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Dave Harm

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In summer 2004, Jim Nordberg revisits the village in Nicaragua where he lived in the 1970s, and nothing is as he expected. Kris Behr, once a friend and now a possible nem..  
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By Dave Harm
Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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Another personal "battle" for me. I've now written two books. First, was "Damaged Merchandise," showing a life 10 years into sobriety. Next, was "War Zone," a prequel to Damaged Merchandise, showing my struggles to not only gain sobriety, but to somehow maintain it in a "sick" relationship. My plans were to "form" a trilogy, with a third book, being a pre-quell to War Zone. To achieve this, the last of those long buried secrets will finally be set free. But, to do this, a part of me will die. It will be done, because of a life I've dreamed of, but the past, keeps me embraced in a world of nightmares. So, the book has been started. I hope you find it enlightening if nothing else. This is part of the first chapter. "Nightmares," isn't the name of the book, it will come to me as I continue this last painful journey. This is not fiction. "Nightmares," will cover a time span between early childhood to my sobriety.

Can a child learn to live and function in society, while memories of a dysfunctional past haunt him? This is my question. A question, which I have not been able to answer, satisfactorily till this day. Yes, I'm alive, closing in on 50 years of age, but I still find trouble trying to function. I know how to survive. I learned that at a very early age. With two drunk parents, two brothers filled with anger and rage, and another brother who ran away and never looked back, survival got me to this point. But there has got to be more.

By the time I was seven years old, I was on my way to being a master manipulator. Anything I could do, to give my life any resemblance of peace I would try. At this age, my major weapon was - lying. I lied for my drunken mom, so she wouldn't be beaten by a father, who would come expecting dinner and finding nothing. "Hi Dad. Mom has been in bed all day, she's really sick." A silence would fill the room. He knew I was lying, but somewhere in his own mind, he also knew I was a child. For an hour, maybe a little more, the house was quiet. During that time, Dad would drink his scotch and waters. Two, three, maybe four. Pacing the house, any attempts to have a conversation with him, was a waste of time. As time past, you could cut the tension with a knife. Death hung in the air. Dad was ready to explode, and Mom would pay the price, for drinking all day. For sleeping, when there was no supper. For not being responsible enough, to make sure their filthy kid, took a bath. Anything and everything was to blame, and Mom would pay the price. Smacks, could be heard throughout the house. The silence was now broken, with the screams of my Mom and the yells of Dad. Walls would shake, as she was repeatedly thrown against them, or picked up from the floor and slammed down once again. What is a child suppose to do? I still hear the screams. I see the black eyes, the swollen cheeks, and hear my fathers words. "If you don't quit drinking, I'll kill you."

We could go for weeks, without alcohol being a part of our lives. For whatever reason, Mom would quit and Dad wouldn't bring any home. It was then, I realized that walking on eggshells would haunt me for life. Whatever it took to keep scotch and beer out of the house, I would do. If that meant get an A in math, so be it. It's done, just please no more booze. If that meant take two or three baths a day, I'll do it. If it meant no arguing about bedtime, believe me, I won't argue. I'll be the perfect little gentleman, just please no more drinking. As week one, turned to week two, then week three, I thought, maybe, just maybe it was working.

But the insanity of alcohol would always win. For some reason, Dad thought maybe this time, it would be different. He would bring home a bottle and the both of them could have one or two drinks, then quit. The plan would be to make a pint last, at least a week, if not more. It never worked. Hell, I was only seven years old and I knew it wouldn't work. It was like a broken record. We always got to the same point in the song, and then the music kept repeating itself. Within a week, without fail, Mom would start her drinking earlier and without Dad. She would lie about it, and if asked I'd lie for her. I still was hoping that maybe Dad wouldn't figure it out. Maybe Mom wouldn't drink as much as last time. Maybe. Yeah, right. Everytime it ended up being the same. Dad coming home stressed out from work, Mom passed out, and me trying to come up with all sorts of excuses why Mom was asleep.

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Reviewed by Gwen Dickerson 2/18/2005
Best wishes for your book sales, and for your life journey, Dave! Well written!
Reviewed by Tracey L. O' Very 2/10/2005
a sad terrifying helplessness feeling childhood & adulthood that all too many can relate to. Drinking really brings out the worst in some and others not so (as in happy drunks). Am so sorry to hear that all termoil is your life and it is all so tense. Too bad that this way continues on in to todays of this world, so that you might be able to put this all in the past and leave it there & Get one with the happiness that should be felt everyday! Sounds like a very emotional book that everyone will be able to relate to not maybe in their own homes but others they know. You are a great person to go through all that you do to only help all that you can, losing a piece of you in all.

Reviewed by Janet Caldwell 2/10/2005
Hi Dave, your story is one that needs to be heard. Once a week for 2 hrs, I go to a meeting for people 'Like us' with my good ole Dr. Davis. I think that soon, I'll purchase of your books, they are tools to be used, so many of us that are 'sober' are still broken people. I'd just like to say well done and reach across the www and give you a big hug. Thank you so much for sharing, it's hard to allow ourselves to be seen as we are and how we got to this point.

Wishing you all the best, all the peace.
Janet xoxoxo
Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 2/10/2005
All I can say...I am sorry to read this..but thank God for helping you cope up to this moment!!

I can so mich relate to this...just in another way!!

Warm Hug & love Tinka
Reviewed by Janet Parker 2/9/2005
I don't know what the answer is, Dave. But I do feel empathy for you. My parents did not drink and for that, I am thankful. But my mother and I have never gotten along. She abused me physically, mentally and emotionally. Daddy and I were close and he knew but couldn't stop her. She is 85 now and I am 60. We still are not close, but I do what I can to try and salvage the relationship.
Reviewed by M. B. 2/9/2005
Dave, I can so relate to the dysfunctional place you came from. You're so far ahead of the game with all the writing you've done to exorcize your personal demons. While I've always written, I've never been able to write about my beginnings until now. You are an inspiration to me and I hope you continue to write, if not to find your closure, to at the very least find your peace.
Reviewed by Judy Lloyd 2/9/2005
I agree that the only way to get these things out of the way is to keep writing about them. It is hard to do but once you get started it will keep coming until you find that you have made a great deal of progress and I know you have.
Reviewed by Stephanie Sawyer 2/9/2005
Keep writing, Dave. Keep writing. I got book #1 today, and am sending you payment. The forward was so wonderful, and I identified completely. You are giving a high treasure back in your publication as you already know. But I will encourage you again, keep writing. And in the meantime, you are still inspiring me. This is a gift to society in its educational efforts.
Reviewed by George Jackson 2/9/2005
I want to know when this book is ready, Dave. And I hope that it helps you to put some of those nightmares to rest. Very well done.
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 2/9/2005
glad they are over for you now, dave! compelling and heartwrenching write; well done!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in tx., karen lynn. :(

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