Russell Brand: Changing Our View on Addiction

You May Not Love Russell Brand For His Comedy – But You Gotta Love The Guy For His Recovery

Russell Brand isn’t for everybody. He’s an acquired taste. The 42-year-old British comic and movie star is quite controversial, making a name for himself with his outrageous stand-up comedy and notorious public antics. Starring in movies Get Him to the Greek and Forgetting Sarah Marshall – and famous for his two-year marriage to rocker girl Katy Perry – he’s the kind of guy you either love or hate (or love to hate).

But, one thing you gotta love about Brand is his activism and willingness to share his recovery story with the world. With more than 14 years of sobriety, Brand released his tell-all book, Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions, in September 2017 and it’s becoming quite the sensation.

This is not Brand’s first book. He has already written and published several highly acclaimed books, including My Booky Wook, My Booky Wook 2: This Time It’s Personal, and Articles of Faith, which feature the many columns he has written for The Guardian. However, this book may be his most successful – and most highly debated – yet.   

What Brand Says About His Book And The Condition Of Addiction In The World Today

On his website, Brand had this to say about his book and the condition of addiction:

“This is the age of addiction, a condition so epidemic, so all-encompassing and ubiquitous that unless you are fortunate enough to be an extreme case, you probably don’t know that you have it.

“What unhealthy habits and attachments are holding your life together? Are you unconsciously dependent on food? Bad relationships? A job that doesn’t fulfil you? Numb, constant perusal of your phone, looking for what?

“My qualification for writing this book is not that I am better than you, it’s that I am worse. I am an addict, addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, money, love and fame. The programme in recovery has given me freedom from all addictions and it will do the same for you.

“This system offers nothing less than liberation from self-centredness, a new perspective, freedom from the illusion of suffering for anyone who is willing to take the necessary steps.”

Brand’s Book Includes His Own Version of the 12 Steps

“Because I had the gift of desperation, because I had f-ed up my life so royally, I had no option but to seek and accept help,” Brand wrote in his book. According to Brand, Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions includes his own version of the 12-Steps:

Step One: Are you a bit f-cked?

Step Two: Could you not be f-cked?

Step Three: Are you, on your own, going to “unf-ck” yourself?

Step Four: Write down all the things that are f-cking you up or have ever f-cked you up and don’t lie, or leave anything out.

Step Five: Honestly tell someone trustworthy about how f-cked you are.

Step Six: Well that’s revealed a lot of f-cked up patterns. Do you want to stop it? Seriously?

Step Seven: Are you willing to live in a new way that’s not all about you and your previous, fucked up stuff? You have to.

Step Eight: Prepare to apologize to everyone for everything affected by your being so

f-cked up.

Step Nine: Now apologize. Unless that would make things worse.

Step Ten: Watch out for f-cked up thinking and behavior and be honest when it happens.

Step Eleven: Stay connected to your new perspective.

Step Twelve: Look at life less selfishly, be nice to everyone, help people if you can.

He believes these steps can help anyone who is trying to overcome an addiction of any kind. Of course, his critics argue the 12 Steps were just fine without his comedic slant. They also suggest the world fairs much better with the current, more spiritual version of the Steps, as opposed to his vulgar take – which is notably absent of any reference to God.

Nevertheless, Brand is excited about his new book and hopes it will help others battling their own personal addictions. After overcoming an addiction to heroin, crack, food, porn, and sex, the man is certainly qualified to write on the topic.

How Brand’s Program Can Help People Who Are Struggling With Addiction Issues

Brand told Vice the program he outlined in his book can help people because “it gives you a system to change the way you think, feel, and relate – it can bring about total change in anyone who does it. If you’re in an extreme case of addiction, you obviously need additional support – medical, psychiatric, etc.”

He added, “But if you’re using this book because you’re just generally unhappy, you do what’s in there – becoming a part of new communities and willing to put the service of other people ahead of your continual self-fulfillment – then change is very simple.”

Brand continued, “It’s just like exercise, meditation, or yoga. It alters your consciousness in a very holistic and simple way, helping you unpick your previous way of being and giving you an opportunity to access a new one.”

He also said that with this program, you have the ability to diagnose and amend trivial feelings of resentment and disturbance that are often rooted in deep neurosis. You are able to break down thoughts and analyze them with the tools of the program and be put right by surrendering yourself.

Why Russell Brand Felt The Need To Write His New Book About Addiction and Recovery

When asked by Vice why he felt the need to write his book and offer the 12 Steps in a new way to the public, he had this to say:

“Because we spend all of our time talking about problems – Donald Trump, contemporary life, capitalism and consumerism, ideology, the loss of personal connection, the breakdown of economic distance – and not much time talking about solutions. On one level, the solution is about very simple things like connectedness and kindness, and addiction is a really convenient metaphor for addressing the need for transition and awakening. If that happens on an individual level, I think it will happen on other levels as well.”  

Brand Shares Some Candid Thoughts About The Disease Model

When asked by Vice whether he thinks addiction is a disease or a behavioral problem, he responded very openly. He doesn’t really care.

“In a sense, the disease model is a metaphor, but everyone recognizes it in an official capacity. I’m more interested in finding a solution than continually reframing the problem semantically. If someone thinks it’s a disease, that’s cool – as long as you believe there’s a solution. If someone thinks it’s behavioral, that’s cool – as long as you think you can amend behavior. My personal feeling is that it’s an extreme condition that’s present in everybody.”

What Brand Told Vice About What Recovery Means To Him

When asked about what recovery means to him, Brand said recovery is about recovering the person you were meant to be.

“If you haven’t gotten caught up in your own individual psychosis and neurosis, you would’ve become something. There’s something in you that is trying to realize itself – a sense of purpose and connection. It has a spiritual component to it,” he told Vice. “It presumes there’s something unique and beautiful in a human being who wants to realize itself.”

Brand Recently Got Together With People Magazine For An Interview To Talk About His New Book

To further discuss his new book, Brand sat down with People Magazine in October 2017 for an exclusive interview.

Like so many addicts and alcoholics in recovery, he attributes his spiral into addiction to traumatic childhood experiences. Among them were abuse, his mother’s cancer diagnosis when he was a small child (thankfully, she is alive and well today), a difficult relationship with his father, and a troubling relationship with his stepfather.

“I don’t know whether or not the events in your life send you into addiction because a lot of people have had very difficult lives and haven’t become addicts, so I think it’s difficult to say,” Brand explained in his People interview. “The one thing I feel people need in order not to become addicts is a connection with people who will speak to them honestly and truthfully – ongoing, open relationships with people where you can talk honestly about your feelings. I feel if you don’t get that as a kid it can be quite difficult.”

He added, “I’m also careful not to sound like I’m judging my parents who did a good job. I was the sort of person who was likely to have addiction issues. I have that type of personality. I also think that there were lots of personal circumstances that meant that I felt alienated, which created a sort of perfect crucible for addictive tendencies.”

Today, Brand Says He is Free From The Obsession Of Active Addiction

“Now, I don’t struggle with addictive urges because the program I live by helps me to remain serene and prevents those urges from arriving,” Brand told People, admitting he worked on his Fourth Step for two days straight and wrote down everything that had ever messed him up.

“If I feel those urges – even though I don’t feel them so often because I’m working the program – I talk to other people and I do stuff for other people and I meditate and pray. There’s a whole sort of series put in place for when I feel those urges,” he said.  

Russell Brand Is On The Radio

We’ve already learned that Russell Brand has a lot to say about recovery. But did you know he also has a lot to say about politics, the decriminalization of drugs, wealth inequality and other socially charged issues?

Apparently, the guy has quite a following on the Russell Brand Show, his own personal podcast that comes on Radio X. If you’re a Russell Brand fan, it’s a good opportunity to find out what this recovery advocate is doing in his professional life and hear what he has to say on hot topics happening around the world.

If you’re not a huge fan of this author and activist, you may want to give the show a listen – at least once. He often has recovering addicts on the show to share their experience, strength and hope about how they are staying clean one day at a time. It’s a great way to learn more about recovery and how get the most out of every day of sobriety.

Clearly, as a successful author, actor, and activist with more than 14 years clean, Russell Brand has something to teach us all.

Russell Brand: Changing Our View on Addiction
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December 5th, 2017|0 Comments

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