A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction
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 Sheff’s journey through his son Nic’s 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.
reviews and praise…
“This is a brilliant, harrowing, heart-breaking, fascinating book, full of beautiful moments and hard-fought wisdom. This book is going to save a lot of lives, and help heal a lot of hearts. I absolutely could not put it down: I read it straight through in two nights.”
– Ann Lamott, author of Grace (Eventually), Bird by Bird, and Operating Instructions
“Sheff’s story is honest, reflective and deeply moving. Sadly, it is a story all too relevant for our troubled times. When one of us tells the truth, he makes it easier for all of us to open our hearts to our own pain and to that of others. That’s ultimately what Beautiful Boy is about: truth and healing.”
– Mary Pipher, Author of Writing to Change the World and Reviving Ophelia
“Those of us who love an addict – or are addicts ourselves – will find BEAUTIFUL BOY a revelation. David Sheff knows all too well what must be endured with faith, and his extraordinary book describes it better than anything else I’ve read. While painfully candid, BEAUTIFUL BOY is equally optimistic and powerful.”
– Martin Sheen, actor
“Beautiful Boy is so beautifully written that it will come as a welcome balm to millions of parents and loved ones who thought they were making this journey alone.”
– Armistead Maupin, author of Michael Tolliver Lives and The Night Listener
“An extraordinary story of pain, perseverance and hope.”
– William C. Moyers, Author of Broken
“Here are the mysteries of love and grief, fear and faith, power and surrender. Here is a perilous, redemptive read: a text for any father, any parent, any one who has ever wrestled with holding on and letting go.”
– Thomas Lynch, author of The Undertaking and Bodies in Motion and at Rest
“This story of parental love is a masterpiece of description and feeling. Sheff portrays addiction and its confusion in a way which is immediate, informative and heartbreaking. His quest for healing is a riveting suspense story which will enlighten and compel anyone who has ever dealt with addiction, and anyone who has ever raised a child.”
– Susan Cheever, author of Note Found in a Bottle and My Name Is Bill
“My generation experimented with drugs and, now that we are parents, we’re caught off guard. We never contemplated having to face what David Sheff has faced. He writes with candor, courage, and grace his family’s harrowing – and sadly not atypical – story. Beautiful Boy is an important book. It is moving, timely, and sobering. It’s also startlingly beautiful.”
– Sir Richard Branson, chairman, Virgin Group