Childhood Trauma And Addiction
The basic cause of addiction is predominantly experience-dependent during childhood, and not substance-dependent. ~ Dr. Vincent Felitti, expert on childhood trauma What does Russell Brands childhood have to do with his eventual drug experimentation and eventual addiction? More than you might guess. A 2012 study revealed that trauma raises a childs odds of developing depression an addiction later on. Maltreatment or traumatic experiences alter the brain regions associated with planning and emotional response. Per the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 1 out of 4 American children suffer at least one Adverse Childhood Event. Significantly, research shows that each ACE experience increases the likelihood of initiating alcohol or drug use between 200% and 400%. This means a child witnessing or suffering 5 or more ACEs has an addiction risk that is 10-20 times higher than a child experiencing zero ACEs. Young Russell Brand experienced at least SEVEN.
Reinterpreting The 12 Steps
Despite the popularity of 12-step programs, their anonymous nature makes it hard for some participants to talk about them. Admitting involvement in such a course of treatment seems almost shameful, as if the person didnt have adequate willpower to overcome addiction solo.
However, Russell Brand seeks to change this. He is remarkably open about his time in AA and the amazing influence it has had over him. 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, he explains about AA.
He even wrote a book that attempts to reconstruct the 12 steps in a way that resonates with less orthodox substance users in an effort to reach a larger audience. Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions is a non-secular spin on the standard steps, providing a road map for success regardless of personal beliefs. I wrote it the way I did because the classic program seemed a little bit exclusive, he says. After all, lots of Muslims and Jews and Hindus have addictions too.
Since entering a 12-step program in 2003, Brand has managed to remain sober. Hes candid about his substance abuse habits and the consequences of his actions and is always vocal about the need to get support. He believes in building a community during the recovery process, creating a world that ensures those seeking help are not alone.
Our Addiction Begins Before We Start Using
Throughout the early chapters in Recovery, Russell Brand references a duality of self. A multiplicity, really. He mentions the Jekyll and Hyde complex understood by most addicts and alcoholics but also suggests the existence of another. A better, higher self that weve yet to realize.
All the while I was rattling around on my picaresque excursion, causing damage inside and outside, there was another version of me waiting to be realized. We are, after all, an organic entity, like a tree, with a code stored in our embryonic form that is set to grow to completion. A tree doesnt face the kind of obstacles a highly socialized mammal does, it might get chopped down, or aggressively pruned or have some wire wrapped round it, but no one is going to say its too fat or that itll never amount to anything. But in your life youve faced obstacles, inner and outer, that have prevented you from becoming the person you were meant to be or are capable of being and that is what we are going to recover. Thats why we call this process Recovery we recover the you that you were meant to be.
Before we can realize this person, however, we must often get in touch with our dark side. Furthermore, upon seeing the light inside of ourselves, we must work to nurture it. Because while we may keep the darkness at bay to the point of never hearing from it again, our base nature never truly disappears.
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Recovery Russell Brand Style
The comedian on narcissism, fame, his new book on the 12 steps and life after addiction.
The comedian Russell Brand, in New York this month, has a point to make about addiction.Credit…Bryan Derballa for The New York Times
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I am taking a tour of Russell Brands body. Its not the one I might once have imagined, because I am old and he is no longer a sex addict. But we are examining his tattoos. There are many. He does not seem to mind unbuttoning his shirt, covered in galloping stallions, for a stranger. The chakras traveling down his right arm represent the sexual energy, the energy of the will, the energy of the heart, the energy of communication he explained, touching each one lightly. There is the sex-energy kundalini serpent on his right index finger. Theres one on his bicep that he and the singer Katy Perry got when they married that says Go with the flow in Sanskrit. They couldnt, but it was a nice thought. My favorite, though, is a quote that Mr. Brand attributed to Oscar Wilde, in loopy script that stretches from Mr. Brands shoulder to his wrist: If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh. Otherwise theyll kill you.
You Emphasize Meditation Did You Get That Step 11 Of The Original Program Which Mentions It
I have been aware of mediation for a long time before I did it. Drug use and interest in the counterculture have been wedded together from the days of the Beatles and the Beat poets, so meditation was a familiar idea. Now I do 20 minutes of Transcendental Meditation twice a day. It gives you a beautiful serenity. A selfless connection. A relaxed sense of oneness. Its a cornerstone of recovery because it changes consciousness. Its a shower for the brain. It teaches you that you are not your thoughts, not your feelings you can simply witness them. It gives you a quiet space, a place of relief where peace and serenity are not contingent on the behavior of others.
Happily, I think my musings on meditation are having an impact. Every day now, some of my wifes friends and other people I meet are telling me that they are meditating now due to reading the book. I just finished a film, and a guy who was driving me around said, You know, I meditate now because of you. Its kind of surprising.
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Our Amends To Others Will Amend Ourselves
We refer to the 12 Steps as a program of action. Perhaps no action taken in this process stokes as much fear in people as that of making amends. Many struggle with simply revisiting the past in Step 4, and find themselves doubly fearful when stating the past aloud in Step 5. But when we must again revisit the past in Step 8 and confront it head-on in Step 9, some recovering addicts and alcoholics find themselves feeling resistant. Not only must we stand up and accept responsibility for our wrongs, but this often requires us to forgive others for the wrongs they committed against us.
Both our forgiveness and our amends serve to benefit us immensely. On the subject of forgiveness, Russell Brand writes:
It is not my job to adjudicate the worlds people and supply them with a template for how they should be. In fact its none of my business. There is only one human being Im in control of and that is me, and that is where the effort must be concentrated. Forgiveness is a powerful spiritual tool, without it we are damned as individuals and as a people. Forgiveness means letting go. It means being willing to accept that we are all mortals flawed and suffering, imperfectly made and trying our best. That sometimes there is a collision of instinct.
Recovery Is For Everybodyincluding Non
When we say that anybody can utilize the teachings in this book, we mean just thatanybody. Early on, Brand makes the point that we all suffer from inner turmoil in one form or another. And while those with tangible and easily defined addictions may require help more urgently than others, a program of self-discovery and transformation can benefit anybody who feels ready to change.
You may sometimes hear people in anonymous meetings declare their pity for non-addicts who do not benefit from the teachings of a recovery program. This rubs some AA and NA members the wrong way, coming across as arrogant and judgmental. Yet in his writing, Russell Brand makes a very similar point while explaining it in terms that make quite a bit of sense.
Remarking that we are all in prisons of varying categories, Brand believes the fortune of the addict lies in a greater desire to escape that prison. Our addictions readily apparent, we benefit most from their consequences. We know what rock bottom feels like, whereas others who feel dissatisfied with their lives may never suffer quite enough misery to spark their desire for change.
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Recovery By Russell Brand
RECOVERY: Freedom From Our Addictions is the latest book by comedian Russell Brand, and the first book I have read in my aim to read more for self-improvement plan. I had seen adverts for Recovery plastered across the sides of various tube stations last year: Russell staring earnestly out from the wall, the words Freedom From Our Addiction bold and compelling. My reaction to the ad was a passing thought that it looked interesting, that I should remember to check it out upon release. Unfortunately, that thought would quickly disperse, like it does about so many things advertised on the tube . Desire so rapidly replaced by a longing for the next material creation to catch my eye. It is both ironic and poignant that I would feel this fleeting longing in relation to this particular book, when such a feeling incapsulates the consumerist, materialist age we live in, an age which is a central theme of Recovery.
Consumerism and materialism are creating a culture of addiction. We are all on the scale somewhere because we are kept there by the age we live in.
Months after my fleeting attraction at the tube, I turned up to my local library and found myself wondering from shelf to shelf, uninspired by titles and blurbs and then, round the corner, like some sign from a higher power there it was: Recovery. I picked it up, curious about addiction and Russell Brand alike, and checked out a book from the library for the first time in many years.
Uniquely Qualified To Write This Book
I am not writing this book because I think Im better than you. I know Im worse My qualification is that I am more addicted, more narcissistic, more driven by lust and the need for power and recognition. ~ Russell Brand Brands childhood and adolescence stand out as a virtual how-to of trauma:
- When he was 6 months old, his parents divorced. From that point on, he had a sporadic relationship with his father.
- At 7 years old, he was sexually abused by a tutor.
- When he was 8 years old, his mother was diagnosed with uterine cancer.
- A year later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
- While Brands mother was in treatment, she was unable to care for him, so he lived with relatives.
- At 14, he struggled with bulimia nervosa, an eating disorder characterized by binge-eating followed by purging by vomiting or using laxatives.
- He left home at 16 because of conflicts with his mothers partner.
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Brands Behavioral And Drug Addictions
During an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2014, Brand talks about how his addictive behaviors started long before he ever found drugs and alcohol.
At a young age, he found himself looking for a temporary relief from the confusion and sadness that he felt. His efforts to induce a quick emotional fix, was his way to cope with what he thought were external problems.
I look to solve inner problems with external thingsIll use anything to stop myself feeling.
Russell Brand, Oprah
According to U.S. Weekly Magazine, Brand describes his experience and abuse of Heroin. He discloses that the sensations produced by Heroin were somewhat of a heavenly nature, however he states that these sensations were soon fleeting.
I was getting bad quickly, getting into trouble with the police for shoplifting and public disturbances, minor crimes it started happening more often.
Russell Brand, U.S. Weekly
Brand goes on to explain that his life started to unravel. He reached a point in his life, when all he had were drugs. Regardless of being alone and isolated from the world, Brand recalls that it was all he felt he needed.
How Did You Go From Kooky Comedian To Pop
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. Id been doing drugs since age 19 and was a heroin addict for four years. Luckily, my manager and friend Chip Sommers stepped in, telling me Id wind up either in a prison, lunatic asylum or graveyard. So I went to a 12-step program.
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Official Recovery From Addiction By Russell Brand Book Blurb
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 dont 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 doesnt fulfill you? Numb, constant perusal of your phone, looking for what?
My qualification for writing this book is not that I am better than you, its that I am worse. I am an addict, addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, money, love and fame.
The program in Recovery has given Russell Brand 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.
Transcript For Russell Brand
Jordan Harbinger: Coming up on The Jordan Harbinger Show
Russell Brand: That adolescent idea of, “Oh, man, the system. This is all bullsh*t.” I don’t see things like that no more. One of the things that continue is I’m optimistic about people. I think people are beautiful and the people will change.
Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I’m Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world’s most fascinating people. If you’re new to the show, we have in-depth conversations with people at the top of their game, astronauts and entrepreneurs, spies and psychologists, even the occasional economic hitman. And each episode turns our guests’ wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better critical thinker.
Congrats on the book launch, by the way. Not your first book, but still a big deal.
Russell Brand: Yeah. I’m very happy with this particular book. I’m proud of it. I love it, and that’s the thing is, it’s because of the program in it the system in it, that’s not invented by me. So you don’t have to worry because I’m potentially an idiot. I could come up with all sorts of mad ideas.
Jordan Harbinger: Right.
Jordan Harbinger: It sounds like a self-help program that you only get to when you have seriously run out of options, which is a problem because it seems like you should be working on that stuff before you run into the problems themselves.
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How Brands 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 youre in an extreme case of addiction, you obviously need additional support medical, psychiatric, etc. He added, But if youre using this book because youre just generally unhappy, you do whats 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, Its 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.
Breaking Away From Addiction
To battle his demons, Brand took the same first step as millions of others around the world: he entered the Alcoholics Anonymous program. Twelve-step programs are popular worldwide, offering a way to come to terms with addiction, make amends and focus on a brighter future free of the tethers of drugs and alcohol.
While this process doesnt work for everyone, Brand is convinced that his participation in Alcoholics Anonymous is directly related to his recovery. Its certainly an effective course of care for many people, providing a foundation upon which to build a life of sobriety. With over 115,000 groups around the world and millions of participants since the programs founding, AA has successfully helped 22% of participants to stay sober for 20 years or more.
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