Thursday, February 12, 2009
I just finished a very riveting book, Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff. For whatever reason, I find myself drawn to memoirs and true personal accounts of addiction, and this one is definitely added to my list of good reads.
This book goes through the addiction Sheff has to getting high on anything, specifically meth and heroin. However, throughout the book, he tries a multitude of drugs. He takes different kinds of pills all the time, drinks quite frequently, smokes pot, snorts and injects cocaine, does ecstasy, etc. He basically would do anything he could get his hands on to be high. This type of personality is scary because doing something recreationally or to drown out something in your life can become so addictive that it rules and destroys your life.
I enjoy when addicts come clean to tell their story to help others and spread knowledge about what it's like. Personally, I picked up the book because I wanted to learn about what people experience with meth. Meth is a growing drug in the US, spreading across the country slowly from the west, and more and more people are becoming absolutely hooked on it. It's scary.
Meth is such a nasty drug too. It contains so many different chemicals: Alcohol, Gasoline additives, Rubbing Alcohol, Ether (starting fluid), Benzene, Paint thinner, Freon, Acetone, Chloroform, Camp stove fuel, Anhydrous ammonia, White gasoline, Pheynl-2-Propane, Phenylacetone, Phenylpropanolamine, Rock, table or Epsom salt, Red Phosphorous, Toluene (found in brake cleaner), Red Devil Lye, Drain cleaner, Muraitic acid, Battery acid, Lithium from batteries, Sodium metal, Ephedrine, Cold tablets, Diet aids, Iodine, Bronchodialators, Energy boosters, Iodine crystals. Yuck. Why put all that garbage into your body? The ingredients list just screams unhealthy.
I gained a lot of insight on the drug though, and it's a good thing to understand since it's becoming so popular (God knows why). Apparently it makes you feel this incredible feeling that you're always chasing (similar to heroin). You're immediately hooked. It feels like it takes all your problems away. I can see the lure for people, but what a bad chemical (or bunch of chemicals) to keep putting into yourself, especially with needles.
Sheff has so many close calls with the drug that it's surprising he didn't get wake-up calls sooner. From shooting up so much, he developed this tumor-like mass on his arm that started to turn colors, ache, and swell. They almost had to amputate his arm. But nope, he continues. He had to prostitute himself for money for the drug. Still continues. He loses trust of friends and family, multiple times. Keeps going. His money is stolen by a drug dealer when he tries to deal. Continues. That just shows how strong the addiction can be to this or any drug.
In the book, Sheff lives in California amidst the hype of celebrities and fame. He craves becoming a writer, and revealing all of this seems to be his big break. He hooks up with a woman who dated a celebrity and is involved in that world, so he sticks with her even though she spirals with him into a relapse. He just needed to leave that California world where every drug he ever needed was available.
Sheff eventually moves to Georgia after sobering up at a rehab clinic. Sheff eventually is forced into rehab after breaking into his mother's apartment to steal a computer and other goods. He stays in there for hours (half a day) freaking out on drugs. At least something got him to go.
Tweak is definitely worth reading especially if you are unfamiliar with the drug. It can be depressing at times, but it's a very interesting lifestyle. It's interesting also to get into the head of someone with this addiction. They don't want to hurt everyone around them; they just need to fill the void with drugs. Very interesting.
Anyway, what did you think of Tweak?