Tweak: Growing up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff

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Image credit: Goodreads

Tweak is a memoir written by Nic Sheff about his struggle with his addiction to crystal meth. The book opens with him relapsing, living on the street, looking for his next high, and follows him through near death experiences and several realizations that he needed help. But would his family and friends really help him after all the lies and stealing?

What I found most interesting about this memoir is that, while Sheff’s story is directly relatable to addicts and their families, I think some of his experiences can also be relatable to readers who have never taken drugs. Although the main focus of the story is on his addiction and learning how to fight and control it, the story also goes into underlying factors, such as his constant need to feel accepted by those around him and the need to please others. This is a feeling that many people deal with, and I thought the perspective Sheff’s psychiatrists put on to his constant dependence on others was very eye-opening.

The thing about this book was that it was very raw and very real. Sheff does not skimp on the details of his addiction, going into detail of the needs and thoughts of an addict, and the up and down emotions he felt, such as stealing from his family so he could get high, then feeling extremely bad about it and knowing they could never forgive him for what he’s done. Throughout the story he pines for a life that he so desperately wants, but that he knows he can never have because every time he gets anywhere near achieving his goal, his addiction takes over and everything is destroyed.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. Whether you’re an addict, a family member or friend of an addict, or none of the above, I think it’s a story that anyone can find a lesson in. It helps readers who have never had to deal with any of these experiences get into the head of an addict and see their daily struggle.

As a side note, Nic Sheff’s dad actually wrote his own memoir about his experience with his son’s addiction called Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction and I’m thinking about putting it on my ‘to read’ list. If it is anything like Tweak, it will be well worth the read.

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