Reno’s Pioneer Center welcomed New York Times bestselling author and inspiration for the movie Beautiful Boy Nic Sheff on Wednesday, Jan. 23. Sheff shared his story at an event in partnership with Renown Health and Reno Behavioral Healthcare Hospital.
Sheff shared his story of addiction to an audience of over 1,400 people. Sheff discussed the beginning of his addiction story, stemming from marijuana use at age 12. The Bay Area native recalls being offered the drug by a friend.
“When it first hit me, I felt this overwhelming sense of relief,” Sheff said. “It felt like an answer to my prayers.”
However, Sheff said it seemed to be working against him as time went on, eventually leading him to look for something else.
“Pot is a depressant and because of that it was making me more and more depressed,” Sheff said.
After several years of using marijuana consistently, Sheff was introduced to methamphetamines.
“The moment I did that drug I was instantly addicted to it,” Sheff said. “I just felt like it was the total answer to my problems. I felt like a total rockstar.”
Although he felt relief, Sheff noted that the use of crystal meth was not positive on his life.
“Once I started doing crystal meth, my entire life started spiraling out of control super fast,” Sheff said.
Sheff shared stories of multiple overdoses he suffered in his teen and young-adult years. The meth also made him do things he said he might not normally do, such as attempting to make a “super computer” by taking his phone and computer apart or trying to steal his mother’s computer, leaving him locked in a garage for over five hours.
Sheff began stints in rehab centers at the age of 19. While he did relapse several times in between stays, he has been sober for around ten years.
Panelists from local healthcare centers were invited on stage after Sheff’s story to ask questions regarding his addiction and where he is now. Topics highlighted were the genetic impact addiction played on Sheff and his family, as well as working to stay sober.
Sheff highlighted the growing drug problem in the nation. 70,237 people died from drug overdoses in 2017, according to a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This was up from 63,632 deaths in 2016.
Sheff found fame after writing Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines around the age of 22, while still struggling with addiction. Later on, Sheff also wrote We All Fall Down: Living with Addiction and Schizo. All three memoirs went on to spend multiple weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list.
Sheff’s father, David Sheff, wrote Beautiful Boy chronicling Sheff’s addiction from a parent’s point of view. The movie can be found on Amazon Prime.
Olivia Ali can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @OliviaNAli.