Real Mental Health Issues: My Traumas (2)

This addresses and describes trauma I have suffered, and if you don’t have interest in knowing about that, or if it’s not in your mental health best interests to read about cruelty, assault, or being immobilized, don’t read this.

It’s okay. I’ll get back to imaginary creatures and game spells later. At my therapist’s recommendation, and with their support, I am both making a list of the potentially traumatic events in my life, and trying to nail down details about them I have forgotten.

It is exhausting, frightening, shocking work.

having been diagnosed with civilian PTSD, I also think it is important work for my own well-being.

This is a frank discussion and description of some of that trauma. If you’d rather not be exposed to that, it’s perfectly all right to skip this. I’ll go back to pastiche supervillains ideas and my take on politics and gaming later.

This content is mostly about alcoholism.

My father was an alcoholic. He and my mother tried to control his alcoholism with rationality and intelligence, because they were rational, intelligent people.

It did not work.

My father was never violent. In fact, I have never witnessed any violence against any member of my family except myself, and I have never witnessed any member of my family be violent except myself.

I have assumed, for my entire life, that since my father was never violent, there was no trauma to me associated with his alcoholism.

When drunk, my father made promises that not only would he not keep, he would not remember.

All the alcohol in the house I grew up in was kept in a cabinet that, after he had consumed the two drinks a night my parents thought was reasonable, my mother would lock.

Then, when he felt he needed more alcohol, my father either had to try to force the doors of that cabinet open just enough to pry a bottle loose with a bent coathanger, or go out.

He never drove to get alcohol, and never drove after having even one drink.

He did, however, call a taxi… of just take a walk. We lived 3 houses down from a bar and restaurant (The Mont, in Norman, OK), and late a convenience store was even closer,

As early as 5 or 6, if I woke up late at night and my father was going out, he might take me to the Mont as 10 or 11pm, after everyone else was asleep. I could sit in the restaurant section, and he’d sit right next to me, on the other side of the railing that demarcated the bar.

I learned to play chess with him, and later the game go, at that bar.

As I grew older, he was more likely to walk to the store, buy a bottle, and come back and we’d play games at home. My earliest game experiences–chess, go, checkers, pitch, and a civil war wargame/boardgame I don’t know the name of, were with my father, but only when he was drunk. We almost never got to finish those games, because he’d become too drunk to keep playing. Usually he’d fall asleep, or begin to cry about international politics he’d slurringly try to explain to me.

This was all I knew. To me, this was normal.

I did that less once I had friends, and could play games with them. No because I was avoiding my father, but because the window during which he could play got shorter and shorter, as he drank more, faster.

After my sister went to college, it began to be normal to come into the living room in the morning to discover my father had passed out after unlocking the door to come into the house, and we had, for an unknown period of time, been asleep with our front door held open by his body being slumped across our doorway.

My mother told my father to stop getting drunk at home, so he would take a taxi to a motel, and get drunk there, often paying people to spend time with him because he disliked drinking alone.

In my mid-to-late teens, I met some of the people he paid to spend time with him. They suggested I could pay them to spend time with me. They also suggested I could get the money to do so from my father and he wouldn’t even notice.

I am sure I could have.

My father was a sweet man who loved me, and was doing the best he could.

He and my mother were going to take my wife and I out to dinner on our first wedding anniversary–but he got too drunk and couldn’t do it. My mother had to call me, and confess he had moved out a few weeks before, and they hadn’t told me because they didn’t want to ruin my anniversary dinner.

My mother took us out without him.

About a year before he died, in an effort to get him to go back into rehab, I told him he was drinking himself to death.

He told me he knew, and that was what he wanted. He wanted to drink himself to death.

He did.

About okcstephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the publisher and lead genius of Rogue Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps.

Posted on May 3, 2019, in Musings, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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