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Beautiful Boy – a father’s journey through his son’s addiction to crystal meth

I found the most interesting parts of this story to be when the father described parenting his two younger children, second-guessing himself and constantly worrying that he was the primary caregiver of a child who became a meth addict.

“Through Nic’s drug addiction, I have learned that parents can bear almost anything….I shock myself with my ability to rationalize and tolerate things once unthinkable. The rationalizations escalate….It’s only marijuana. He gets high only on weekends. At least he’s not using hard drugs….At least it’s not heroin. He would never resort to needles. At least he’s alive.”

“An alcoholic will steal your wallet and lie to you. A drug addict will steal your wallet and then help you look for it.”

“Anyone who has lived through it, or those who are now living through it, knows that caring about an addict is as complex and fraught and debilitating as addiction itself.”

“Along with the joy of parenthood, with every child comes a piercing vulnerability. It is at once sublime and terrifying”

“But here’s the rub of addiction. By its nature, people afflicted are unable to do what, from the outside, appears to be a simple solution—don’t drink. Don’t use drugs. In exchange for that one small sacrifice, you will be given a gift that other terminally ill people would give anything for: life.”

“In his suicide note, Kurt Cobain wrote, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” He was quoting a Neil Young song about Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols. When I was twenty-four, I interviewed John Lennon. I asked him about this sentiment, one that pervades rock and roll. He took strong, outraged exception to it. “It’s better to fade away like an old soldier than to burn out, ” he said. “I worship people who survive. I’ll take the living and the healthy.”

“I tried everything I could to prevent my son’s fall into meth addiction. It would have been no easier to have seen him strung out on heroin or cocaine, but as every parent of a meth addict comes to learn, this drug has a unique, horrific quality. In an interview, Stephan Jenkins, the singer in Third Eye Blind, said that meth makes you feel “bright and shiny.” It also makes you paranoid, delusional, destructive, and self-destructive. Then you will do unconscionable things in order to feel bright and shiny again.”

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