Alcohol consumption is a major contributing factor in many folks’ homelessness in Myrtle Beach, as well as all across Horry County. I slowed myself way down a couple of years ago from drinking, after an episode when I got drunk, rode a moped in the rain, and fell off of it, hitting my forehead on the street concrete. This accident resulted in six staples in my head and a slight concussion. I knew that was a wake up call from God, because of the passion to write that He has given me. I mean, what if I had gotten some type of brain damage, and couldn’t put my thoughts and words to paper anymore? I would have been devastated.
I actually quit drinking completely several days ago because I wanted to begin to put more energy into my career. I guess that’s why I’m doing this piece on how alcohol consumption affects the Myrtle Beach homelessness situations that many of us low-income locals might go through. I’m 36-years-old, and I feel it’s just time for me to quit drinking for good. I even attended a few AA meetings online for support. And, if I feel I need to, I’ll go to some face to face meetings out in town. I’ll keep you guys updated on my progress on my continued sobriety as I write alcohol-related articles from time to time on this blog.
When a person is officially addicted to alcohol, they have to have a drink to avoid withdrawal symptoms (sleeplessness, nausea, tremors, etc). But, before actually touching a glass, the desire for the substance is all in our heads. Several years ago, I once interviewed Dr. Suzanne Swearengen of Alternative Health Clinic in Myrtle Beach for a report I was working on. “It can become physical, because there is a dependency,” she she told me, “but alcoholism starts more psychologically. It doesn’t mean that it’s in the patient’s imagination, but that it is more of a mental health issue. It’s always better to have counseling when in recovery.”
I know that I’ll always be in recovery, even if I don’t drink one drop for years and years, because I’m an alcoholic. Sometimes, the can or bottle of beer or liquor would be sitting right there on the table in front of me, and my stomach would be saying “No, that’s enough! Don’t drink it. Stop. Think, breathe, walk. Do something else!” But I would still do it because, as the first step of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step Program requires me to admit, I am powerless over alcohol. I can’t have it in the house, even today, because I’ll really drink all of it, or try to. I remember wishing that I could find the joy in something else that wasn’t mind-altering. I’ve realized over the years that that thing is writing, and I feel wonderful, better and better every day that passes that I’m sober.
I’m getting older now, and I think more about time and energy and how I spend the both of them every day. Some folks who become homeless in Myrtle Beach don’t think like that, but a part of the reason that they can’t shake their alcoholism is because they are living in low-income areas where ABC stores are almost more convenient than grocery stores!
For example, I had a studio apartment at Fountain Bleu Inn a few weeks ago at 701 Flagg Street. Within walking distance (and many of the people who live at that weekly rental hotel were just like me, walking or bicycling), there is only one grocery store that is just a couple of blocks away. It is Cash Grocery at 205 6th Avenue North, and they are higher priced than regular grocery stores, just because they are located right there on the strip.
But, take a look at how many ABC stores are close to Fountain Bleu Inn. There’s one that’s actually attached to Cash Grocery, another one two blocks away at Save Mart called Crown Petro Liquors at 600 North Kings Hwy, and there’s Mona Lisa Beverage Liquor Store right across the street at 508 North Kings. All of these places have grocery-like items, but not like a real grocery store, such as the Piggly Wiggly, which is not just a five minute walk away from Fountain Bleu. It’s like ten blocks away in the other direction on 1700 Kings Hwy!
Hell, I didn’t care how far it was from my apartment. I’d gladly walk for those good grocery prices. But, as soon as I’d walk out of Piggly Wiggly’s doors, I was looking straight at yet another liquor store almost directly across the street, Grand Strand Discount Beverage at 1609 North Kings. SMH.
I guess I’ll end today’s post by asking you all to not let alcohol consumption be the cause of your homelessness in Myrtle Beach, just because there may be more sources for liquor than food in your low-income neighborhood.