Sam Miller is a husband, a father of two, and a comedian with a growing following in the Puget Sound region.
But, a little over a decade ago, he was homeless in downtown Olympia, struggling with addictions to alcohol and methamphetamine.
The story of Miller’s fall into homelessness and substance use, and his journey back out, is featured in Episode 5 of Outsiders, a podcast about homelessness by KNKX and The Seattle Times’ Project Homeless team.
Miller pointed to the forces, beginning in childhood, that drove his substance use. It included an arrest by a school resource officer that changed the course of his life.
“I felt like my mom, the school, and the cops were on a team and I was on a team,” Miller said. “And I didn’t choose the teams.”
He also talked about the factors that enabled him to escape homelessness and substance use while many others get trapped.
Miller pointed to the difference between what he called “situational poverty,” or poverty caused by a temporary set of circumstances, and “generational poverty,” poverty that someone is born into.
You can hear an excerpt of Miller’s interview with Seattle Times reporter Scott Greenstone above. Listen to the full episode, and other episodes of Outsiders, at outsiderspodcast.org or wherever you get your podcasts.