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Russell Brand (born June 4, 1975) is an English media personality, comedian, radio host, and author who has worked as an MTV presenter, voice and screen actor, editor, and most recently, an activist for people struggling with addictions.
Brand has built up a loyal audience on social media, with over 3.5 million followers on Facebook and a staggering 12.3 million on Twitter. He’s produces regular podcasts that highlight social justice issues, and his weekly Sunday show on Radio X often features a colorful mix of comedy, celebrities, and interaction with his listeners.
In Brand’s latest book titled “Recovery – Freedom From Our Addictions” he details how childhood abuse, parental abandonment, and negative thought patterns led to addictions to drugs, alcohol, pornography, sex and food. It’s a dramatic departure from his first autobiography released in 2007 (“My Booky Wook“) in which Brand boasted about debauchery and drug use.
Reviewers on goodreads comments include that his new book “Recovery” is:
- “Sublime, smart and the highest form of service”
- “Fantastic…I laughed, I cried, I nearly peed myself! Russell takes you on an expedition of self-actualization and wonder”
“Brand-ing” The 12 Step Program
In true comedic fashion, Brand puts his own personal spin on the traditional 12-step program in his latest publication. Step 1 of “The Program” is titled “Are you a bit f—ed?”; while Step 3 asks “Are you, on your own, going to ‘unf–k’ yourself?” In his version of the 12-steps, Brand uses a broad, general approach that can be easily applied to virtually any form of addiction, character flaw, or mental health issue to help his readers identify negative, self-destructive patterns in their own lives.
While his frequent use of expletives may be offensive to some, his dedication to helping others by sharing his own stories of recovery is indisputable. Brand is honest, raw, and highly reflective about his own addictions, and he communicates in a way that’s approachable and easy for readers to connect with. He details how he spent days on end locked away in a room, working on Step 4, “Write down all the things that are f…king you up or have ever f..ked you up and don’t lie, or leave anything out.”
Throughout the book, Brand reflects on the work he’s done to make peace with his past, identify self-harming behaviors, and build healthy relationships. He describes his parents by saying, “They are what they are – lovely, flawed people like me”, and he confirms that he has surrendered himself to a higher power – a critical element of any 12-step recovery program.
Working The 12th Step
Despite his unconventional, and arguably crass approach to recovery, Brand has managed to maintain his own sobriety for nearly 15 years, and he uses his role as a media personality to highlight services and supports geared towards addictions and mental health.