I found this book randomly while I was checking out the titles in the YA section at the store. I have not been closely associated with anyone who has had a drug or alcohol problem (knocks on my wooden coffee table), so the struggles that a person and a family goes through is pretty foreign to me. Tweak gives the reader a unfiltered, real view into the life of an addict and how quickly things can become out of control for them.
Sheff wrote this book as a memoir documenting his many years’ long struggle to get and stay sober. He documents the extreme measures that he went to in order to get his hands on the drugs he “needed”. He stole from his loved ones, sold belongings, sold himself, among other shocking things. The individuals that he met throughout his time using were just as destructive as Sheff was. Reading these parts of the book made me realize just how influential individuals can be on a person’s life whether it is positive or negative. One of those individuals was his ex-girlfriend Zelda who used just as heavily as Sheff did. They fed each other’s addictions to the point where they almost died.
Despite all of the destructive behavior that Sheff subjected himself to, there was one common thread that was woven through the book: hope. Throughout the book, there were instances where he was more hopeful than in other parts and some times where he had no hope at all. Even if Sheff did not explicitly say it, he alluded to it multiple times throughout the memoir. Even though there were times throughout the book where his parents did not seem supportive of him, they always hold onto some hope for Nic as well. Even though I have not been addicted to drugs, I can relate to Sheff in this regard when I was suffering through depression and anxiety; there did not seem to be a way out. I guess there was always a little part of me that knew I was going to get out of this alive and that is why I kept myself alive.
I highly recommend this book. I understand that for some people it might be off-limits because of their own personal experiences, but for those of you like myself who will (hopefully) never see this with your own eyes, Sheff holds nothing back while writing this book.