Writer and chef Anthony Bourdain talks about drugs and making choices:
‘At no point in Kitchen Confidential, that I can find, does it say that cocaine or heroin were good ideas. In fact, given the book’s many episodes of pain, humiliation, and being constantly broke-ass, one would think it almost a cautionary tale. Yet, at readings and signings, I am frequently the inadvertent recipient of small packets of mysterious white powder; bindles of cocaine; fat, carefully rolled joints of local hydro, pressed into my palm or slipped into my pocket. These inevitably end up in the garbage—or handed over to a media escort. The white powders because I’m a recovered fucking addict—and the weed ’cause all I need is one joint, angel dust–laced by some psycho, to put me on TMZ, running buck-naked down some Milwaukee street with a helmet made from the stretched skin of a butchered terrier pulled down over my ears. Smoking weed at the end of the day is nearly always a good idea—but I’d advise ambitious young cooks against sneaking a few drags mid-shift at Daniel. If you think smoking dope makes you more responsive to the urgent calls for food from your expeditor, then God bless you, you freak of nature you. If you’re anything like me, though, you’re probably only good for a bowl of Crunchberries and a Simpsons rerun.
On the other hand, if you’re stuck heating up breakfast burritos at Chili’s—or dunking deep-fried macaroni at TGI McFuckwad’s? Maybe you need that joint.
Treating despair with drugs and alcohol is a time-honored tradition—I’d just advise you to assess honestly if it’s really as bad and as intractable a situation as you think. Not to belabor the point, but if you look around you at the people you work with, many of them are—or will eventually be—alcoholics and drug abusers. All I’m saying is you might ask yourself now and again if there’s anything else you wanted to do in your life.
I haven’t done heroin in over twenty years, and it’s been a very long time as well since I found myself sweating and grinding my teeth to the sound of tweeting of birds outside my window.
There was and is nothing heroic about getting off coke and dope.
There’s those who do—and those who don’t.
I had other things I still wanted to do. And I saw that I wasn’t going to be doing shit when I was spending all my time and all my money on coke or dope—except more coke and dope.
I’m extremely skeptical of the “language of addiction.” I never saw heroin or cocaine as “my illness.” I saw them as some very bad choices that I walked knowingly into. I fucked myself—and, eventually, had to work hard to get myself un-fucked.’