Posts Tagged david sheff
As I read the latter half of Beautiful Boy, I had a sudden revelation. My late father was an alcoholic and had been for my entire existence. My whole life, I felt my mother and myself were the only victims of his disease. I never realized the impact my father’s alcoholism must’ve had on my paternal grandparents until I read this book–the nights they stayed awake worrying about him, the disappointment my grandfather felt each time my father failed at a job, and how difficult it must’ve been for my grandfather to call the police on his own son after my father hit my mom with a large metal pole during one of his binges. I always only saw it through my own eyes. I felt alone as an adolescent because I didn’t think anyone else knew my pain. Now I realize there were people all around me who understood, my own family. I didn’t have to be alone.
David Sheff’s account of his son’s drug addiction has a lot of wisdom for abusers and their families. It tells the process of learning, dealing, and forgiving, all of which are essential in any relationship. The story is told with facts, research, and advice in addition to the obvious emotional undertones.
I’m looking forward to reading Tweak by Nicolas Sheff, David Sheff’s son, to understand the story from another perspective.
“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.”
As I near the middle of the book, I wonder if I had brought the same heartbreaks to my mother as Nic did to his father as he battled drug addiction.
I was never addicted to drugs, although I admit to having experimented. My mother has never known about my “experiments’, though. I have confessed the use of drugs by my friends to my mother, but never my own usage. A rational person may connect the dots–you are who you surround yourself with (especially during the fragile teenage years). A mother’s denial, however, could rival any addict’s.
No, my mother’s heartbreak was not from the thought of me dying from an overdose. It was and still is caused by my absence in her life, from countless messages on my cell phone before she hears back from me, and from the half-hearted laughs I produce after she tells me a joke. It’s not that I don’t love her. It’s not because I don’t care about her feelings. It’s because I don’t feel connected to her. For one thing, it’s hard to express myself in a language I’ve long forgotten. Listening to Chinese isn’t as difficult, so most of our conversations involve her speaking as I nod in understanding. It’s easy to blame a language gap for a disconnection, but there’s more to it. I just can’t put my finger on it right now.