AN INTERVIEW WITH HOLLYWOOD ACTOR CHRIS LEVINE
By: Dr. Tasaduk Hussain Itoo.
A Los Angeles-based Hollywood Actor, Chris Levine, has been a victim of Steroid Abuse in his late teens/early twenties and after 10 years he came up with a movie titled “Anabolic Life” highlighting his battle with body image issue and thrusting into a world of steroids, crime and self-destruction. He shares his experiences in an online interview with Dr. Tasaduk Hussain Itoo.
It is worth to note that the interview got international recognition. Whole “Anabolic Life” team acknowledged and appreciated it including the Director and Producer of the movie. The interview is being shared by the Team to create awareness about Steroid Abuse at global level. One of the story from Anabolic Life team reads “Our lead Actor Chris Levine who also wrote the original screenplay was interviewed by a well-known doctor in India about Steroids, his struggle with them and how it turned into the movie “Anabolic Life”.
Excerpts from the Interview
How old were you when you first started taking steroids? How were you introduced to steroids?
I took steroids the first time when I was 18. And I was originally introduced to the idea of steroids and what they can do by a high school peer who was big/muscular and red. Everyone talked about him being on steroids. That led to an interest in them, or at least a general knowledge of their existence and then at an ‘after-school’ job I met a guy who was able to get me my first cycle. A few needles, no directions and a few bottles of oil which were the steroids! Figure this was before the internet was like today; it was like 2001 so I couldn’t just Google how to do them correctly or anything.
Do you exactly remember the day when you had first dose in 2001?
Not exactly! I remember going to his house and him giving me a package with the contents. He told me where to inject them and how much to put in the syringe. I barely knew how to work out- never mind injecting a needle. I took them for a few weeks (maybe 4-5 shots total) and gained 15lbs or so of mostly water retention. I had a picture of how round my face got but I don’t remember any actual gains other than added anger or “roid rage” which was a mix of lack of patience and being an 18 yr old kid with super high test levels. My mother found out what I was doing such substances and threw them away- it caused some drama in the household for a week or so.
What was the first steroid you used? Can you tell the brand name?
That first time was just a testosterone- no clue what it was, who made it. Very sketchy and for some reason this guy at work who I didn’t really know, just went to lunch sometimes with him I trusted him enough to put something in my body I had no clue what it. Young and naïve! Or may be desperate to be bigger? This sort of transitions us into when I wanted to be a bodybuilder about 3 years later and when I began abusing steroids. If you are ready to dive into that part of my life yet.
Which steroid did you eventually became addicted with?
It wasn’t a specific steroid – to me I never noticed the specific differences between the different types of testosterone or the stacks you pair it with i.e.: Deca or Fina but what I became addicted to was the “look” and the “feeling” of being on steroids. The increased blood flow, the “pump” at the gym, the way your t-shirt fits you – all things that make you feel good about yourself, something I think most chase and a large reason of taking steroids to begin with – to feel good about yourself and your body.
Okay. How long you were on these steroids? Who knew about your problem when you were on steroids? When did your family find out?
During my competing days I was on steroids for about 16 weeks at a time with about 12 weeks off in between for about 2.5 years. I was in college during that so away from my parents/family. So I don’t think they knew there was an issue. My girlfriend during the time knew about the steroids but never confronted me about having an issue. I wasn’t like this angry 300lbs guy I just personally hated myself when I was off of them at the time. That was the addiction which led to taking more and more which turned into the abuse.
Did your family ever came to know about your problem? What is that movie you are talking about?
May be after the movie was made. They still don’t know where that needs to be bigger/self image issues stem from. No one in my family even works out. Im sure they had suspicion when they would show up at my bodybuilding shows – I would maybe yell at my girlfriend or something in front of them but no one ever came to me and expressed their concern. I have movie now out digitally everywhere – iTunes, Amazon, youtube, vudu, etc called Anabolic Life. It’s a fictional movie based on my college steroid abuse. It follows a young man who is unhappy with himself and decides to work out to look better – when that doesn’t work fast enough he turns to steroids and that’s when the abuse happens. It is Directed by Landon Williams, Produced by myself, Cameron Barsanti and Landon. Written by me. Screenplay by all 3 of us as well.
Can you explain in brief the good and bad effects of using steroids as you have experienced as an abuser? How do you measure them?
When it comes to the exact ways it affects the body but based on experience this is what I can tell you.
Good: The make everything good about being a man increase. Libido, muscle, attitude, energy, confidence.
Bad: Long term effects are starting to show up as increased organ size which could lead to a sooner failure rate. Testicle shrinkage (they return to normal but during, they shrink), acne, a very specific body odor, anger – it’s just your fuse is shorter than normal really but when you get mad you see red for sure, injuries due to muscle growth and your tendons not being able to handle the new size. The chance of an abscess – dirty steroids, too much into the injection site can lead to that infection ball and then they have to cut it out of you. Cold/flu immediately happens due to the foreign substance in your body.
What are the psychological damages or any other damages you’ve been through or seen around you because of this deadly habit?
A . Well I wouldn’t say it’s a “deadly” habit but I would say the addiction stems from that feeling you get. Psychologically speaking testosterone can positively effect your mood, and when for months at a time you have high test levels which equates to high levels of good mood – then you drop those levels you can easily become depressed, sad, even suicidal.
You can also look at it as you have all of this great muscle, you are lean and strong. You get off of the steroids and you begin to lose muscle and strength no matter who you are that is going to effect your outlook, the way you feel, your mood. So the addiction is created because you never want to feel that way so you stay on the steroids.
Do you think steroid abuse is a serious youth health concern?
Yes. Easily one of the worst. People don’t die from them, they don’t overdose from them (statistically speaking) so there’s no education about them, no direct concern. If curriculum were mandatory with PE/Gym class in high school about the effects, why you don’t need them at this young of age and what can happen if you do use them, I think teens would less likely want to use them and at least if they did know about what they were putting in their bodies they would be safer with them. I know that if I knew the effects, how they work, what your body is doing while using them I wouldn’t have done that 1 cycle at 18. I would’ve known it’s a waste of money, and a risky health option at such a developmental stage in becoming a man.
Do you think more needs to be done in the society to bring steroid abuse awareness to the fore?
I think they should be taught in high school – what they are, how they effect the body with pros and cons and safe alternatives. I also think every athlete at a collegiate level should learn about them – they are demanded to hold up a ton of weight on growing bodies so if they are going to do them they should Atleast know proper dosage, how to inject safely and then how to cycle on and cycle off properly. I’d love to speak at schools and do full Q&A’s if this movie allows me to spread awareness.
Thoughtful! After fighting with your body image issue landing into steroid abuse, you end up in a movie titled “Anabolic Life”. What was the main driving motivation to came up with this movie?
- I had been out in Los Angeles trying to get in movies for about a year and decided to take a break and focus on bodybuilding again. As I was researching clinics for hormone replacement therapy it hit me. Write what you know. That moment I knew I had to make a movie about steroids and abusing them and bodybuilding all with some loose facts from what I went through in college in relationships with my friends, girlfriend and family while on steroids. With a few re-writes from my producing team – we ended up with Anabolic Life.
How steroid abuse affect your relationships? Can you briefly explain it?
I don’t think steroids have affected many relationships – it can definitely strain relationships – mostly the ones closest to you. Significant other, parents, boss. Due to the shortened “trigger” I felt like I argued or at least got annoyed easier with my girlfriend, I didn’t have the patience to deal with my parents trying to telling me what I need to do with my life (I mean I still don’t but it creates rage while now it just creates frustration) and a boss is a boss, none are that good to begin with but you don’t mind talking back as when you are off of the steroids I would just vent to myself.
So do you accept that steroid abuse is predisposition to self-destruction and self-violation?
I don’t. I think steroids are a very addictive substance due to the benefits but that addiction can easily turn into abuse because you want more muscle, more strength, more libido – that can lead to self destruction, health issues and bad attitude because you never find that peak where you are happy.
Do you think parents have a role to play in keeping their children away from such drug abuses? If yes. What role? If you have to educate your kids as a parent about drug/steroid abuse, how you would educate them? Briefly explain.
Yes! Education. Education. Parents who have kids who are into sports or into weight lifting should be talking to their kids about steroids just as they do so much about drugs. And parents should be able to look for signs their kids are on steroids and how to handle the situation. Unlike my Mom the first time when she just threw them out which is hazardous to your health to stop cold turkey. I think it’s more of the acknowledgement that you (the child) might be inclined to take them and explaining the reasons why you shouldn’t at your age. The dangers involved in normal growth patterns being stopped by them. When you are an adult in your 20’s you can make your own choices but understand the risks and educate yourself on how to do them safely, correctly and how to cycle off of them as well.
Educating yourself and educating others is the way out. What else messages do you want to convey to the youth who are indulged in drug/steroid abuse?
Be safe! More does not mean more gains. There’s science here and your body can only absorb so much to grow at a time. Also diet is the key to what your goal is, steroids are just to push you past plateaus.
Lastly just know your hard work shows even if you can’t always see it. Thank you!
Dr.Tasaduk Hussain Itoo is a Medical Practioner at Acharya Shri Chander College of Medical Sciences & Hospital Jammu, J&K, India/ Activist / Columnist /Educator at Unacademy, India’s largest online education platform. He can be contacted on: firstname.lastname@example.org