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Thursday, June 25, 2009

David Sheff's "Beautiful Boy" and Nic Sheff's "Tweak" Books On Addiction

beautiful boy tweak addiction

David Sheff's "Beautiful Boy" and Nic Sheff's "Tweak" books on addiction, compliment each other in a revolutionary way. "Beautiful Boy" is a father's take on his son's addiction to Heroin and Methamphetamine, whereas "Tweak" is Nic Sheff's autobiography about his own struggles. Both sides of the gun, you might say, are revealed from the view of two amazing writers!

In October of 2008 I had the opportunity to hear David and Nic speak about their books. Naturally, I was very excited about this opportunity; having read their books and felt their pain, both emotional and physical, I wanted to see where they stood now. I showed up a little bit early, and to my surprise the two of them were sitting outside the bookstore talking. I walked up and introduced myself and we started talking, I had the occasion to look them both in their eyes; it was an emotional experience to say the least. After we finished talking, it was time for them to begin their talk about their books.

Each of them spoke for about a half hour about their own book and then they fielded questions. I had no questions for them as I already had the opportunity to meet them privately. With every word that they spoke I could see and feel the pain in Nic's eyes. It was as if Nic were reliving his nightmare over and over at each book-signing/reading event that they did around the country. I do not believe that David knew how painful his words were for Nic; it wasn't how David spoke or what David said that I think affected Nic, rather it was the fact the Nic would never be able to move forward, that he would have to fight his demons forever.

I'm not a doctor, but I know that what I saw was not healthy! Deep down inside I had the feeling that as long as Nic continued doing book tours he would be drawn back to the drugs. An addict and the parents of the addict have to find a way to move forward with their lives, at first talking about the experience with each other is a healthy way to recover. But, at a certain point families need to move on and start a new chapter in their lives. I wish both David and Nic the best and I hope that together they can find a way to grow together and not apart.

The connection that families make in their journey towards recovery is ever so crucial for success. Family Programs are perhaps the most intricate part in a successful recovery. Once again I encourage anyone to read "Beautiful Boy" and "Tweak", and may they do for you what they did for me.


  1. Good thought with this one. Very entertaining posts.

    Fabian Olesen

  2. I have read David Sheff's "Beautiful Boy" and can understand why this connection with their stories could keep Nic sick. I am the mother of three opiate/heroin addicts - detaching from their disease has been the hardest thing for me to live through. thank God they are still alive -see what I mean? I did not read Nic's book because I want te read about Nic's life - not his demise. Isn't it about how we choose to LIVE - drugs are killers..of the brain, relationships, careers - of the fabric that builds us up. My one son that just finished long term and a half way house, relapsed and is trying to rebuild again. I believe him when he says he needs a relationship with his family. He has come to believe that the family cannot trust his words - only his behaviors will tell the story. For every addict out there, there is a family member who has a great deal invested in believing your lies - only they can't afford to be sucked down with you any more. Get out of the hole and live...side by side in truth. It can be done. No one said life is easy. But the alternative sucks.

  3. i want to say thanks, i have a brother like your son, it's so hardy.
    When i ready your book i sow my family's life.
    since he was 14 he use the drug and now he is 36.
    sometime he stoped, sometimes he started again....
    but he's my brother.

  4. Read both of you books... VERY GOOD!!!!

  5. I just finish with Beautiful boy, and in the morning when i wake up i have a pressure in my chest because is not only Nic there is millions like him, and my little one is only 2 years and 4 months, when i started with the book was like i was reading our own history when my son was born, our expectations for them, our wishes, we want to create a wonderful world for our little ones, and then this serial killer(the ff drugs) take their lifes.And the thing here is that this powerful country doesn't have a control or prevention against them,they expend billion dollars on ads but nobody cares about drug prevention(talking about a serious one).
    When you mention about when he started college i ask my self: HOW CAN I PREVENT THIS? HOW CAN I SAVE MY SON ,MY BEAUTIFUL SON.I admire your journey, pacience and love,and the same for your wife.I hope Nic still alive and away from that st.He is sad Mr. Sheff, something bad happened with him that he never told you.With my respect...
    Ana from NJ

  6. it just never stops. and the more he write about it the more it seems to me he wants it. everyday is hard for me. and when i read about it, or watch movies with drug use in it, i want it more. its hard. i dont think in my opinion he can get and stay clean.

  7. I've just finished both books and although I found them heart-wrenching, I couldn't put them down. I pray Nic can keep on the straight and narrow and find fulfillment in his life. He seems like an amazing young man. David and the rest of the family are very strong, loving people and I'm so glad they didn't give up. I know you have your doubts about God - we all do at some point - but I hope he keeps you all safe. Thank you for bravely telling your stories.

  8. I just reread Beautiful Boy for the third time...every time I choke back tears...I, too, have an addicted son; his drug of choice is heroin. When he was a little baby I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined this evil taking over his life. I think each time I read the book I hope it will end differently...for me and my son. I have learned though, that this is his addiction and he has to do something with it. I believe I'm paraphrasing a quote from the book that states, Our children will live or die with or without us. This is probably the hardest thing I have had to learn with my son's addiction. I love the boy I hate the drug/beast. I will always love my boy and I will always detest the drug. Maybe one of these days I'll read the book again and the ending WILL be different

  9. I absolutely loved both books. truly amazing... I just wonder how Nic is doing today... it would be great to hear he is clean..

  10. I read Beautiful Boy two years ago and it was almost a mirror image of my own son, who has been battling an opiate addiction for the past 5 years. It is such tragic way to live a life and affects everyone connected to it. Each time my son enters a program and stays clean for a period I have hopes, only to be dashed by a relapse... but, I am slowly learning to detach and pray that one day he will be able to overcome his demons and take his life back from them, because no one else can do it for him. I love him with all my heart, but I know my love can't save him.

  11. Im currently reading Beautiful Boy. I love it!! I'ts an amazing book..I've been wondering the whole book if Nic is clean today or not?It would be wonderful to hear that he is.

  12. Jacob Mahley,
    I just got done reading Nic Sheffs, Tweak. It was one of the most heart wrenching books I have ever read. I have been struggling with addiction to opiates and cocaine for 4 years. I'm a senior in high school and i can't recall hardly anything my last three years in high school until now. I've relapsed four times in 3 years. I feel like Nic Sheff speaks the language i wish i could speak about my self. I am about to start a twelve step progrem with my fiance and hopefully, that will keep me straight. I can relate to nic so much it hurts. My brother was a Ice addict for awhile but is clean now but still takes ecstasy like candy. I wish i could help him. But like they say, you can only help the people who want help, and he doesn't. I hope nic is doing well i heard he has relapsed twice since his book tweak.

  13. i can relate to to nic in a different point of view, but an addiction, is an addiction,even though i thought that mine was bad tell i read tweak,thats not a bad thing Nic,,u just made me realize how bad it could get and i respect that and your book kinda, opened my eyes,,,,,,,well before its to late,,i haven't read the the other book yet,but surely well,i hope that your ok,you are a great inspiration,,to alot of people,and you may not even realize it.....SL

  14. Elizabeth Locicero writes:
    What courage the Sheffs have shown, to tell their stories, especially Nic. He is such a fine, brilliantly sensitive and honest young man. It seems that the finest must suffer more than the rest.
    Honestly, we are all to blame for his suffering. We have allowed our society to be infiltrated with every poisonous drug known to man. Having conquered the childhood diseases, our children are now being enticed on a daily basis to ingest deadly and truly evil concoctions.
    As well, we have destroyed the very fabric of our society, the family, a place where children could be at rest. Our children have been sacrificed because of our immature and narcissistic choices.
    We need community, people around our children to be there for them when we can't be.
    It is the sweetest and gentlest of our children, who need a place to be, where their special way of seeing, their visions, their love of the slow and of gravitas will be celebrated.
    We, the adults, need to take stock and listen and change our ways. We need to learn from Nic and from all of the other Nics, the finest and the most thoughtful of our young.

  15. i read Beautiful Boy for a school project and it was both eye-opening and disturbing. I want to know Nic's P.O.V. but i don't think i can handle it

  16. I read tweak a few years ago and I just could not put the book down it was so n depth that it was tht hard I have a sister that was addicted to drugs and she did what ever she could do to get the drug and I do meaneverything from stealing from ou father to stealing from my daughter to even having sex for money to do her drug she was way from getting sober so that'd what we thought. But through the grace of our mother giving her an ulitimatium continue doing drugs and doing your own thing we will take your kids and well my sister chose drugs for a while and continued her down spiral but then after awhile she realized that the way she was living was not good for her and the lives of her children.She picked up the phone and calles our mother and asked for help my mom helped and moved her out to florida she had her lil fall back down there the first few months but she opened her eyes when things were not going how they should have and since then she has been good she is thriving with her realationship and is welcoming her first granddaughter from her daughter.S he is a whole new person with a new outlook on life and we love her more than words can explain.

  17. I read Beautiful Boy and am now reading Tweak. It is so startling to realize what addicts go through. My very good friend is fighting her addition now. I'm hoping she has hit bottom and will start to turn her life around. I feel after reading these books that I understand her and her mother better now to try to help any way I can. I hope Nic is clean and happy.


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