On October 7, 2021, David and Nic Sheff captivated the audience at the Holland Center with their personal family story- a story that is no doubt difficult for them to relive, at times. They each shared details about their individual journeys; and their family’s journey as it was portrayed in the 2018 feature film, Beautiful Boy. The poignant, award-winning film outlines the story of Nic’s harrowing struggle with undiagnosed mental illness and addiction, and David’s steadfast commitment to helping his son survive. Through their candor and willingness to open old wounds for others to learn from, the Sheffs have undoubtedly impacted countless individuals and families.

Now entering his eleventh year of sobriety, Nic told the Breaking the Silence audience he leads a pretty normal life these days. He is an author, speaker, screenwriter, devoted husband and dog dad. David can often be found traveling to various speaking engagements where he uses his journalistic talents to share research and his personal wisdom on addiction and recovery. Most importantly, David said he enjoys a very close relationship with his son. They both encouraged the audience to have hope- because recovery can and does happen. Nic is living proof.

Community Alliance is very grateful to all the sponsors and supporters who make Breaking the Silence possible. A special thank you to the Sheffs and every other family like theirs who is willing to share their story publicly. Unless we normalize conversations about mental illness and substance use disorders, the stigma surrounding them will continue to hurt people who need help. Until that day comes, Community Alliance is committed to continuing the critical work of educating the community and advocating on behalf of people with mental illness.