By Steven Martin
NEW YORK occasions BESTSELLER
A well known 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 learning an editorial in regards to the vanishing tradition of opium smoking, he used to be encouraged to start amassing infrequent nineteenth-century opium-smoking gear. through the years, he accumulated a invaluable collection of beautiful pipes, vintage lamps, and different opium-related accessories—and started placing all of it to exploit by means of smoking an exceptionally effective type 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 might ship a kick back up the backbone of a person 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 remedy” at a Buddhist monastery within the Thai countryside.
instantly a strong own tale and a desirable old 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 shiny detail—as are the excruciating pains of withdrawal—and there are intoxicating stories of pipes shared with an eclectic selection of opium aficionados, from Dutch dilettantes to hard-core addicts to world-weary overseas 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 adventure anew the insidious attract of a diabolical vice that the realm has all yet forgotten.
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Extra resources for Opium Fiend: A 21st Century Slave to a 19th Century Addiction
After simply over every week of smoking an ever-decreasing dosage of Roxanna’s opium, I “fasted” for 5 days to determine if i'll deal with the withdrawal. Days 3 and 4 have been uncomfortable—it felt as though I had a bad cold—but by way of day 5 i used to be at the mend. I referred to as Roxanna and made preparations for a trip the next weekend, and for the subsequent months my smoking used to be constrained to weekends. for the reason that turning 40, birthdays have been whatever I did my most sensible to disregard, yet in mid-July 2007 I used the social gathering of my forty-fifth birthday as a cause to carry domestic one other volume of chandu. Roxanna protested mildly while I instructed her my plan to spend my birthday smoking by myself, yet she, too, have been inspired via the little discoveries I’d made in the course of my week of solitary examine. She consented to promote me a few, and so I measured out part a bottle drop by way of drop in entrance of her, counting upfront the hours and days that i'd spend driving my magic carpet excessive above Chinatown. funds was once now not an issue. via this time I had stumbled on a amateur collector in Las Vegas whose starvation for old paraphernalia was once matched via his wealth. The collector was once trying to find instruments to make whole layouts and was once keen to pay hundreds and hundreds of bucks for every piece. Roxanna allowed me to take advantage of her PayPal account to obtain the funds, so the money went on to her. some time past I have been adamantly opposed to promoting something from my assortment, yet I got here to achieve that I owned lots of replica instruments simply because i used to be within the behavior of shopping for goods no matter if I didn’t desire them—as lengthy because the expense used to be correct. Now this technique was once paying off. i used to be capable of promote for $200–$500 items that had initially fee me $20–$50. I now had good enough funds to pay Roxanna for her opium. I positioned the half-full dropper bottle in a small paper bag with the brand of an area health center and took the subway domestic, humming with the sensation that i used to be approximately to take a long-awaited holiday to a couple incredible and unique locale. My movement to Bangkok’s Chinatown predated my curiosity in amassing old opium-smoking paraphernalia through a few years. as soon as i began amassing, i started asking antiques retailers in the event that they knew the place Bangkok’s outdated opium zone have been positioned. None that I talked to looked as if it would recognize. “Chinatown,” they acknowledged vaguely, forcing a grin to point that was once all they knew. someday I stumbled throughout an old-style antiques shop—more of a junk store in comparison to the gallery-like areas of the River urban mall—in an exhaust-blackened shophouse on Bangkok’s oldest street, a protracted, slim thoroughfare coated with low structures, recognized to such a lot expats as “New highway. ” The junky antiques store was once positioned contrary Bangkok’s implementing major put up place of work, and after mailing off a parcel in the future, I spied its cluttered show window from around the road. I virtually eliminate having a look—the street is hard to go on that block simply because an absence of site visitors lighting shall we automobiles wake up to speed—but a niche within the stream all of sudden unfolded, permitting me to dash throughout.