When you think of ‘addiction’, what do you think of? Addiction comes in many forms, from the more obvious and in your face like drug addiction and alcoholism to the more subtle forms of food addiction, materialism and addiction to technology.
Russell Brand has experience with many forms of addictions. He has gone between heroin addict, sex addict, food addict to being addicted to power and the thing that helped him through was the Twelve Step Program. Actually, he swears by it and believes it saved his life… Although originally quite loaded with religion (and therefore shunned by many people), Brand breaks down each step in easy to understand terms (using lots of swear words) and his writing is absolutely poetic.
This book is recommended not just to those suffering from addiction; anyone can benefit from his words because let’s be honest, most of us have ‘vices’ which at the end of the day are essentially light forms of addiction.
I highly recommend the audio book while driving or walking because it is narrated by Russell Brand so you get to hear every word as he intended.
“Here in our glistening citadel of limitless reflecting screens we live on the outside. Today we may awaken and instantly and unthinkingly reach for the phone, its glow reaching our eyes before the light of dawn, its bulletins dart into our minds before even a moment of acknowledgement of this unbending and unending fact: you are going to die.”
“Do you have that sense that something is missing? A feeling in your gut that you’re not good enough? That if you tick off some action, whether it’s eating a Twix, buying some shoes, smoking a joint or getting a good job, you will feel better? If you do, it’s hardly surprising because I believe we live in an age of addiction where addictive thinking has become almost totally immersive. It is the mode of our culture. Consumerism is stimulus and response as a design for life. The very idea that you can somehow make your life all right by attaining primitive material goals – whether it’s getting the ideal relationship, the ideal job, a beautiful Berber rug or forty quids’ worth of smack – the underlying idea, ‘if I could just get X, Y, Z, I would be okay’, is consistent and it is quite wrong.
Addiction is when natural biological imperatives, like the need for food, sex, relaxation or status, become prioritized to the point of destructiveness. It is exacerbated by a culture that understandably exploits this mechanic as it’s a damn good way to sell Mars bars and Toyotas.”
“Where I have found this program most rewarding and yet most challenging is in the way that it has unraveled my unquestioned faith that I was the centre of the universe and that the purpose of my life was to fulfill my drives, or if that wasn’t possible, be miserable about it in colourful and creative ways. So whilst this program will work for you regardless of creed or lack of creed, it will also disabuse you of the notion, however conscious of it you are, that you and your drives are the defining motivations for your life. The reason I worked the 12 Steps was because I was desperate. The reason I continue to is because they have awakened me to the impossibility of happiness based on my previous world view: that I am the centre of the world and that what I want is important.”