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Author of Book on Addiction Struggles with Relapse


Nic Sheff has written a highly regarded book on addiction but is still waging a very public battle with relapse, CNN reported April 16.

Sheff’s book, “Tweak,” details the personal costs incurred by the author’s addiction to crack, heroin, methamphetamine, and other drugs. His father, David, earlier wrote a book describing his experience in dealing with Nic’s addiction to methamphetamine, called, “Beautiful Boy.”

Nic Sheff, 26, got clean and wrote his book, but relapsed last May and again in October. “I am isolated, alone, disgusted with everything and, most especially, myself,” Scheff recently wrote to CNN. “I am filled to overflowing with pain and torment and weight.”

Sheff said the relapses were due to a breakup with his girlfriend and struggles with his bipolar disorder. He said he started using prescription drugs and smoking marijuana because, “I just felt like I needed relief so badly.”

“Relapse is certainly sometimes part of the disease process,” said Kevin Clark, medical director at Hazelden. “Our figures are about 53 percent to 56 percent of patients remain abstinent for a year.”

Sheff’s battle with addiction, described in the book, led to homelessness and street crime. Repeated tries at treatment eventually led to recovery.

The author described the latest relapse as a downward spiral. “I was like, well, I’ve already relapsed so I might as well take these, and then when once I was taking those, I was like, well, I might as well go get pot from this guy,” he said.

Eventually, he got back into treatment and moved to a sober home. “I was trying to do it on my own and be really strong on my own, and if this process has taught me anything, it’s that I really have to reach out to other people for help,” he said. “I really struggle with it. I wish I didn’t struggle with it, because I see it work for so many people, and I’m very envious of people’s ability to be so swept up in it and have it help them so much.”

“I have a disease, and my brain is different than other people’s, and that’s really nothing to be ashamed of,” Sheff said, adding: “I think I can be someone who no longer uses drugs.” 

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