About the Book
Nic Sheff was drunk for the first time at age 11. In the years that followed, he would regularly smoke pot, do cocaine and Ecstasy, and develop addictions to crystal meth and heroin. Even so, he felt like he would always be able to quit and put his life together whenever he needed to. It took a violent relapse one summer in California to convince him otherwise. In a voice that is raw and honest, Nic spares no detail in telling us the compelling, heartbreaking, and true story of his relapse and the road to recovery. As we watch Nic plunge the mental and physical depths of drug addiction, he paints a picture for us of a person at odds with his past, with his family, with his substances, and with himself. It’s a harrowing portrait — but not one without hope.
- What are some of the reasons that Nic gives for turning to drugs? What are his insecurities? In what ways do the drugs help him to escape these?
- What does Nic want from his father? Why does his father react to Nic the way he does? How much do you think Nic’s childhood relationship with his father contributed to his addiction?
- A number of the people in the book come close to dying — Lauren ODs on heroin, Spencer gets meningitis, and Nic suffers through various overdoses and infections. How do these brushes with death affect Nic’s outlook on life? Does he ever believe that any of these people are actually going to die? How does Nic react when Jordan really does die?
- Nic mentions many times that he feels worthless, and that his addiction has caused him to irreparably damage his relationships with others. Do the actions of his friends and family back this up? Do they treat him as though he has no worth? Does anyone give him unconditional love?
- Nic finds strength to stay sober in his family, his writing and other aspects of his life. Identify the people, hobbies and beliefs in your own life that you rely on for strength when going through a tough time.
- Nic’s body goes through a lot when he is in detox. Research what happens to the body when drugs are being used, and the physiology of detoxification.
- Evaluate your beliefs about drug and alcohol use and reflect on your own experiences or those of friends. Visit Check Yourself to connect with other teens and share stories about the impact of drugs and alcohol.