Russell Brand Rolls Out His Own 12 Steps In New Book 'Recovery'

By Victoria Kim 10/17/17

In his new self-help book, Brand offers an adapted 12-step program that he believes can help anyone battling addiction.

Russell Brand's New Book Chronicles 14 Years of Recovery Wisdom
“I know that life is still there, waiting for me if I ever choose to go back.”

Russell Brand has written a book about overcoming addiction. Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions just came out, and it chronicles his path to recovery and shares the wisdom accumulated from over a decade sober.

The 42-year-old comedian, actor, activist and advocate for addiction recovery and mental health shed light on issues stemming from childhood, working through those issues, and making amends through the 12-step program.

“I was touched as a child and I felt the warping, like flexed glass, not entirely unpleasant, it was, after all, attention, but I knew it was a glitch, like a memory I was waiting to have,” he writes in his book which came out October 3.

He held onto these abusive experiences, as many do, in addition to dealing with his mother’s health issues and an absent father, “until chocolate and porn and self-harm seem like sanctuary from the gentle unbearable pain.” 

Brand says it took a long time to face his trauma, with the help of the program. He’s since made amends with his family as well as his ex-girlfriends—acknowledging that they are “lovely, flawed people like me.”

“I was the sort of person who was likely to have addiction issues,” he said, according to People. “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.”

Brand credits the program for keeping him on track, saying that it’s allowed for a lot of self-reflection and made him “a lot less selfish” in his relationships. “Even fatherhood would not be enough to hold me here in the blissful present if I let go of my program,” he said. “I know that life is still there, waiting for me if I ever choose to go back.”

After 14 years in recovery, Brand says he’s stable in his program and ready for any challenge. 

“[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,” 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.”

In Recovery, Brand outlines a 12-step program that he believes will help people struggling with any kind of addiction. His "steps" are an adapted (expletive-laced) version of the steps featured in Alcoholics Anonymous.

1. Are you fucked?

2. Could you not be fucked?

3. Are you, on your own, going to "unfuck" yourself?

4. Write down all the things that are fucking you up or have ever fucked you up and don’t lie, or leave anything out.

5. Honestly tell someone trustworthy about how fucked you are.

6. Well that’s revealed a lot of fucked up patterns. Do you want to stop it? Seriously?

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

8. Prepare to apologize to everyone for everything affected by your being so fucked up.

9. Now apologize. Unless that would make things worse.

10. Watch out for fucked up thinking and behaviour and be honest when it happens.

11. Stay connected to your new perspective.

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

Brand spoke to Vice about these 12 steps and what he hopes to accomplish by putting them out in the world.

"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. 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. 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."

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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