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Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction Paperback – January 6, 2009
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"An excellent book that all parents can relate to whatever their children's situation." Library Journal Starred
“Those of us who love an addict — or are addicts ourselves — will find BEAUTIFUL BOY a revelation." — Martin Sheen, actor
"A welcome balm to millions…who thought they were making this journey alone."— Armistead Maupin, author of The Night Listener
"This book is going to save a lot of lives, and help heal…hearts." — Anne Lamott, author of Grace (Eventually)
“…moving, timely, and sobering. It’s also startlingly beautiful." - Sir Richard Branson, chairman, Virgin Group
“An extraordinary story of pain, perseverance and hope.” — William C. Moyers, author of Broken
“…honest, reflective and deeply moving. BEAUTIFUL BOY is about: truth and healing.” — Mary Pipher, author of Reviving Ophelia
"For…any one who has ever wrestled with holding on and letting go.” — Thomas Lynch, author of The Undertaking
“A masterpiece of description and feeling…immediate, informative and heartbreaking.” — Susan Cheever, author of Note Found in a Bottle
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So when I found out that his father also wrote a book about his son's addiction, I just had to have it. Let me tell you, Beautiful Boy tore me apart. I've only experienced life from the point of view of someone on meth. I thought I was being considerate, I always checked in with my family on a weekly basis. I was home at least twice a week. I worked full time, but still liked to go crazy with my friends. After reading this book (okay, while reading it) I cried and apologized to my parents, my grandparents, and my uncle for all the hell I had put them through. I honestly had no clue that I was hurting people so badly.
If you're an addict, if you have a child that is an addict, even if you're neither, READ THIS BOOK.
As a recovering addict myself, (13 yrs., 11 mos., 11 days), as well as a parent, it was really hard for me to read at times but I'm SO glad I did.
This is an amazingly touching book that is at times funny, emotional, heart wrenching, and hopeful. I would recommend this to book to everyone but especially to those struggling with either side of addiction.
Very well written, spellbinding in its own way, the reader will have a hard time staying neutral to the players in this personal tragedy. Sheff admits that for years people have given well-meaning advice and criticism. You should have done this. Why on earth did you do that. Until and unless you've had to deal with HIS issues, there is no right or wrong. Sheff did the best he could at the time with the information he had, at that static moment in time. No parent can say they haven't done the same thing. And who knows if the result would have been the same after all?
Siblings, family, partners and friends have their own experiences with their addict, but a parent is a bit different. As Sheff points out, we are the soft place for them to fall, the most influential people in their lives until we send them off into the world and their tiny circle widens to include day care workers, teachers, coaches and friends. As parents we hand them over, so to speak, and our sphere of influence diminishes as the years go by- as it should. The mistake Sheff made, and he freely admits it, is that he was under the impression that he had armed his child with the tools he needed to succeed, and when that seemed to fail, Sheff began to question what exactly he had done to contribute to that failure.
It is common if not universal among the parents of addicted children to blame their parenting. Other people will also look first to the home environment. Sheff takes a long hard look at himself and his parenting, and still has a hard time forgiving himself for mistakes he made. But who doesn't make mistakes? Conversely, does that mean parents get to take the credit for every good thing their child does? Is it right for a parent to take credit for the successes or failures of their child? And failure and success are rather subjective anyhow. Sheff does not really address this, although he tries hard to forgive himself, which he should. I really hope he has succeeded.
What struck a deep note with me was how accurately he describes the sea change in parenting expectations... one day you are thrilled to see an A in spelling and almost the next you wake up grateful that the police haven't knocked on your door telling you that your child is dead.
I have not read Nic Sheff's book yet, I want to leave a little break between the two. But I highly recommend this book for anyone who has ever been touched by addiction of any kind. It won't do a thing to prevent addiction but it may give you a gleam of insight into the silent and desperate life of the friend, co-worker or relative who has a child in trouble.