Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tales Of Drug Addiction

Ironically, I snapped this picture in San Francisco, which is where
much of Nic's drug use occurs.

About six months ago, I read Tweak, 21-year-old Nic Sheff's memoir about his meth addiction. It horrified and frightened me. I've never understood what possesses someone to try drugs, especially hard drugs like heroin, cocaine, and meth. It seems so desperate to me; even the premise itself -- try drugs. Why? In case you'll like them? And then want more? I don't understand it. And yet, I am drawn to stories of addiction again and again. Probably because I can't understand it.

So I read Tweak, and felt nothing but anger. Though I can mentally understand that addiction is a disease, I cannot move past my stumbling block that it is self-inflicted. I had little sympathy for Nic. Sadness, yes. Hope, yes. But compassion, no. The compassion came into play as I listened to the audio version of his father David's memoir, Beautiful Boy this week. My heart went out to him.

I listened to the CD's every day as I drove to work and almost couldn't get out of my car to go inside. I was riveted, horrified, frightened, heartbroken, and angry as I listened to a father recount losing his son to drugs. After the commutes home, I couldn't help but go inside and rant about Nic's addiction to my husband. He invariably asked me why I even listen to and read books like this. They do nothing but upset me, every single time. So I thought about that. Why do I?

It will sound irrational and melodramatic to say that I read these books to try to understand what it would be like to love someone with an addiction. Or maybe I think that I'll finally understand how someone succumbs to addiction. Maybe I'll know what cues to pick up on and what red flags are raised. Maybe I'll know how to prevent my children from ever falling into this type of abyss. Maybe I'll learn how to save them if they do.
I feel like I might somehow prepare myself in case it ever (God forbid) happens to our family. It's ridiculous (I hope). My son is grown. I like to fool myself into thinking that we made it through his teen years safely and I won't have to face this. I do worry that my daughter could "try" drugs, and then what would I do? I'd be terrified, angry, and ill-equipped to deal with it. Maybe that's why I read these books; to figure out how I'd handle things if it happened to me.

I'm being melodramatic, I know, but listen to David Sheff's memoir. He never expected it would happen to his family, either.

1 comment:

  1. "And yet, I am drawn to stories of addiction again and again. Probably because I can't understand it."

    I'm that way with some things too. Not addiction, specifically, but I still understand the compulsion.

    And yes, like you, I think I would be far more moved by the father's memoir than the son's. I think both take an incredible amount of bravery to write, though, and I can respect that. I'm not sure I'd ever have the guts to be a memoirist.