Alyssa Royse applauds the honesty and bravery of Russell Brand.
I have been touched far too often by the addicted neurosis of people I love. To this day, I recoil like a child in the presence of people who are drunk. The smell of one-too-many drinks hits buttons deep inside of me and raises my defenses like nothing else can. I wonder if I’m safe, I wonder if I am to blame, I wonder if I can fix it, I wonder…..
Every time Russell Brand speaks openly about addiction, I want to thank him, and his piece the Guardian, Life Without Drugs, absolutely floored me. He gets at the complexity of it. That’s it’s not just a choice made by bad people, it is a symptom of a complex set of psychological and societal problems. It happens to good people. It is something that almost no one can tackle alone. It needs to be handled like the complex disease that it is, not with a sneer and shame.
But first we have to admit that it exists. And he does that, so beautifully. Here he explains the importance of meeting with other recovering addicts in the quest to never touch another drink or drug again.
Without these fellowships I would take drugs. Because, even now, the condition persists. Drugs and alcohol are not my problem, reality is my problem, drugs and alcohol are my solution.
If this seems odd to you it is because you are not an alcoholic or a drug addict. You are likely one of the 90% of people who can drink and use drugs safely. I have friends who can smoke weed, swill gin, even do crack and then merrily get on with their lives. For me, this is not an option.
The thing I love most, however, is that he does it as a wild and crazy “Bad Boy.” His wisdom and compassion and strength are unavoidable. Yet he doesn’t wrap them in sanctimony and puritanical pleadings. He sets a great example that you can be “good” and still “bad.” That wisdom and integrity and compassion are as part and parcel of “coolness” as dirty jokes and fun parties. That sobriety is not the end of fun and self-control just might enable the good times to be, well, gooder.
I’d hold him up as an example of modern masculinity any day. A mixture of lots of things, not part of an old binary. Also, he can rock eye-liner, and I may have a thing for that. That said, I still totally don’t get his humor.
Thanks for this, Russell brand. Addiction is real and powerful. So are compassionate men who stand strong in their truth.
Lead photo: AP/Charles Sykes