I had to write a brief autobiography for our group session titled “Who Am I?” I thought I would share that story with you now. It’s a bit longer than my usual posts, but so is my life!
I knew I was different from an early age. I felt different than the other kids. I didn’t make many friends. I daydreamed most days.
My childhood was an unhappy one. I was sexually abused by an older cousin for 3, maybe 4 years. My parents were emotionally unavailable.
I don’t recall much of my childhood, so some of the particulars are vague. I remember that I was abused for many years. I remember that my 8 year old brother was killed on Christmas Day by a car. I was there and 11 at the time. After that, my world got a whole lot uglier.
I was regularly beaten by my mother. My father was an alcoholic who instilled tremendous fear in me. I started having behavioral issues. I stole things. I vandalized things. I had no friends my entire childhood. I always did poorly in school.
After I completely destroyed a carwash I was put on probation. It was the first time I drank alcohol. I got terribly sick and was brought to the Police Station by my father as a lesson.
After a few months probation realized I was in a terrible situation and had me removed from my home. I was placed in a home for troubled teenagers. I was the youngest resident. I had terrible difficulties there. It was then that my behavior of completely flipping out to being completely happy exhibited itself.
I would not be diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder for another 35 years. I was diagnosed with ADHD and PTSD at that time due to my terrible home life. I remained in that home until 13 and was returned back to my parents house.
After another several months of beatings and poor behavior I was once again returned to the Webster House Home for troubled teens. It was during that year that I discovered marijuana and was soon kicked out of the Webster and sent to the Youth Detention Center, a juvenile lockup facility. Because I wasn’t a violent criminal, I was allowed to reside in their residential home inside the regular community.
From 14 to 18 I spent time in and out of YDC, group homes and foster homes. I exhibited patterns of behavior that were self sabotaging and unpredictable. I continued using marijuana and acid throughout my teenage years when I could. My grades were just good enough to move through 12th grade until, at 18, I was released from YDC and put out on the streets.
At 18, and homeless, I got into varying degrees of trouble. I also failed to graduate my Senior Year of high school. It was the summer of 1982 and I decided one day just to hitchhike out of my hometown, Manchester NH. I had no idea where I was going, but I didn’t care. I ended up getting a ride from a homosexual man who let me live in his house in Laconia NH for 4 days before he tried to sexually assault me. Of course, I immediately got the hell out of there.
So for the duration of the summer of 1982 I slept on the beach. I got a job and saved all my money. Toward the end of the summer I managed to rent a small apartment. I started to drink and to drink heavily. I was extremely depressed. It was at the end of the summer that I ran into a guidance counselor at Laconia High School who convinced me to repeat the 12th Grade.
Just before school started I attempted to cut my wrists in the bathroom at Weirs Beach. Someone in the stall next to me saw the blood and got the police, who took me to a hospital. At the hospital I was introduced to a Catholic family who agreed to take me in. I moved in with them and spent most of the 12th Grade with them. I was kicked out of their home and then bounced around many homes during my Senior Year.
During 1982-83 I began to drink more heavily and to use marijuana on a regular basis. I would be happy for days, and then crash for days. I had no idea why I felt that way. However, I was doing very well in school and so my Guidance Counselor encouraged me to apply to some colleges. During the summer of 1983 I found out that I was accepted to Plymouth State College! I began my studies in the Fall of 1983.
During college is when I decided to describe myself as two Rob’s. Rob1 was chaotic, impulsive, drinking excessively, reckless, uncaring, destructive. Rob2 was responsible, intelligent, reasonable, controlled, loving. All of my college years were full of chaos, heavy drinking, promiscuity, impulsivity, poor decision making. I had three friends and only 1 girlfriend–briefly–for my entire 4.5 years of college. They were also full of excellent grades.
If it weren’t for the Dean there, I probably would have been kicked out of school in my early years. For some reason he seemed to have a soft spot for me and allowed me to continue to attend school even though I spent every semester on Behavioral Probation. I was steal breaking into cars, vandalizing properties, waking up in the woods and random places.
Also if it weren’t for the Dean I would have been homeless. I did not ever again have the support of my mother or my father, or anyone else other than my Aunt at the time. He allowed me to reside on campus during semester breaks. All through college finding a place to live was a constant struggle. I stayed in empty dorms, with professors, on friends couches, with a girlfriend, even with a former foster family from my youth. They kicked me out because they could not handle my mood swings during the summer of 1986.
Somehow I managed to graduate in 1988 with honors. My adult life did not improve much. The time between my graduation in 1988, and my entrance into the Army in 1991, was full of chaos. I consistently lost jobs. I went on a tear of promiscuity, sleeping with well over 180 women. My drinking was not a nightly thing, but there were hundreds of binge nights.
With my life apparently going nowhere, and my college loans coming due and the Persian Gulf War going on, I decided to serve my country. My first attempt to join was in 1990 in New Jersey.
For whatever reason I was denied entry. It put me in a tailspin of alcohol and then I began using cocaine. One day I put a .357 to my head and almost killed myself, but the little kitten looking up at me as I stood in front of the mirror kept me from doing it.
I also made the fateful mistake, in Basic Training, that I was going to marry the girl I got pregnant 1 month prior to enlisting. I made it through Basic and AIT with awards and accolades.
I was assigned to Augsburg Germany as a Records Specialist and went there at the end of August 1991. I got married out of AIT. It was to be another disastrous decision. When I got to Germany I was shell-shocked. I was lonely and immediately began drinking heavily. My first weekend at the barracks I was so drunk I passed out naked outside my bedroom door.
My career in the Military was again a tale of two Rob’s. Rob1 was drinking and completely ignoring his new wife and baby. Rob1 was cheating on his wife at any chance he got, often going on drunken tears and not showing up home until the next day. Rob1 is the one who got busted for OUI and was kicked out the military–in spite of the fact that I begged for counseling and help–in August of 1994.
Rob2 was responsible, disciplined, smart. He is the one who got a Merit Promotion after only 1.5 years in the Army. He is the one who excelled at PLDC and passed the test for OCS. He is the one who barely got the Good Conduct Medal and many medallions and certificates for performing his job. It was not enough, my illness, alcoholism, and PTSD ruled the day.
I am not going to itemize every year from 1994 to 2016, that would take forever. Suffice it to say that upon arriving home my behavior exploded into full blown alcoholism, and then I added cocaine to the mix in 1996. My marriage was junk. I joined the car business in 1996 and began to drink and drug and act erratically at home.
I left my wife and two small children toward the end of 1997 and moved to Portsmouth NH in September. By mid December I was fired again. I was extremely distraught and so I bought a gun and ammunition, packed all my belongs, fully intended this time to end my life. I laid on the couch for so long, in such a state, that I was hospitalized for an ear infection.
On January 27 I called my ex-wife and told her I was going to shoot myself. She quickly called the police and I was put into a Psychiatric Facility. I stayed two months but, after getting out, I got a new job with lots of partying friends and cocaine users. In 2000 I moved from my location to Dartmouth. It was there where I first started smoking crack. I would end up using crack off and on for many years. I had destroyed my nose doing cocaine in 1996 and 1997, so I just decided to smoke it instead.
In February of 2000 I lost my job again and went on a terrible run. Late summer I met a woman who ended up being a stabilizing force in my life for 9 years. The bulk of raising my children took place while I was with her. I stopped using drugs and I only drank intermittently, but they always ended up badly. Our relationship ended in 2010 because of my behaviors and emotions. It was during the early part of 2010 that I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at the New Bedford Health Clinic.
The Psychiatrist at the NBHC prescribed me medications and, in a short time, I was feeling like a completely different person. From 2010 to 2013 I basically stayed with the same woman and kept the same job with the exception of when I went to my dream job and got fired from there due to my inability to regulate my relationships and responsibilities.
In 2012 I has the misfortune to meet an alcoholic woman. From late 2013 until I was put into jail for Domestic Assault on May 12, 2016, my life headed in the worse direction it had ever headed. During 2013, and again in 2014, and now most recently, I was again diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, and Borderline Personality Disorder.
During the years with the alcoholic female there were many violent confrontations, blackouts, periods of extreme joy and terrible depression. In 2014 or 2015, I can’t remember, I actually did commit suicide. I say that because I believe the other three times were cries for help. This time, I took every pill I was prescribed by Dr. Ticlea. Those pills include Quietipine, Trazadone, Lamatrogine, Topirimate. It was probably over 200 pills. Obviously, I survived.
The hell with the alcoholic continued and it was horrendous. Through that relationship I got two oui’s, ended up on probation until 2018, and went to jail in May of 2016. The relationship was finally over. Faced with many more ramifications, I finally decided that I had had enough of drinking and the life I was leading.
I reached out to the VA and in October of 2016 I entered Sarrpt. I dedicated myself to changing my way of thinking and behaving. I have been committed to changing myself from the inside out, not the other way around. I have been trying to surround myself with writing, physical activities, AA, and the group work. I believe that this will maintain my sobriety.
My plan is to go to Soldier On and continue with a VA program and to file my Disability paperwork. If I am approved for disability, then I am thinking seriously about pursuing a Master’s Degree in Social Work. I do believe that the things I have gone through may benefit helping other people. In the meantime I will continue to focus on writing, being physical in nature, outpatient therapy, AA, music and whatever other activities I need to do to keep me content each and every day.
As I write this I am amazed at the depth of the hell I have been in and out of my entire life. I am amazed that I wasn’t diagnosed with my conditions sooner; maybe a lot of this stuff could have been avoided. I hope that this gives you some impression of how my conditions have impacted my life.
And that, dear readers, is what trauma-alcohol-drugs-psychiatric issues-and abuse will do for a man. Now I’m in the process of reclaiming my life! One day at a time.
What would happen if I really wanted to be honest in a search for a significant other, at this tumultuous time of my life? I think it would be funny. Here’s what I would put, no holds barred–just for fun. Imagine if I really posted something like this? I would love to be a fly on the wall of women reading this online, haha.
“52 year old (well, 53 in 11 days) recovering AQUARIAN (that’s important, right?) alcoholic, who loves Italian Food, seeks mildly insane (female) writer, adventurer, anarchist, sex goddess, Rob worshipper for whirlwind romance.”
In treatment program for alcohol until end of March–I can go anywhere in the country then! (I do get nightly and weekend passes, so we can still date!)
Poverty Stricken–hell, I only need to pay for butts right now, we can spend the rest of the time reinventing life by not spending a damn cent, right?
Currently Homeless–does it matter if you have a place to live?
On Probation–but no ankle bracelet!
Great kisser, great lover, extremely affectionate most of the time–A+ for me
6’0″ 225lbs–mostly in shape, but could use to lose about 20lbs
Suffering from Bipolar Disorder 1 (mild)–you’ll never get bored with me, ever.
Mild form of Borderline Personality Disorder–not so much anymore, but I definitely will piss you off sometimes. Doesn’t mean I don’t love you though!
Sometimes a bit too judgmental–of other people mostly, you too if you’re a bitch.
Great sense of humor–my sarcasm will entertain you, but it might aggravate you after awhile.
I can be impatient–working on being a lot more patient, but I’m mostly patient, I think mostly, yeah.
Very clean–I pick up after myself, though I don’t have much to pick up anymore.
Very good with computers and social media–your work is free.
Sometimes get irritable and short tempered–you don’t need perfection do you? Because I failed at perfection years ago, just ask my ex’s.
Very communicative–let’s talk and keep everything in the clear, PLEASE!!
I can be arrogant and pointed–part of my Bipolar gifts. Sometimes I need to learn to pause my thoughts for 10 seconds and I’ll be fine, but sometimes I just say things and they come out wrong, not terrible things, just mild observations and stuff.
I am intelligent–I have a College Degree in English Education.
Sensuous–I am very romantic, loving, giving, adventuresome in bed. Yes, this aspect of me and my personality are well above par, just ask my exe’s!
Nature–I love swimming, hiking, walking, boating, fishing, camping, outdoors!
Literature–I love poetry, I read poetry, I write poetry. And I love reading, blogging.
Physical Fitness–just getting back into weight training and running. I am very good at designing workout and nutrition plans, I used to be very, very fat.
Shopping–only TJ Maxx or Marshalls. When I get a job again I plan on going there.
Cooking–I am a very good cook and cook most anything. But I mostly love to grill.
Traffic–well, since I don’t have a license, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Television–I used to watch television, but I am going to abstain now.
Slobs–I hate dirty and disorganized behaviors in people.
Winter–I won’t be living anywhere it is going to be too cold.
Must be comfortable in your own skin–for the most part, some madness is ok
Must be sexually expressive–if you are repressed in any way, pass. (nothing crazy here, not to worry!)
Must be in decent shape–sorry, not into BB women. I’m not Adonis, I don’t need you to be Venus, but you should be taking good care of yourself. Take pride in being sexy and looking hot for yourself, which means you’re hot for me.
Understanding–sometimes I can be an asshole, (and you can be a bitch, it’s ok, just not 24/7. If you love me you’ll understand.)
Patient–loving a guy with all this baggage takes patience.
Forgiving–if I mess up, lets’ talk about it and then you must truly forgive (no major violations, I understand)
A writer–yup, no more dummies for me. If you don’t write, don’t bother.
Must LOVE NATURE!! No more women who can’t swim, are afraid of bugs, can’t hike, etc. I’m old enough to not settle anymore.
Whore in bed, Lady in the street, Doc Holliday by my side–pretty self explanatory.
So, as you can see I haven’t a pot to piss in or a pot at this particular time. However, I am dynamic, loving, caring and giving. I don’t have a problem admitting when I am wrong. I am a great communicator.
I am a good listener. I am up for most anything. If the fact that I don’t have any of the usual “trappings” in life doesn’t bother you well, then I know you certainly aren’t judgmental! I am not clingy, needy, possessive, insecure, jealous, and I won’t suffocate you so please don’t suffocate me!
We can be together, but you can also have your own life. As a matter of fact, I encourage it, because sometimes I just want to be with myself. I spent 16 years between 3 different women having to be the entertainment center. You can get those at Best Buy now, I’m out of that business.
Of course, I am not in any position to be seeking a significant other right now. I just thought it would be interesting to lay out the pure facts of where I am at. I probably won’t be able to be with someone for a little while. Most of the time I am ok with that. But, on days like today, it sure would be nice to cozy up to a love and just coexist.
I’d like to talk to you about something that is very near and dear to me: YOU! More specifically, your presence in this world of blogging; this world of expression. Many times I read comments about you not being sure you should write this, express that. Well, I am here to tell you: Let It Flow!
Those of you who know me know I let it rip. I don’t care what the subject, what my emotions, what the situation: I let it fly! Some people have commented I should leave recovery in anonymity. That I am revealing far too much about myself and my recovery. Sometimes I wonder myself. And then, I remember: I have been given one life to live and I must live it freely!
I must speak my truth and I must be pure and honest and reveal everything! Why? Because I want to, need to, have to, and because I can! And something funny has been happening since I have taken this new approach to my life: I am healing, growing, flourishing! Don’t get me wrong, I have miles to go before I sleep, but what a difference it has made. Disclaimer: this is not a sales pitch for rose-colored glasses, miracle cures, life is going to all work itself out, or any other such namby pamby philosophy…haha.
I do not believe sobriety and trauma and pain and abuse and sorrow and sexual abuse and ptsd and rape and physical abuse and torture and depression and suicide and health issues and psychological disorders and any and all the other myriad things many of us suffer from, should stay in the shadows (and no, that sentence is not punctuated properly). Oh no! Quite the contrary: That’s where our demons like to live. That’s where they like to breed, to multiply, and to keep us: living in fear and darkness.
Our demons, our thoughts and emotions sometimes like to keep us under their thumb. They do not want exposure. They fear the recriminations. They fear the light. They keep their hands around our throats so that we will remain ever mute and silent.
They keep us company and pretend to love us. We are fearful to expose ourselves, lest we cheat on them. We worry what people might think. We worry we might say the wrong things. We worry that what we have to say is not important. Let It Flow!
I don’t need to go on and on about this. You know exactly what I am talking about here. And I am here to tell you that you must be brave! You must trust that your feelings are valid. You must trust that your truth matters. You matter! What you have to say matters! If not to anyone else but to you!
I cannot tell you how many times–over and over again–I read something you have posted and just sit back and feel myself change. I truly evolve each time you take risks. Without you, and I mean this with all my heart and soul, I daresay I would not have come so far so fast. And if I am feeling that way, many of you are having the same experiences!
So, as I like to comment many times, Write On! Bleed your heart onto the page. Don’t hesitate. Don’t vacillate. Don’t wonder. Just write and in so doing you will free yourself, little by little and bit by bit, from that which despairs you, troubles you, keeps you hostage. Who cares what other people think? Isn’t that what keeps us down many times when we want to scream out “HERE I AM. VALIDATE ME! I EXIST WHY CAN’T YOU SEE ME?”
When you think that what you are about to write, or have written, can’t possibly be of any value to anyone that’s when you post it the quickest! You are relevant! You are not alone. We are in this together, you and I.
I am convinced that 50% of the world is batshit crazy and the other 50% are living in denial lol. So there isn’t a soul out here that has any license to pain and suffering. Nobody is The Judge. I don’t care how bad our lives have been: NONE OF US HAS A COPYRIGHT CLAIM TO LIFE, THEREFORE WE ARE ENTITLED TO ITS EMOTIONS. Let It Flow!
With that being said, dear readers–dear writers–dear fellow sufferers–dear fellow humans–dear kindred spirits–dear children, Write On! Be who you must be and get out of the darkness. You might have to wear shades for a while, but your soul will get used to the light. Notice I did not say everything is going to become rosy and cheerful and all better once you simply start practicing this. But, on the other hand, you will be surprised at what transpires within you and around these hallowed halls of words.
My simple point is just do it. Be who you need to be. Speak all of your truth! Aspire to what you want to become, and become it. We only have one life, and it’s gone in a blink of an eye. Do you really want to be second guessing what you are presenting and who you should be presenting to? I thought not…
My favorite poet, John Keats said it best:
‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ – that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. John Keats