RUSSELL BRAND ON ADDICTION

Internet algorithms are scary accurate.

I mean, it is wild how well these social media algorithms know me.

Take one scroll through your “suggested” YouTube videos, or Netflix shows/movies, and you’ll be floored by how acutely specific your recommendations are.

Take for example, yesterday evening. I was dawdling on YouTube, as one does on a Sunday evening, and what pops up as my #1 recommended YouTube? None other than “Russell Brand: What it was like being a Drug Addict.

Now, before we dive any further into this story, allow me to interject here that I’ve never taken drugs, and to be quite honest, I’ve never really been a huge fan of Russell Brand’s filmography: “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Get Him to the Greek” are not exactly my cup of cinematic tea.

But, the title caught my attention — and, trusting that YouTube knows me better than I know myself — I gave it a go.

And wow, was I ever moved (and truly surprised) by this former “bad boy” comic.

It turns out, that since becoming clean and sober, he has dedicated his career to being a mental health advocate. He’s written books, has a YouTube channel and website all about his journey to sobriety. And he’s using his celebrity to offer inspiration for those suffering in the throes of addiction.

But there was one quote from his YouTube video that really resonated with me. Because, it may come as a surprise, but I firmly believe that an eating disorder is another form of addiction. It may not be substance abuse, but the addiction to emptiness and self-lothing is just as severe and all-encompassing as an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

In fact, the eating disorder recovery process is much like the 12-step recovery program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Here’s his quote:

And the idea of change – you don’t feel like you have any hope. You don’t feel like there’s any way of stopping. Why would I stop? How would I stop? This is my life now. It becomes your life. It becomes your religion. It becomes the thing that gets you through – it becomes your world view. That’s why it’s ridiculous to tell a drug addict just to stop.” – Russell Brand

I’ve been writing this blog now for a long time. Over five years. And how it all began, was that I wanted to have a place to share the raw experience of what life in the throes of anorexia was really like, so that loved ones could get some insight into how they could help their suffering daughter/sister/friend/etc. But that was always one of the most crucial things I wanted to communicate: You can just snap her out of it. Or put another way, you cannot tell her to “just eat something.”

But as I’ve continued on my blogging journey, my content has evolved with me. As I have grown more solid in my recovery, and truly been set free from those chains of addiction, my writing has also shifted more towards freedom, life without ED, and with a focus on the source and foundation of my recovery: my faith. (Which also motivated me to write my book, Bloom.)

But every now and then, something will bring me back to those early “BeautyBeyondBones” days, and I’ll be inspired to reread some of those entires. And this quote by Russell Brand was absolutely that trigger.

You see – what he described, was precisely what life was life, trapped in the throes of anorexia. You’re trapped without hope, and even at those very very rare moments of clarity where you realize how miserable you truly are, the notion of change — of letting go of this distorted, disordered and dysfunctional source of “purpose” or “comfort” — seems absolutely impossible. Your life has become your eating disorder. Your eating disorder has become your life. And the cycle of shame and guilt about it all, keeps you in a spiral of self-destruction, that you cannot simply “snap out of.”

I wrote about it in one of my very first entries, back in 2015.

“My loved ones desperately wondered how they could snap me out of it.
And sadly, you can’t just “snap her out of it.” Anorexia is all-encompassing. It takes every ounce, every fiber of your loved one and turns it against her. She is no longer herself. And don’t think for a second that it has anything to do with you. She’s not doing this to herself as a way to punish you, or to pay you back for something you did or didn’t do. No. You can let that fear go, because honestly, this has nothing to do with you. She’s doing this to herself because of an inner voice that’s got a grip on her. An inner Lie that is louder than anything else. That Lie dictates her life – it is the first thing that she hears when she wakes up and the last thing she thinks about as she falls asleep. It is the Lie that nourishes her body and drives her to self destruct. The weight loss is merely a symptom or manifestation of the Lie’s impact on her inner self. That’s why people say, “Anorexia’s not about the food or the weight.” It’s about the Lie. And sadly, the only person that can silence that voice and that Lie is her. Not you. Not her best friend. Not her doctor. Not the priest. Only. Her. “

You can also listen to this clip, where in the first minute and a half, I debunk the myth that you can “snap her out of it.”

All this to say, that addiction is not a dead end. There is a way out. It doesn’t have to be a life sentence, as evidenced by Russell Brand, myself, and the countless number of other recovery warriors out in the world and in this little community.

There’s a saying in the recovery community, that “rock bottom is the foundation upon which I built my life,” and that is absolutely, 100% fact. Although, I will slightly amend that, which is to say that “At rock bottom, Jesus became the foundation upon which I built my life.” Because truth be told, I would not have been able to fully recover and leave my anorexia dead in the past, had Jesus not carried me every step of the way.

Frankly, I had to get to the basement of rock bottom, before I realized I needed to surrender my eating disorder over to Christ. I was at an inpatient treatment facility across the country, having missed my high school graduation, with all my hair fallen out, at 78 pounds being monitored 24/7 by nurses to make sure I survived the night — only then, did I finally see what my eating disorder truly was: a one way ticket to literal demise. And it was then that I gave it all to Christ to redeem. And redeem He did. Without His whispers of truth, that I had worth and value, that I deserved to be loved, that I deserved to live, and thrive, and that He had a good plan for my life and my future, and I didn’t need to fear — those truths sustained me through the incredibly arduous journey to recovery that any ED-warrior, or person living in sobriety, knows all too well.

There is a way out. Even when — like Brand and myself described — your addiction or disorder has become your life, your world view, your religion, your everything. You can stop the barreling freight train of destruction.

It is my deepest prayer tonight, that those struggling in the grips of addiction — in all its forms — may be given a glimpse of hope: hope in a way out. Hope in another path of life. Hope in a future where they are free from the darkness that is dictating their life. (Believe me, I have been there.) And secondly, that the loved ones of those in addiction, may see their child/spouse/friend/sibling/etc. with eyes of compassion. It can be so devastatingly hurtful to live with someone struggling with addiction. I pray that they understand that their loved one is not themself, and that they need help – not condemnation, judgement, or disdain.

There is always another option. And tomorrow is always a new day. Just do the next right thing.

“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5

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86 thoughts on “RUSSELL BRAND ON ADDICTION

    1. Thank you so much 💛 I’m glad this struck a chord with you. Have a wonderful night. Hugs and love xox

  1. The way you described it, it sounds similar to anxiety. Sometimes, even your own mother or friends don’t understand what’s going on. When it first started in 2006, I thought I was destined for a hospital or something scarier. And that’s how you have described your courageous battle with anorexia. And the same applies to addiction. There are so many mental health issues that aren’t addressed enough. The awareness is higher which is good. More people understand the stigma. But there needs to be even more done to help people struggling in need. Excellent post Caralyn. You should be very proud of yourself. Look how far you’ve come.

    1. Hi Derek, thank you for sharing that. I’m sorry that you can so personally relate. You’re right – it isn’t addressed enough. Yes! Awareness is key! Thank you for your wonderful words of encouragement. They truly mean a lot! Big hugs to you xox

      1. Anytime sunshine. You are a great person and highly intelligent. And I don’t feel bad sharing my experiences. We all must learn from them. 🙂

      2. Well gosh you’re kind to say that. And you’re right! We all have so much we can learn from one another. It is a beautiful thing about community!! 🙂

  2. Thanks for this! It’s a reminder for me that life’s lived in the trenches, and people can learn more from those still in there (with all its flaws and uncertainties), than in safe places. May we never forget what we’ve been through (or “better yet”, still going through) so we can help our fellow men/women, who need fellow sojourners, not mere success stories.

    1. Thanks so much Kelvin! You’re absolutely right – when we make it through the trenches, we can help others going through the same! Amen to that! Hugs and love xox

  3. Weirdly, I ran into his video’s a couple weeks ago on FB videos and I was, like you, shocked…in a good way. Like you, I wasn’t exactly a fan. Much more so now and kind of hooked on hearing what he has to say.
    Great post as always💕

    1. How interesting Laura! Small world! I agree – he has been through a lot and good for him for using it for good! Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  4. This article reminded me of Gary at CTK, the recovering alcoholic who’s been sober for – I think – 35 years. He said yours was the best presentation on recovery he’d EVER heard. That’s a testimonial to what you’re saying tonight, that ED and substance addiction truly are very much the same.

    Would you consider posting your Saturday evening talk at CTK on how to help someone with ED? I think it would fit right in with the idea that you can’t just snap someone out of it or hope “somebody finds McDonalds.”

    I trust you’re still in Ohio and enjoying all that family warmth!! Big hugs to you!

    1. Hey Jeff! Oh gosh, I was so honored and humbled by such generous words of his. That is a weekend I will never forget. And yes! I will definitely post a link to that first talk! I’ll do it Thursday 🙂 and I actually got back to nyc a few days ago. Hard to believe the time went by so fast! Thankfully thanksgiving will be here before we know it!! What a wonderful trip home to see the fam :). Big hugs to you and your girls xox

      1. Well, I’m sorry you aren’t still enjoying family, but I’m glad you made it back safely! And you had someone waiting for you, eh? Much love…

      2. Yes definitely. Haha you’re right! Funny how there was that good that came out of the pandemic?!

  5. I used to think that Russell Brand was some crass comedian who was briefly married to Katy Perry [does anyone else remember that?!] and made movies that you couldn’t pay me to see.
    ….and then I started reading some of his thoughts on recovery. I was FLOORED. Despite any of the avenues that made him a celebrity, he is an incredibly intelligent, thoughtful, and articulate man. The fact that he has made it his life’s work to use his platform to help mental health and those struggling with addiction– all forms, not just substances– makes him a personal hero of mine. I am so glad you mentioned him! ~ Sloane

    1. Yes!!! Oh my gosh Katy Perry was my link to who he was!!! I agree – but then I, too, was captivated by his story and how he’s using it now for good! I so applaud him and how he’s turned his life around!!! I agree! Hero status! Thanks Sloane for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! (Btw, I love your name – it’s beautiful!!) Hugs and love xox

    1. He really is a hero. I fully believe that too. And much like addiction in general – much misunderstood indeed. Thanks Rock for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  6. He also introduced me to Biet Simkin a few weeks ago thanks to his podcast. She’s a curious hybrid of spiritual guru and rock chick. I’m learning loads from her about practical ways to implement spirituality in my everyday life. Hugs and love back x

    1. Oh wow that’s awesome, I’ll have to check out Biet’s podcast! Thanks for the heads up.

  7. I really enjoy reading your posts about addictions and disorders. In a way, we are all addicts to something – even anger is a powerful tonic we imbibe. And it can be very tough because not everyone was to be free of whatever they are addicted. Jesus once asked a paralytic, do you want to be healed? One might retort, of course! Who doesn’t want to be healed? However, as I can certainly testify, there are certain sins I am more comfortable with committing, instead of repentance.

    It’s like baseball. When batting, I could stand and swing a certain way because it feels natural. It is also a guarantee that I will swing and miss every time. Either I go with what feels natural but wrong, or listen to the batting coach and change my stance to hit a home run. Discipleship is the same way. Either do whatever you want and lose, or listen to God, the author of true life. It is hard work; never said it was easy to change for the better.

    1. Thanks friend. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. You’re right – every single person is battling some sort of unhealthy addiction of sorts. You’re so right – hard work, and listening to God! Hugs and love xox

  8. Oh my, you are so talented with your writing/communication skills. Take comfort in your faith and that you are in my daily prayers. Your inspiration is infectious and contagious. Thank you for sharing with the world. 🤗 hugs to you.

    1. Oh my gosh thank you so much HJ, thank you. I really appreciate your prayers and kind words! You are amazing! Know that you’re in mine too! Hugs and love xox

  9. Russell has always been an extraordinarily bright, insightful man. That this was obscured by his addiction, and his association with the crasser crowd in Hollywood, is a certain shame. You were smart to have discerned the wisdom in his video and you certainly look much healthier than even a year ago. Yes, anything that gets in between a person and legitimate dreams is an addiction. Much success to you, in continuing to overcome your eating addiction.

    1. Thanks so much. You’re right – he has so much wisdom to offer! I wish people didn’t have such a preconceived notion about him! Glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you Tonya! Yes!! I am so grateful to God for His saving power and healing power in my life. He has given me a second chance and for that I am so thankful! Have a wonderful week, my dear friend! Love you Tonya!! Xox

  10. You have to know you powerless, and know one thing can compete with any addiction. Addiction will always win, until you realize you are powerless over it. Then it I can’t, He can, and I think I will let Him! Then you start learning how to live sober one day at a time. Hope will return, and God does for you often what you can’t for yourself in the beginning especially. Love this post! 💓💕💓

    1. You’re so right about that Lisa. Thank you so much for sharing your heart. You’re so right – one day at a time!! Hugs and love xox o

      1. I always have typos in my comments lol…😂😅. God could and would if He were sought. It comes down to surrender, and willingness to want to surrender ALL! We are miracles! You in your recovery, and myself in mine! Hope is restored, we see the light of day. We have to stay spiritually fit! Hugs from the Pacific Northwest!

      2. It’s all good! 🙂 amen to that! We are miracles! Cheering got up in your recovery!!! Hugs and love xox

  11. Carolyn, your honesty is so amazing. There will be deliverance for others because of it. I’m a continuous fan. All glory and praise to our Lord Jesus for rescuing you.

    1. Oh gosh thanks so much Amy. I am so touched by your kind world. To God bed the glory 1000%!! I’m so grateful for His saving grace and mercy and forgiveness! Hugs and love xox

      1. Have you ever listened to the Eric Metaxas Show? I feel like your story would make a great interview on the show!

  12. There’s so much truth in this and it’s so powerful how a ‘simple’ quote can resonate so deeply. That ‘just stop’ mentality that people have, like it’s supposed to be easy, is so detrimental without them even realising it. Insane that so much people still struggle with grasping that concept.

    I guess you’re truly blind in these matters, until you know first hand.

    1. Aw thank you Zoewie! I agree – it really is detrimental to downplay it with “just stop.” So glad this resonated with you! Hugs and love xox

  13. I have much thoughts about what you wrote and what you said in your video “Debunking Eating Disorder Myths”. While watching your video I kept thinking about my wife. Two and a half years ago, my wife of many years (41 years now) had a stroke. It was mild, but it caused some dementia. Soon she went into great depression. She was a heavy set woman and I watched her waste away in mind, body, and spirit. She became just bones and was very weak. And there wasn’t a thing I could do about it. And I tried very hard to help her.

    My wife could see the stress I was under, (I tried to hide it) and she got more depressed. And I couldn’t help her. She got to a point where she believed she was ugly and worthless. She stopped eating. She tired to commit suicide a few times. She declined more. Then to help both of us, they put her in a home. Today she has been away for 531 days. She gained some weight back, but no muscle mass. She enjoys seeing me and talking with me, but… I know some of this is her choice. I know she choose to believe a lie about herself.

    I have been trained in mechanics, electronics, and computers. I can fix many things. But I can not fix my wife. This is between her and our Lord.

    This is the first time I have shared this outside my close circle of friends. Thank you for writing what you write.

    1. Thanks so much John for sharing your story. Gosh my heart goes out to you and your wife. I will be praying for her. It sounds like such a trying road the two of you have walked together. There is power in prayer. Keep heart, my friend. Sending hugs and so much love. Xox

  14. I recall how a long time ago — maybe like 10 years or so — I posted on FB (that’s when I still believed one of my friends who said “facebook” was sort of like college slang / language) that I simply cannot take anyone who pronounces a “t” as a glottal stop seriously (yes, I was talking about none other than Russell Brand (I also featured him on conspiracy.tel once) 😉

    1. Hahah oh my gosh too funny!! Thanks for stopping by!! (Spoken without a glottal stop T) 😉 Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you so much Penny. I pray so too. Addiction is an all encompassing, terrible thing, that affects not just the sufferer but all who love him/her. Hugs and love xox

  15. Caralyn, after reading this, I lifted you up to our Heavenly Father, asking him to bless you and keep you, to continue to anoint your life and your tongue with his beautiful message of hope and healing for all. It is certain that you are his beautiful messenger in this topic of overcoming addiction. I pray for your words to be drenched in God’s truths, wrapped in his abundant love, and sealed with his miraculous and amazing ability to overcome and heal. And I prayed for you and a certain young man ☺️
    Much love to you, beautiful daughter of the King <3

    1. Oh gosh thank you so much Mindy for that beautiful prayer and encouragement. I am truly so touched!! Amen – God has been so generous and merciful with me – giving me a second chance and saving me from myself. I am eternally grateful. Big hugs to you xox

  16. I continue to just be in awe of your maturity. By the way maturity is not a number, it is a connection point between understand and knowledge can affect a situation. And Christian maturity exceeds that, the moment we understand our knowledge only is not enough. Jesus step in and struggle well with those who read this blog, walk beside them and encourage them to find the hope you have placed inside them, there is a better way.
    Steve Joiner

    1. Thank you Steve for such kind words. I am truly so touched. Yes! Jesus has walked me through every step, and for that I am so grateful. Hugs and love xox

  17. “and, trusting that YouTube knows me better than I know myself “ – its scary how true this is for me too.

    1. Isn’t it wild?!!! It’s like they have a link to my brain waves! hahah Thanks Shannon, for stopping by! Hope you have a great night! Hugs and love xox

  18. Similar to yourself, I never really listened to anything Russell Brand said, but since he has got of drugs and became more spiritual he definitely has grown in wisdom and some of his podcast are pretty good.

    I think getting over any addiction changes you, you are forced to face the darkest part of yourself and as a result become more centred.

    Faith can pull your through any storm no matter how bad.

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! i agree – he has really had quite the transformation. And you’re absolutely right – you become more centered! amen! grateful for God’s second chance! Hugs and love xox

  19. Hey, it’s been a while since you gave me a ‘like”. Made me smile😎 Thank you. Oh, and I hope you don’t mind me using your comment space to say ‘Thanks’?

    1. Hey Wic! Aw, thank you so much! so glad it did 🙂 absolutely!! have a great afternoon, and i’m glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

  20. Very powerful. Thanks for writing that. I sent you a personal email yesterday then realized after I should have clarified I was one of your readers. I will be sharing this with the person I mentioned in the email. You are amazing.

    1. Thank you so much Chrissie! That really means a lot. Of course – I will check my email tonight. I’m sorry I haven’t had a chance to reply yet. But I’m honored you would pass it along. Thank you. Sending love, hugs and prayers!!

    1. You’re so right about that Michael. It’s how we abuse. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  21. Love this post Caralyn! I’ve been thinking lately how eating disorders are almost more than a mental illness, and I think you hit it on the head: it’s an addiction. And I believe the Lie is the enemy’s attack on us to keep us from knowing Christ and our identity in Him. That’s why I’m so thankful God freed me and I chose to walk away from the greatest idol–myself. That’s what eating disorders do; they turn you into a walking idol of self-destruction. But there is hope in Him. 💙

    1. Hi again Emily! You’re on a reading roll! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. You’re absolutely right – it’s an addiction, and we become our own idols of self destruction. Absolutely. Amen! Cheering for you and your freedom!! God is so good!! Hugs and love xox

  22. I am so glad you made it! (out of rock bottom @ the residential treatment facility) My wife at age 16 also found herself in such a setting. Love your heart, and the way you point others to Jesus. DM

    1. Thank you so much DM. Me too. I am so grateful. Rejoicing over your wife’s freedom from that!! Hugs and love xox

  23. This was a powerful read. Thank you for your continued transparency about your past. You are an encouragement to so many. I also appreciate your sharing of Russell’s story. I am so glad he is advocating to help others while being public about his battle. I have always been thankful for your blog. It has been a safe place where I could learn and be strategic in praying for myself and others. Thank you for allowing God to you use your redeemed testimony to be a light to multitudes.

    1. Hi again friend! My
      Goodness you’re on a reading roll! Thank you! Isn’t it amazing how he’s become such a strong advocate?! Hugs and love xox

  24. Thank you this was so very interesting your experience is eye opening. (I am not much of a R. Brand fan either. But he shows up on my meditation app, and I thought what the heck is he doing here. Now I know.

    If you enjoy my Science page maybe you will find value in a budding sage here on WordPress, I believe it may also be along the journey you are experiencing. Many of your sentences mirrored my own footsteps.

    ~de

    1. Thanks so much De. I’m so glad this resonated with you. Absolutely – I Look forward to reading more from you!! Hugs and love xox

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