Comedian, presenter, movie star and writer Russell Brand on breaking with the past to embrace your best life
Thanks to his inimitable speaking style, Russell Brand has long been a magnetic presenter, on both TV and radio. Nevertheless, Brand is the first to admit that up until recently his ego was allowed to run riot to a sometimes horrible effect.
The lowest point being in 2008, when Brand was fired from his BBC Radio 2 show after a misjudged answering machine message prank. However, Brand, now 42 years old, has mellowed in recent years and has embraced a new direction both professionally and personally.
Along with studying for an MA in Religion in Global Politics, Brand has embraced his new family life with partner Laura Gallacher and 11-month-old daughter Mabel. He is also back on the airwaves with a show on Radio X, and a podcast called Under The Skin on his own website. Unlike in the past, Brand now places emphasis firmly on his expert guests, such as Adam Curtis, Naomi Klein and Yanis Varoufakis.
On his shows Brand doesn’t mess around with small talk – he wants Answers with a capital A. On Under The Skin, he explores topics including the meaning of life, the state of economic and political systems throughout history, and how terrorism works – and if it can be stopped. Brand gives off the impression that there is no time to waste, a man aware of his mortality who has much left to do in his allotted time.
Perhaps, most powerfully of all, Brand uses his own experience as an addict to help others. He says that he has been addicted to drugs, sex, fame, money and power, and in his documentary From Addiction to Recovery he proves to be serious and knowledgeable about the subject.
In his new book Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions, Brand offers insight from the past 13 years of his recovery. It is intended to help those tackling addiction and self-destructive habits, regardless of whether they’re trying to give up a nightly glass of wine or a growing dependence on their iPhone.
“My qualification is not that I am better than you, but that I am worse. More addicted, more narcissistic, more driven by lust and the need for power and recognition,” says Brand.
“Through this rather grim, and let’s face it at times bloody glamorous, research I’ve inadvertently happened upon some incredible people and ideas that, one day at a time, sometimes one moment at a time, lift me out of the glistening filth and into the presence of something ancient and timeless, which I believe, no matter what your problem, will give you access to ‘The Solution.’”
We live in an age of addiction, from the obvious ones such as drugs and alcohol to the socially acceptable and often endorsed addictions like caffeine, work, stress, bad relationships and staring at screens. Brands’s book – and it’s message of hope – could not be more timely.
For more information visit www.russellbrand.com, Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions is out now