RECOVERY – Freedom From Our Addictions by Russell Brand

Russell Brand’s RECOVERY

This book is a human story of honesty, courage, kindness and triumph over adversity.  Honesty with himself and how harmful his addictions had become, his courage to face his demons, and his kindness towards others since recovery, yes Russell Brand has triumphed over his own adversity.  Using the 12 step programme he encourages that we can all do the same and live a more meaningful and fulfilled life with love and compassion towards ourselves and others.  Addiction is an avoidance of pain, or as Russell puts it the need to connect with self.  Addiction takes many forms:-

Caffeine/Smoking/Instagram/Gambling/Sex/Sugar/Social Media/Work/Alcohol/Chocolate/Cannabis/Twitter/Online Shopping/Drama/Dieting/Exercise/Shoes/Cars/Money/Hoarding/Binge TV/Facebook/Overeating/Travel/Technology/Pornography/Gaming/EBay

As I have said addiction to substance or behaviour is an avoidance of pain.  Pain is the indicator that something is wrong, something is not working for us, it is not serving us in a positive way.  A tortured and troubled mind can be silenced momentarily with the substance or behaviour of our choice but eventually we need more and more of it, and a vicious cycle ensues.  As Russell puts it:-

The thing about pain though is that it hurts to feel it – so no wonder we avoid it with substance abuse or addictive behaviours to distract ourselves from it.  However, beware of the strength of avoidance because you can cut out one behaviour or substance and suddenly find you’ve replaced it with another!  You might find the will power and the inner strength to stop drinking, but unless you face the demon which led you to drink in the first place, you might quickly replace that alcohol with online shopping or gaming or overeating or some other harmful distraction to avoid your pain.  Believe me – I’ve been there and got myself into debt with it!

Russell says that addiction stems from a yearning to connect, to connect to a power greater than ourselves.  And he’s right, we are in pain because we are in a sense avoiding ourselves and have become disconnected from the power within, and of all that we can be.  Look at the word I used in the last paragraph – willpower. Where does this come from if there is no ‘power’ out there?  It is said that God created us in his own image, God is all powerful.  Is some of that power in us too then?  Yes, I believe it is, and we can move mountains with faith and love.  God is out there and he is in us too.  God/Higher Power/The Universe/Allah/Whomever you call God is inside you and all around you.  I believe this is a very frightening concept for many human beings, and we spend our lives avoiding this ‘power’ because what might we become if we surrender to it?

“I was terrified of what I might find if I relinquished it.”

Could this be part of the human condition?  We’re all afraid of self-actualising and of being all that we can be?  No wonder consumerism, drugs and alcohol and every other distraction technique is rife.  Are we giving up on ourselves?  Are we sacrificing our souls to our own avoidance?  It’s a tough one, and God knows it’s painful and difficult to face one’s demons, but I’m in no doubt that it is our separate addictions which hold us back from being the best human being that we can be.

Russell takes us all the way through the 12 steps – from the familiar version to his own translation!!

This is a great example where humour translates!

I love this……  ‘We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable’  

‘Are you a bit fucked?’

The first step – to admit – we’ve got it wrong!

From there to just taking it one day at a time – Just for today I will not drink/shoot up/overeat/live on Facebook/indulge in online shopping/EBay watch/count my Facebook likes/Whatever!

I will stay with ME!  I will value myself and listen to my higher power and surrender – just for today.

This JUST FOR TODAY is such a crucial first step without the pressure of forever.

As I said addiction takes many forms – be careful not to let other addictions in as you let go of your core addictions.  Even parenting can lead to an addictive competiveness, living your life through your child/children – their grades, their beauty, their achievements…none of which belong to us – all of which belong to them, and they alone have been blessed with their attributes.  We have to let our children grow up safely and then it is our parental duty to let them go, we cannot live out lives through them.  I mention this because there is a beautiful chapter at the end of Russell’s book when he writes about the birth of his daughter.  He’s all 12 stepped out, so he won’t fall into this parental trap, but a lot of us who haven’t 12 stepped can be at risk of being addictively drawn to living our lives through our children.

I’m going to close this blog post with Russell’s closing line which I found so emotional, it made me cry –

This resonates with me totally – the false prophets are our addictions, the temptations which lead us away from our truth.  The yearning is the calling to redirect us, to take us home – to ourselves and to our higher power.

Russell – not only have you have made the 12 steps accessible to everyone, you have also made them COOL!

GO Russell!!!



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