That observation may seem mundane, even obvious. But I came of age in the 1970s when teenagers regarded drugs as recreation, a way to change life’s tempos. Since I never developed a drug habit, I had little reason to reexamine my assumptions.
But as the Sheffs’ searing books make clear, using drugs is a form of Russian Roulette. You might smoke some pot and snort coke and never get that bullet in the chamber. On the other hand, the bullet can fire in the first round.
The evening started out with an announcement by journalist Gary Pomerantz, who also served on the Beyond Borders Advisory Board, that David Sheff’s book Beautiful Boy will be #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list this week. The crowd roared and clapped at the news. Nic's young adult book, Tweak, is also selling briskly.
It’s not surprising to hear this. In the age of memoir, this one speaks to an enormous audience. Drug addiction pervades our society and the treatment options are poor. So hundreds of thousands of Americans are left to muddle through a hodge podge of rehabilitation centers, detox clinics, hospitals and the like.
Throughout the tour, audiences have shared their own stories about addiction and that was also the case last night. One woman stood up to ask if love would help her brother through his addiction. The sad answer was no. Nic Sheff said that while he was gripped by drugs, all he could think of was himself. He rarely pondered how his family was reacting to his drug use and he certainly wasn’t thinking about their best interests.