Russell Brand is well known for two things. His shocking sense of humor and drugs. In his short lifetime, he has been called many things and although he was never religious, he was always spiritual in a creepy kind of way. So, what does Brand recommend for America? Brand thinks the country has become dysfunctional. Technology, pop culture and social media have brought out the worst in people and what the people need now more than ever is Jesus.
“There’s a famous quote: ‘Every man who knocks on a brothel door, he’s looking for God.’ Crack houses and these dens of suffering and illicit activity, they’re all people trying to feel good, trying to feel connected. People are trying to escape. People are trying to get out of their own heads. To me, this is a spiritual impetus.”
Metaphorically, Brand is saying that it’s Humanity that is knocking on the brothel door…or at a crack house. He asserts that just like drugs, technology, pop culture and social media is addictive and you can get instant gratification in all sorts of vices, including Facebook, Twitter and other social media but in the end, just like drugs, they leave feeling empty inside. He thinks you need something to permanently fill that void and he says that something is Jesus Christ.
In his new book, Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions, Brand not only further delves into his own struggles with addictions to drugs, sex, alcohol, food and fame, but also how he’s found a pathway to healing.
Recently, this journey has taken a surprising turn.
Brand now feels the answer to breaking out of this vicious cycle—not just as an individual struggling to get clean from drugs, but as a culture—is a spiritual one. It’s one he thinks can be found in Jesus.
Brand burst onto the scene when he starred in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and the sequel, Get me To the Greek”. Since then, he was known to drink too much, take too many drugs and gratuitous sex with Hollywood and musical stars. He was married to Katy Perry for two years back in 2009. But, Brand saw himself spiraling down and he didn’t like what he saw in the mirror and he worked and was finally able to get himself clean. His agent caught him shooting up heroin in the bathroom during an agency party. That led to an intervention, after which Brand got himself clean.
“We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
“Everything we do can be colored by this unconscious belief that we can make ourselves feel better with external stuff, be it behavior or chemicals. So what I’ve kind of come across mentally is that either we are working an unconscious program or a conscious program. So if we’re not consciously running a program, we’re running on the unconscious program of our past and of our culture. That’s what I wanted to understand an alternative to.”
“My understanding of what religion means altered. Because when I think about the aim, the purpose of religion, I think it becomes—when you put aside the social institutions that spring up around religions in all their strains and various forms of strands—I believe that the purpose of religion is love and connection, to feel connected to one another and to feel at ease with who we are … a kind of oneness, a kind of wholeness. So, as I began to understand that, this sort of superficial language of religion seemed less relevant.”
“My route to spirituality comes through addiction, so it comes from desperation and fear and this sort of defeat, destruction, annihilation of self in a very humiliating way, I suppose. So, I had no choice but to embrace spiritual life, but now I am grateful for this. It makes sense of my life.”
“Because I come from a Christian culture, a lot of the language of prayer that I use is Christian. I say the Lord’s Prayer every day. I try to connect to what those words mean. I connect to what the Father means. I connect to what wholeness means to me. I think about the relationship between forgiveness and being forgiven and the impossibility of redemption until you are willing to forgive and let go.”
Even though Brand has found the path he wants to follow, his beliefs are evolving and you can sense it when he talks that he has spent a lot of time considering how putting Christ in his life helps him as he struggles against his former demons.
Here’s hoping that he lives a long and happy life and that he can be a role model for those with addictions.