It's February, and Tweak, the book Nic has been writing, is published. After everything, he completed it, a raw, honest, brutal, and sad—but ultimately hopeful—account of his addiction. When he sent the manuscript to me, I picked it up with trepidation. The story would be painful to read if it was about anyone's child, but knowing it's about mine is unbearable. Even though I lived it, I find it almost impossible to reconcile the Nic I know with the self-destructive boy in his book. And the reality of his experience was worse than the nightmarish scenarios I imagined. Reading, I can hardly breathe. An emergency room doctor once told Nic he was going to amputate his arm, which had become infected from shooting heroin and meth. I know that Nic almost died, but again and again and again I'm reminded how close I came to losing him. I relive the terror, fury, desperation, and boundless sadness. Also the love. In Beautiful Boy I wrote a lot about love, but I continue to learn more about the infinite depth and breadth of parents' love for our children.
Nic's book has helped me understand more about what happened to him and to our family. Often when he was using—his behavior unconscionable, his self-destructive course unfathomable and unstoppable—I felt, How could he do this to me? How could he do this to Karen? To Jasper and Daisy? Reading Tweak, I learned anew that he wasn't doing it to us. He was doing it to himself. We were innocent bystanders, collateral damage.