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Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Sheff's story is a first: a teenager's addiction from the parent's point of view — a real-time chronicle of the shocking descent into substance abuse and the gradual emergence into hope.

Before meth, Sheff's son Nic was a varsity athlete, honor student, and award-winning journalist. After meth, he was a trembling wraith who stole money from his eight-year-old brother and lived on the streets. With haunting candor, Sheff traces the first subtle warning signs, the denial (by both child and parents), the three A.M. phone calls (is it Nic? the police? the hospital?), the attempts at rehab, and, at last, the way past addiction. He shows us that, whatever an addict's fate, the rest of the family must care for each other too, lest they become addicted to addiction.

Meth is the fastest-growing drug in the United States, as well as the most addictive and the most dangerous — wreaking permanent brain damage faster than any other readily available drug. It has invaded every region and demographic in America. This book is the first that treats meth and its impact in depth. But it is not just about meth. Nic's addiction has wrought the same damage that any addiction will wreak. His story, and his father's, are those of any family that contains an addict — and one in three American families does.

Review:

"Expanding on his New York Times Magazine article, Sheff chronicles his son's downward spiral into addiction and the impact on him and his family. A bright, capable teenager, Nic began trying mind- and mood-altering substances when he was 17. In months, use became abuse, then abuse became addiction. By the time Sheff knew of his son's condition, Nic was strung out on meth, the highly potent stimulant. While his son struggles to get clean, his second wife and two younger children are pulled helplessly into the drama. Sheff, as the parent of an addict, cycles through denial and acceptance and resistance. The author was already a journalist of considerable standing when this painful story began to unfold, and his impulse for detail serves him personally as well as professionally: there are hard, solid facts about meth and the kinds of havoc it wreaks on individuals, families and communities both urban and rural. His journey is long and harrowing, but Sheff does not spare himself or anyone else from keen professional scrutiny any more than he was himself spared the pains — and joys — of watching a loved one struggling with addiction and recovery. Real recovery creates — and can itself be — its own reward; this is an honest, hopeful book, coming at a propitious moment in the meth epidemic." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"When David Sheff discovered marijuana in his 12-year-old son's possession, he was concerned, but not unduly alarmed. Sheff, like many others of his generation, had taken drugs in college. But the problems didn't stop there. Through the next decade, Sheff searched frantically for his son along grimy San Francisco streets, endured sleepless nights when he feared that his beloved son was dead, and enjoyed... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"An excellent book that all parents can relate to whatever their children's situation." Library Journal

Review:

"A clear picture of what meth addiction does to a user and those who love him that may help other families better cope with this growing problem." Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

Sheff's story tells of his teenage son's addiction to meth, in this real-time chronicle of the shocking descent into substance abuse and the family's gradual emergence into hope.

Synopsis:

What had happened to my beautiful boy? To our family? What did I do wrong? Those are the wrenching questions that haunted every moment of David Sheffs journey through his son Nics addiction to drugs and tentative steps toward recovery. Before Nic Sheff became addicted to crystal meth, he was a charming boy, joyous and funny, a varsity athlete and honor student adored by his two younger siblings. After meth, he was a trembling wraith who lied, stole, and lived on the streets. David Sheff traces the first subtle warning signs: the denial, the 3 A.M. phone calls (is it Nic? the police? the hospital?), the rehabs. His preoccupation with Nic became an addiction in itself, and the obsessive worry and stress took a tremendous toll. But as a journalist, he instinctively researched every avenue of treatment that might save his son and refused to give up on Nic.

Beautiful Boy is a fiercely candid memoir that brings immediacy to the emotional rollercoaster of loving a child who seems beyond help.

About the Author

David Sheff's work has appeared in the New York Times, Outside, Rolling Stone, Wired, Fortune, and elsewhere. His piece for the New York Times Magazine, "My Addicted Son," generated several hundred letters from readers and won an award from the American Psychological Association for "Outstanding Contribution to Advancing the Understanding of Addiction."

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

PART I Stay Up Late 17 PART II His Drug of Choice 105 PART III Whatever 123 PART IV If Only 171 PART V Never Any Knowing 235

Epilogue 307

Acknowledgments 319

Resources 321

Credits 325

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 13 comments:

Scarecrow, April 2, 2014 (view all comments by Scarecrow)
in my class we had to read this book, and in all honesty, i could really relate to the book, allthough in my life i have had many people around me addicted to something, but not untill recently i have actually known someone in my life who was addicted to meth and it is hard to see someone go through with it, but seeing how david handled his sons addiction was hard to go through (just guessing due to what i read) to deal with someone you know and care for, to watch them slip away from life slowly but watching every step of them getting closer to the brink of death, and not being able to fully help.

but the way he did it soon enough worked for the most part, but in all other things it was a good book all around, i liked it and others will like it to if they can relate to the problem of the book, or if u just want to read it, its something you can get hooked into
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Oscv, March 27, 2014 (view all comments by Oscv)
I would personally define it as a "different" experience. Personally I didn't really like how David kept repeating "If only I.." and blaming himself because of Nic's problem, I actually got tired of it. I see it from a general perspective, a drug addict will never change unless he wants to, and yes rehab works but thinks about it, the patient goes if he wants to. It's just up to him. But still, there are definitely some things that I will not understand until I'm a parent, maybe when I become one my viewpoint about this book will change. From another perspective, it's awesome to see how much a parent can love his kid, even though Nic was doing all those things David never gave up, he was there for him, waiting for his son to come back. Great book, i really got into it when reading it, if you have some relation with someone who is across some kind of drug addiction problem then this is definitely your book. It also taught me some things I didn't know about drug addicts and opened my mind a little further than what I knew and could see.

Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Oscv, March 27, 2014 (view all comments by Oscv)
I would personally define it as a "different" experience. Personally I didn't really like how David kept repeating "If only I.." and blaming himself because of Nic's problem, I actually got tired of it. I see it from a general perspective, a drug addict will never change unless he wants to, and yes rehab works but thinks about it, the patient goes if he wants to. It's just up to him. But still, there are definitely some things that I will not understand until I'm a parent, maybe when I become one my viewpoint about this book will change. From another perspective, it's awesome to see how much a parent can love his kid, even though Nic was doing all those things David never gave up, he was there for him, waiting for his son to come back. Great book, i really got into it when reading it, if you have some relation with someone who is across some kind of drug addiction problem then this is definitely your book. It also taught me some things I didn't know about drug addicts and opened my mind a little further than what I knew and could see.

Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(0 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780618683352
Subtitle:
A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction
Author:
Sheff, David
Publisher:
Mariner Books
Location:
Boston
Subject:
Drug abuse
Subject:
Children of divorced parents
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Specific Groups - Special Needs
Subject:
Psychopathology - Addiction
Subject:
BIO026000
Subject:
Drug abuse -- Treatment -- California.
Subject:
Methamphetamine abuse - Treatment -
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
August 2007
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8 x 5.31 in 0.72 lb

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Health and Self-Help » Recovery and Addiction » Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Health and Self-Help » Recovery and Addiction » General
Health and Self-Help » Recovery and Addiction » Personal Stories
Health and Self-Help » Recovery and Addiction » Substance Abuse and Addictions » Drug Dependence

Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Houghton Mifflin Company - English 9780618683352 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Expanding on his New York Times Magazine article, Sheff chronicles his son's downward spiral into addiction and the impact on him and his family. A bright, capable teenager, Nic began trying mind- and mood-altering substances when he was 17. In months, use became abuse, then abuse became addiction. By the time Sheff knew of his son's condition, Nic was strung out on meth, the highly potent stimulant. While his son struggles to get clean, his second wife and two younger children are pulled helplessly into the drama. Sheff, as the parent of an addict, cycles through denial and acceptance and resistance. The author was already a journalist of considerable standing when this painful story began to unfold, and his impulse for detail serves him personally as well as professionally: there are hard, solid facts about meth and the kinds of havoc it wreaks on individuals, families and communities both urban and rural. His journey is long and harrowing, but Sheff does not spare himself or anyone else from keen professional scrutiny any more than he was himself spared the pains — and joys — of watching a loved one struggling with addiction and recovery. Real recovery creates — and can itself be — its own reward; this is an honest, hopeful book, coming at a propitious moment in the meth epidemic." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "An excellent book that all parents can relate to whatever their children's situation."
"Review" by , "A clear picture of what meth addiction does to a user and those who love him that may help other families better cope with this growing problem."
"Synopsis" by , Sheff's story tells of his teenage son's addiction to meth, in this real-time chronicle of the shocking descent into substance abuse and the family's gradual emergence into hope.
"Synopsis" by ,
What had happened to my beautiful boy? To our family? What did I do wrong? Those are the wrenching questions that haunted every moment of David Sheffs journey through his son Nics addiction to drugs and tentative steps toward recovery. Before Nic Sheff became addicted to crystal meth, he was a charming boy, joyous and funny, a varsity athlete and honor student adored by his two younger siblings. After meth, he was a trembling wraith who lied, stole, and lived on the streets. David Sheff traces the first subtle warning signs: the denial, the 3 A.M. phone calls (is it Nic? the police? the hospital?), the rehabs. His preoccupation with Nic became an addiction in itself, and the obsessive worry and stress took a tremendous toll. But as a journalist, he instinctively researched every avenue of treatment that might save his son and refused to give up on Nic.

Beautiful Boy is a fiercely candid memoir that brings immediacy to the emotional rollercoaster of loving a child who seems beyond help.

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