aka The Frazzled Mom
A guide to all kinds of addiction from a star who has struggled with heroin, alcohol, sex, fame, food and eBay, that will help addicts and their loved ones make the first steps into recovery
“This manual for self-realization comes not from a mountain but from the mud…My qualification is not that I am better than you but I am worse.” ―Russell Brand
With a rare mix of honesty, humor, and compassion, comedian and movie star Russell Brand mines his own wild story and shares the advice and wisdom he has gained through his fourteen years of recovery. Brand speaks to those suffering along the full spectrum of addiction―from drugs, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar addictions to addictions to work, stress, bad relationships, digital media, and fame. Brand understands that addiction can take many shapes and sizes and how the process of staying clean, sane, and unhooked is a daily activity. He believes that the question is not “Why are you addicted?” but “What pain is your addiction masking? Why are you running―into the wrong job, the wrong life, the wrong person’s arms?”
Russell has been in all the twelve-step fellowships going, he’s started his own men’s group, he’s a therapy regular and a practiced yogi―and while he’s worked on this material as part of his comedy and previous bestsellers, he’s never before shared the tools that really took him out of it, that keep him clean and clear. Here he provides not only a recovery plan, but an attempt to make sense of the ailing world.
I requested a chance to review this book mainly because it seemed suddenly there was a lot of talk about this celebrity’s conversion, that he’d turned his life over to a greater power. That he had an encounter with Jesus. Forgive me…seriously, forgive me, but I immediately raised an eyebrow in disbelief. Wait a second. Is this the same actor that was a drug addict, an alcoholic, etc, etc? The only time I’ve seen him on-screen was through Netflix: Russell Brand on Britain’s Drinking Culture & Addiction. And the reason I watched that was out of curiosity about the subject and not so much the individual. I never got a chance to finish it, thanks to constant interruptions from the kids, but I do remember it being eye-opening and really interesting. Not to mention a little sad, especially when he spoke about Amy Winehouse.
After these thoughts pass through my mind, I suddenly wonder: who am I to rate this book? Who cares about my opinion? Well, bare with me during this review. Russell Brand has hit on something more than just the struggles with addiction. His truth at times will make the reader wince.
My only experience with addiction was when helping a relative through his own addiction. A car accident and lock up in a behavioral health institute (that I’d never sent anyone to ever again). Drugs used to manage addiction. The root of the problem was never addressed. How was that a solution? How did that bring about healing? Things were taken care of, like his car, but he wasn’t. He went to AA a couple of times, then quit. Three months later, he relapsed. That’s when he entered Salvation Army’s ARC program which uses the 12 Steps and expands on it to include counseling, skill building, resume assistance and job placement. They not only look at the present but also to the future. And they include the family in the process. I attended the family meetings weekly in order to earn him hours for family visits. Why was it so important to me? Just like Russell says in his book, it’s all about connection. We crave connection, we need it. Maybe deep down I realized that. Without the connection to his family, would he have finished the program?
So why would I want to review this book? Though I don’t drink, smoke or do drugs, I do have my own addictions. They’re just considered more of a norm as far as society is concerned. For example, I crave sugar. It’s an obvious addiction. One sip of a McDonald’s coke and I sigh in blessed relief. The point is, we all have some sort of addiction or something that has a hold over us.
Russell offers not only a guide on how he went through each step but also makes those same questions and mantras available for the reader’s personal use. Sure, there’s some language in it and he can be a bit crude, but he’s real, painfully so. I can’t imagine how he feels now that it’s out for the world to read. He really opened himself up and his addictions are laid out. I think that’s courageous. If he hadn’t shared his past, how could the reader relate? Advice includes moving from self-centered to a serving others kind of attitude. An elevated sense of connection, purpose, meaning, and empathy. And when he covers step 8, ouch. This could really apply to any of us, not just those struggling with addictions. “I cannot control the past but I can control the present through forgiveness.” Wow, forgiveness. Not an easy thing to do, but once done leaves you free from the pain of the past.
Now I’m thinking that though this book is to help in addition to the 12 Steps, perhaps we all need to use it, the idea of changing our mindset and perspective from what the world is constantly pushing on us with the “me attitude”. I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest opinion. Thank you to Henry Holt and Company for the opportunity. Russell Brand’s Recovery makes the reader think and self-evaluate. Recovery isn’t a replacement for the 12 Steps book, but I see it more as a supplemental guide for those that still aren’t getting it. Russell, in his own unique way, lays it all out plainly and intelligently. He’s encouraging yet truthful. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it. I hope this book finds it’s way to those that truly need freedom from whatever chains bind them.