Sunday, May 29, 2011

We All Fall Down by Nic Sheff

We All Fall Down: Living with AddictionFrom Goodreads:
In his bestselling memoir Tweak, Nic Sheff took readers on an emotionally gripping roller-coaster ride through his days as a crystal meth and heroin addict. Now in this powerful follow-up about his continued efforts to stay clean, Nic writes candidly about eye-opening stays at rehab centers, devastating relapses, and hard-won realizations about what it means to be a young person living with addiction.
Nic Sheff and his father, David Sheff, captured a nation of readers with their bestselling memoirs Tweak and Beautiful Boy. Those books explore teen drug addiction from two different points of view: a son's and a father's. Nic currently lives in Los Angeles, California.
 This book is a candid telling of what Nic Sheff did to try and stay sober. The hard road he took and about who helped and who became co-dependants with him. I was curious about this world as I kid to my mother that I would be the world's worst addict. I hate taking pills, even those that help me like my migraine medication. Personally, I hate that feeling of being out of control or being controlled by a substance, so this world is foreign to me. Yes, I have actually met addicts, even gone to school with some. The destruction I witness was one of an outsider but I could still see the path of destruction addiction wrought, just like a tornado. Now, I am sensitive to those that have lost to the recent tornadoes, but I have seen that same haunting look in loved ones who were left behind, hence the parallel.

This book opens the doors to what it might be like as an addict. We hear Nic's addict speak, justifications to others and especially himself as he knows the road he is on will lead back to addiction. We see programs that just didn't work for him. This part actually upset me. It seemed to me that the individual was ignored and that confusing messages were being played at the center he was trying to get sober. It actually made him a better con artist rather than gave him building blocks to work on to stay in sobriety. The counsellor's ego and their ill equipped programs were more important than getting at root problems and making sure there was nothing more chemically related going on within his brain. And as he points out 12 step programs aren't for everyone. However, what is great about Nic, is that he didn't like the 12 step program but still got use out of it. He found a sober community in which he could relate. So, only in that aspect, albeit an important one, he found solace in that program. 

This book is slated for the YA crowd. I think that is important and it makes sense. It is a book that may relate to those just starting on their addiction journey. Perhaps they will find something that speaks to an at risk group and instead of turning to drugs, they can seek out better ways to mature normally instead of stunting their emotional growth. For example, addicts often feel that they are too sensitive for the world. Perhaps that is true, but it is also more true that they do not have the proper coping skills to deal with these strong emotions. So, by saying that I feel this is also important one for parents to read this as well, so they can have a grasp at what may be going on, get help themselves, and direct behavior appropriately without freaking out. 

I give this book 3 stars. It is a hard book to read because you see him going down the same path over and over. However, that is the beauty in the book as well. It is a warning for kids to find out who they really are and find a community to support them even if their family doesn't. You can't do that numb.

I received this book from the publisher and no compensation for my review was given.


  1. Sounds like it could be a bit too repetitive for my liking.

  2. My Mom is reading this right now! She never reads anything but had to have this one! Lol!

  3. I used to love such books - they made me understand these few friends who became drug addicts without actually taking that route myself. I might be tempted - thanks for a great review!

  4. This does sound like a difficult read, one where you'd just want to reach in and steer him down a different path instead of having to watch him make the same mistakes again and again. Fantastic review Melissa, I'll have to be in the right mood for this one, but it sounds like a powerful read.

    PS- I see you're reading Trace of Fever, I just started it so I look forward to comparing notes:)

  5. It really does sound like hard book to read :(

  6. @...Petty... It might be, but there is reason for the repetitiveness.

    @Bookish... I know his first book, Tweak, is very popular. Perhaps she read that one?

    @anachronist... I don't know if we can fully understand, but we can certainly empathize.

    @Jenny... Yea, it was a hard read. Even in the end, you know he isn't totally out of the woods. He may never be.

    Oh and Trace of Fever was good! :)

    @Samita... Yep, it was.

  7. Gosh, a book like this makes me think of my son and I become frantic thinking of how he and I would do if we were ever in this situation. I hope that I would be the kind of strong and loving parent a kid in this situation would need.

  8. I agree with you. I hate taking any sort of pills... medicine in general. I try avoiding at all costs and use as a last resort.

    In Hawaii.... Not sure how many know this but drugs are on a rise. Granted it may not statistically be the worse in the US but given the small space and tight knit life style it is impossible not to have personal experience with addicts.
    Personally, I grew up in a home with self-destruction as the only consistency.
    So I'm not to sure how my emotions would fare reading a book like this. I do hope that this book serves a guiding tool.

    Great review Melissa. I am always impressed with your reading adventures.

  9. Nice review :)
    For, let's say not this time. I am trying to hold myself together. Meaning no more books..well..trying is the word ;)

  10. Thanks for the well thought out review! I was going to grab it but I thought I wait. Nice review!

  11. Like you, I avoid taking any kind of pills because I'm afraid I will get too dependent on them.
    This sounds like an intense but an important read. I must add this to my TBR!

  12. @Stephanie... I would feel the same way if I had a kid.

    @Chas...*HUGS* You are an amazing gal! It is so brave to say that.

    @Blodeuedd...Holding myself together has been with reading books lately! lol

    @Savannah... thx!

    @Misha... I'm not afraid of being too dependent... just hate the way they make me feel. :P Yes, I don't even like to take Advil.

  13. Hmm, sounds like it can be kind of serious. Thanks for the new book intro here!

  14. You have me in tears here Mel. I have many family members who are alcoholics and it is just horrible to watch them self destruct. For that reason, I don't know if I could take this book on, but I really appreciate your honest thoughts.


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