Tools from the trenches: David Sheff’s book on parenting an addict

Author David Sheff documented his son’s addiction and his family’s torturous quest for recovery in his first book on the topic, Beautiful  Boy.  That book had struck a painful nerve in me, especially the twisted co-dependency that complicated an already complicated picture.  Imagine:  you’ve just had a stroke, and the one thought coursing through your mind is “How is my child?  How is my child?  How is my child?”  That warped sense of priorities seems all too familiar to parents of addicts who often assume second position behind the incessant demands of their child’s substance chemical dependency.

David Sheff hits another home rum with, Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy.  This honest, accurate and empathetic book validated my experience.  Here’s a sample of what he writes:   ‘The view that drug use is a moral choice is pervasive, pernicious, and wrong. So are the corresponding beliefs about the addicted — that they’re weak, selfish, and dissolute; if they weren’t, when their excessive drug taking and drinking began to harm them, they’d stop. The reality is far different.”  You can read a longer excerpt of the book here.

They say that, in recovery, all that needs to change is EVERYTHING.  That goes for knowledge and attitudes, too:  yours, mine, our children’s, the public’s.  Clean offers a powerful tool to change the attitudes that impact course of our loved ones’ addiction and recovery.