“SUBSTANCE ABUSE: Like all good youth, I dabbled in recreational drinking and drug use. Because of my Catholic upbringing, I had quite a fear of getting caught or having some kind of Helen Hunt-esque misfortune. After my father died, I felt so numb, I began drinking a lot more frequently. Just low-quality lager. It never seemed to have any effect. I had a girlfriend in high school that I was truly in love and lust with. Being with her made me feel safe and I didn’t feel the need to drink to excess.
I had another girl friend who was also best friends with my girlfriend. We were like Jules and Jim in reverse. One summer they ghosted me to go to Europe. They debauched themselves across the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Yet again I felt abandoned.
I know, know – first love, get over it. But in the crucible of that era, it just added another toxic ingredient to my psyche. I lived at home with my newly widowed mother and freshly orphaned younger brother and sister. I worked full time as a dishwasher and attended commuter college full time while all my pals were living large at Uni. That’s when I started drinking habitually.”