Jacob Zinn :: journalist + photographer

JRNL 1261 – Book Review: The Heroin Diaries

JRNL 1261 – Advanced Journalism

April 2009

Book Review: The Heroin Diaries

Readers of The Heroin Diaries by Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx might have difficulty believing his rock star life is non-fiction.

The book is a year’s worth of sometimes frightening, sometimes enlightening journal entries by a drug-addicted Sixx, starting with Christmas 1986.

“They’re not watching their holiday spirit coagulating in a spoon,” he wrote from his Van Nuys mansion without much yuletide cheer.

The book is littered with racy photographs, grim drawings and such dark lyrics as “nothing to share but these needles.”

Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee was Sixx’s fellow junkie on the road, but even he drew the line when they were snorting lines, according to the book.

“As soon as I took smack with Nikki, I realized how easily I could get addicted,” said Lee in one of many self reflections.

Other musicians, producers, friends and family members provided comment on the diaries now that they’ve been published twenty years after they were written.

Sixx details his $5,000-a-day habit—cocaine, heroin, pills—but no matter how many bad trips he goes on, readers want to go with him.

He often hid in the closet after shooting up, irrationally paranoid that the police had followed his dealer, and then flushed the drugs down the toilet.

When the effects wore off, he realized the police weren’t surrounding his house and he was alone except for the voices in his head.

He kept a stash of guns in that closet and was lucky he didn’t shoot himself, though he did die from a heroin overdose—twice.

The first time was on Valentine’s Day 1986 in England, and after he OD’d, he woke up in a dumpster where the dealer left him.

Then on Dec. 23, 1987, after taking heroin with Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash in a Los Angeles hotel room, Sixx overdosed.

Paramedics drove him to the hospital where he was revived—he recalls having an out-of-body experience during the overdose.

“There was a body with a sheet over it being loaded into the ambulance. It was me,” he wrote.

Though the experience made him acknowledge the possibility of a higher power, it also reinforced his dark sense of humour.

“When I came in last night, I changed my message, ‘Hi, I’m not here because I’m dead.’ I need to change that…”

The events that happened in Sixx’s life are sometimes a bitter pill to swallow—Sixx himself sometimes took the whole bottle to cope.

He may not be a good role model and he had trouble coming down from the high life, but it’s morbidly intriguing to read a book by someone who’s died (twice) and lived to write about it.



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