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Subject of the film 'Beautiful Boy' to speak Thursday at Bel Air High on drug addiction and recovery

Nic Sheff (Timothee Chalamet, left) come to terms with his methamphetamine addiction, with the help of his father (Steve Carell), in "Beautiful Boy. Sheff is the keynote speaker at the Harford County Addiction and Recovery Symposium in Bel Air Thursdau
Nic Sheff (Timothee Chalamet, left) come to terms with his methamphetamine addiction, with the help of his father (Steve Carell), in "Beautiful Boy. Sheff is the keynote speaker at the Harford County Addiction and Recovery Symposium in Bel Air Thursdau (Amazon Studios)

Author Nic Sheff, the subject of the film “Beautiful Boy,” will be the keynote speaker at Harford County’s 15th annual Addiction and Recovery Symposium Thursday at Bel Air High School.

Sheff, who’s played by “Call Me By My Name” star Timothee Chalamet in the film, made the New York Times bestseller’s list with his 2007 memoir “Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines.” Steve Carell stars as his father in the movie, which came out last October.

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“Sheff will share his struggle with substance abuse disorder, which was deeply rooted in mental illness; his inspiring journey to recovery, and the impact of his addiction on his family,” according to a press release from Harford County Executive Barry Glassman.

The free conference, which is held every year, goes from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and offers continuing education credits to professionals in addiction, professional counseling, social work and emergency services. It also features internationally known recovery coach Cortney Lovell and therapist Kristine Hitchens of private practice A Change Will Do You Good, LLC in North East.

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Hitchens said she’ll discuss the “trauma trap” that can ensnare people before, during and after addiction.

“I’ve been in the field of addiction for over 25 years,” she said. “And when I first started out, I didn't intend to become a trauma specialist, but it became apparent that it was necessary.”

She’d encountered many patients during her work who’d experienced trauma, many times childhood trauma such as abuse, that fueled addictive behavior. Addiction itself can produce trauma, she said, as can the recovery process, which can be quite unfamiliar and therefore frightening.

Hitchens said she plans to teach ways to cope with these sources of trauma. She’ll also teach not only is there post-traumatic stress, but there is also post-traumatic growth.

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“This symposium is an important component of Harford County’s awareness strategy,” Glassman said in the release. “We truly appreciate the tremendous support from our sponsors, partners and speakers.”

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