Audio Book Review: Tweak: Growing up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff

Release Date: February 19, 2008
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Format: Audio
Length: 12 hours 16 minutes
Narrator: Paul Michael Garcia
Genre: Drug use/biography
Buy: Audible | Kindle | Paperback


Nic Sheff was drunk for the first time at age eleven. In the years that followed, he would regularly smoke pot, do cocaine and Ecstasy, and develop addictions to crystal meth and heroin. Even so, he felt like he would always be able to quit and put his life together whenever he needed to. It took a violent relapse one summer in California to convince him otherwise. In a voice that is raw and honest, Nic spares no detail in telling us the compelling, heartbreaking, and true story of his relapse and the road to recovery. As we watch Nic plunge into the mental and physical depths of drug addiction, he paints a picture for us of a person at odds with his past, with his family, with his substances, and with himself. It's a harrowing portrait—but not one without hope.


The other reviews of this book were either great and "couldn't put it down" or "this guy is a self absorbed party boy who takes his parents money for granted...." etc. 

I found this a tough listen as a person who has lived with an addict while in active addiction and dealing with a step-child addicted to Heroin. Its hard to understand how Nic feels about drugs and why he keeps relapsing when he seems to have so much support but I can relate to Nic's story.  This is a brutally honest account of what it is like to be addicted. Relapse is so common. It makes me wonder if people who had so much disdain for Nic Sheff have ever had any experience with addicts.

But Nic Sheff is more than just an addict which some people seem to be missing, Nic Sheff is bi-polar. His mental illness keeps him on a cycle of relapse and recovery. He starts to spin on things and then finds himself down the rabbit hole once more.  He is the first to admit that not treating his bipolar was not only stupid but kept him on this cycle of addiction. 

He struggles with the 12 steps because he doesn't believe in God.  I have heard this many times and from different people who have left 12 step programs because it was too difficult to identify with some of the steps even though they know its suppose to be a very effective program. I wish that someone could come up with a group that didn't put so much emphasis on God. Its tough to be in a meeting that is supposed to be about a higher power yet they are reciting the Lords Prayer...I feel that this part of AA and other 12 step programs can be very alienating.

In this day of so much misery surrounding opiates I think this is a really important book.  Its a way to try to put yourself in the addicts shoes, to try to see through their eyes.  I have a hard time understanding it since I've never struggled with drugs or alcohol. This need to numb out is alien so reading books like this help me gain more empathy toward those who struggle with this difficult disease.

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