- Free Essays, Term Papers & Book Notes

English Comp 1 Essay Beautiful Boy

Page 1 of 6

Michael Tracewell

Missi Haag

English Comp 1

7 November 2018

Reading Boy, by David Sheff, was in so many ways, a reflection of what it was like for me not too long ago. To say this book speaks to me would be a grand understatement. I have lived both sides of this gross tale of love and hate. To love someone so much and hate who they become is a test of the soul. To deal with a disease that conquers the human mind as addiction does... well I can say that stronger people have been broken from less. Albert Einstein said "We can't solve problems with the same kind of thinking that we used when we created them." With that logic, how much hope is there for an addict trying to fix a problem with the same organ that perpetrates it?

        David writes a story about his son Nic's addiction to Crystal Meth, but I do not believe it to be as simple as it may appear. I feel it important to realize that this is not just a story off a son's journey down the rabbit hole of addiction, but also how Nic's family jumped down the rabbit hole with him. I want to point out that disease of addiction doesn't only rear its ugly head with Nic and his drug use, but also with Nic's entire family. More specifically Nic's father David. The amount of time and energy David spends on trying to save Nic's life clearly becomes an addiction in its own right.

        Furthermore, to clarify what it means to be an addict we can see addiction as defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) as follows. Addiction is a primary chronic disease of brain reward, motivated, memory and related circuitry.  Dysfunction in these circuits leads to Characteristic, Biological, Psychological, Social, and Spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors. It is also characterized by the inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving diminished recognition of significant problems with behaviors and iter-personal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotion response. With this definition in mind, it's quite clear that David becomes severely addicted to helping his son. Notably there is a grand example of David's addiction to Nic in the "Beautiful Boy"' text (Chapter 12, part 3) where we can see the struggle for David to even rest his mind or body. He can be found running the3 same streets as Nic as well as interacting with the same cast of characters. As with a lot of addicts, this behavior may not be wanted or even acceptable, but it is without a doubt, necessary. There is a means to an end. The fulfillment of that addiction is that end. This is exactly what is like to be an addict.

        I think it’s especially important to understand how tragic addiction can become. Recovery from drug addiction myself. I understand as much as the next addict how desperate3 we can feel if the void is not filled. No matter how bad it gets the addiction comes first. This point is driven home after David has a Cerebral Hemorrhage and even though he is in pain, even though he should he is concerned about getting better, David only worries about Nic.  "Where is Nic? Where is Nic? I must call Nic." (Page 239) Just like a meth addict who is newly clean, wanting to get better, David is only able to think about the next fix. David needs his fix. His fix is Nic.

        Even more evidence of the desperation of David’s addiction and possibly the pinnacle of the struggle that occurs in the mind of an addicted individual comes when David says “I wished in secret for a kind of laboratory.  I was in wretched anguish and yearned for relief. I longed for someone to scrape out every remnant of Nic from my brain and scrape out the knowledge of what was lost, and scrape out thee worry and not only my anguish, but this and the burning inside like I might scrape out the seeds and juicy pulp of an over ripe melon. Leaving no trace of the rotted flesh."(Page 241) David is so desperate for relief that he literally wishes to have no memory of his son Nic. This I feel, is desperation at the more sincere level. I believe this to be David's rock bottom.  David struggles but ultimately comes to a realization. Acceptance. David and Nic both need to admit and accept that they have an obsession. David begins to do just that.

Al-anon meetings are meeting places for the families of the addict. David and Karen must take date nights just to figure out a way to not only help NIc but also help themselves. The meetings are a great place for both. Tolstoy wrote “One moment a spark of hope gleams, the next a sea of despair rages; and always the pain, the pain, always the anguish, the same thing on and on. (Page 176) Just with addiction, there are moments when David can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but at any given moment, Nic has been known to veer off track. It’s apparent how hard it is to detach from such madness. Talking to other families and allowing for the vail of secrecy to be lifted so it’s possible to do just that. Addiction is not terminally unique as in every family member of a drug addict will at some point find themselves also experiencing the same pain. David slowly realizes that not only does he not have to go through all the same pain and suffering alone. He shouldn’t.

Download as (for upgraded members)
Citation Generator

(2019, 05). English Comp 1 Essay Beautiful Boy. Retrieved 05, 2019, from

"English Comp 1 Essay Beautiful Boy" 05 2019. 2019. 05 2019 <>.

"English Comp 1 Essay Beautiful Boy.", 05 2019. Web. 05 2019. <>.

"English Comp 1 Essay Beautiful Boy." 05, 2019. Accessed 05, 2019.