to write about something that will make a difference in our world. All the time people write about drug addiction, mental illnesses, things like that. I want to do mine on something that no one has ever thought about, or taken into consideration.
Everyday on the way to my friends housw, an old rugidy man is outside in an old time pottery parking lot, sitting by his car, and playing the guitar, and everyday i stop by and give him atleast 3 dollars
I am wanting to do my Senior Project on the life of a homeless man.
Do you think he will be offended?

Brianna | Jan 15, 2009 | Reply

·  It’s hard to say Brianna, Many homeless people welcome the opportunity to tell their story because the exclusion we experience leaves us very isolated and alone. A few however guard their privacy jealously. The fact that you are what we call a regular who helps often will help to break the ice and it would be helpful if you have spoken with him before rather than just giving and passing on. Most of us treasure communication with people who are truly interested. You might mention that if he would like you to post his story on the internet so he can tell it to the world You would be happy to. Many of us long to tell all as a healing opportunity. Why not use a video camera when you interview him if he permits and post a video? I approach people I’ve never seen before and ask if they would like to tell their story for posting on the internet. I have never been refused an interview and usually others come up while I’m doing it and ask to be interviewed too. IT’S LONELY OUT THERE.

Ronzig | Jan 15, 2009 | Reply

 

·  Bullshit!!! guess we will see you on Oprah’s book club you lying turd.

tom d | Jan 20, 2009 | Reply

·  How very profound Tom. If the tone and vocabulary of your message didn’t inform me of what a low life you are, I would feel insulted.

Ronzig | Jan 20, 2009 | Reply

·  Thank you very much for your story! I was sitting home thinking about how to stop using again after being clean for over a year and just relapseing a month ago. Yes, this drug will take everything from you until you are dead. Powerfull it is. You have given me something to think about again befor I lose my job etc.

woodrow | Jan 23, 2009 | Reply

·  Thank you William. You and others like you who find a little inspiration in my work are my justification. Please feel free to contact me at any time if you would like to talk, either by Yahoo Messenger or email

Ronzig | Jan 23, 2009 | Reply

·  Ronzig,
Your story is powerful… and depressing. Brings back memories of my own private hell of long term cocaine addiction. Funny how some people can pass judgment and give you advise on something they no nothing about. I wouldn’t wish that kind of hell on anyone.
Due to the current economic downturn , I have become unemployed and stretched to the limits. However, whenever I see a homeless person I will think of you, dig deep into my pockets and give.
Hang in there Ronzig, I feel ya!

ed | Feb 11, 2009 | Reply

·  people who do drugs need tobe accountable for their choices and actions, putting a drug dealer in jail does not stop a person from fyning, it’s all personal choice, drug addicts need to have some self control and be strong and say no to drugs, instead of blaming the person who sells it, duh.

nika | Feb 18, 2009 | Reply

·  people who do drugs need to be accountable for their choices and actions, putting a drug dealer in jail does not stop a person from fyning, it’s all personal choice, drug addicts need to have some self control and be strong and say no to drugs, instead of blaming the person who sells it, duh.

nika | Feb 18, 2009 | Reply

·  Amen to that comment, FINALLY. I say this as a human being with BiPolar disorder w/rapid cycling and recovering drug addict. As a child in foster care I never had peoper medical insurance to afford proper medications on a regular basis. Ever so often they would take me to a doctor, (usually as a medical emergency after longtime bout of manic depression.) The doc would give me whatever samples he/she had that would last about a month, and then a prescription too expensive to fill. Anyone having mental illness would know that just how outrageously expensive mental health neds ARE are now & CONTINIUE to be almost untouchable for some. As I got older and, yes, I discovered that mind-altering drugs were at time cheaper and more accessible and I became a self medicating myself, ashamed to say and now I am 42 and still casually use and afterwards, I hate myself and become ashamed, then when the cycle will repeat itself sometimes time and time again. Would some of you standing in judgement still believe that I got what I deserved by choice?

kellymd32 | Mar 12, 2009 | Reply

·  I admire your story and your courage to tell it. It is unfortunate however that people need to pass judgement on something they don’t understand. I think that until someone has lived the way you Ronzig have lived they are not entitled to comment or judge you on your decisions. I believe that a persons life is just a series of decisons and everyone makes bad ones. Your bad decisions are rooted in something that is so stigmatized and taboo so because of that you are judged 10 fold. WhatI mean is that where you have faltered others have faltered as well but their mistakes are considered less negative because they are not stigmatized as much. I’m trying to articulate this as best as possbile, but perhaps I cannot find the appropriate words. I am greatful however to have come across your story and for the fact that I feel more informed about things that occur in my city without my knowledge. People in this world need to learn to be more tolerant of all people regardless of social status, race, sex or whatever it may be. You are truly a symbol of hope for Canadians because you survived and I hope that people who are sleeping on the streets of Toronto right now will have the same chance as you and the same drive to help themselves and get off the street.
Congratulations

Lisa | Mar 18, 2009 | Reply

·  hey ronzig I admire your courage for tellig it like it is.My husband is not homeless but he is an addict and he has been for years.And yes he is gone for 4 to 6 days at a time.I will not turn my back on him but I hate the fact he uses crack.for all you judgementall people out there it is a very strong addiction.Would you condem someone who had cancer?It’s all a disease.Anyhow ronzig he has done rehab twice and this last time seem to make him get out and use even more.But he only made it 3 weeks cause he was so worried I would leave him,so just pray for us he needs it bad.and god bless.

mapsky | Apr 7, 2009 | Reply

·  I admire your ability to rise above and overcome your addiction. I am an addict that has been on and off drugs for a long period of time. I honestly do not think I would have had the courage that you do. The suicidal, worthless feelings that come with coming down from crack probably would have killed me if I was homeless. I am fortunate that my family supports me but even with that I often wish I was dead rather than be addicted to crack. If anyone is writing on here that has not had an addiction problem is totally ignorant to the disease of addiction. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Thanks for the inspirinf story

mc | Apr 27, 2009 | Reply

·  Don’t give up MC. You have to keep trying to overcome it. I tried to quit for many years before I finally succeeded. It wasn’t possible until I finally realized that I couldn’t take a drink of alcohol or smoke a joint without relapsing and calling a dealer. I had to quit everything at once in order to succeed and I had to completely remove myself geographically from all my familiar surroundings to avoid triggering situations. Also, and this is where most of us have a problem, there’s a little voice in the back of our heads that tells us that we don’t really need to quit. It says that what we really need to do is take a break and get the drugs under control so that we can be a casual user once again. Until we learn to overcome the little voice that a friend calls “Stinkin Thinkin” our attempts to quit are destined to failure. It takes a long time to realize what the voice is doing, but once we come to grips with it the road to success is finally cleared of the worst obstacle and our potential to succeed is greatly increased. Any time you need to ask for advice or just talk about the problem, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’ll help as much as I possibly can. Persevere and you will eventually overcome.

Ronzig | Apr 29, 2009 | Reply

 

·  What is it about crack man, that makes me want it…. its nuts man… FUCK CRACK…. i respect it though… lose respect for the power it has and youre in for a suprise… its a Demonic Force… i always feel like i have something to do… i chill for two weeks and all of a sudden i get this feeling yo…. my stomach twists in a knot… i start farting… ive shitted on myself… throwing up… i dont see why i keep going back to it… i wish my crack dealer would get locked up… i’d hate to wish that upon any man… but dam… he’s selling me crack… it would be worse if all the crack dealers got locked up…. then the ones that couldnt serve would start serving… its all a big mess that our own species did to ourselves… its a mess…

ryan | Jun 30, 2009 | Reply

·  There are still fools in the treatment industry that claim that it’s just a psychological addiction, not a physical one at all. I guess they figure you didn’t throw up or shit yourself either. It must have been in your head. Admittedly, the physical withdrawals from crack are not as severe and life threatening as from heroin, but they are REAL and they are compelling. Any treatment program that doesn’t acknowledge this is bound to fail.
But Ryan, if you can make it 2 weeks on your own, you can make it all the way with help. Find a good detox program with a follow up rehab that works for you. Get physically away from everyone and everything that will get you thinking about crack and find something to do that will keep you so busy you won’t have time to get bored and start the spin all over again. For example take some courses, do some volunteer work, but not in the drug culture, start a hobby. You need to build a whole new life from the ground up that doesn’t have room for drugs. That’s a huge job and if you try it you’ll soon learn that you just won’t have time for the shit. You’ll still get the urge, but if you’re not in the scene, it’ll be harder to get the stuff and you’ll know that there’s no need because before you can score the craving will be gone, so why bother? Right!

ronzig | Jul 1, 2009 | Reply

·  SOME CRACK FACTS:

1) Crack was invented because by distilling cocaine and increasing potency while reducing volume, cocaine could be moved across the US border more efficiently. Thus, the war on cocaine, backfired into something more dangerous.

2) Crack is the ONLY drug that is simultaneously an analgesic [pain killer], stimulant and psychotropic [get high] thus making it extremely psychologically addictive for anyone with chronic pain or those requiring the alleviation of pre-existing mental conditions or those mental conditions acquired by exposure to high stress levels including street living.

3) There are three kinds of crack users. Recreational [occasional], chaotic [those who use more during stress] and chronic [must have consistent supply]. Often those who are non-users or recreational users may turn to illicit substances and chronic alcohol use during bouts of homelessness to self-medicate the stress away.

Medically speaking, it is not a physical addiction in the sense that heroin is. However, since the adrenaline, serotonin and neoprene systems stop producing enough amounts of these brain chemicals after prolonged cocaine use, one could say that such an alteration causes a physical [brain chemical] *need* for the drug or many long term users will suffer extreme clinical depression for the next year to two years after ceasing usage.

Crack use is not a moral or criminal issue. It is a HEALTH issue. The sooner we get away from moral judgements and legalities, the sooner we can begin to engage effective solutions.

Throwing street dealers in jail is not an effective method of stopping distributions. There are third world countries where dealers of illicit drugs are executed yet the trade continues.

Why? Because in poor neighbourhoods across the world, where there is money to be made–someone is desperate enough to try to make their living illegally. Criminalizing drugs isn’t going to change that historical fact.

As Maslow said, “There is in a society when the rewards for exhibiting ethical social behaviour are greater than the rewards for self interest.”

TVParkdale | Jul 1, 2009 | Reply

·  CORRECTION

As Maslow said, “There is *justice* in a society when the rewards for exhibiting ethical social behaviour are greater than the rewards for self interest.”

TVParkdale | Jul 1, 2009 | Reply

·  Ryan:

I’d suggest a full mental health assessment. Changes are that something sounds *chemically* unbalanced to me.

You may find that a low dose anti-depressant to correct the brain chemistry for a while may alleviate some of the craving and keep you from being so ill during your attempts to stop.

If anything makes your journey easier, try it.

TVParkdale | Jul 1, 2009 | Reply

·  Don’t be fooled by TVParkdale. This person professes to have knowledge and expertise on the subject, but most of what he claims is inaccurate and ill conceived speculation.
First, crack is not produce for easy smuggling. Cocaine is the product that is smuggled into our cities. It is converted to crack just prior to hitting the streets. What happens when crack is produced from Cocaine is that the whole power of the drug hits the user in a very short burst of highly intensified rush that lasts only a few minutes, whereas Cocaine is far less intense and the high is a lasting one, often several hours.
Next, he is either unaware or in denial of the physical withdrawal symptoms that occur when a crack addict stops using. He makes no mention of the severe pain, nausea, uncontrolled bowels or any of the other truly physical symptoms and spouts the party line of extreme clinical depression as the only withdrawal symptom worth mentioning.
I disagree when he denies that getting tough on dealers would help the situation, but for each of us that is just an opinion. At least, if the police were more effective in busting dealers, the profit margins involved with dealing would be drastically reduced.
About the only suggestion he makes that I have limited agreement with is that a mental health assessment may be of some use, with the caveat that first one must find a practitioner who is competent and not in it to try to cure his own mental health deficiencies. I suspect that may be a difficult task.

ronzig | Jul 1, 2009 | Reply

·  Ronzig:

Before you accuse someone of being ill-informed you’d best check out their background as well as read the research materials coming from CAMH and other research facilities.

Presently cocaine is smuggled in at full volume. Crack was however, originally designed to get more usage out of less as cocaine was becoming scarcer during the 1980’s crackdown of the USA in Columbia.

Secondly, not only did I study the psycho pharmacology, my working specialty was crack users mainly concurrent with other mental illnesses.

Part of my work was in detoxes and comparatively speaking to the physical withdrawal symptoms of benzodiazapams, opiates and alcohol, crack is far down on the list of “withdrawal” problem drugs. Find me a case of someone dying from crack withdrawal. Doesn’t exist. Yet for the above drugs, it does and probably with more frequency than we know.

Getting off crack might FEEL dangerous and painful, however it is one of the safest drugs to quit without medical intervention.

I did not say there are NO physical symptoms. Obviously, if one is pumping mass amounts of any stimulant into one’s body, there will be ramifications.

The primary withdrawal problem is that of severe, prolonged depression. Nor do I see that depression as being a “small” problem–it’s enough to drive one back out to gain more of the drug in an attempt to survive the lack of serotonin regulatory effects. Even far past any physical withdrawal [years in some cases], that depression will sustain itself due to chemical imbalances in the brain caused by prolonged usage, far past any other symptom.

The only drugs causing more brain chemistry damage would be glue-based inhalants, prolonged alcohol use and methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine, by the way, is often palmed off as crack in the past few years due to being cheaper to manufacture and because it does not need to be imported. Much of the what passes for “crack” symptoms in the past few years is actually the result of methamphetamine use.

Another major cluster of withdrawal symptoms occur when users withdraw from alcohol and crack simultaneously. Although crack takes the blame–alcohol withdrawal is far more dangerous physically and causes far more physical withdrawal symptoms.

Unless one is studying pure crack/cocaine withdrawal, which rarely exists in my experience with street based users–many of the effects are actually alcohol withdrawal induced. Nicotine withdrawal can be another varying factor in hospitals and detoxes.

A street-based person who is quitting at “home” due to lack of funds may actually be experiencing THREE different sets of withdrawal symptoms–crack, alcohol and nicotine. Too often these are lumped in together as “crack withdrawal” which is likely why the research does not bear out the same results as anecdotal quitting evidence.

There is a screaming need for more detoxes, rehabs etc.

To unnecessarily leave someone in that kind of physical and brain chemistry agony without medical and psychological supports is a cruelty I fail to comprehend.

TVParkdale | Jul 2, 2009 | Reply

·  Well, it’s difficult to check one’s credentials when they use a pseudo name. That aside, I WAS A CRACK USER IN THE 80’s and none of my friends had used it before me. It was not available in crack form in Toronto until the late 80’s. We had to make our own from Cocaine. The only way to get more crack out of Cocaine is to add cut when you cook it. Otherwise it comes out nearly identical by weight. All the studying in the world will not equate with lived experience and it is specialists like you that misinform both the public and the authorities that make finding a real solution more difficult. Please don’t use CAMH as a point of reference with me or any other addict. The institution has a very bad name on the street and for good reason. I agree about the severe depression. I have experienced it and still do to some degree. Since I have never met a crack addict who wasn’t a user of other drugs as I’m sure you haven’t, your hypothesis that the physical withdrawals the user experiences are due to the other drugs is only a theory and is not proven by actual case studies to my knowledge. Regardless of that, it is ridiculous to discount the physical withdrawals that are in fact being experienced during rehabilitation. I wish so called experts would get with the reality of the situation and stop attempting to defend an irrelevant theory that has no basis in real life. It is damaging far to many suffering souls.

ronzig | Jul 2, 2009 | Reply

·  That said, there is far too much at stake for the government to ever seriously attempt to remedy the poverty and addiction cycle in our society. If these problems were realistically addressed, it would eliminate TWO major industries, the poverty and homelessness industry which is a multi million dollar industry in Canada that is making far too many millionaires and the addiction industry which is just as bad. Where ever would we find employment for all these so called experts? Much better to maintain the status quo.

ronzig | Jul 2, 2009 | Reply

·  I sit here with tears in my eyes at 4 days clean, 46 years old, middle age, single mom of two beautiful teens, 4 days clean.. again. The crack demon has somehow, somehow to be stopped. I had 18 years sober until 5 years ago - and naive.. thot keeping on with soft would be ok, until someone cooked it for me. Off the pity pot and holding God’s hand is all I can do.

I agree, street level dealers, 55 of them in Kamloops BC
these include the go betweens for a point or two for the deal.
My only hope, is that I can find the strength to not give up, …

everyday I see another who can’t beat this demon. There are some things on earth that are too good to try -

Middleage | Jul 7, 2009 | Reply

·  *hugs Middleage*

~B~ | Jul 8, 2009 | Reply

·  Thanks B.

Middleage | Jul 8, 2009 | Reply

·  Hi Middleage. Sorry to be so slow with my reply. I haven’t been to Kamloops since my Hippy days on the road, but it sure was beautiful out there. Never quit trying. No matter how many times it takes you’ll get there. You got clean once. You’ll do it again and this time you’ll be wiser and stronger. I quit once for a few years and then when life got too hard I started again. Quitting was harder this time but I made it and now I know I can’t go back. I think the best gift God gave us is HOPE. When things are at their worst and it seems defeat is assured we cling to hope and somehow manage to draw upon a strength we didn’t know we had to come through.

ronzig | Jul 9, 2009 | Reply

 

·   Hey, the hippys are still here :)Hope, unreal.. it’s what allows me to know that Grace will always be here for me .. I won’t give up, day 6 starts.

Middleage | Jul 9, 2009 | Reply

·  Keep it up. I’m rooting for you.

ronzig | Jul 9, 2009 | Reply

·  I haven’t the time to read all of these comments at the moment. But wow, what vermin will crawl out of the cracks if they think they have a victim to sink their teeth into. Funnily enough, the ex-crack-addict is eloquent, and the detractors themselves sound like crackheads!

I admit to being prejudiced as far as crack addicts go. I’d find out a street friend was on that shit, and my respect for that person would evaporate instantaneously. However, if they had no redeeming qualities, intelligence, or soul, I’d have never wasted my time with them in the first place.

I also can’t imagine why (aside from drones obeying their programming) people need to sling accusations of fabrication - what, he was homeless so he must be some doddering idiot, or if not, then he must be a liar? Quite the asinine assumption - Henry Miller was homeless, and he’s one of America’s most important authors. Jim Morrison. Stanley from Life Sex and Death. Carey Grant slept on the beach in LA when he first arrived to pursue his Hollywood dreams, as do many who come to that city to get their foothold, or in a car. Many homeless have gone on to be not just ‘good citizens’ but cultural icons, informed by seeing civilization without a buffer of comfort and distance.

I used to use heroin, but I never got hooked - I was very careful and studied the drug. Crack is one of the worst, if not THE worst, drugs to fight an addiction to. And how, exactly, are you going to get clean on the street with the contempt of your fellow man raining down upon your head? I’d like to drag these detractors’ skeletons out of the closet into the light of day so we can see these ‘enlightened and perfected’ beings for what they are - probably worse than those they spit on, just with a gilt mask that fools exactly no one.

Locking up the petty dealers won’t do much, as anyone who watches COPS knows, they’ll pull over the user an jail him while leaving the dealer alone (’you just came out of a known crack house’ - really, so why are you fucking with the victim, instead of the predator!), and documented on camera to boot! Crack doesn’t deserve to be thought of in the same light as Cannabis and other useful drugs - hell, even Heroin has medical uses. Crack and meth are the creators of ‘drug fiends’ and aren’t going anywhere, because the victims of these substances are walking billboards to public calling out for more cops, draconian laws and bigger jails, and keeping pot illegal so we can fill the jails with them. By the DEA’s own admission, if pot were made legal, they couldn’t justify their existence based on the number of people using all of the other Schedule I and II drugs combined. Billions of taxpayer dollars are why these scourges have not been wiped out.

To the scum who have posted here trying to feel better about themselves by slinging monkey shit at someone trying to raise awareness, how does it feel to be made a fool by those ‘derelicts’ you despise?

Dan M | Jul 9, 2009 | Reply

·  I hear Ronzig’s roots tonite. I have a very real fear of the insane hideous cloud that I know, I know is waiting for me to weaken and take over ever cell in my being. That hasn’t been around before, this level of fear. I’m grateful as hell for it. If I want victory, I have to fight in the war and not watch and become an innocent casualty, or not…
I am grateful for this 80 yr old house I live in, with running water, and a bed to get on my knees beside to thank my God tonite.

Middleage | Jul 9, 2009 | Reply

·  What’s your opinion Ronzig on the 4 pillars that they are doing in Van to try to clean up east hastings for the olympics. ? Our street #’s have increased by over 300 in June… city of van is giving one way tickets to every homeless person they can, … do you think the cities they go to are getting kick backs? or ?/

Middleage | Jul 9, 2009 | Reply

·  Thanks for the comment Dan. The scenario with the cops busting the user who came out of the known crack house is appropriate. The police routinely ignore drug dealing and harass users. Guess the users don’t pay enough to become immune like the dealers do.

ronzig | Jul 10, 2009 | Reply

·  Hi Middleage. Not aware of the 4 pillars. What is this? Sending homeless people away has been tried for a century or more and has never been an effective solution to homelessness. What you get is each jurisdiction working to dump its problem onto the neighbours doorstep. The problem doesn’t go away, it just rotates. Only an idiot or a politician (synonymous) would try it.
You’re a fighter. I see that. I’m with you.

ronzig | Jul 10, 2009 | Reply

·  Morning Ronzig the Rooter. This is your column and please don’t see me as stepping on your toes or using this in any way appropriate. But it’s an inspriation to me to log in here and see you. You’ve won. I will too. I love waking up clean. teehee. It’s a danger for me to get too up tho… so I’m leveling as I type. I read above you have a website, what is it please?
Peace from BC July 10

Middleage | Jul 10, 2009 | Reply

·  My Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/posted.php?id=721757650&share_id=234678475098&post_id=234678475098&fragment=share_footer234678475098&comments_=&share_footer234678475098=#/profile.php?id=726790001&ref=profile

ronzig | Jul 10, 2009 | Reply

·  My portfolio website http://ronzigsportfolio.synthasite.com/

ronzig | Jul 10, 2009 | Reply

·  Never fear, you’re not stepping on my toes. The reason I’m here is to help in any way I can. For some reason this page won’t let me post the link to my site about poverty, homelessness and addiction, but if you go to my portfolio sie and look on the contact page you find a link there.

ronzig | Jul 10, 2009 | Reply

·  To all you who sit back on your KFC-laden haunches saying most nasally, “You chose to be a crack addict, so I don’t feel bad for you one bit!”, I’d like to inform you that there is no real choice involved in addiction. No one grows up saying at show-and-tell, “I want to be a crack addict when I grow up. It will be so fun!” It’s easy to both excuse inaction and reinforce one’s false sense of superiority by pretending that there are just lazy people who are by nature stupid and who we have the right to watch wallow in the misery of addiction.

CompassionCome | Aug 9, 2009 | Reply

·  To the Just-Say-No Reaganite Champanzee Visitors to this site:

Get off.

Go home, and watch some more TV.

Kerry Echo | Aug 9, 2009 | Reply

·  Thanks for the comment CompassionCome. You it the nail right ion the head. No one chooses to be an addict. True we made some unwise choices to get there, but who hasn’t made unwise choices in their lives? Addicts just pay a higher price for their mistakes than most. If everyone who ever made a mistake had to pay such a high price, we’d be in real trouble.

ronzig | Aug 10, 2009 | Reply

·  “That said, there is far too much at stake for the government to ever seriously attempt to remedy the poverty and addiction cycle in our society. If these problems were realistically addressed, it would eliminate TWO major industries, the poverty and homelessness industry which is a multi million dollar industry in Canada that is making far too many millionaires and the addiction industry which is just as bad. Where ever would we find employment for all these so called experts? Much better to maintain the status quo.”

I’m with you on that Ronzig. Rehabs have less than a 10% success rate [and I'm being generous] and the shelter shuffle is a revolving door.

It’s designed to fail. If everyone was housed tomorrow–the poverty/homeless industry would collapse. Now, there’s a time and place for some kinds of supports because some folks need assistance and emergencies do happen–but this thing just keeps growing like alien vegetation spreading spores.

And that comes from having worked *inside* the industry.

If the people affected work together to communally organize solutions, instead of chronically being ripped away from one another and isolated–it’s not only cost effective, it’s flexible enough for any given group to BE effective for that particular group’s needs.

Oh, but we can’t HAVE that. Because then, they would have *political power* and that just simply will not do!

There’s a reason why no grassroots community organizing is ever funded even to pay for photocopies, yet CAMH, United Way and other huge agencies are sucking up millions upon millions in cash every year.

In poker, when a few players gang up together and suck everyone’s money off the table into their pockets, it’s called “collusion cheating” but at least they won’t try to convince you it’s for the benefit of the suckers.

MetisRebel | Aug 10, 2009 | Reply

·  “Regardless of that, it is ridiculous to discount the physical withdrawals that are in fact being experienced during rehabilitation.”

Ronzig–I did NOT say anywhere that there are no physical withdrawal symptoms to crack. Show me where I said it.

What I SAID is that it will__and I will make this exceptionally clear__NOT KILL you or make you morbidly ill as can other long-term substance use withdrawal. In clear language, it is safe to quit crack at home whereas with certain other substances, quitting at home is extremely dangerous.

The other little fact here is, chronic crack users are, essentially, in withdrawal chronically–usually within 20 minutes of the last huff. The psychological/chemical ramifications of that are huge.

CAMH’s scientific research is respected globally. Sorry but when it comes to science I want to see the research. The majority of the population believes in ghosts. Doesn’t mean it’s real–the scientific research doesn’t bear it out.

What is NOT good about CAMH is their programming, money leeching and attitudes.

As far as talking on the internet yadda yadda–well I have no way of knowing who YOU are or are what you claim to be either.

I am assuming due to your consistency, that you have, in fact, had the experience you claim to have.

I believe my statements bear the same consistency so I would appreciate the same respect in return.

MetisRebel | Aug 10, 2009 | Reply

·  We seem to be on the same track now. Perhaps I misunderstood you earlier. I never said that the physical withdrawals of crack were life threatening, I merely stated that they are real and they are severe. You are absolutely correct in stating that both the homelessness and the addiction industries are far too large, employ far too many people and involve far too much money for the powers that be to ever really want to do anything meaningful. And that completely ignores the fact that far too many powerful people receive huge sums of money to protect the drug industry. The outlook for real improvement is bleak. You can see my website at… http://downbutnotout.synthasite.com/ Or google Down But Not Out. On my site i give all my personal information so you can go there to learn who I am.

ronzig | Aug 10, 2009 | Reply

·  @Ronzig:

Actually I already know you *chuckle*. As soon as I saw your pic I knew I’d met you at some housing battle, a conference or press meeting or some such. I just can’t recall where.

I don’t go any more because it’s pointless. There’s too many marching around to no good purpose [pick city hall any day] and damn little downright fighting activism to get this mess moving.

People don’t need useless protests [cripes, now they even get "permits"--how ludicrous is that?], they don’t need any more reports/conferences/statistics/etc.

People need HOPE.

There’s no hope without *power*. Power to make solutions happen.

MetisRebel | Aug 10, 2009 | Reply

·  I doubt if anything will ever be done exept more platitudes and band aid solutions. unless this recession goes into a second stage of all out lasting depression. If that happens, enough people will get hurt that the outcry will not be ignored. Without a wildly disruptive event like a depression or a world wide revolution, nothing will change. People are too selfish , comfortable and complacet to rock the boat while they live in nice homes and drive fancy cars.

ronzig | Aug 10, 2009 | Reply

·  Ronzig:

Things change because that is the way of the world even if the yuppies can’t accept that reality.

I hate to quote Battlestar Galactica but “We have all been here before and we will be here again” because this last roaring economic feck up follows a particular historical pattern, as must, the solutions.

Which won’t come from the people that are fecking it up.

MetisRebel | Aug 10, 2009 | Reply

·  I want to know how Ryen is doing??

Middleage | Aug 16, 2009 | Reply

·  I haven’t heard from Ryan recently. He’s intelligent and I pray he’ll find a way to overcome. Sometimes it just takes time to get to the point where a person is angry and frustrated enough to build the determination to get through it.

ronzig | Aug 16, 2009 | Reply

·  These so-called ex-addicts are jokes. They are still in denial. Poorthings. You will not startto heal and recover until you take blame and responsibility for your foolishness. Own your actions and decisions. Stop blaming everyone and everything.

Andrea | Aug 28, 2009 | Reply

·  Nevermind what money some people make. It’s still stupid to destroy your life and make stupid excuses. Stop blaming other people. Move on if you have really changed. Have you? I don’t think so. You sound like an addict.

Andrea | Aug 28, 2009 | Reply

·  Noone chooses to be an addict. There it is again. Addict talk. Denial. Of course you choose to be an addict. Whatabout all the loving voices you ignored? You deserve no pity. Instead you deserve to suffer for your stupid choices. I am still reading from active addicts. You are all liars - the hallmarkof addicts.

Andrea | Aug 28, 2009 | Reply

·  Well Andrea I can see there is no way you will ever learn compassion. (a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.) Hope your arrogance doesn’t bring you down too soon. Not.

ronzig | Aug 28, 2009 | Reply

·  ~Andrea, you seem to be knowledgeable about drug addiction. I am curious as to what your experience is with it? Care to share?

~Ronzig, thanks so much for mentioning “compassion.” It certainly made me ask myself the question, “What hell has someone gone through that creates a need so desperate to escape that they turn to drugs?” When I look at my own life, food may have seemed a healthier choice than crack or suicide, but then I could have chosen to knit (or a million other things) instead of eating. Guess we all have our own vices/weaknesses/etc.

Blessings along the journey, ya’ll…

Rev. Cynthia | Aug 28, 2009 | Reply

·  Rev. Cynthia,, I like the site your link takes me to.
The causes or reasons a person turns to drugs are too numerous and varied to list here, but in my case it was a seeking resulting from a disaffection with the direction our society has been moving in. Unfortunately the search for alternatives led me to explore dangerous and destructive avenues with devastating results. Many of the people I know who suffer from addiction, were not addicts when they became homeless. Their addiction is a result of the need to seek escape from the pain of exclusion from society. There are far too many people who prefer to blame addicts for their situation rather than accept responsibility for the fact that society as a whole bears the major burden of blame since this society has created the circumstances and atmosphere that breeds the desire to look outside the accepted norm for happiness. Treating the addict as a criminal has not succeeded in slowing the ever increasing flow of people who reject our societal value structure and seek alternatives such as drugs. Until we learn to treat the illness of the society as a whole, the problem of addiction will continue to escalate.

ronzig | Aug 29, 2009 | Reply

 

 

Index of Ronzig's web pages

Website:

Down But Not Out

As well as Ronzig's Gallery, Ronzig built and maintains Down But Not Out, a website dedicated to social activism and providing information about many of the current issues that threaten to destroy our planet and the social structures we have developed. This link will take you to the Home page of Down But Not Out which was recently ranked as the 12th best website about homelessness on the internet and the following information will explain each of the pages on the website. You will have the opportunity to comment on what you learn here and read the many comments of other visitors to the site.

Learn more about Ronzig and why he created Down But Not Out and why it began as a website discussing the issues of poverty, homelessness and addiction and how it evolved into much more, encompassing issues a wide ranging as politics, war imperialism, conspiracy, economics, health, the environment and more.

Having been a crack addict for nearly 2 decades, during the 2nd of which I was homeless, I have acquired an in depth understanding of addiction, how & why it begins, what it does to a person, what is involved with getting free of this curse and the social implications of this ever increasing plague on civilization. I disclose some little known and often ignored information and insights that will assist you in coming to a better understanding of what addiction is all about.

I have created a page where visitors to Down But Not Out can contribute by telling their story about how the issues discussed on the site has affected them or someone they care about. I encourage you to read what others have to say and please tell us your story. You can remain anonymous if you prefer.

There is an extensive examination of the economy on Down But Not Out with discussions about the recession, economic collapse, the increasing disparity between the rich, the poor and the middle class. I delve into the phenomena of the shrinking middle class and the emergence of a 2 class society where an economic elite rule and the rest of us are rapidly being relegated to economic slavery.

Whether you call it Global Warning, Climate Disruption or choose to adopt one of the euphemisms that opponents to addressing this impending disaster use to seek to reduce the significance of the crisis to protect their ill gotten financial profits, it is a scientific fact that our global environment is on the brink of collapse. If meaningful and immediate action is not taken the human race along with almost all other forms of life on the Planet Earth will soon face extinction.

Whenever I have time I try to post notices of significant events that you may wish to attend including rally's, protests, political meetings, or other relevant items here. I also use this page to post notices of upcoming art shows where my work will be on display.

The social, economic and political issues revolving around health and healthcare are currently creating an environment where universal healthcare in Canada is under attack. It is evident that the elite no longer wish to ensure adequate health services for an aging population. They see no need to preserve individual health when there is no shortage of replacement economic slaves to step in when one of us succumbs to preventable illness and dies.

There is a worldwide epidemic of homelessness that has emerged in the past couple of decades to plague society and the wealthiest nations, ones with more than sufficient resources to provide housing for their populations are the worst at addressing the situation. Having lived long enough to realize that even when our society was steeped in relative poverty compared to today's situation, homelessness was never a significant problem until recently as the elite grab more and more of the world's wealth and resources, leaving the rest of us to struggle just to keep a roof over our heads.

With the advent of the internet, hope for a just society has been restored, yet there are sinister powers threatening to crush that hope. Just when internet should be reaching the point of universal global access, these powers are forcing an increasing internet divide, where surprisingly millions who once could afford access are being economically deprived of this crucial commodity, for a commodity is what it has become and it is for sale at price not reflective of costs, but of what the market will bear. Perhaps we should be considering defining internet as a Necessary Service that is available to everyone at affordable rates of free of charge.

With the corporatization of mainstream media, it's difficult to find any honest reporting in this media, as they tend to stick like flies on flypaper to the elitist party line. However even the most cynical of these outlets of information are forced to include a modicum of honesty in their reports when faced with the vast amount of conflicting evidence distributed freely on the internet. It is beneficial also to be up to date on what they are saying in order to point out the inadequacies and outright lies that they distribute.

Over the years, Ronzig has been in the news on several occasions, both as the subject of articles and as interviewee. Of course I've commented on many news items as well. you'll find some of these pieces on my news page.

There is a disturbing trend in politics that is increasingly threatening the very fabric of Democracy, or the sorry excuse for such that we have  adopted. I'm speaking of the merging of the Capitalist manifesto into the political agenda to the effect that today's politicians see their job almost exclusively as serving the requirements of capitalism and corporate profits rather than the needs of the citizens who are the true backbone of any nation.

Ever wonder how it is possible that in the richest civilization that has ever existed on the planet, extreme poverty is reaching epidemic proportions?  The answer is obvious. Every single year for the past 3 decades the wealthiest 5% of the world's population have taken control and ownership of a greater proportion of the world's resources leaving less for each of the remaining 95% of the people who have to live on this planet. In every industrialized nation the middle class is under attack and is shrinking annually as people are forced down the economic scale into the burgeoning poverty class. The truly terrifying aspect of this is the fact that the members of the middle class which is the primary target of this attack believe that when the middle class is eliminated they will be part of the elite upper class of rulers rather than economic slaves of these rulers. Because of this the middle class votes consistently for politicians who serve this elite ruling class and don't even realize they are voting for their own destruction.

In a society which professes to be primarily Christian is it not a paradox that we have created such an un-Christian attitude toward our neighbours? By assuming the philosophy of "Looking our for number ONE", we find it easy not only to allow our brothers and sisters to suffer and actually perish because they can not afford to pay for the basic requirements of survival, nourishment and shelter, but many of us are arrogant enough to hate them for their predicament. How are we to overcome this tide of apathy and animosity which in the end will destroy us if we fail?

If you group is interested in Ronzig's experiences and philosophies, I do speaking engagements and will talk on any of the topics covered here. I have had great success with audiences while speaking about homelessness & addiction, Democracy & politics as well as photography & art and would be pleased to accept a request to speak to you group.

Primarily because of American Imperialism the world has been in a constant state of war for the majority of the past 6 decades. Isn't it amazing how we can call making war on another nation a Police Action or Peacekeeping Action to camouflage the fact that we are invading a nation to seize control of its resources or to use it as a staging zone for our aggressive moves on its neighbours, yet we call defensive retaliation Terrorism? We call the slaughter of innocent civilians Collateral Damage to hide the fact that more than 80% of the people we kill in our wars are civilians primarily women and children. I find it disturbing that Prime Minister Harper has eagerly jumped into bed with the Americans and is arming Canada to fight along side our neighbours to the South as we seek to seize control of far off nations. We stand idly by and allow Israel, the puppet state of the Americans which exists solely because of American arms and financing to commit wide scale genocide in its attempt to eradicate the legitimate population of the region from the planet.

Website:

Go to Ronzig's Gallery digital photoArt, photography,  video, photographic & video recording services, Mini Video Tours of Toronto, Collector Series Postcards featuring an assortment of his best images and art on ceramic tiles top home page.

Learn about Ronzig and Ronzig's Gallery: What is digital photoArt? Ronzig's guerrilla photography and video. Art on Ceramic Tiles. Collector Series Postcards featuring an assortment of his best images, Mini Video Tours of Toronto. And photographic and video recording services.

View some of Ronzig's best work in a slideshow or individual images from Ronzig at Ronzig's Gallery of digital photoArt and photography.

You can contact  Ronzig's Gallery by email, telephone or by snail mail to his address to inquire about Ronzig's digital photoArt, photography, Collector Series Postcards featuring an assortment of his best images. video, photography & video recording services, Mini Video Tours of Toronto and art on ceramic tiles or to purchase his products or services. You will also find numerous links to other websites where Ronzig has a presence.

Read the Legend of Ronzig the Wizard and his battle with his evil twin brother Ronzak the Sorcerer in the story of the ongoing struggle between good and evil that has been going on since the creation of the universe.

This is where you can order  Ronzig's products and services from Ronzig's Gallery such as digital photoArt,  photography & video recording services, Mini Video Tours of Toronto, art on ceramic tiles & Collector Series Postcards featuring an assortment of his best images.

Ronzig creates spectacular panorama works either as photographic images or as Digital photoArt that are available in standard sizes up to 44" x 13" on either canvas or archival quality photo paper (larger sizes available by special order).  Ronzig's Gallery will also embed a panorama image into the glaze of a series of ceramic tiles to create a unique wall or floor covering surface to your specs.

Ronzig's Digital photoArt & photographic images from Ronzig's Gallery cover a broad array of subject matter and themes resulting in highest quality art works to suit any preference. These images are all available on ceramic tiles & Collector Series Postcards as well a more traditional canvas and archival photo paper in a wide range of sizes to suit your requirements.

All of Ronzig's best work is available on Collector Series Postcards on archival photo paper, suitable not only for mailing a unique greeting to friends and loved ones, but also for framing as a group to hang on your wall.

Ronzig has done work for a wide range of clients from law firms to developers, health services facilities and the City of Toronto, all of which would certainly provide excellent references to Ronzig's Gallery.

Most of Ronzig's best work, be it video, photography or Digital photoArt is available as stock video clips or stock photo & art images at extremely reasonable prices for royalty free applications that you are producing.

Most of Ronzig's best work can be embedded into the glaze of ceramic tiles, resulting in virtually indestructible art works suitable for architectural uses such as surfaces for walls, floors, counter tops, back-splashes, fireplace surrounds or mantlepieces. As home furnishing uses they provide unique surfaces for tables or any other flat surfaced furniture. There is a series of 4" x 4" tiles with a protective backing designed for use as coasters that are bound to intrigue your guests as you entertain. Of course they make timeless stand alone art suitable for framing or placing on a stand for display.

Ronzig produces a wide range of videos, including Documentary works, event recording such as children's birthdays, activism and social protest works, art films, Mini Video Tours and special effects clips. Ronzig's Gallery is fully equipped and has access to support professionals to create original works with multi-camera filming, still photography and custom music for any production. He is presently working on a special fx movie, The Legend of Ronzig the Wizard, for which he the writer, art and costume designer, producer director and star.

 

All Rights Reserved No part of this page may be copied without the express written consent of the author Ronzig

 
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