Andrew Zimmern Reveals His Alcoholic, Suicidal Past

“I think I’ll have the geoduck.”

By Leah Simpson, Mar 26, 2019

| – Andrew Zimmern didn’t shower for a year while sleeping on the streets and even tried to drink himself to death before he eventually found success in the culinary world.

The 57-year-old TV chef opens up in the March issue of Artful Living, revealing how he hit rock bottom at some point between December 1990 and January 1991, when he joined a bottle gang and stole bags to sell items to drug dealers in order to fund a drinking and drugs addiction.

He shares how one night he stole jewelry from his own godmother to get cash for three crates of Popov vodka, drank two-thirds of the haul and passed out.

‘I started drinking around the clock and blacking out,’ he shares. ‘I couldn’t tell you whether it was three or five days later, but I woke up one morning and the tension, the Ace bandage that had been tied so tightly around my entire life just wasn’t there. I felt a desperate need to reach out to someone.’

Before he decided to get help aged 29, Zimmern had battled a drinking problem for more than a decade, something he says began when his mother slipped into a coma due to a misstep in medical care.

Zimmern ‘started drinking and smoking pot regularly’ at the age of 13. He says: ‘It was at that time that I felt that euphoric sense of relief.’

A counselor declared him a chronic alcoholic aged just 18. But his illness continued even as he held down jobs he says in the interview.

‘I very quickly started doing pills, cocaine, hallucinogens. By the time I went to college, I had already experimented with heroin,’ he confesses. ‘So when I got to college, the gloves came off, and I became a typical New York garbage head. Whatever was around was my drug of choice.

‘I liked to mix things that brought me up with things that brought me down …’ Read more. 

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