Growing up I thought I had a normal life in a typical suburb. From a pre-teen age we experienced being victims of theft more than once. These crimes committed against us by 'friends' of mine.
Home life for me was not much better. While I do have fond childhood memories, being the first born to teenage parents came with many tribulations.
I recall having my first beer after helping mow the law at about the age of 8 -I was given a small Vegemite glass full. The first time I was inebriated was a party at home, Christmas Eve age 12, I was given beer and alcoholic punch. Going into high school that next year opened me up to a world of drugs and more alcohol in which I wilfully took part in.
Without ever applying myself at school I did reasonably well. Although, without the encouragement a developing person requires I had little confidence in my cognitive abilities. Encouraged to leave school at the end of year 10 I was fortunate to receive an apprenticeship as a fitter and machinist. A trade that provided me with many skills that would serve me well in years to come.