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Russell Brand On Rock Bottom, Importance Of 12-Step Fellowship

By Victoria Kim 10/11/18

“Sharing your story with another addict, as I did in my recovery, proved vital. Nothing I said to this person was too boring or terrible or trivial to him."

Russell Brand
Photo via YouTube

Russell Brand never shies from talking about his experience with addiction and recovery.

Ahead of attending Wellspring, the three-day “wellness festival” happening in Palm Springs Oct. 26-28, where he’ll be the keynote speaker, Brand spoke with the Los Angeles Times about hitting rock bottom, living mindfully, and the importance of fellowship.

“I hit rock bottom in 2003 with an addiction to heroin, which had cost me a job at MTV, a radio show, friends and girlfriends,” said Brand, who began using drugs at age 19.

He used heroin for four years before his manager and friend Chip Sommers put things in perspective, telling him “I’d wind up either in a prison, lunatic asylum or graveyard.”

He started going to a 12-step program, which he benefits from to this day. By accessing the support of others, he learned the importance of having a sense of community that the program provided.

“Inevitably, when reason wanes, when the spiritual experience wanes, being part of a community lets you remind one another. Addicts yearn for some sense of connection that makes them feel more healed, more whole, more happy,” he said. “Sharing your story with another addict, as I did in my recovery, proved vital. Nothing I said to this person was too boring or terrible or trivial to him. He related to me—and the disconnectedness that I had always felt lifted. And so did the need to take drugs.”

Brand also relies on a daily regimen of meditation—“a shower for the brain”—and exercise.

“You have to design your own program, what’s right for your body and your mind,” he said. “For me meditation is not nearly enough. I need exercise too. And community.”

In his 2017 book Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions, Brand chronicles his path to recovery and shares wisdom accumulated from over a decade sober.

In the book, the comedian, actor, activist and advocate for addiction recovery and mental health adapts the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous in his own expletive-laced words.

“[Now] I don’t struggle with [addictive] urges because the program I live by helps me remain serene and prevents those urges from arriving,” he said. “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.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr

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