More, Now, Again: A Memoir of Addiction

More, Now, Again: A Memoir of Addiction

4.4 48
by Elizabeth Wurtzel
     
 

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I crush up my pills and snort them like dust. They are my sugar. They are the sweetness in the days that have none. They drip through me like tupelo honey. Then they are gone. Then I need more. I always need more.
For all of my life I have needed more.


A precocious literary light, Elizabeth Wurtzel published her groundbreaking memoir of depressionSee more details below

Overview

I crush up my pills and snort them like dust. They are my sugar. They are the sweetness in the days that have none. They drip through me like tupelo honey. Then they are gone. Then I need more. I always need more.
For all of my life I have needed more.


A precocious literary light, Elizabeth Wurtzel published her groundbreaking memoir of depression, Prozac Nation, at the tender age of twenty-six. A worldwide success, a cultural phenomenon, the book opened doors to a rarefied world about which Elizabeth had only dared to dream during her middle-class upbringing in New York City. But no success could staunch her continuous battle with depression. The terrible truth was that nothing had changed the emptiness inside Elizabeth. Her relationships universally failed; she was fired from every magazine job she held. Indeed, the absence of fulfillment in the wake of success became yet another seemingly insurmountable hurdle.
When her doctor prescribed Ritalin to boost the effects of her antidepression medication, Elizabeth jumped. And the Ritalin worked. And worked. And worked. Within weeks, she was grinding up the pills and snorting them for a greater effect. It reached the point where she couldn't go more than five minutes without a fix. It was Ritalin, and then cocaine, and then more Ritalin. In a harrowing account, Elizabeth Wurtzel contemplates what it means to be in love with something in your blood that takes over your body, becomes the life force within you -- and could ultimately kill you.
More, Now, Again is an astonishing and timely story of a new kind of addiction. But it is also a story of survival. Elizabeth Wurtzel hits rock bottom, gets clean, uses again, and finally gains control over her drug and her life. As honest as a confession and as heartfelt as a prayer, More, Now, Again recounts a courageous fight back to a life worth living.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In her second book, Bitch, a discourse on self-destructive women, Wurtzel (Prozac Nation) admits to writing the manuscript while on drugs and then checking herself into rehab. In this memoir, she expands that admission to its extreme, minutely detailing life as a Ritalin addict and then as a rehab patient. But with its long stretches of descriptions about glass coffee-tables, tweezed leg hairs, missed phone calls and junkie buddies, this new book would have been more aptly titled "Prosaic Nation." Not only does Wurtzel tread on well-covered terrain about getting clean, she manages to add little or no insight either to her own habit or to the landscape of addiction in general. She's never figured out how to be a grown-up and do the little things like scrubbing a tub, she writes, "and remembering to eat and shampoo my hair. It's the basics: I can write a whole book, but I cannot handle the basics." Yet she fills this work with nothing but mere basics, like which cereals she eats, how she feels about television and how tough she finds life on a book tour. Even in rehab, that reliable bastion of craziness, the scenes are ordinary, washed out by Wurtzel's seeming lack of emotion. Indeed, throughout the book the author describes crying or worrying, but never seems to feel anything, so that when she has a surge of gung-ho self-esteem at the book's end, complete with a spiritual awakening, it rings false, a too hasty wrapup. Hardcore Wurtzel fans may find much to enjoy here, but the book's lack of depth and originality will check all but the most devoted. (Jan. 17) Forecast: The toned-down and boring jacket (compared with those of Wurtzel's previous books) and her lackluster writing won't do much for sales. More, Now, Again has scant chances of reaching new readers it just doesn't have the depth and insight of other works on addiction. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
In her second book, Bitch, a discourse on self-destructive women, Wurtzel (Prozac Nation) admits to writing the manuscript while on drugs and then checking herself into rehab. In this memoir, she expands that admission to its extreme, minutely detailing life as a Ritalin addict and then as a rehab patient. But with its long stretches of descriptions about glass coffee-tables, tweezed leg hairs, missed phone calls and junkie buddies, this new book would have been more aptly titled "Prosaic Nation." Not only does Wurtzel tread on well-covered terrain about getting clean, she manages to add little or no insight either to her own habit or to the landscape of addiction in general. She's never figured out how to be a grown-up and do the little things like scrubbing a tub, she writes, "and remembering to eat and shampoo my hair. It's the basics: I can write a whole book, but I cannot handle the basics." Yet she fills this work with nothing but mere basics, like which cereals she eats, how she feels about television and how tough she finds life on a book tour. Even in rehab, that reliable bastion of craziness, the scenes are ordinary, washed out by Wurtzel's seeming lack of emotion. Indeed, throughout the book the author describes crying or worrying, but never seems to feel anything, so that when she has a surge of gung-ho self-esteem at the book's end, complete with a spiritual awakening, it rings false, a too hasty wrapup. Hardcore Wurtzel fans may find much to enjoy here, but the book's lack of depth and originality will check all but the most devoted. (Jan. 17) Forecast: The toned-down and boring jacket (compared with those of Wurtzel's previous books) and her lackluster writing won't do much for sales. More, Now, Again has scant chances of reaching new readers it just doesn't have the depth and insight of other works on addiction. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
What, more? After Prozac Nation and Bitch, Wurtzel finally cleans up her act. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-An excellent, harrowing, horrifying book that YAs will identify with and remember. It's also one of the first lengthy accounts of prescription-drug abuse (for a time, Wurtzel crushed and snorted Ritalin every five minutes, which is increasingly popular among teens). More is thoroughly unglamorous ("I was not a cool drug addict") and often frankly disgusting; on speed, for example, the author began tweezing her legs and couldn't stop until she nearly hit bone; her legs became an infected mess of open sores. The last third of the book-on rehab, relapse, and recovery-is not as strong, but the preface and first chapter alone make More, Now, Again an important acquisition for a YA collection. Whatever her advantages (white, middle-class, Harvard grad, author of the best-selling Prozac Nation[Riverhead, 1995]), Wurtzel is not a "poor little rich girl" begging readers' pity or forgiveness. If anything, she courts their revulsion, while dragging them repeatedly (as she did her friends, doctors, and family) into the hellish world of addiction-deception, blood, desperation, vomit and all-more skillfully and memorably than anyone else.-Emily Lloyd, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Generational spokesperson Wurtzel (Prozac Nation, 1994, etc.) pens a claustrophobic but surprisingly moving account of her battle with drug addiction.
From the Publisher
USA Today Funny, honest, her terror is palpable.

Will Blythe Elle More, Now, Again (has) the frothy pleasures of a Jacqueline Susann novel as written by a spiky Harvard girl.

Kera Bolonik Book More, Now, Again, a visceral and at times mordantly funny book...is (Wurtzel's) finest work to date — a breathtaking read from beginning to end.

Kirkus Reviews Generational spokesperson Wurtzel pens a...moving account of her battle with drug addiction...a wake-up call about the abusive potential of Ritalin — and a searing account of a long, deadly dalliance with destruction.

Jeff Guin Fort Worth Star-Telegram Wurtzel is...an amazing writer.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780743226004
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
11/01/2007
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
161,325
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

There are no seasons in Florida. People say that about other places, they say that about southern California, but I've lived through some freezing nights in Los Angeles. I've snuck around people's homes there and turned the thermostat up to eighty degrees because I've been so cold, especially in the canyons. But here in Florida the ground is flat, the terrain is absolute, it is always warm, it is always bright. The Christmas lights strung on the houses along the highway look ridiculous. Today there was a tornado in Miami. They showed the twister in the skyscrapers on the evening news. No one was hurt.

The only way I can tell the passage of time is how long I can go between pills. Five minutes, maybe. It used to be longer, fifteen minutes, a half hour. But that was months ago. Or maybe weeks. Time passes slowly, or too fast, or it makes no difference.

I crush up my pills and snort them like dust. They are my sugar. They are the sweetness in the days that have none. They drip through me like tupelo honey. Then they are gone. Then I need more. I always need more. For all of my life I have needed more.

My pills are methylphenidate hydrochloride, brand name Ritalin, but I will take Dexedrine or any other kind of prescription amphetamine that I can get. I used to swallow them, ten milligrams at a time, every four hours, no more than three times a day, as directed by my physician. Then I took more, and more often. Then one day I cut one in half, trying to extend the supply, and some powder crumbled off of my uneven slice. I could feel my face light up: I might as well have been Columbus, discovering America while looking for India. I snorted it up, as if it were cocaine, and something different happened in my brain, a scratchy rush. Since then, I've been crushing them up like that on purpose. I inhale forty pills a day.

That's how I spend my days: I smash up powder and make it go away.

Right now I live in an efficiency behind the Galleria mall, off Sunrise Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. This is like some cosmic joke; this whole setup is like a picture on a poster that says THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON DRUGS. If you knew me, if you saw me in my apartment in Greenwich Village, you would never believe this. No one believes this. Like most stories that involve large quantities of drugs, this one is shaped by incongruous details. I'm a New Yorker, I am not equipped to live anywhere else, I do not have a driver's license, I cannot safely get behind the wheel of an automobile, and here I am in a place without sidewalks. I live near the mall so I can get whatever I need on foot.

This is not the first place I've lived down here. There was also my mother's condominium on the Intracoastal, which was white and beautiful, with hard western sunlight in the afternoons. There was the Schubert Motel, owned by French Canadians, with a broken air conditioner, so the cuts I hacked onto my legs festered from the humidity. When I went to the emergency room, I told them it was from shaving with a dull razor, which I think they might have believed. The residents on their thirty-six-hour shifts had such a soft innocence. Then there was the Riverside Hotel, on Las Olas Boulevard, with red velvet wallpaper and twenty-four-hour room service.

This apartment comes furnished. I have a Murphy bed and a kitchen table, and one of those desks that is part of the same wall unit as the bed. I have local phone service and an answering machine. I don't have a calling card so I can't return long distance calls, which is why I don't. The entrance is off a catwalk. Down the hall are two call girls, and next door on the other side are two gay flight attendants who work for a charter airline used by hockey teams. Downstairs is a paralegal with a cat who isn't very friendly.

I know how I got here, I know how I found this apartment, I remember the ad in the Sun-Sentinel, and still I can tell you: I don't know how I got here. My life, in all its apparent disorder, has always been so carefully planned, always just as it was meant to be. In my college recommendation, my high school English teacher said that he could see me growing up and writing for The New Yorker. So I graduated from college and started writing for The New Yorker. I have always had the gift of making it all look like some big lucky accident, like whoops, here I landed, gee whiz, what do you know. But it's all been so deliberate. I am exactly who you thought I would be. I am the least surprising person you will ever meet. But not this. This is really an accident.

Every addict tells the same stories about where drugs took her. Mostly it's about where you spent the night, blackouts: I woke up in Brazil, I woke up on a bench in Golden Gate Park, I woke up in a holding cell, I woke up in Mykonos, I woke up in Buckingham Palace, I woke up in my own vomit. In the movies, those stories involve sharp and arch displays of wealth or degrading degrees of filth: In Scarface, this schnook from Cuba finds himself in a postmodern house on the Biscayne Bay, all lacquered surfaces, with Michelle Pfeiffer all blond in the background, giving him a hard time. In Jesus' Son, everything is tawdry and all the furniture is plaid and shredded: junkies in the Holiday Inn, in the Midwest, in the mid-seventies. In real life, the scion of a family whose name is a corporation traded on the stock exchange is living in a men's shelter, or a kid from the Dominican Republic is smoking crack in a Park Avenue duplex that has a Frank Stella hanging on the wall.

So I guess I am just like everyone else, another fish-out-of-water, or human-being-in-water. But there are no extremes of poverty or wealth to speak of. There are strip malls and a housing complex with a swimming pool that no one ever uses. I sit at a raw bar and eat oysters, or I make copies late at night at Kinko's, and when there is a Clinique bonus, I buy a new lipstick at Burdines. Everyone here is transient or retired, or sometimes there are college students visiting during school break. No one here has a last name. This is surely the most anonymous place I could ever be. If I tried to tell my neighbors about my life in New York or my work or my friends, they would not care. If it's not of immediate use to them, if it's not about borrowing detergent or a ride to the supermarket, they don't hear it. They are the nicest people, but it's all about the next five minutes.

And by now, my whole life is about the next five minutes. There are no human beings in this story. Not really. That's my favorite thing about my pills: they are my only relationship. The only thing I care about is where more will come from. That is all I need to worry about. Otherwise I might not exist. I am in a place where there is no difference between May and December, and the only time that matters is the minutes between pills when all I think about is my next line.

When nothing else happens all day, when all there is to show for it is some work I've done or an okay movie I've seen, when it's been nothing special, they are my treat.

They used to be a treat. Late at night, they were something to look forward to. I could tell myself: I can still get high. I would tell myself: This is the sugar in my bowl.

But now it's my life. Pills are my everything. At the end of the day, other people ask themselves: Is this all there is? I don't want to wait for the answer. I'm not stupid. I don't wait to see if today will be better than yesterday, because I already know.
And these pills are deep inside of me.
What person could ever get this close? Who would want to?
And I swear to you, and I don't care how this sounds, I think it's love. If you don't understand, you don't know what love is.

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