Here is an excerpt from Confessions of a Trauma Therapist describing my camping trips and visits to cottage country with my father:
“I was aware and at the same time I wasn’t aware that my father’s frequent stops to open the trunk of the car were making him more and more drunk. He kept a red metal Coke cooler there with a block of ice and glass bottles of Coke. He would drink a bit from the bottle, pour in a belt of rye and continue sipping and driving until the next stop.
The more he drank, the more my head fuzzed over. That’s how my brain protected me from being terrified of the danger I was in, driving with this drunken protector. In fact, I was angry with the people along the way who snickered at his slurred speech and wobbly gait. It never occurred to me to be mad at him. I realize now that those amused stares from passersby threatened to pry open my reality: that I was with a man who was not a proper guardian for a child.
I remember being embarrassed by his attempts to impress the blonde waitress at the soda counter in the Port Carling drug store. I wanted to explain to her that my father was really a very nice man. And when we stayed overnight at the cottage of one of my mother’s friends, I resented her wanting to take care of me. Her solicitous attention made it clear she considered my father an unsuitable caregiver for a seven-year-old child.”