I don't remember a lot about my parents divorce, I don't think it was talked about in front of me. it was just like one day my dad didn't live with us anymore. I would see my dad every Saturday when he would come to take me bowling or to my baseball game, but even then I noticed kids and other parents treated me different when I was around.
The first time I remember I was probably 8 or 9 and at my little league game. One of the kids was having a birthday party and I overheard him ask his dad if it was OK if he invited me to the party. I can still to this day hear his answer as if it just happened. He said you can't be friends with him his parents are divorced.
That was the first time and not the last time that people assumed and labeled me a bad kid because my parents were divorced or because we were on welfare. I remember walking to the store one day and seeing these kids from the neighborhood standing by some garbage cans smoking cigarettes. As I walked by one of them called me over and offered me a smoke, I remember thinking well if I am such a bad kid why not? That was the first day of 26 years of smoking cigarettes and also the start of my first addiction. At a early age I was labeled a bad kid and I started to believe it. the more I was called bad, the more I believed it.