Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ben Cousins: Such Is Life

It started with glamorous slow-motion footage of a chiselled athlete plying his trade, and ended with a shocking first-hand account of waking up in a Los Angeles hospital bed after a five-day cocaine binge.

The first instalment of Such is Life: The Troubled Times of Ben Cousins was a confronting hour of viewing that featured repeated scenes of drug use.

As if a warning of what was to come for parents debating whether to allow their children to continue watching, a brief shot of Cousins smoking methamphetamine through a glass pipe appeared in the opening minutes.

Later, his home videos became more graphic. Cousins snorts lines of white powder. He carefully fills and smokes another pipe. A particularly distressing scene shows the footballer involuntarily twitching while under the influence of an unknown substance as he stands hunched over a table of empty beer bottles.

The fine details of his drug use is a topic Cousins has previously avoided. But early in the documentary, he freely admits to regularly consuming speed, ice, ecstasy and "drug of choice" cocaine - along with prescription medications including Valium and Xanax.

The retiring AFL star, who is hoping to play a farewell match this Sunday for Richmond, details how he regarded illicit drugs as his "ultimate reward" for hard work on the field.

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