Based on the two texts, Beautiful Boy by David Sheff and Tweak by Nicholas Sheff | My Paper Hub
Overcoming addiction is often a
Overcoming addiction is often a
challenge to the victims of substance abuse. Beautiful Boy is a memoir by David Sheff which narrates the tale of
a family and how they handled the addiction of their son Nic on
methamphetamine. However, the view of the son was written in a different memoir
by Nic Sheff in a book known as Tweak.
The two tales talk of the addiction of Nic, a young individual who relapsed
severally after attempts to rehabilitate him. However, there exist several
discrepancies in the two journals as discussed by the father and son. The paper
aims to discuss the personal challenges faced by a drug addict and the
resulting consequences based on the experiences of Nic from both memoirs.
Physical/psychological impact of drug
According to David's journal, Nic got
drunk at age eleven for the first time. In the following years, he frequently
did cocaine, smoked pot, and did Ecstasy. He then later developed addictions to
heroin and crystal meth. However, he had a perception that whenever he felt
like quitting taking the drugs, he would easily do it and take a step to put
his life organized. One summer in California, his addiction took a fierce
relapse that convinced him that he had lost control (Sheff, 2009). In the
memoir Tweak, a raw and honest voice
of Nic spares no detail in describing the tragic, compelling, and true
narrative of his deterioration and the path to recovery. Nic plunges into
physical and mental rock bottom of drug addiction, as he portrays an image of
an individual at odds with his history, with his substances, with his family,
and also with himself.
The psychological impact on Nic
entailed psychological tolerance to the effects of crystal meth which made him
desire to ever-increase amounts of intake. He also found himself falling into
depressions occasionally and faced with hallucinations. His behavior also
changed and had mood swings which created anxiety in him (Tracy, 2017). The
physical impact on Nic involved changes in his appetite and irregularly
sleeping patterns as narrated by his father in the book Beautiful Boy. The frequent use of the drug placed him in the risk
of contracting sexually transmitted diseases as a result of a desire to engage
in risky behavior. Signs included Nic's anti-social behavior and withdrawal
from their relationship. He changed his group of friends, and eventually, some
physical symptoms appeared such as loss of weight and change in skin color.
His addiction significantly affected
his family alongside his loved ones. His relationship with his mother took much
time to affect her directly. The reason for this was because she was missing from
his everyday life. She had little understanding of what addiction entailed and
the negative aspect of drug abuse. However, when Nic moved closer to her, she
became more aware of the impact of the dependency when she finds Nic attempting
to steal from her garage (Sheff, 2009). It is also evident from the memoir that
Nic's addiction affected Karen and David's relationship. Despite her love for
Nic, Karen became protective once she got her children and was upset by David's
attempt to help Nic.
Drug addiction impacts an individual
from all perspectives, and the society gets influenced by the actions of a
person addict. The story of Nic describes a very supportive family, but
previously the father is accused of enabling the supply of drugs to him
(Nichols, 2017). The father used to smoke in front of the children, and this
could be a contributing factor to the early introduction of Nic into smoking.
The family also faced financial struggles as they had to pay for his
rehabilitation fees which were costly. The constant medical care and attention
needed by Nic upon taken to rehabilitation facilities made the family spend a
lot, especially with his constant relapse (Sheff, 2009). The use of
methamphetamine also impacted the environment negatively. The production of the
crystal meth which Nic depended on is highly flammable and hazardous. When such
chemicals get stored, they may cause explosions and fires at labs where they
Upon Nic becoming volatile, he started
stealing from the family, and that is when the motherly instincts in Karen
kicked in to safeguard her young children. Karen still loved Nic, but her
realization that helping Nic was no longer helping him at all was quicker than
that of the rest. The protection instincts of Karen created tension in the
marriage. The fact is that Nic was David's son which made David feel guilty for
his addiction and this took him longer to give up on him (Nichols, 2017). Nic's
addiction also impacted his siblings to a great extent. It is a norm for
younger siblings to emulate their older siblings hence in the process they
trust them indirectly. When Nic began stealing even from his little siblings,
the trust they had in him got broken leaving them scared and confused (Sheff,
2009). They got worried whenever they heard and witnessed their mother and
father fight over Nic, and this broke their fragile hearts.
The intense cravings for drugs
alongside the costly aspect of narcotics drove Nic to commit crimes such as
stealing even from the family to secure drugs. Nic engaged in taking property
belonging to his family with an intention to exchange for drugs or get money to
buy the drugs (Sheff, 2009). The crimes such as theft, burglary, and larceny
may range from a misdemeanor to felony, and all have penalties depending on the
Drug abuse and domestic violence are
strongly interconnected. Domestic violence exhibited by David in his memoir a Beautiful Boy indicates drug addiction
leading to the separation and divorce from David's mother. Approximately 25 to
50 percent of domestic acts of violence get committed by men having alcohol or
drug problems. The drug addicts tend to be violent more regularly and impose
severe injuries to their partners and family. Such violent acts are punishable
Financial and Vocational Impact
Addicts, as well as their families, pay
highly for substance abuse, regarding funds consumed on the drug substance or
in the form of job and wages opportunities lost as a result of drug dependency.
Nic became a burden to the family of David and Karen as the expenses they
incurred in all rehabilitation facilities he was taken to only to relapse later
were costly (Sheff 2009). He had low productivity and ended up engaging in
criminal activities. The society also contributes substantial amounts to such
issues like health care expenditures, vanished productivity, law enforcement
efforts related to drug activities, drug treatment programs, and lastly housing
and upkeep of drug criminals in prisons and jails. The financial difficulties
of substance abuse get accumulated by the compromised intellectual capabilities
experienced when under the influence.
The emphasis on treatment of drug
addiction has become more inclusive in current years, with some evaluation of
vocational functioning and work history being a part of the intake procedure
like Addiction Severity Index. It is often required by welfare reform and
managed care. Though, the delivery of vocational amenities by drug abuse
management programs still need expansion. Some of the primary motives for the
absence of vocational facilities in management programs comprise of the present
stress on an outpatient or briefer methods of treatment which are
cost-efficient (Nichols, 2017). The shorter the period a client spends in
treatment, the lower the cost which is a philosophy of therapy that is not
vocationally driven. Vocational services
in the traditional setting emphasized comprehensive evaluation, building
esteem, skill building, and modification to social situations, alongside having
an elementary education (Center for Substance Abuse Treatment., 2017). Today's
attention is on labor first and getting employment quickly, which attempts to
avert drug addicts from lacking financial sustenance when assistance from the
public ends, which ignores the emphases by the traditional approach. The
approach benefits the low-skilled, unemployed clients to obtain work fast but
prevents these persons from advancing into better paying and higher satisfying
Recovery strategies for Nic
The integrated approach of recovery
with aid in detox program was an effective treatment plan for Nic, and also it
set time was much longer than the initial programs. I consider a combination of
meditation, creative outlets, group therapy, and personal therapy assisted in
the recovery process of Nic. His parents were anxious about a weekend for the
family since they had been there before as well and did it. However, upon
seeing how the treatment package was impacting Nic in a different way and using
new communication methods such as art and even family mapping facilitated
opening up a more sensitive side of him than any other treatment they had
previously (Sheff, 2009).
The recovery strategy entailed an
integrative treatment, and it includes; provision of centralized care within a
separate recovery facility, a cooperative team for rehabilitation that involves
addiction counselors, and psychologists, alongside other trained professionals
in Dual Diagnosis care ("Bipolar Disorder and Addiction | Dual Diagnosis",
2017). Also, a particular personal psychotherapy that centers on handling Nic's
emotions while reducing the threat of substance abuse is part of treatment.
There also exists the need for psychiatric treatment to help him control the
mood swings of a bipolar disorder patient. Lastly, support from a peer group
battling a mood disorder and addiction will help significantly.
Knowledge contains power, and in the
case of Nic's addiction, the mere fact that he was a bi-polar contributed into
his constant relapses. The fact that the treatment he was taken first only
focused on the drug addiction and ignored his bipolar disorder, made it hard
for him to recuperate fully. Nic also stated that while under a treatment
center in Arizona, he realized that the recovery was for self and not for the
benefit of his family or others. It was a vital realization for him. He had
loving parents at his disposal who possessed financial capability. Nic also had
a support system of friends in addition to being well educated. However, he had
to regularly listen to his parents fighting, going through emotional stressors
of his parents divorcing that split his life into two hence the need to keep
choosing a side. His father's lifestyle, which made him as a young child goes to
places he should have never gone contributed to his addiction. However, proper
treatment helped in his recovery despite all the difficulties he faced (Sheff,
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