Russell Brand's Incredible Transformation
Russell Brand is a comedian, actor and social activist. He is also an addict. Born in 1975 in Essex, England, he first used marijuana, amphetamines, ecstasy and LSD when he was 16. He has said that like most addicts, he had a difficult childhood, suffering from bulimia nervosa, ADHD and anxiety. His parents split when he was 6 months old, and he was sexually abused by a tutor. He has said he first developed an addiction to food, namely chocolate, then a pornography addiction and later to drugs and alcohol.
Raised by his single mother, he would only sporadically see this father. He describes his relationship with his father as being somewhat strange. He gives the example of his father taking him to Asia as a teen and taking him to visit prostitutes.
As an adult, he continued to experience significant addiction and drug and alcohol tendencies. In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, he was asked what the worst thing he did as an addict. He said he once stole his grandmother’s pension.
Russell Brand Controversies
Brand has had multiple controversies attributed to his behaviour at various times of his public life. From dressing up as Osama Bin Laden a day after the September 11 attacks, to using explicit language in radio interviews and creating public sexual encounters with strangers for publicity purposes. He has been characterised as an misogynist and a liar. Most of the incidents have been attributed to Brand occured whilst he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. But some have not, including his nazi salute at an awards ceremony.
Brand’s First Rehab Experience
As Brand’s fame rose, so did his addiction to drugs and alcohol. With the increased money that fame brings, so increased his connections to drugs and alcohol. He would do speed, acid, heroin, alcohol every day and was eventually told he’d end up dead in 6 months or in a mental health asylum.
His manager, John Noel found him in a toilet at a christmas party in 2002, shooting up heroin and this is the moment that would eventually see him admitted to a rehab facility in Sussex, London. This government funded rehab program uses an abstinence model to help addicts get off drugs. He has been clean from drugs and alcohol ever since.
Brand’s Sexual Addiction and Rehab
In 2005, Brand revealed that he was admitted to a sexual addiction treatment centre in Philadelphia for a sex addiction. John Noel his manager, who had previously admitted Brand to a different rehab based in London, for his drug addiction, suggesting again, this course of action to deal with Brand’s sexual addiction.
“At one point I had a harem of about ten women, whom I would rotate – in addition to one-night stands and random casual encounters.But shagging – incessant as it was – no longer seemed to have the required calming effect.”
Brand did try and leave early when it was discovered that many in the same facility where in fact pedophiles.
Brand’s Recovery Process
Brand is a strong proponent of helping others and the importance of the spiritual aspects of recovery. He remarks on his podcast:
“What is substantial about the spiritual to me is its efficacy it works. When I do these things, I feel better, when I am kind, when I am loving, when I surrender, I feel better”
“….but when I go and spend time helping other people sometimes in real blatant sub Princess Diana ways, like going to a homeless shelter and getting proper hands on and being amongst it or on a basic communal way like we human beings should be, taking phone calls from other people that are suffering reaching out talking about their problems for a change ….. like there’s some energy there when you’re helping others…… you start to feel a kind of elevated sense of connection, purpose, meaning”- Russell Brand on a recent episode of his Recovery podcast episode #026
Brand still thinks about doing alcohol and drugs and even after 15 years he has to remind himself one day at a time. He is of the view that his addiction was formulated to deal with the reality of his childhood, the divorced parents, sexual abuse, and his sick mother. And unless he does “the work”, helping people and contributing to society in a positive manner, the pull of drugs and alcohol gets stronger and stronger. He has to remain vigilant each and every day to ensure his health and mood stay in check.
Brand is widely recognised practitioner of yoga and transcendental meditation. He also credits both behaviours as being hugely supportive in enabling his drug and alcohol free existence.
Brand On Drug Law
Brand fronted a parliamentary committee in 2012 about drug addiction and it’s relationship with the law. He is a strong proponent of drug decimiminalsaton and has said:
“I’m not a legal expert. I’m saying that, to a drug addict, the legal aspect is irrelevant. If you need to get drugs, you will. The criminal and legal status, I think, sends the wrong message. Being arrested isn’t a lesson, it’s just an administrative blip.”
He isn’t a proponent of the use of methadone as a mechanism to help drugs addicts get off drugs. He views it merely as a substitute and not addressing the root cause of the disease.
“We might as well let people carry on taking drugs if they’re going to be on methadone….“Obviously it’s painful to abstain, but at least it’s hope-based.”
Russell Brand has recently written a book called “Recovery” focusing on the issues surrounding drug, alcohol and recovery. He continues to promote alcohol and drug treatments including the treatment facility that helped him get clean back in 2002. He also promotes a Comic Relief charity that funds “Give It Up”, which is an abstinence based treatment program.