Opium Fiend: A 21st Century Slave to a 19th Century Addiction by Steven Martin
A San Diego resident has created and largely monopolized the market for traditional East-Asian opium paraphernalia. Who would have thought? Martin’s investigation into the 19th-century Chinese habit of opium vaporization led him to chandu, a concentrated, unadulterated version of the drug that was almost lost to history. He uses the chandu he’s smoked to get a better understanding of the ritual’s objects, and he even learns a few things about himself in the process. Instead of seeing the danger of his new habit, Martin loses everything as he continues to smoke with his new pals in order to understand the few secrets of these few Westerners who survived the tragic end of China’s long opium romance.
Confessions of an English Opium Eater By Thomas de Quincey
Thomas de Quincey, who was born in Manchester, England in 1785, was anything from average. While attending Oxford University at the age of 15 and receiving a scholarship, de Quincey dropped out and became financially dependent on opium. He never recovered from his addiction. De Quincey became a permanent member of the English Romantic movement with the publication of Confessions in the early 1800s. Confessions may either satisfy or intensify your curiosity.
The Doors of Perception By Aldous Huxley
A guinea pig like Huxley, who narrates his first encounter with mescaline, the hallucinogenic chemical produced from the peyote cactus was just what Humphry Osmond was looking for. In 1952, Osmond gave Huxley the chemical before it was categorized as a medicine by the US government. Huxley reminisces on how he was awestruck by everything from the California sunset to the flowers in his yard as a boy. If you’re a current drug-user, you’ll recognize the impact The Doors of Perception had on the likes of Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe, as well as the band The Doors.
Naked Lunch By William Burroughs
William Burroughs was discovered by Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac high on drugs in a Tangiers hotel. Naked Lunch manuscript sheets were scattered on the floor. As a result of the Beatnik duo’s meticulous editing and publication of this work, it retains its original chaotic nature. An experience of a dark, crazy end of the world may be yours if you’re willing to put up with people that constantly change their identities and personas, as well as beheading and orgies and imaginary nations and regions.
The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Manual on the Psychedelic Experience
Book of the Dead By Timothy Leary
Timothy Leary’s experimentation with LSD before the U.S. government classified it as a narcotic drew the attention of the media. Psychedelic drug advocate Timothy Leary spent the rest of his life after being fired from Harvard University pushing for the use of such substances for “consciousness expansion.” Although nothing can adequately prepare a person for a journey, Leary’s booklet is a good place to start. Forget Naked Lunch and Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test; the focus here is more on the inner intellectual and religious aspects of the psychedelic trip inside oneself. A thoughtful user, er, I mean reader, will like Leary’s guidance.
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test By Tom Wolfe
It’s the book that exposed a generation of young Americans to the potency of LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide. For Wolfe, the only sober member of the group, a psychedelic bus trip in 1964 with Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. In order to grasp and then transcend the first American picture of a hallucinogenic drug user, one needs read this firsthand story.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas By Hunter S. Thompson
Even though Thompson embellishes the specifics of the epic trip of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the reader is left with a knowledge of the events as they seemed, rather than as they were. Thompson disguises himself as “Raoul Duke” and heads to Las Vegas in a last-ditch effort to resurrect the 1960s. Dr. Gonzo, a lawyer, and a youngster they picked up somewhere near Barstow (known as “Bat Country”) are ready to take you on a terrifying ride in Duke’s 1971 Chevrolet Impala. Just don’t forget your Acapulco shirt.
The Night of the Gun By David Carr
For those looking for anything more than a James Frey-esque perspective on the life of a heroin addict, The Night of the Gun by David Carr is a 400-page documented trip via interviews with friends, pictures, and medical records. In spite of taking crack cocaine with his pregnant girlfriend and more, Carr emerges as an anti-hero who you can’t help but like. This is a movie that you’ll both laugh and weep at at the same time.
More, Now, Again: A Memoir of Addiction By Elizabeth Wurtzel
Why don’t you try a little something? Elizabeth Wurtzel is on medication, a dose of Ritalin equivalent to 400 mg per day. Don’t anticipate a depressing ending to More, Now and Again. Her willingness to confront the utter ridiculousness of her own behavior distinguishes Wurtzel as an author to be respected. A sad comedy emerges because she refuses to play the hapless victim and mocks her flaws openly.
Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines By Nic Sheff
Tweak is a contemporary narrative about drug addiction throughout adolescence and early adulthood. When Sheff was barely four years old, his parents split. It took Sheff many years to realize that his drug abuse was a severe danger to his health while he was living in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. You may expect to see a lot of drugs and booze in this book; but you can also anticipate a healthy dose of optimism to bring the narrative to a happy conclusion. Sheff is still dealing with the consequences of his drug abuse today.
Life By Keith Richards and James Fox
Keith Richards does not try to conceal his decades-long drug binge, which accompanied him from the dressing room of the Altamont Free Concert to the cellar of Villa Nellcôte, thanks to the virtually undetectable assistance of author James Fox. The reader is kept on the edge of their seat as “Keef” conjures up his reported Switzerland blood transfusion,” which Life does not dissect. Not everything in his life revolves on drugs. Thirty years ago, the guitar-riff maestro said, “I gave up drugs.”