the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids recently featured award-winning TV personality, chef and father Andrew Zimmern during an exciting, live chat and Q&A with our Facebook community this month.
Having just celebrated 20 years in recovery, Andrew hosted a memorable online discussion and explained how he became “a drug addict and an alcoholic,” ultimately losing everything due to his addiction. Andrew shared his personal story of triumph and path to recovery and offered encouragement to others who are now struggling with a loved one’s addiction.
We had the chance to catch up with Andrew and ask him a few more questions, not featured on the Facebook chat:
the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids: How did you first come to use drugs or alcohol? And what was the first substance you tried?
Andrew Zimmern: “I tried champagne at a family party when I was six years old. I loved it. I drank too much, giggled and passed out. Everyone thought it was cute. The die was cast. I picked up weed and alcohol again in 1974, when I was in the 8th grade.”
the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids: Do you think that being a celebrity makes it harder to stay sober?
Andrew Zimmern: “No, sobriety has nothing to do with what you do for a living or where you do it.”
the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids: Does being in the public eye provide more temptation to use drugs and alcohol?
Andrew Zimmern: “Absolutely not. If I stop taking care of myself and let my emotional and spiritual sobriety wane, then the symptomology of relapse begins.”
the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids: As a parent, and especially one who had been through it himself, what is the best advice you can give to parents going through addiction with one of their teens?
Andrew Zimmern: “Hang in there, seek professional help, take care of yourself first and be as cold and as tough as you can be as early as you can be. This is a deadly disease and it will not take mercy on you, so you have to be lethal with your resources for a solution to your family problem.”
the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids: How will you turn some of the valuable lessons you’ve learned into lessons of prevention for your son?
Andrew Zimmern: “All I have is my story, and he has heard it a lot. All I can do is parent him appropriate to his age and to my own personal experience and be vocal with him.”
Watch Andrew tonight as he hosts a new episode of the Travel Channel’s hit series, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, at 9:00 p.m. EST.