Anthony Bourdain Reflects on Addiction, Success, and Living a ‘Charmed Life'

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When Anthony Bourdain shares life lessons, well, you better listen up. In a new interview published Sunday on, the wandering food sage talks about his journey from an early life full of failure and drug addiction to eventually finding success later in life as an author, celebrity chef, TV personality and New York food entrepreneur.

"Oh, man, at the age of 44, I was standing in kitchens, not knowing what it was like to go to sleep without being in mortal terror," Bourdain said, when asked about finding success later in life. "I was in horrible, endless, irrevocable debt. I had no health insurance. I didn’t pay my taxes. I couldn’t pay my rent. It was a nightmare, but it's all been different for about 15 years. If it looks like my life is comfortable, well, that’s a very new thing for me." 

Bourdain goes on to talk about overcoming his heroin addiction in the '80s, the thought process and inspiration behind his groundbreaking memoir, Kitchen Confidential, and his diehard refusal to spend his life doing "the same thing over and over again." Now, at 59, the dude says he still has "pinch me" moments, like when sharing a bowl of food with friends under a rising desert moon, and wonders if it will all ever catch up with him.

However, he brushes off the notion of a living a "charmed life," saying, "I don’t know about 'charmed.' But I’m still here -- on my third life, or maybe fourth. Who knows? I should’ve died in my 20s. I became successful in my 40s. I became a dad in my 50s. I feel like I’ve stolen a car -- a really nice car -- and I keep looking in the rearview mirror for flashing lights. But there’s been nothing yet."

Head over to for the full interview

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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and finds it so easy to admire this guy. Send news tips to and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.