A Fly In the Ointment: A New Perspective on Addiction

By Nic Sheff October 26,2011

After years of speaking about addiction, a fascinating new study has radically altered my perception of this disease. It’s all about drunk flies.

It’s been four years since my memoir, Tweak—and my dad’s memoir, Beautiful Boy—were published in the same month. Shortly afterwards, the two of us went on a national book tour. Since then, we’ve traveled to hundreds of conventions and fundraisers and schools—sharing the hard lessons we’ve learned about addiction and recovery and…well…life in general.

That means we’ve had to listen to eachother’s experiences close to 50,000 times. And while our stories always evolve and shift slightly each time we recount them, for the most part they remain unchanged. Recently I’ve found myself daydreaming as I sat in the audience listening to my dad share his half of our tortured tale. To be honest, I’ve even started daydreaming while I’m sharing my own story. I mean, it’s the same thing, over and over and over again—the same stories, the same ideas, the same jokes, the same tears.

Once an addict is an addict, whether it’s a human being or a fly, getting high is the only thing that matters.

But last week, when we showed up for a speaking [...] continue the story

Shutting the Door on My Coked-Up Past

By Sam Lansky August 5, 2011

While my dad was recovering from a massive heart attack, I was on a coke run. Since then, I’ve tried to become a better son, while still struggling to shut the door on memories I want to forget.

I’ve been sober for several years now. But once a month, or maybe even more frequently, my past sneaks up on me and reminds me of the person I used to be. Always, I carry with me a low-level simmering anxiety, a flame that flickers now and again—when a man on the street looks familiar (didn’t I steal pills from that guy?), or when I’m walking down a side street somewhere in Hell’s Kitchen and suddenly remember stumbling down the block in a drunken stupor—but some fires burn brighter than others. Though I have made my amends, there remain transgressions that are unfixable, regardless of whatever 12-step dogma says about not regretting the past or wishing to shut the door on it. I regret many things in my past; I would shut the door on it if I could; and I am wary of the rhetoric of regretlessness that is so pervasive in recovery circles. “I wouldn’t take any [...] continue the story

We each have a battle to fight

When I was fighting cancer I had two teenagers fighting their own battles, drugs. I am in the hospital, they are in rehab. As I am in surgery I am worried about them being out on the street using. I had my husband as a support system, but his Mother brought him up to believe that we are inferior if we get sick. He never went to a support group with me, he did go to my first doctor appointment when I found out that I had cancer, but that was the only appointment that he ever attended. I did the entire cancer experience alone. Please don’t allow any family member to do that. I consider myself a very strong woman, but that was a hard thing to do. I took care of my sister every day for three months after her diagnosis of matasis of breast cancer just three years before, up to the day she died, and here I am going through this alone. All my family lived out of state, my Mother was too elderly to come to my aid, my older sister just not there. I learned through this experience that if ANYONE I know is [...] continue the story