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Updated: May 9, 2023

How Head Trauma and Dependency Changed My Life


Dean O’Quinn

Thank you for reading my unbelievable story. It has been an extremely incredible road to get to this point in my life. I hope that I can keep you entertained enough through the true telling of what I have had to accomplish to become a better person. I can assure you, everything that I am writing is the truth as far as I can understand and explain it.

I write under the name of Dean O'Quinn, and I believe the story behind my novels is almost as amazing and interesting as my books themselves. First off, I never meant to become an author and I never dreamt about writing any novels. Let me make that perfectly clear. I grew up with a strong work ethic on a farm in a rural community in Montana and I dreamt about becoming a great athlete or a famous rock musician. Hell, I thought that I would probably become a farmer well before ever dreaming of becoming an author.

The stars were the limit for me when I went to high school in the 1980’s. I was popular, played on many of the local sporting teams. I played drums and sang in many bands and the local orchestra and choir. Got good grades and went to church every Sunday with my parents. I was raised with a strong moral compass and was taught right from wrong at an early age.

If I did something wrong, I was punished and if I did something right, I was rewarded and heralded for it. I relish in having that feeling of doing the right and honorable thing. I lost that along the way and I am striving every day to get back to having that feeling again.

I continued with this highly fun and enjoyable lifestyle while going on to achieve higher learning in college. The only difference is that I did start to drink more. In college, drinking was almost expected of me. All the most popular movie stars and their characters were big drinkers. Who didn’t watch Burt Reynolds as a child and want to be the Bandit running booze across state lines when they grew up? Who didn’t wish that a tavern like Cheers was right around the corner and fall in love with the beer swilling characters? How many more examples can you name?

Drinking was not looked down upon at all. As a matter of fact, drinking was put on a pedestal of what a person should achieve toward. Everybody wanted to live as a Delta from Animal House or be a Lamda from Revenge of the Nerds.

On the night of December 15, 1989, my life was changed forever. The college semester had just finished, and Christmas Break was just beginning to start. I was going to be a junior in college when the next year started, and nothing seemed to be able to stop me. So, a group of my friends and I, decided to go out on the town and celebrate the end of the year.

That night was tremendously fun, and my house was designated to be the last stop for many college kids that evening. We had plenty of room for them to curl up on couches and spend the night. That was where the fun ended.

The car was only carrying one of my friends who didn't drink, and myself. We were the first vehicle to arrive. When I got out of the vehicle in front of my house, neither myself nor my friend knew that a car had followed us to my house. We were too busy singing along with the radio to be worried about our surroundings. Five men surrounded me, and two men confronted my friend who had walked around the front of the pickup.

Only one man spoke to me, and he kept saying that I had cut him off in traffic, even though I wasn't driving. At this point, my eyes kept darting between my friend and the threatening man’s face. I was continually apologizing and trying to talk us out of any troubles when one of the men punched my friend on the jaw. After seeing him collapse, I took one step toward him and was hit by the aluminum baseball bat across the right side of my face. My friend was knocked unconscious by that one punch, but I had not been drinking much, and I remembered the whole, terrible incident.

The hit across my face by the baseball bat drove me onto my knees. My arms kept trying to protect my face and I was cussing profusely at the men for them to stop. However, my head just kept flying backward as if they were taking turns kicking me in the face. I was still on my knees when the beating finally stopped, and I heard the men talking to each other.

I felt a cold round piece of metal on the back of my head and then one man yelled at the others to stop. My head flew back one last time as if the man who initiated this kick had been given a running start. The voices disappeared and I heard a larger car speed past me while I was still kneeling in the middle of the road with my head hanging low.

I wore glasses at the time, and I was very worried about where they had ended up, because they had flown off my face during the first baseball bat hit. I had unbelievably gotten to my feet and was searching for them when another car pulled up behind mine.

It was my other two roommates who had come home with other friends of ours that were also going to stay at my home. My roommates and friends coming down the street is what had scared the assailants and had made them leave. My friends instantly grabbed me and took me into the house. I didn’t want to go to the emergency room, but they all looked extremely scared and drove me there immediately.

I remember going into the hospital and having the doctors take off my coat, hat and shirt. I then felt a hard pinching pain in my arm, and I don’t remember anything until 4:00 in the morning, or 4 hours later. There was a police officer there and he had a whole array of questions for me. At the end of my time with the police officer, I had learned that I was the unlucky soul that these men had picked to beat within an inch of their lives as an initiation to get into a gang.

I still cannot understand how it happened, but the emergency room unbelievably let me out of the hospital that night. The only remembrance that I had at this point was my roommate helping me to walk and his fourteen-year-old sister crying her eyes out in the waiting room. She was supposed to stay with us that night as well, and I just tried to console her and make her not cry that much. I still think about her and wonder about her to this day. I did not like seeing her cry!

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