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Sam Herron the author of Street Life Fragments joins us today on The SHAIR Podcast.

Sam is about to publish his first book titled Street Life Fragments: Stories and Photographs from Homeless America. Sam Herron, a former millionaire whose personal tragedies, illness, and bad luck cast him into extreme poverty and homelessness. His firsthand experience of life on the streets at age of fifty, forces Sam to confront the dark side of the American Dream at an age when recovery is improbable.

Through the lens of a pawnshop camera, he discovers a side of humanity he once feared and ignored. The insights gained through his art, along with heartfelt interviews with people suffering under the same conditions, help him transcend into a man with a selfless sense of purpose, compassion, empathy, and service.

Clean Date: January 17, 2015

Currently Sam works for a health care provider for people suffering from mental health and substance use disorders, they also provide housing services for homeless and low income people living with these disorders.

Sam Herron’s life would make an interesting movie. The synopsis almost pitches itself: a millionaire-turned-homeless-man finds himself living on the streets of Omaha and seeking redemption in the unlikeliest of places—through the lens of a pawnshop camera. Will he find it?

“That is the great unknown,” Herron says. “Yet to be determined.”

The project evolved from a dark period in Herron’s life. Having lost the considerable fortune he’d made as a self-employed daytrader, he moved here from the Greater Chicago area to get his life back on track. At first, the move was a success: he quit partying, got a job in a factory, fell in love. It was a dramatic about-face for a man who had spent his youth playing bass in a Los Angeles hard rock band that recorded two albums while signed to MCA/Universal.

Then a work-related injury cost him his job. His relationship failed. He was asked to move out. With no savings or support network, he started sleeping in his car. He shaved in restroom sinks, carefully applying the façade of a man who sleeps in a bed at night, so he would be ready for that elusive job interview. To keep the panic attacks at bay, he began to drink heavily. Often going days without eating, he entered a mental state he calls “borderline seizureland.” He wrote about these terrifying episodes for the blog he started to document his homelessness. Eventually, despite never having considered himself a photographer, he took out his cheap digital camera—one of the last items that hadn’t been sold—and started taking pictures of people he found interesting: rail-riding old men, teenage vagabonds, etc.

Thus began the project that would lead to the publication of his first book, which is written in the streetwise style of Henry Rollins and Charles Bukowski.

Join us now as Sam takes us through his Rock Star battle with Drugs and Alcohol and his unbelievable journey into recovery! You do not want to miss this episode!

Recommended Books

Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp

Dry: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs

Another Bullshit Night in Suck City: A Memoir by Nick Flynn

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Disclaimer – The opinions shared on this show reflect those of the individual speaker and not of any 12 step fellowship as a whole and though we discuss 12 step recovery and the impact it has had in our lives we do not promote or endorse any 12 step anonymous program.