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Topic: David and Nic Sheff

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Subject: David and Nic Sheff
Date Posted: 6/11/2008 8:35 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 150
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In the last week i've read both "Beautiful Boy" and "Tweak"...they are father and son accounts of the son's meth addiction and two of the finer memoirs i've read about addiction from both the viewpoint of the addict as well as the viewpoint of someone who deeply loves an addict.  I'd love to talk with someone else who's read either or both of these books...and just put my two cents out there that they are both really engaging, good reads.  Anyone? 

Date Posted: 6/12/2008 10:45 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2006
Posts: 830
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Kiersten - I read B. Boy a couple months ago, but haven't worked up the nerve to read Tweak.   I agree that BB was one of the most mesmerizing books from a parent's point of view.  Am currently rereading to write a review for a NAMI newsletter.  My son has a dual diagnosis of mental illness and addiction.  I didn't realize they so often go hand in hand.  Yes, BB was very engaging.  Heartwrenching, but healing for both the author and me as a reader and parent who understood.

Do you recommend Tweak as much as B Boy? 

 

 

Date Posted: 6/19/2008 9:05 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 150
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i really DO recommend Tweak...and i thought i might not like it as much as BBoy.  I hesitated to pick it up and thought that since i'd so related to the father's perspective that the son's might just make me mad.  It was equally as engaging...perhaps not as eloquently written...but it really filled out the whole story and surprisingly made Nic more loveable.  I think the two books together are a FASCINATING study of mental illness and addiction...and a story i just couldn't turn away from. 

I've heard good things about a mother/daughter book called "come back" that's on my TBR list...a few people have compared it to Sheff books.

thanks for responding...

kiersten

Date Posted: 6/19/2008 10:53 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2006
Posts: 830
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I attend a support group for individuals who love someone with a mental illness.  I donated Beautiful Boy to the group/foundation and three other members have already read the book. Tonight our leader said she was worried Nic would not live.  I told her he was on Oprah and doing well.  I may buy Tweak and donate it after I read it.  I haven't put it on my WL yet.

I loved David Sheff's writing style.  Any book by him would be worthwhile reading, IMO.

I'm curious...who did you think had the mental illness?  And wasn't it unbelievable when David wrote about his brain illness, and the only thing he initially thought or spoke about was Nic?

 

Date Posted: 6/20/2008 12:49 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 150
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what's really interesting about David's brain illness is that Nic doesn't even mention it in his book...i'm not sure what that says about his experience through his dad's illness.  And I think that BOTH men have "mental" illnesses...in very different ways. 

Sadly, I googled Nic Sheff and found a link to his myspace page...which he hasn't blogged on since early May.  There are LOTS of messages posted saying things like "we're really worried about you...hope you're ok".  His last post said he was planning on going back to LA and SF for a visit...and the codependent in me worries that he's maybe relapsed again.  After reading Tweak, i feel like his chances for relapse and ultimately death are greater than i felt after reading BBoy. 

 

 

Date Posted: 6/21/2008 11:58 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2006
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Nic not blogging on his myspace blog doesn't sound hopeful.  He'll be in my thoughts and prayers.

Yes, so many people with 'mental' illnesses sing duets, as Bebe Moore Campbell wrote in 72 Hour Hold.  Not sure if the drugs cause the initial problem or people use because they're self medicating.  I guess it's different for everyone. From my experience, those with mental difficulties are so self-absorbed.  Maybe that was the case with Nic, but

Have you read Codependent No More?  It's excellent!  I heard someone say, 'It's not a novel to be finished quickly.'  Or be finished ever, I guess.  I now have Beyond Codependency.  Just asking 'cause you used the word.

Date Posted: 6/22/2008 11:37 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 150
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i have read Codependent no more...is Beyond Codependency as good?  My father is 20 years sober...and i have two very good friends who are bipolar and have also struggled with addiction.  I think the whole self-medicating thing that those with mental health issues do is a fascinating study...and who really can tell which came first once they get so deep in both addiction and mental illness. 

From MY experience both the mentally ill AND the addicted are self-absorbed, selfish and self-centered.  I think its the nature of the beast unfortunately...and those i've seen really thrive in recovery are the ones who can get control of those selfish and self-centered ways.

I'm about halfway through "Come Back" by Claire and Mia Fontaine...its really good.  The mother takes a pretty aggressive stance on getting her daughter into treatment, but it seems to have worked for them...and i really enjoy hearing both the mother's and daughter's experiences through the process.  Its a good reminder that addiction and recovery affect not only the addict. 

Date Posted: 6/22/2008 12:05 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2006
Posts: 830
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I am actually getting more out of CNoMore than Beyond; the sequel has practical ideas.  When I first read Beyond I thought...so this is what my therapist meant when she told me I wasn't taking care of myself.  The books were real eye openers.  My therapist never used the word 'codependent' but everything she said has root in the principals Melody Beattie explains.

I could so relate to David Sheff, although in my mind I wasn't as tunnel visioned (my family might disagree).  Also, we only had several months of dealing with our son's cutting, depression and addictions while he was dealing with his diagnosis and denial of his diagnosis of schizophrenia.  The Sheffs spent years dealing w/ Nic's multiple and ever changing addictions. Seems that meth is the worst of all.  The book did help me understand relapse as part of the recovery process.

My mom is a hoarder, so I started trying to deal with her this summer.  No luck.  Then I decided I was spending too much time worrying about her instead of taking care of myself.  As you are probably aware, it's a vicious cycle I'm in and constantly having to work on myself.

 

Date Posted: 7/9/2008 10:03 PM ET
Member Since: 5/22/2008
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Haven't read either of the books but know someone who knows a member of the family.  Nic has relapsed and is in rehab again.

Date Posted: 7/10/2008 10:57 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 150
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thanks for that info Renae...i'm glad to hear that he's back in rehab and not the alternative.  My heart goes out to him and his family...this process is far from easy.

Date Posted: 7/11/2008 10:18 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2006
Posts: 830
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How sad, Renee...But thanks for letting us know.  Kiersten's news about him not writing on his myspace page led us to think he might be relapsed.  Recovery is so difficult for addicts =(

Date Posted: 11/30/2008 2:41 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 13,147
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I read BB, I am on the wish list for Tweak. I love David Sheff's style of writing. Very good book.

Date Posted: 12/3/2008 11:15 AM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2008
Posts: 10
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I read both, and found both to be interesting and compliment each other.  I have a co-worker who is going through this with his son, and it put things in perspective for him and I gave him B Boy to read.  It really helped him understand himself as well as his son.

Both were touching stories.

Date Posted: 4/12/2009 2:18 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2008
Posts: 687
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i read both

i am an addict and it was very helpful for me to read davids side to his sons addiction- it helped me understand what i did to my parents

it took me forever to read nics book- it was just so real to me

i am one of the lucky addicts- havent used (or drank- alcohol is a drug) since sept. 14, 2005

and i am also a rarity in recovery- my (now) husband and i got clean together and still have the same clean date each

99.9999% of couples who enter recovery split

and probably 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999 and 1/2 of 9% sure dont sare the same clean date

and less than 3% of people are still clean after the 1st year

(all ###s are from my observations)

we are blessed with grace!



Last Edited on: 4/12/09 12:32 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: BBoy
Date Posted: 4/18/2009 12:15 AM ET
Member Since: 2/14/2009
Posts: 1
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I read Beautiful Boy and found it so true it was difficult to continue at some points. I am the mother of an addict and my son's behavior is so like Nic's that it was uncanny. because of this I have not had the nerve to read Tweak. Sometimes I think it is better for me to live in some denial about what my son's life is like.

My son also has a dual diagnosis which is so common. Unfortunately his addiction tells him that he has no illness.

My son has been in rehab 3-4 times and it is part of the illness of addiction. It is a hopeful sign that Nic Sheff is in rehab and not on the street using.