I was bitter that I didn’t have a dad, like other kids. I fantasized what it would be like to have a dad. You know, a buddy to hang out with, go fishing, watch football and other father-son things. Then it happened when I was in the seventh grade. Mom met Tom, they fell in love, dated for a couple of years and eventually tied the knot. I remember the day Mom introduced him to me. He was big, broad shouldered, had a quick smile, friendly. He was the kind of guy I’d dreamed would step into my life and become my dad.

As singer-songwriter Peter Allen wrote: Don’t wish too hard for what you want, or then you might get it, and then when you get it, then you might wish you never got it all… The good-guy routine lasted a couple of months, then he went from Dr. Jekyll to satanic Mr. Hyde. The last thing Mom and I needed in our lives was a manic-depressive alcoholic.

" The week they were married he stopped taking his meds and for the next two years Mom and I were on the white-knuckle-manic-depressive roller coaster from hell. One minute he was an abusive maniac, screaming and sometimes beating Mom, and the next minute he’d be splayed on the floor, his hands clenching his stomach, bawling like a baby suffering an excruciating bout of painful colic, screaming that he was going to kill himself.. "

" I spent hours in my room with the door locked, afraid he would come in and start screaming or hitting me. When he screamed at Mom, I was paralyzed with fear. I would cover my ears or turn up the music on my sound system. Why Mom hung in there with a man who was so over-the-top abusive is beyond me, and he was having one extra marital affair after another. "

The day Tom announced he was moving to a rental property that he and Mom owned, I was relieved. Mom thought he would move out, get back 26 on his meds, come home and they would live happily ever after. The reason he moved out was to have a place with a revolving door to accommodate his one-night stands.

‘Things got totally insane when Mom told him she was pregnant. He started calling her at all hours of the day and night, screaming at her to get an abortion or he would shoot her in the stomach and shoot me.’