By Steven Martin

NEW YORK occasions BESTSELLER

A popular authority at the mystery global of opium recounts his descent into ruinous obsession with one of many world’s oldest and so much seductive medicinal drugs, during this harrowing memoir of habit and recovery.
 
A natural-born collector with a nostril for unique event, San Diego–born Steven Martin his bliss to Southeast Asia, the place he chanced on paintings as a contract journalist. whereas discovering an editorial concerning the vanishing tradition of opium smoking, he was once encouraged to start amassing infrequent nineteenth-century opium-smoking apparatus. through the years, he accrued a helpful collection of beautiful pipes, vintage lamps, and different opium-related accessories—and all started placing all of it to take advantage of by way of smoking a really powerful kind of the drug known as chandu. yet what began as leisure use grew right into a thirty-pipe-a-day behavior that fed on Martin’s each waking hour, left him incapable of labor, and exacted a frightful actual and fiscal toll. In passages that may ship a relax up the backbone of somebody who has ever lived within the shadow of substance abuse, Martin chronicles his efforts to regulate after which overcome his addiction—from quitting chilly turkey to taking “the therapy” at a Buddhist monastery within the Thai countryside.
 
instantly a strong own tale and a desirable historic survey, Opium Fiend brims with anecdotes and lore surrounding the drug that a few have referred to as the methamphetamine of the nineteenth-century. It remembers the heyday of opium smoking within the usa and Europe and takes us contained in the befogged opium dens of China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. The drug’s beguiling results are defined in bright detail—as are the excruciating pains of withdrawal—and there are intoxicating stories of pipes shared with an eclectic choice of opium aficionados, from Dutch dilettantes to hard-core addicts to world-weary international correspondents.
 
A compelling story of 1 man’s transformation from revered pupil to hapless drug slave, Opium Fiend places us lower than opium’s spell along its protagonist, permitting modern readers to event anew the insidious attract of a diabolical vice that the realm has all yet forgotten.

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Right here, enable me express you. …” On one other get together I ready pipes for Francis Ford Coppola and Sergio Leone whereas playfully chastising either males for his or her makes an attempt at opium-smoking scenes in Apocalypse Now Redux and as soon as Upon a Time in the United States respectively. “Your opium lamp didn’t also have a chimney! ” I railed at Coppola in tones of mock outrage. “The opium might have burned to a crisp the instant Aurore Clément held the bowl to that bare flame! how the heck did Martin Sheen be able to get excessive? ” “Oh, think me, Martin used to be excessive on different things,” Coppola spoke back after exhaling a column of vapors. i made a decision to chop the director a few slack; the opium had placed me in a forgiving temper. “Really, even though, your omission may be excused. The Shanghai Lil series in Footlight Parade made an analogous mistake. James Cagney stumbles via an opium den and sees attractive girls having pipes ready for them”—I paused for influence whereas leveling my very own pipe above the lamp—“over a flame with out a chimney! And that motion picture got here out in 1933! There’s no excuse for it; there have been nonetheless opium dens again then! ” the writer smoking opium at his Bangkok condominium in 2007. in this time he used to be nursing a twenty-pipe-per-day opium behavior. (Photograph by way of Jack Barton) Burning the dead night oil evening after evening, I arrived at a few new part of opium geekdom. My pursuits had turn into so slim and the intensity of my wisdom so nice, that like a lonely soul trapped on the backside of a mineshaft, in basic terms by way of resorting to my mind's eye might I take pleasure in a few like-minded dialog. My previous books claimed that opium people who smoke wanted ever higher doses as a way to preserve the specified results, yet i discovered this to be unfaithful. so long as i used to be smoking high quality, dross-free chandu, an analogous variety of pills—five to seven—was adequate to bring forth the bliss. That acknowledged, i really did gradually raise my dosage, simply because i needed to maintain rolling in the course of the evening. So even if I didn’t really want extra opium, I saved smoking only for love of the ritual. i spotted, too, that the sentiments as a result of intoxication weren't relatively just like whilst I used to spend nights in Willi’s Chamber of aromatic Mists. If something, my experience of future health used to be extra all-encompassing than earlier than. I felt secure and hot and taken care of, a sense that I dimly remembered from long ago: i used to be a toddler, ailing with a few light youth illness, being lovingly doted on by means of my mom. those have been emotions of security and luxury that just a baby is aware, while the entire international is below a hot blanket in a comfortable bed—feelings which are misplaced as one grows older and learns of the dangers and uncertainties of lifestyles at the monstrous outdoor. so long as I smoked opium i used to be continually enveloped during this protecting blanket of contentment. Weeks handed. i used to be not able to target paintings yet had already bought an develop from tough publications to replace their guidebook to Cambodia. The on-the-ground examine might take at the very least 3 weeks, and that i meant to do it—as quickly as I tapered again on my smoking.

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