Russell Brand, born Russell Edward Brand in 1975 is a British actor, comedian, writer and also; recovered drug addict. He is one of the most outspoken and passionate celebrities to date about his own recovery and the recovery for other people. It has been ten years since Russell Brand has used any mood or mind altering substance but before all that he was just another heroin junkie.
Russell Brand was born in Grays, Essex, England and was an only child. Brand’s parents divorced when he was very young; only six months old and he has described his childhood as being isolated and lonely. When he was seven years old he was sexually abused by a tutor and when he was eight his mother contracted uterine cancer and then breast cancer one year later. While his mother underwent treatments, Russell stayed with his relatives. When he was 14 he suffered from bulimia nervosa and when he was 16 he left home because of his mother’s live-in partner. His mother had lymphoma at the time. This is when he began to use illegal drugs such as weed, amphetamines, LSD and ecstasy. Of course from that point on his drug addiction progressed.
Brand’s first significant stand-up appearances came in 2000, the same year he also became a video journalist for MTV, a job which he was subsequently fired from. Shortly after that his agent John Noel forced him to visit Focus 12 residential rehab in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. After getting clean in rehab and begging to attend 12-step fellowships he continue on with his work and became who he is now.
Continuing to work both in TV and stand-up, he debuted his one-man show Better Now, an account of his heroin addiction, at the Edinburgh Festival in 2004. Brand became a popular British television star by appearing on Big Brother and hosting his own talk show and numerous other series, and in 2008 became world famous as the rocker Aldous Snow in the hit comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
“It is ten years since I used drugs or drank alcohol and my life has immeasurably improved. I have a job, a house, a cat, good friendships and generally a bright outlook.
The price of this is constant vigilance because the disease of addiction is not rational. Recently for the purposes of a documentary on this subject I reviewed some footage of myself smoking heroin that my friend had shot as part of a typically exhibitionistic attempt of mine to get clean.”
Since he got sober Russell Brand has been an advocate for those in recovery and for those still in addiction too.
“This is the reason I have started a fund within Comic Relief, “Give It Up”. I want to raise awareness of, and money for abstinence based recovery. It was Kevin Cahill’s idea, he is the bloke who runs Comic Relief. He called me after reading an article I wrote after Amy Winehouse died. Her death had a powerful impact on me I suppose because it was such an obvious shock, like watching someone for hours through a telescope advance towards you, fist extended with the intention of punching you in the face. Even though I saw it coming it still hurt when it eventually hit me. What was so painful about Amy’s death is that I know that there is something I could have done. I could have passed on to her the solution that was freely given to me. Don’t pick up a drink or drug, one day at a time. It sounds so simple, it actually is simple but it isn’t easy, it requires incredible support and fastidious structuring. Not to mention that the whole infrastructure of abstinence based recovery is shrouded in necessary secrecy. There are support fellowships that are easy to find and open to anyone who needs them but they eschew promotion of any kind in order to preserve the purity of their purpose, which is; for people with alcoholism and addiction to help one another stay clean and sober.”
Russell Brand also has a new documentary out entitled Russell Brand: Addiction to Recovery and it is said he attends at least 3 AA meetings a week.