The struggle of addiction


Kristina Aiad-Toss

Author David Sheff speaks to audience about his son’s addiction.

By Baylee Diedrich, Writer

Addiction, abuse, struggle, and willpower are all words that author David Sheff knows very well.

“Beautiful Boy” author and father, David Sheff, talks about his oldest son, Nick, and his alcohol and drug addiction that lasted for 10 years.

On Oct. 13, Sheff visited E.J. Thomas  to talk and answer questions for students, faculty, staff and community members about his book. “Beautiful Boy” was selected as this year’s common reading book for incoming UA students.

He spent most of the night going through the book and sharing what the experience was like for him to be a father of a troubled child.

Sheff and his family had few glimpses of hope and many times of struggle during Nick’s addiction period.

Sheff told the audience about how he handled his son disappearing from both college and home, how he was in and out of rehab and treatment centers for years, and how he never knew what was going to happen next.

Even though Nick struggled for years and had numerous trips to the emergency room, he made it through his addiction and has now been sober for six years.

Freshman Amneh Ghumrawi enjoyed Sheff’s story.

“I think he’s really brave for going in front of so many people and talking about this emotional experience; and how it affected him, his family, and how they got through it,” Ghumrawi said. “I could tell he had a hard time talking about this experience. I mean anyone would if they went through something like that.”

Looking back, Sheff said he considers himself lucky because he can help others from his experiences.

Parents speak to Sheff to find comfort within their own lives. They send letters and talk to him after shows about family members who have lost their life to a drug addiction.

After Sheff was done talking about “Beautiful Boy” he answered questions that the audience had about Nick, how Sheff got Nick to go to rehab and how their relationship is today.

Sheff said that their struggles have made them stronger and they are closer than ever.

Sheff continued by saying, addiction isn’t something that people should be embarrassed about. No one should be afraid to ask for help or to talk to one another about something hard they are going through. A lot of people abuse drugs and alcohol to escape stress or hard times. Talking to one another can help decrease the amount of abuse we see.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, an eating disorder or any other issue, please visit the Counseling and Testing Center in Simmons Room 306 or call 330-972-7082.