More, Now, Again: A Memoir of Addiction

More, Now, Again: A Memoir of Addiction

by Elizabeth Wurtzel


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Elizabeth Wurtzel published her memoir of depression, Prozac Nation, to astonishing literary acclaim. A cultural phenomenon by age twenty-six, she had fame, money, respecteverything she had always wanted except that one, true thing: happiness.
For all of her professional success, Wurtzel felt like a failure. She had lost friends and lovers, every magazine job she'd held, and way too much weight. She couldn't write, and her second book was past due. But when her doctor prescribed Ritalin to help her focus-and boost the effects of her antidepressants — Wurtzel was spared. The Ritalin worked. And worked. The pills became her sugar...the sweetness in the days that have none. Soon she began grinding up the Ritalin and snorting it. Then came the cocaine, then more Ritalin, then more cocaine. Then I need more. I always need more. For all of my life I have needed more...
More, Now, Again is the brutally honest, often painful account of Wurtzel's descent into drug addiction. It is also a love story: How Wurtzel managed to break free of her relationship with Ritalin and learned to love life, and herself, is at the heart of this ultimately uplifting memoir that no reader will soon forget.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743223317
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 01/07/2003
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 761,642
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.43(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Wurtzel is the author of the bestselling books Prozac Nation and Bitch and a Harvard graduate whose work has appeared in such publications as The New Yorker, New York, The Guardian, and The Oxford American. She lives in New York City.

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.

Copyright © 2002 by Elizabeth Wurtzel

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More, Now, Again 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
ChrissyC More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth Wurtzel is one of the best narrative authors, in my age group, that I have ever come across. She has a unique way of putting it all out there, no matter how ugly the subject is, without sugar-coating. She's brutally honest, clever, and a rather interesting sense of humor.

This book is great for anyone who wants to know what is going through the mind of an addict-in any type of addiction. Her first book-Prozac Nation, was also an intersting take on depression from her experiences.
I would tell anyone interested in getting good impression of how addicts really think and feel during their most darkest,and desperate hours, to read this book. Everyone else should also read it because it is just a really good story as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this book because I feel that Wurtzel articulates what many people who suffer from depression and/or addiction feel. If you are fortunate enough not to experience any of that, maybe Wurtzels tendancy to 'rattle on' about issues may not interest you. However, I feel that this book is very well put and I would recommend it to anyone who has ever felt depressed or lost or hopeless.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Depression is a very selfish disease, and, combined with an addiction, the sufferer may seem annoying and terribly self-centered. Those who have not endured this type of hell may think Wurtzel is indeed full of self-pity and should simply think of others instead of herself, which she seems to be doing all the time. But that's the point: addiction and depression are self-destructive illnesses, and you must focus on yourself to get through them. More, Now, Again picks up where Prozac Nation, her first celebrated novel, leaves off. I just could not put it down. Seeing Wurtzel struggle through with her demons and ultimately winning her battle is amazing. Reading this book is like sitting through a melodramatic movie: it's a guilty pleasure, and you simply cannot take your eyes away from it. I recommend it to those who have experienced any kind of addiction or depression; it's well worth your time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book perusing in the psychology section at Barnes and Noble. When I first picked it up I thought that it would be an interesting and entertaining book. I was not disappointed. It is a book that I found myself staying up all night to read. Wurtzel goes into depth about the details and up¿s and down¿s of being a drug addicted writer. Her style of writing is random and sometimes confusing, it makes the reader wonder why. It jumps around a lot from past to present and back again. She names the chapter¿s witty things pertaining to what she is going to talk about such as ¿bye-bye life¿ and then put a quote to go along with it which I had still found it hard to figure out the meaning of some of them until I was finished with the book. She goes on and on about what may seem like the most random thing at the time but later after thinking about it and reading between the lines it all comes together and makes sense. To understand this book you have to understand that type of mentality, the mentality of someone in denial. She is addicted to Ritalin, a completely legal drug that she has been prescribed by her psychologist. So she is really not addicted to it because you can¿t be addicted to something your doctor gave to you that is supposed to help you right? This is Wurtzel¿s mentality throughout the beginning of the book. You get to see her journey through her addiction in the rest of the book. I found myself sitting down to read for half an hour and not be able to put the book down for hours. In the beginning of the book she refers to her drug addiction as a relationship and says it¿s love. This is true because she really is not close to anyone. If you know people that have an addiction they will put their addiction before anything, even before their family, their own flesh and blood. This is also a common characteristic of a young girl in love they will do anything and push away anything or anyone that gets in the way of this ¿love¿. Throughout the book you see her journey through the years of her addiction and the many people she pushes away as she reflects on her mistakes of her years. You notice that she knows what she is doing is wrong, she lies, steals, and cheats her way through life. I definitely recommend this book for the reader that is interested in the deep, random, and reflective thoughts of a drug addict.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldnt put the book down...depressed when I finished it. Now that's what I call irony.
LTJLawyer More than 1 year ago
Wurtzel is an amazing writer and this is just another example of that. Great book about her battle with addiction and all of the internal struggles she went through before, during, and after the addiction. Another must read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just like Elizabeth was addicted to cocaine in More, Now, Again, I was addicted to this book. This book was so hard to put down! I became a recluse and stayed in my bed for days in a row just reading this brutally honest story about Wurtzel's struggle with addiciton. Her style of writing and her subject matter are so captivating and so raw! This book opened my eyes to what it's really like to be an addict. I definitely recommend this book, but first I suggest you read Prozac Nation so you get to know Wurtzel's life and history 'there are references to that book in More, Now, Again'. GREAT BOOK! Highly recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great book. Wurtzel is my favorite writer. I would recommend that you first read Prozac Nation because this book is kind of like the effect of the causes explained in Prozac Nation.
Rob.Larson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This author knows about a million words, I had my dictionary out the whole time... Aside from that, sometimes Elizabeth seems to be trying to convince herself that she really IS smart, pretty, etc. Still, an excellent memoir and deep look inside the mind and heart of an addict. I would recommend it to anyone interested in the subject, others might find it insufferable. At times it's hard to differentiate between her candor and ego, though. Loses one star because of too much wordiness, although I would highly recommend it to recovering addicts.
waxlight on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I related to both of Wurtzel's memoirs (this, and Prozac Nation) more than anything else I've read on depression/addiction. It's so close, it's almost like looking in a mirror. While she can come across as egotistical as time, she doesn't hide some of the awful things she's done during her battles with depression and addiction.
superblondgirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I forgot what an amazing writer Elizabeth Wurtzel is. Even describing herself at her worst, she manages to write honestly and beautifully, in a way that makes you just want to keep turning the pages, find out what other amazing thing she's going to say. As I read I realize that so often she isn't someone I'd want to be around, but I can't put her down.
jennifour on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
At first, I didn't enjoy this book as much as Prozac Nation, which was raw and gripping. However, midway through, I became attached yet again to Wurtzel and I wondered how things would turn out and was rooting for her. At first she appears to be whiny and selfish. But the secret to her writing is that she get the reader to feel how depression or addiction really feels.
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