Under the Influence is the story of my childhood.
It provides an insight into the reality of being the son of an addict, paranoid schizophrenic, chronic hoarder and drug dealer.
For as long as I knew him, my dad dealt. Every day, a procession of desperate, malnourished and volatile addicts would visit our house looking to score. From a child’s perspective, they seemed to have only one goal - acquiring their next high. Growing up in this environment had a profound impact on my life and world view.
I never felt safe."
Out now as an eBook, Paperback & Audible
Under The Influence - Reclaiming My Childhood will be released chapter by chapter online.
If you can't wait for the next chapter to be released, or would like to own a copy for yourself, it is available for purchase as an eBook, Paperback & Audio Book.
Check below to see what chapters are available now!
- Out Now -
Chapter 1 - Who Let The Bum In?
I was stoked to see my father attending the school award ceremony. He came, it meant that he cared enough to show up. That was until a friend of mine commented, 'Who let the bum in?'
By the end of year seven, I was starting to realise just how different my father was from those of my friends. He rarely worked in a conventional setting, and I had never known him to have a full-time job ...
Chapter 2 - A Day In The Life
I deconstruct the day to day realities of living with a dad who dealt drugs, suffered from mental illness and had grand plans to someday 'make it big'.
I always knew that my dad was an addict, but it took me a while to truly understand the difference between my dad and my friends’ dads. However, as I moved from primary school into high school, the differences became more and more apparent …
Chapter 3 - Hoarder
Piles of junk, furniture and refuse. Hidden treasure, broken clocks and endless numbers of empty bottles 'just in case' he may need them. My dad's house epitomised what happens when you stop throwing anything out.
I realised just how bad Dad's living conditions were about a year after his death. I was talking to a cousin of mine who had recently become a police officer. It’s not often that you get a chance to have a firsthand glimpse into the seedy underbelly of the society you live in ...
Chapter 4 - Just Popping By
I always thought Dad had a lot of friends. Every day countless people would 'pop in' for a quick chat, or we would jump in the car and Dad would make the rounds himself. Once I got older I started to realise that these 'friends' were in fact his clientele, and that he was dealing from his house, or taking us with him in his car as a delivery service.
I loved going for drives with Dad, he would always let me choose the music and never complained about my taste. It’s one of the little things that made him special to me. It made me feel like I was important, no one else let me choose the music ...
- Coming Soon -
Chapter 5 - Play It Again Daddy
Discovering a meth lab in a friend of my dad's garage was less disturbing than the deplorable state of his toddlers. At age seven I was left to look after them.
If you have children or younger siblings, you will know just how obsessive they can be when it comes to watching their favourite movies. Often they will want to watch the same show again and again to the exasperation of the rest of the family. Relentlessly quoting their favourite lines and demanding that it is always on ...
Chapter 6 - Lessons Learnt
My dad taught me a lot, but it was his example and the unspoken lessons that really shaped my world view.
All parents want to teach their children the ways of the world. Guide them through the ambiguities of life showing them with a soft and gentle hand, the lessons that they learnt the hard way ...
Chapter 7 - Fitting In
I have always struggled to connect, to join in with the group, or even to just to feel safe.
Attachment theory proposes that the relationship that forms between a parent and a child can significantly influence the dynamics of that child’s long term interpersonal relationships. The infant’s ability to develop trust in their caregivers will influence their relationships for the rest of their life ...
Chapter 8 - Blackness
Some of experiences of my childhood were so traumatic that my mind shut itself off to protect me.
Throughout my childhood I would always see things through other people’s eyes. Not in the empathic sense, but in the seemingly literal sense. I would never be truly in my own mind, rather I would 'see myself' from a third person perspective. This was true for most of my memories, dreams, and imaginations. It would even somehow occur in real time ...
Chapter 9 - The Carrion Feeder
Drugs and mental illness feed off each other. Most of my dad's neighbours were a terrifying mix of desperate and volatile.
The morning that I found out that Dad had passed away, I drove over to his house. I knew the process of sorting through his possessions could not wait at all, it had to be done that day. One of Dad’s neighbours, Jackie, had called to let me know that Dad had passed and that his house had already been robbed ...
Chapter 10 - Death
My Dad was the first truly close person to me to pass away. His death touched me to my core, it caused me to reevaluate myself and my role in our relationship.
Despite everything that happened, I loved my father and still do. To this day my biggest regret is not connecting with him more. I do not forgive him for what he put my brother and me through, but I regret not trying to get to know him on a deeper level, particularly as an adult ...