A Conversation with Parallel Universes Author, David B. Bohl
Who Am I?
That’s easy for many people to answer, but Bohl felt no sense of “self” before investigating and writing his own story, a journey to wellness.
Haunted by decades of unresolved issues relating to alcohol, addiction and adoption, his beautifully written memoir offers hope to anyone struggling with obstacles that interfere with their enjoyment of life.
In the riveting new memoir, Parallel Universes, Bohl, Independent Addiction Consultant at Beacon Confidential, LLC, writes that alcohol once controlled his life; it was his sole coping skill. When he began digging deep inside himself, not knowing what he’d find, he discovered that the process helped him heal, reclaim, and reset his life.
What he learned can benefit others who are struggling and have difficulty adjusting to reality-past, present, and future.
He says, “Writing the book gave me answers to who I am.”
Q. How did alcohol undermine your life?
A: “Early on I realized that alcohol was a great medicine; it was a coping mechanism that kept me alive. It also kept me unwell,” he says. “I was dealing with a life-long developmental trauma that manifested as shame. I initially found artificial means of quieting unpleasant emotions before I had a chance to develop healthier strategies for living. That meant that I sabotaged myself, and subsequently had to work all the harder to develop those skills later in life.
Q. What is your life like today?
A. For decades I felt fragmented and incomplete–mortified by shame and confused about my identity. Alcohol and pills allowed me to quiet those feelings and kept me going. Until they stopped working, that is.
I realized that I needed to investigate a new, healthier perspective in order to survive and flourish. I now focus on living a life of integrity, and sharing my experiences with the greater community. That is what ultimately gives me both identity and purpose. And my life is now phenomenal in ways I never before imagined possible.
Q. How can your book benefit others?
A. My hope is that my story can give others the courage to find their own way to go beyond the struggles that they may be carrying with them today. I am not an athlete or actor or politician or a person with a bigger than life success story, but the experiences and perceptions I’ve chronicled in the book can be useful to anyone courageous enough to reach deep down inside themselves not knowing what they’ll find.
Q. Why is a memoir difficult to write?
A. Being afraid of one’s self or being afraid that you are irreparably damaged is the ultimate existential dilemma and a horrifying way to live. The problem becomes even bigger because, in order to accept yourself, you have to work really hard to understand yourself. And when you set out to better know yourself, it increases the chances of finding flaws. It’s an endless cycle of emotional and psychological pain that most people cannot endure for any amount of time. This has been my life’s ‘double bind,’ as well as the very reason I wrote this book.
Q. As a child, what happened when you told friends you were adopted?
A. I was adopted at 7-days old, and raised in a loving home. Then one day, when I was 6-years old, I could hardly wait to tell my friends the exciting news that I was adopted. I was stunned when they didn’t see it that way–that adoption was something to be proud of. That negative reaction came to symbolize that my perceptions, and those who helped me to develop them, could not and should not be trusted, ever. That mistrust catapulted me into a confusing, complex, gut-wrenching journey that involved addiction and self-loathing.
I was given many things growing up, but I wasn’t given the chance to know myself because of the endless uncertainty that comes with adoption.
Q. When did you finally learn who your birth parents were?
A. It was over five decades before definitively finding my genetic roots. I’m 57 today, and it was about 3 years ago when I learned the name of my birth mother. Unfortunately, I never met either biological parent because my mother passed away at 56, an alcoholic, in a homeless shelter, and my father died at 46 of a brain tumor.
But not long ago I found out I have a half-sister in south suburban Chicago and another living in Las Vegas. As soon as I learned the news, I jumped in my car, then got on a plane to meet each of them. It was an extraordinary experience seeing contemporaries who resembled me and experiencing those first ever connections to my biological beginnings.
Q. On a personal level, how do you help others who are struggling?
A. I receive endless calls from people who want to talk about issues they are dealing with.
My role is to help them feel validated and safe. Every day I try to reach out to people who are struggling and need some reassurance that they are not alone. If I can help illuminate someone’s outlook on life, it is a small thing to do in all of our complicated lives.