F. Works (pen name) was born on the east coast of Canada on January 5, 1950. He was raised in a community of approximately five hundred people. His father was a fisherman. He fished for whatever was in season, but his primary activities involved the lobster industry. He was a heavy drinker. At times, he was verbally and physically abusive. F. Works’s mother was a stay-at-home mom who raised the family by herself. Her husband was really only there on a physical level. F. Works has three brothers and three sisters. He is the middle child.
He quit school in grade nine remedial to join the Canadian Navy but was asked to leave after five months. He had a hard time taking orders from people because he tended to personalize everything. He was blackout drunk when he joined and didn’t remember signing up. However, when his father read the letter from the armory recruiting office, which required his signature, it all came back. He later recalled sitting at the dinner table when his father opened and read the letter. He had a grin on his face like a horse eating thistles as he said, “So, you’re going into the navy, are you?”
F replied, “No.”
His father replied, “Yes, you are.” He then signed the consent form.
Five and a half months later, he was given an honorable discharge, which would have allowed him to rejoin in six months if he kept his nose clean. At that time, he was seventeen years old and a full-blown alcoholic. When he drank, he was literally taken over by the alcohol. After leaving the navy, he went to jail on a regular basis. His first recovery meeting occurred while in jail, but it had no effect. He continued to spend most of his time drinking, fighting, and stealing.
His girlfriend got pregnant with his only son in 1968. He continued going to jail and eventually advanced to the federal penitentiary system. While in prison, he experimented with drugs, but he continued to prefer booze. He drank some strange concoctions while in prison, including mouthwash, deodorant, split pea beer, and other indescribable stuff that would make a billy goat puke. He went back to school around that time, but he found it very hard to concentrate while on LSD. He spent time in the hole and eventually was released after his third federal sentence in 1975.
He continued to drink and break the law, and then he got married. He had no idea what a husband was, and when his wife got pregnant, he was terrified that she might have a boy who turned out to be just like him. He would come and go as he pleased, and he sometimes wouldn’t go home for days on end. Booze was his master.
When he lived at home with his parents at one point, his father sent him to the store to pick up some oil for his boat to go lobster fishing. He met a friend who had a bottle of cheap wine, and after drinking that, he decided to go to Toronto—immediately. Off he went hitchhiking with nothing but a couple of bottles of wine. He came home six months later and acted as though nothing had happened. He walked in and asked his mother, “What’s for supper?” as though he had left just that morning.
Not once did he phone home to let them know he was all right—or even where he was. In those days, he was totally self-centered and only thought about himself.
He and his wife had a baby girl, and a short time later, she got pregnant again with another girl. The daughter died shortly after birth. He hated God after that and told Him so quite frequently. He and his wife’s fighting increased around that time, and he couldn’t be counted on for anything. After a while, his wife got pregnant again. F was fearful that this child would die too because he was the father and thought God hated him. They continued to fight until he left. He was terrified his kids would end up “defective” like him.
He was also going out with another woman who got pregnant and had a girl about six months after his wife gave birth to their youngest child. He thought that if he took part in the upbringing of his children, it would have been negative since he was not a good role model at that time. He didn’t believe it was possible to be anything other than what he was.
He became involved with recovery at that time. In fact, he had quit drinking and using any mood-altering chemicals six months after his first child was born. None of his children, other than his son, had ever seen him intoxicated. His son was brought up with his mother and took on her maiden name (he was adopted by his grandfather). His daughter with the “other woman” did the same.
He ended up in treatment at the detox center. From there, he spent eight months at a halfway house at the other end of the province. The director who managed the house became his first mentor, and they remained friend until the director’s death in 1992. After a few months of clean living, the director had him working in the house and then as an attendant in the detox center. Eventually, he began to work for a section of addictions services. Even though he wasn’t well on the inside, he did function in a positive manner on the outside. Three years, later he went for treatment at a treatment center in Pennsylvania.
He was still married at that time, but it wasn’t long after his return from the treatment facility that he separated from his wife. He then met his present wife and married her eight years later. During those eight years, he lived with other women and moved to British Columbia with a longtime friend and drinking partner, a childhood sweetheart. That relationship turned into another disaster. When he left British Columbia, he dropped her and her child off in Toronto and hasn’t spoken to her since. He lost a partner and one of his best friends because he was just not well. During his drinking days, when he wasn’t in prison, she, another friend, and F were inseparable. They got drunk together, broke into places together, and fought together. The male friend in the trio was killed in 1981.
When he came back to his hometown from BC, he moved in with another lady for a while, but it didn’t last very long. He got a job at a trout farm as a night watchman, and not too long after that, he went to work at the provincial jail. He picked up with present wife again (a recovered alcoholic/heroin addict) while working at the trout farm and moved in with her. She got pregnant with twins, and they were married six months later. They almost divorced on the honeymoon, which is almost a story in itself. The twins (identical girls) were followed shortly by their last child, another girl.
Having three kids in diapers at the same time—as well as his new wife’s other four children—was enough to make anyone want to run away from home. She and Burnt would be the couple they wrote books about. Nobody thought they would make it. It was hard for two strong-willed, self-centered people to raise a family. As of August 30, 2019, F and his wife have eleven children, eighteen grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. They have been married for twenty-nine years and are looking forward to the next twenty-nine years.
F worked at the jail for nine years. During that time, he took an addictions counseling course at the local college to try to enhance his position. Since that wasn’t going to happen, he began to look for other employment. He came to the conclusion that the people in positions of authority didn’t care about his career. He was encouraged to take the course to bring more credibility and value to the substance abuse program he had created. However, after graduating, he was informed that he was going to be doing security work instead.