Anthony Bourdain’s Most Honest Quotes About His Struggles: ‘I Should’ve Died in My 20s’
Anthony Bourdain had opened up about his struggles with addiction on multiple occasions before his tragic death from an apparent suicide on Friday, June 8.
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
“We were high all the time, sneaking off to the walk-in at every opportunity to ‘conceptualize.’ Hardly a decision was made without drugs,” Bourdain wrote in his 2000 book, Kitchen Confidential. “Pot, quaaludes, cocaine, LSD, psilocybin mushrooms soaked in honey and used to sweeten tea, Seconal, Tuinal, speed, codeine and, increasingly, heroin, which we’d send a Spanish-speaking busboy over to Alphabet City to get.”
“[People would] come up to me at readings and hand me bags of coke,” he told First We Feast in June 2016. “I’m like, ‘Did you read the book? The drug thing didn’t end too well for me.’ … I understood that at that point in my life, I was disappointing people who would come up to me at bars, line cooks fresh from work, ‘Let’s party, let’s do some tequila shots.’ And then they’d get angry that I wouldn’t do a tequila shot, because if I did a tequila shot with every line cook who wants to come up and high-five me, I understand what will happen. I want to live. I wanted people to know that, that I’m not that guy.”
Trying to Heal
“I was an unhappy soul, with a huge heroin and then krack problem,” the former No Reservations star told The Guardian in 2017. “I hurt, disappointed and offended many, many, many people and I regret a lot. It’s a shame I have to live with.”
The Lucky Ones
“Well, drugs and addiction are two different things, right? All I can tell you is this: I got off of heroin in the 1980s,” Bourdain told Biography.com in March 2016. “Friends of mine from the ‘70s and ‘80s, they just got off five, six, maybe 10 years ago. And we’re the lucky ones. We made it out alive. There are a lot of guys that didn’t get that far. But you know, I also don’t have that many regrets either."
Road to Recovery
“When I started getting symptoms of withdrawal, I was proud of myself,” the former Parts Unknown host told The New Yorker in February 2017 about his past. “I’m a vain person. I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror.”
A Fresh Perspective
"I should’ve died in my 20s. I became successful in my 40s. I became a dad in my 50s,” Bourdain, who shared 11-year-old daughter Ariane with ex-wife Ottavia Busia, said in an interview with Biography.com in March 2016. “I feel like I’ve stolen a car — a really nice car — and I keep looking in the rearview mirror for flashing lights.”
The Restaurant Business
“Restaurant life is not good for you. It’s not a healthy workplace for chefs. People are talking about it now,” the author explained to First We Feast in June 2016. “How do I prolong my work life, as a leader? It would have been treasonous to even entertain these notions not too long ago. The whole ethic was who can go longest, who can go hardest, who can stay up all night, double shifts … who can burn at both ends brightest.”
Words of Wisdom
"The great Warren Zevon was asked, close to death, whether he had any important words of wisdom to pass on, and he said, 'Enjoy every sandwich.' I definitely enjoy my sandwiches, given how low I fell and how likely it was that there was going to be a different and tragic outcome,” Bourdain told The Guardian in 2017.
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