Russell Brand is a funny man but he has one very serious problem – he wants to change how stubborn minds think about addiction before any more people die.
Brand knows addiction is a greedy disease that will not give up until it puts you at the bottom of a hole. First, it takes your money then it takes your car and your house; later it steals your friends and robs you of bits of your body.
Now Russell Brand wants to rescue others by bringing addiction out of the shadows and into the light.
The Early Days
Russell Brand showed promise early on, accepted by the respectable and esteemed Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts. Despite his obvious talents, the school tossed Brand out in his first year for bad behavior and drug abuse. Determined and talented, the young comedian barely managed his addiction through acting school at the Drama Centre London, who promptly kicked him out in his final year.
Brand struggled with addiction throughout his meteoric rise as a comedian and actor in the UK and in the United States. In those years, he has had many run-ins with the police and arrested 12 times. His addiction has gotten him kicked out of some of the nicest gigs on earth, including the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh. He even introduced singer Kylie Minogue to his drug dealer.
Russell Brand was pulled from rock bottom by his agent, John Noel, who found his client on Christmas Eve, strung out on heroin on a bathroom floor. Brand has been clean since 2003 but he is not done battling addiction. In fact, he has only just begun to fight.
The Mission to Save Others
Brand got clean at age 27 – the same age as his friend, Amy Winehouse, was when she died. Her death still haunts Brand, who feels he should have done more to rescue her from the depths of her alcohol addiction.
Since the death of Winehouse in 2011, Brand has been on a personal campaign to rescue others from the depths of addiction. In April 2012, the entertainer appeared before the British Parliament to stress the importance of love and compassion for addicts. He argued that medical treatment and education lower crime rates and provide more benefits to society than do harsh jail sentences or treating addicts like scum. Later that year, the BBC produced Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery in which the comedian watches early footage of himself smoking heroin, barefoot in a dingy apartment.
Russell Brand continues on his quest to rid the world of junkies through compassion and proper medical treatment. “The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction and unless they have structured help, they have no hope.”
Written by Corey Snyder