Opium Fiend: A 21st Century Slave to a 19th Century Addiction

By Steven Martin


A well known authority at the mystery global of opium recounts his descent into ruinous obsession with one of many world’s oldest and such a lot seductive medications, during this harrowing memoir of dependancy and recovery.
A natural-born collector with a nostril for unique experience, San Diego–born Steven Martin his bliss to Southeast Asia, the place he came across paintings as a contract journalist. whereas gaining knowledge of a piece of writing concerning the vanishing tradition of opium smoking, he was once encouraged to start gathering infrequent nineteenth-century opium-smoking gear. over the years, he accrued a necessary collection of beautiful pipes, old lamps, and different opium-related accessories—and started placing all of it to exploit through smoking a very effective kind of the drug referred to as chandu. yet what began as leisure use grew right into a thirty-pipe-a-day behavior that ate up Martin’s each waking hour, left him incapable of labor, and exacted a frightful actual and monetary toll. In passages that might ship a sit back up the backbone of someone who has ever lived within the shadow of substance abuse, Martin chronicles his efforts to regulate after which triumph over his addiction—from quitting chilly turkey to taking “the healing” at a Buddhist monastery within the Thai countryside.
instantly a robust own tale and a desirable historic survey, Opium Fiend brims with anecdotes and lore surrounding the drug that a few have known as the methamphetamine of the nineteenth-century. It recollects 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 vibrant detail—as are the excruciating pains of withdrawal—and there are intoxicating stories of pipes shared with an eclectic number 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 below 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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The Cambodian geographical region used to be a true distinction to Vietnam. there has been no site visitors at the street, no one yet me. And there wasn’t anyone operating the rice fields, both. Even the little villages I gone through have been empty. I have been using for an hour or so and, wouldn’t you recognize it, I received a flat tire. It used to be so sizzling and there has been no color on that highway, and that i be mindful being terrified of the warmth greater than the rest. I walked the motorcycle towards Phnom Penh. there has been not anything else i may do. ” If I have been reclining i wouldn't were in a position to retain my eyes from sliding close and letting my mind's eye provide the visuals, yet sitting upright at the porcelain stool saved my brain sharp and allowed me to target either hearing Roxanna’s tale and gazing her rolling procedure. i used to be spellbound. After she had entire shaping the capsule at the finish of the needle, Roxanna had an alarming manner of seating the capsule at the bowl’s needle gap, letting the wad of chandu cool for what appeared an insufficient period of time earlier than without warning thrusting the needle deep into the bowl to damage the tablet loose from the needle. at any time when I observed her do that i used to be certain that she had botched this such a lot tricky step within the procedure, yet whenever i used to be shocked to work out her simply extract the needle, leaving the capsule caught speedy to the bowl, and with an ideal little gap by which to inhale the vapors. “I have been jogging for just a jiffy while out of nowhere a guy and a boy seemed at the street prior to me. They have been very darkish skinned and have been donning the black pajamas of the Khmer Rouge. The boy had a shoulder bag jam-packed with instruments and the guy was once wearing a bicycle pump and with out even taking a look at me they started engaged on the flat tire. It used to be quite abnormal. They speedy mounted the tire and pumped it again up after which with out a observe they walked down the line within the course I had come. I received at the motorbike and began it, but if I regarded again to wave at them, they have been long past. ” Willi slid off the opium mattress and motioned for me to take his position. Roxanna stopped telling her tale till i used to be very easily reclining on my correct part and dealing with her over the tray. She passed me the narrow pipe, guiding it over the lamp whereas I inhaled, yet she didn’t resume conversing until eventually my lips had left the jade mouthpiece. “I didn’t see one other soul until eventually I received to the ferry crossing hours later, yet through then i used to be in simple terms an hour clear of Phnom Penh. simply after I arrived within the urban, I bumped into a few buddies together with Sean Flynn. He used to be Errol Flynn’s son. The recognized actor. ” “Sure, I’ve heard of Errol Flynn,” I acknowledged whereas letting the opium vapors slowly break out from my lungs. “Well, in the event you be aware of who Errol Flynn used to be then you’ll know the way good-looking he was once. His son, Sean, used to be even higher having a look. He had the kind of face that should you walked right into a room packed with humans, he used to be the 1st individual you spotted. yet he was once a kind of infrequent those that don’t appear to discover how appealing they're. there has been not anything useless approximately Sean.

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