Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff is a memoir in a journal format that takes us through drug addiction, sex addition, and mental health issues from the point of view of the user/addict/person dealing with the mental health issues.. The selfishness, the recovering, the relapses, and more selfishness cover each of the pages. We see Nic getting sober from his pills, pot, and alcohol only to get into harder and harder things until meth is King. Until his addictions to sex and drugs get so far out of hand, he is knocking on deaths door, and it is ready to answer.
The two biggest things I got from reading about this young man’s journey is that your personal biases and feelings on drugs, alcohol, users, and those around them will play a part in your feelings about Nic’s story. The other, some people might have insights into the world of addiction, such as the ones I got about addictive personalities.
However, I never cared enough about Nic to really become invested with his recovery. I never felt Nic took full responsibility and never felt that he truly was sorry about his actions. I was more invested in who around him lived, died, or when (or if) they would have an “enough” moment. I want to find a one of his “buddies” and kick their a$$ for what he allowed to happen to a 15-year-old-girl (and frankly, Nic, too). However, you might become invested in the recovery process. You might want to see what happens to him as his girlfriend shoots him up with coke to wake up from a seizure induced by an overdose of coke.
I think part of why I was not as invested is that you know Nic Sheff is telling the story of Nic Sheff. Therefore, it is no spoiler when I say, “Well, I know he’s going to live through this OD/ this shot of coke/this cranked up situation, so I don’t have to worry about him.” Perhaps in the early 2000’s when this is mostly set, this was shocking, edgy, and new to readers. Perhaps this was the first time we saw how the past affects the present. And perhaps this was the first time the parents’ role in shaping their children (and yes, seeing drugs and alcohol use; and being exposed to sexuality at the very young age Nic is exposed to it; and the arguing and mental abuse he saw between his parents and his mother and stepfather, all play rolls) but this is old hat now.
And maybe that is the saddest part of it all. The fact that I have read so many similar stories to Nic’s I am becoming almost numb to it.