DoseNation Podcast

Weekly news, talk, and interviews. More »


'Tweak' author Nic Sheff on relapse

Nic Sheff loved drugs.

Crack. Powdered cocaine. Ecstasy. Heroin. And his favorite, crystal methamphetamine.

"When I did crystal meth for the first time, it was like the answer to my problems. I felt strong and confident, just like a superstar or something," said Sheff, who is 26.

He kicked his addiction and wrote "Tweak," a popular book about the toll drugs took on his life. His recovery looked like a success. Everyone, including Sheff, thought he had beaten his disease.

But he went over the edge again. He relapsed last May and again in October.

This large article on CNN talks about the difficulties of trying to kick addiction even when you're successful and have tons of support. But then again, this is a family that has made addiction a public badge of shame. Nic's father David Sheff published "Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Meth Addiction." And even though Nic is a recovering addict in the spotlight who often speaks on addiction and recovery, he has no real words of wisdom to offer for people in his situation.

"You know, it doesn't make sense. It's not fun. At a certain point, it's not even giving me that relief anymore. It's just this compulsion that I can't break. In that sense, I'll always be a drug addict," Sheff said.
Posted By jamesk at 2009-04-16 12:03:43 permalink | comments
Tags: tweak books
Facebook it! Twitter it! Digg it! Reddit! StumbleUpon It! Google Bookmark technorati Furl Yahoo! Bookmark
» More ways to bookmark this page

ricky. : 2013-01-08 11:03:26
Nic, first and foremost dont rely on God cuz there isnt one. Man up and stay clean or dont...up to u..i always said "once ur an addict u will always use with brief relapses of sobriety" the rabbit hole is very deep....
notes on True Beauty..signed, He loves *me..8/25/2011. : 2011-08-25 11:42:46

It's a fear that keeps me wide awake
In the middle of the night
When the expectations are too great
And the bar gets raised too high

So I do the best with what I've got
And hope that no one knows
That I strain to see how high I can
Try to stand on these toes
Until I'm measured, but You know better


So, thank-You, Jesus
Even when You see us just as we are
Fragile and frail and so far
From who we want to be

So, thank-You, Jesus

Even when the pieces are broken and small

Dreams shatter and scatter like the wind

Thank-You, even then

So I put aside the masquerade
And admit that I am not okay

Which may not be the thing to say

But I'm not ashamed to need You more each day


So, thank-You, Jesus

Even when the pieces are broken and small

Dreams shatter and scatter like the wind

Thank-You, even then

We raise the standard and try to reach You

But we'll never make it, and we don't need to

Nichole Nordeman- Even Then - YouTube

Navigation: N \ Nichole Nordeman \ Even Then

*penny bookbinder. : 2011-04-28 20:23:21
robert marshall. : 2010-12-25 01:53:57
i love and appreciate penny bookbinder

~thank you robert marshall

likewise, I am sure


guest : 2011-03-03 21:15:49
Hello! I am an ex meth addict! I really did spend my teen yrs on meth! I am now your average soccer mom. Just an FYI for those who read this book there is 1 big thing wrong with it!!! YOU CANNOT BRING METH NEAR AN OPEN FLAME! YOU DO NOT COOK IT DOWN BEFORE SHOOTING IT! Any real meth head knows this! I am sure Nic really did have drug problems however I highly doubt he ever shot dope! If he had he would have known it goes up in a quick ball of flame! Simple people, really. I am happy he has helped so many however I feel I has stole something from real ex tweekers who have gone through this and made himself rich off of it!
Kelly P. : 2011-02-28 08:27:34

I have read your book Tweak a number of times, it seems to be the only book I want to read. I too have had my addictions, but when I read your book I don't want to use. I just wanted to let you know that your book has helped me to get clean, I have relapsed but I will just pick up your book and start reading. I would love to have a 1 on 1 conversation with you. If you would like to write me back I will greatly appriciate it.

Thank you for telling your story,

Kelly L. Peters

Jennifer Grace Fels. : 2011-02-06 23:55:33

I have read your book, "Tweak" as well as your father's book,"Beautiful Boy."
I just wanted to take the opportunity to write to you and your father and let you know how much I have learned about addiciton. I really like how you poured your heart and soul into bringing up very private, heartbreaking, painful experiences in your life and put it "out there" for everyone to read. The story seemed so real to me that I thought I was the addict going through the addiction myself. I felt the same way about your father's book, "Beautiful Boy"in that even though I am not a parent I can really feel the stress, anxiety, fear, and unconditional love that your father felt for you. I could really feel the anxiety. You and your father both did an excellent job of researching your subject matter and it must have taken a lot of hard work, dedication, long hours, lots of tears and sweat, and "backing" from people to help you put the books together and eventually put them out there for the public to read.
I think because of the descriptions in you and your father's books about the relentless search to fight addiction and to fight to help another person's addicition where a person gets right "down to the bone" and write descriptive subject matter and also describe bit by bit how one overcomes the addiction, you will touch a lot of lives and hopefully save a lot of lives.

Congratulations to you and your father on your published books. Stay strong, don't give up the good fight, and I will be always praying for you and your family members.

Thank you for taking the time to read my comment


Jennifer Grace Fels

ben . : 2011-01-18 18:31:12
My story is just as intersting. publish a book on my using days
robert marshall. : 2010-12-25 01:53:57
i love and appreciate penny bookbinder
Arlene Julia. : 2010-11-22 08:43:40
Harrowing and raw A must read for anyone going through the rat race of any kind of addiction that ultimately involves the entire family. I sometimes wonder how this young man managed to stay alive but I know now. He is a beautiful boy not ugly like he feels he once was. I feel like I know this man after entering his nightmare and fears. He is a great writer that gives both horror and hope. His struggles with G-d helped Good luck
savannah. : 2010-06-19 21:30:23
im 15 and i read your book about ten times. i loved your perspective on life, you are awesome at explaining exactly how you feel. i felt the way youve felt plenty of times.. because ive been using for about 4 years now. i went to rehab and got clean and sober about a month ago after i realized how miserable i was and the only reason i was using was to cover up how sick i really was, but i loved your book, you should defenitly write more about your life. ill be the first buyer. and you also inspired me to become a writer. i feel that its now my passion and im trying very hard to reach that goal..
*penny bookbinder. : 2010-06-16 14:54:21
thankyou, Allie, if you see this.

What you shared is true, and all I am trying to say. I appreciate your kind words on my behalf. You have shared my thoughts on this too.

Nic Sheff and his Dad, David, did a great, brave and humbling thing, sharing about Nic and their family's struggles with his addictions, and opening up so very vulnerably.

But we fall short with most success, when talking about, or thinking about recovery, without surrender to God ('higher power'), even at the very least, 'as you know that to be'.

I notice a lot of people lift Nic up, because I am sure his book may have helped inform many families, and help save lives, or keep them out of danger, in the process.

But, fact is, as gifted and generous as Nic and his family has been, Nic Sheff is a man, and all men have flaws and weaknesses, no matter how special, and good, at heart, they may be.

This, us all, the human condition and simply, reality.

So, while I do not want to take anything from lifting up Nic as a role model, a gifted writer, for sharing as he did, it must always be remembered, that there is one One Perfect One.

We don't even begin to grasp our own inability to see, let alone help ourselves, unless and until we start to, by steps of faith, roll our all on to Him.

Maybe that's why there is so much pernicious drug abuse in our culture? Such a 'can do' attitude, with so much self 'love' and pride mixed in? That kind of mindset may be great to help with everyday projects, not so great when you need to finally just,
"surrender all" to Him.

I know I have had to do a lot of praying in my life, and God has helped me.

I first learned the words from Hebrews:

"faith is the substance of things hoped for (the evidence of things unseen) ",

that lead to my own healing, back in the 1980's, via a recovering alcoholic,

who was just learning about trust and God.

It's important to stay humble, remain teachable and walk close to Him.

There are worse things at a drug discussion forum than someone who has true faith.

I could be making fun of someone, or laughing at them.

I could be making foolish, ignorant comments about Nic,
or others here. Like some callous, hard hearted ones did

on a side, but related note

God didn't pass out of popular culture, just because popular culture has tried to kick His shins, and push Him out of the world. I am sure you know, He was and is always there.

The first step can cause fear.

It gets better.

I encourage prayerful people to
contrast this music with these verses.



Matthew 5: 3-12

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

*Time to let Him tend Your

How do I know?

HE healed *ME!

I do not find addiction funny, and I have a growing compassion for those who have suffered with loved ones through it.

I pray for all addicts and their families.

There, but for God's grace.

Yes, I want Nic Sheff to live!

Janagan. : 2010-06-12 20:59:08
Beautiful Boy is great. David Sheff has presented a huge example of the results of drug abuse. It can happen to everyone and Nic can be your child, parents! David Sheff thank you for writing this book that should make people that do not know the deadly effects of drugs learn.
Lisa. : 2010-06-02 07:57:50
I read the book, WOW! I am a mother of an addict, I have not seen or talked to her in months. This book gave me some hope. She will get help, oh god I hope so, its all so hard
Day 230. : 2010-05-20 00:10:57
no matter how you look at it, Nic still made his own decisions. He was responsible for his failures and his successes. He is not any stronger than the rest of us who make similar decisions every day and not take the same course as Nic did. I hope he finds that it is possible to better his life and not cause the distruction of his and other lives in the process. Good luck to you, Nic. Life is hard, but it is what you make of it.
Andrea. : 2010-05-19 23:50:10
I read your book when I was trying to come off heroin. I kept telling myself I could quit whenever I wanted and still couldn't do it.. By reading your book it showed me that the way I was living wasn't the way I wanted to live the rest of my life.. I've been off and on sober since then.. if I hadn't of read your book I would be in the worst state of life I think.. Your book is amazing:)
lolablu. : 2010-05-04 09:26:31
Nic sheff gave many people who don't get it a bit of insight, if you read this book and are not an addict do not skip the 'first 100 pages" it is all apart of the journey.This young man may relapse 5 more times or 20 it does not mean theres no happy ending for him, granted any one relapse could end his life , but i hope they do not and that he continues to utilize the tools he has in place to brush himself off and start over again, and maybe someday he could move on to a new phase in his life that doesn't include falling again.
Allie. : 2010-04-09 04:41:05
...Penny wasn't pushing her religion at all. Her message was one of hope. A Higher Power is ViTAL to long term recovery which in my opinion is one of the many reasons why Nic struggles. He admits the concept is a tough one for him. We as addicts need something bigger than our addiction to free us from it. Because we are powerless over our addiction. So, what does God have to do with anything?Everything. Anyone with long term recovery, not just abstinence, but actual recovery from the obsessive thoughts that addicts are plagued with, will tell you they didn't do it; God or their HP did. 12 step programs have the best success, people's lives are transformed. I know this because i live in this world and I've seen people change through 12 step programs, which revolve around a Higher Power.
alb . : 2010-04-05 12:26:05
i am an lsd addict
i hate it
i cant live one day with out it
i am trippin ight now
davidbuck. : 2010-03-08 16:49:03
with all do respect Penny Bookbinder .
what does god have to do with anything? what do you say to those who don't agree with your religion? what do you say to those who have another religion? why do i have a feeling your ignorance would have a play in that? why do i feel like because of that the "generousity" of your statement would then be deemed as exactly what you trying NOT to do?
Kat. : 2010-02-11 17:33:55
I just heard of this book and of Nick's story for the first time today . Even knowing the little I know, this story touched me incredibly . I plan on reading Tweak, and Im looking forward to the effect it will have on me . Thank you, Nick, for being open and honest about your struggles, and for enabling others to learn from your story .
Bitch. : 2010-01-21 10:51:08
Who the fuck cares?
paleaseeeee. : 2010-01-06 15:58:56
Nic Sheff went through some things that people have no idea about. My dad was a addict and it hurt me and him so much i never understood by he couldnt just quit. After i read this book i now know why he had so much troubles and im proud of anyone who can get clean.
guest : 2010-01-06 15:53:10
suzii. : 2010-01-06 15:51:55
i love your book.

i wnt do any hard drugs after reading it!

*Penny Bookbinder . : 2010-01-04 18:22:13
"I don't see this story having a happy ending"..

I'd never make such a presumptuous and conclusive statement,
unless I felt I were God Himself..

Who has the knowledge/insight/gall to make such a
negative and arrogant claim?

With all due respect,

folks are delivered from all sorts of maladies and addictions,
by God's grace, and sometimes with the help of such things as 12 Steps groups, every single day.

There are just as many stories which fill the annals of time about good and blessed endings for recovering addicts and alcoholics, as there are bad ones, maybe more.

I have read both books, and seen Nic and his Dad on numerous videos and tv viewings. They were heartbreaking readng, at times, but not without hope!

Makes me wonder, more, about one's sobriety being one's personal business, I mean between God and loved ones. If those looking to recover just read these posts from some in the 'peanut gallery', they probably wouldn't get help at all.

Stinkin thinkin? they call it? Well, to me that one post is..

God (Jesus) is the Higher Power, and


We're not Him!

Best not to talk that was like we are..

Mary A.. : 2009-12-14 15:38:57
I've read both the father's and Nic's books. They are just harrowing accounts of drug addiction. I googled Nic today just to see if he is still alive. I don't see this story having a happy ending. If you want to read Tweak, you can skip the first 100 pages. They are just like playing the same recording.....addiction, life on the streets and out of control, rehab, using, life on the streets and out of control, rehab, using, life on the streets and out of control, rehab, using, and on and on and on and on......
Yeah. : 2009-10-29 10:30:44
I'm not trying to attack you, but you have no idea what he went through because you have never been an addict. Especially a meth, heroine, etc... I mean once you reach that point, it is next to impossible to turn back. It consumes you. Nic was lucky that he had a supportive family with love and money. A lot of people don't have wealthy families that are willing to spend well over two college educations, likely. Plus he was paying his sons education. A lot of people aren't that lucky. Great books and I feel for Nic and his father, I am proud of the both of them. I wonder how Nic handles life now?
Alec. : 2009-09-09 14:53:00
I was going down the exact same road and this booked opened my eyes to the way i was hurting myself and everyone around me this book truely saved me from ruining my whole life. If i could say one thing about this book its amazing and thank you for writing it. It saved me!
Reader. : 2009-07-14 11:22:50
I've read Beautiful Boy and Tweak, and for your information 'guest' Nic went through the 12 step program multiple times. For meth something like AA and 12 step programs don't always work, in fact the only success you'll see with meth addicts is long term (year(s) not months) programs. Keep your tongue in your mouth before you act arrogant about an addict!
guest : 2009-06-04 19:01:54
Perhaps going through the 12 steps in order to "Recover" from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body may help.
Charlotte. : 2009-05-31 23:11:24
I, as a teenager, find Nic Sheff not only to be a brave person but someone who lives in everyones shoes. From reading Tweak and Beautiful Boy, I have found that there have been times where I found myself in those situations--mostly from Beautiful Boy. Though I have never experiemented with drugs, I have spent my whole life with people who have, because of this I sort of see how hard it is for him. It's such a shame considering his book was so inspiring and Beautiful Boy made me want to cry during the first part when I saw the portion of Kurt Cobain's suicide letter. I can only hope he finds help and the strength to stay away.
Lori. : 2009-05-31 19:17:01
I read this book, my son is a addict it helped me to understand what he was going through. As painful as it was it gave me insight. As a parent I needed that. I'm grateful that I read this book.
Duh. : 2009-04-17 05:55:00
Sounds rough. Still, no reason to throw him in jail. It's a personal battle and every man has battles to fight. Every man has weaknesses. We shouldn't judge and try
To feel superior about our own weaknesses by trying to marginalize others for their own weaknesses.

The comments posted here do not reflect the views of the owners of this site.