Once upon a time… the story begins. It usual ends with “they lived happily ever after” but this ending is yet to be determined.
There is a movie streaming on Amazon Prime. It’s called “Beautiful Boy”. It’s the real life story of David Sheff, author and journalist, about his unconditional love for his meth addicted son , Nic . It is probably the most authentic portrayal of addiction I have seen but it’s only a glimpse in the daily life of a family affected by this disease.
When I watched this movie (3 times already), I can’t help but feel that I am watching a replay of the last eight years of my life. The constant worrying, the heartache and tears, the begging, pleading and policing, the feeling of helplessness and wondering what went wrong to lead my son down this gut wrenching path. Similar story, different drug of choice, but the same beautiful boy.
Like David, I dove into reading and research. Read and research some more. Joined online support groups, sought counseling and attended a few meetings in person. What I didn’t do, was tell anyone other than my closest of friends and let me tell you, that makes for such a lonely existence.
The stigma that society places on drug addiction is paralyzing. Your damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If you openly admit that you have a drug addict as a child, society automatically points a finger at you and blames you for being a “bad parent”. If you stay silent and hidden, then you live a very isolated life in sorrow and pain. You avoid answering questions about your child and well, quite frankly, people start to avoid you because they have already heard it all anyway.
Last year, a cop friend of mine was recovering from surgery and looking for some books to read. I took this opportunity to loan him my copy of “Beautiful Boy” and a copy of Nic Sheff’s book “Tweak” in hopes to educate him more on drug addiction. I know that cops deal with addicts on a daily basis but my hope was for him to see the other side of the story. That these addicts he deals with are somebody’s son, daughter, sister, brother, mother or father. They are people with a disease, not just criminals.
Well, that was a huge fail! His only take on the two books was that Nic did not get sober until his father cut him off. What the books didn’t reveal and the movie didn’t show, was that Nic relapsed at least two to three times after that. Nic revealed this in his second book We All Fall Down: Living with Addiction. David didn’t cut his son Nic off completely. He set healthy boundaries and still showed Nic that he loved him no matter what.
With that… I will leave you with this…
My favorite picture ever of my son. Although, a very old picture when he was very young, it always reminds me of his best attributes. He is so kind, loving, compassionate, smart, inquisitive, funny and full of life. When I look at my son, this is what I see. During his sober moments, I still see glimpses of my “beautiful boy” waiting to emerge and I will never give up on him.