One Family’s Journey to Crystal Meth Rehab
Drug addiction is a secret that many families find too painful to discuss. There is also a strong sense of shame, especially for parents of young adults who have become addicted to deadly drugs like crystal meth and who refuse to seek treatment. Journalist David Sheff put aside this shame in 2008 and wrote a memoir called Beautiful Boy about his son Nic. Sheff, who Time Magazine listed as one of the most influential people of 2009, described how he and his family struggled with Nic's addiction and eventually convinced him to enter crystal meth rehab.
Sheff went public with his family's story in order to help other people who need crystal meth rehab. "I realized the power of telling a story like this because if opens the doors to other people," said Sheff in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. "It gives people permission to discuss it."
Nic's problems may have been triggered by his parents' divorce while he was still in elementary school. His father thought he was a happy child, but by the time he was in middle school he had started drinking and was smoking marijuana every day. As a teenager he used LSD, ecstasy and cocaine before trying crystal meth at age 18. Like so many people who eventually need crystal meth rehab, Nic became addicted the first time he tried it. A feeling of euphoria that lasted for hours was followed by a painful crash as the effects wore off. After that, he used meth daily to avoid the pain of crashing.
Although Nic's parents knew he was in trouble, they were in denial about the extent of his crystal meth addiction and his need for rehab. Before long Nic left home and began living as a meth addict on the streets, supporting his habit by dealing drugs and stealing. According to Nic's father, "Methamphetamine stole his soul. Our lives descended…into what can only be described as hell."
Nic agreed to enter crystal meth rehab only after experiencing meth-induced psychosis and being hospitalized for an overdose. He has found that recovery is an ongoing process and that relapse is part of the journey to sobriety. Now in his late twenties, he is more aware of the effect of his addiction on his parents and siblings and he has returned to rehab each time he relapsed. Nic Sheff has also authored a book about his addiction entitled Tweak: Growing up on Methamphetamines. Both David Sheff and his son Nic hope their story will other families who are on the journey to crystal meth rehab.