Anthony Bourdain described a low point, “combing through shag carpet for paint chips in the hope that there were tiny fallen crack bits and smoking them anyway.”
“I would have robbed your medicine cabinet had I been invited to your house.”
The American chef, author, and TV personality goes all around the world from large cities to small strewn villages– indulging in fine local area delicacies and exploring; as his job. His first food/world-travel television show was A Cook’s Tour, which ran for 35 episodes on the Food Network from 2002 through 2003. In 2005 he began hosting the Travel Channel’s culinary/cultural adventure programs Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (2005–2012) and The Layover (2011–2013). In 2013, he left Travel Channel and signed a new deal with CNN to host Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. He was a respected chef, but landed TV opportunities from his charismatic hunger for adventure, intelligence, and honesty in telling things as they are. The open, bluntness is his calling card for his type of foodie genre, and has also proven so with him sharing his story as a young NYC chef, addicted to heroin and crack.
Anthony Bourdain was born in New York City and was raised just outside in New Jersey. He attended small Vassar College, dropping out after two years, and at the same time working in Provincetown, Massachusetts seafood restaurants, which sparked his decision to pursue cooking as a career.
As a 20-year-old, Anthony was well accustomed to normalcy of smoking a joint or boozing in between dinner rushes as an NYC line cook. He rose through the cooking ranks to eventually become top chef at Brasserie Les Halles in New York (he remains the figurehead or “chef-at-large” today). Bourdain ended up writing a memoir called, “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly,” and this was his breakthrough that put him towards his future as a storyteller/tv host. In the book, he describes the journey of drug use that brought him from a daily pot smoke, snowballing to a few years strung out on cocaine, and eventually led to shooting heroin, as a full blown addict.
Bourdain opens up about his personal use: “The first time I shot up I looked at myself in the mirror with a big grin. Something was missing in me, whether it was a self-image situation, whether it was a character flaw… There was some dark genie inside me that led me to dope… Anybody could find themselves very easily in that situation. I looked in a mirror and I saw somebody worth saving or I wanted to at least try real hard and save. I look back on that and I think about what I’ll tell my (seven-year-old) daughter. That was daddy, no doubt about it. But I hope I’ll be able to say that was daddy then, this is daddy now. That I’m alive and living in hope.”
After struggling with a mix of hardcore drugs, Bourdain chose the only thing he knew he could do to kick the needle injecting habit–rehab. He came out of his program clean and felt he lost all desire to relapse on heroin. Despite that, he did have alcohol and cocaine filled nights after rehab. Obviously whatever works for some will not for others, and to each his own, but Bourdain chooses to keep alcohol and the occasional ‘420’ joint in his social repertoire. In other words, is not how a 12-step program would describe as abstinent from all substances.
“I am a VERY unusual case,” he says. “Most people who kick heroin and cocaine have to give up on everything. Maybe cause my experiences were so awful in the end, I’ve never been tempted to relapse.”
He is usually shown casually drinking a beer or wine with dinner. He has a good life, and he knows how to keep it. Smart, thoughtful people often arrive at such a point, even after some serious detours.
This is new series of blogs from Step One Rehab. The focus will be to illustrate the effects of addiction by telling the story of famous icons and celebrities, who have gone through the downfall and show the commonalities of what many everyday readers are dealing with. Our goal is to shine light on advice and stories from those who are so widely admired. Like Our Facebook page !