Disclaimer: I am predisposed to love this book because I have found Russell Brand's journey and comic chops highly entertaining, while being blown away by his honesty, focus on self improvement, and courage in speaking truth to power with intelligent argument and altuistic intentions. However, what I was NOT prepared for was to discover that the "socially acceptable" addictions I have (technology based, behavioural etc.) can be managed IF I WANT THEM TO BE using the same steps as "life and death" addictions such as chemical or alcohol dependency can be managed. If Russell does nothing else extraordinary in his life (and I think that is unlikely!) this one project to bring this book to the masses will be hard to surpass in terms of the personal effect it will have in saving many lives. Not lives only in the "life or death" sense, but lives as in quality, quantity, and ability to connect and be fulfilled and contributing as a high functioning member of the human race. Russell has shown by his own example, and by sharing the stories of how others have helped him, that "addicts" are worth saving, not only on principle, but because of the depth of compassion and understanding they can contribute through having made the journey to "hell and back". It is an antidote to the current power grab by people who, either in the foreground or in the back pulling the strings, are removed from the realities of everyday life by virtue of the accident of who they were born to, and/or how much money they have accumulated/are accumulating at the expense of "ordinary folks" who have neither the platform nor the opportunity to do more than struggle through life financially. But as Russell shows us, we can be rich in human compassion and support for one another, and thereby live fulfilling and important lives even if we have nothing in the bank. Russell had already changed the way I looked at addiction through his previous books, videos, interviews etc., but now he has revealed that we are all on the addiction spectrum and there is something we can do about it (with help) .... this is so empowering!
Just what I needed to get me in to AA and recovery. As an atheist I’d always struggled with the concept of AA but Russell (also atheist) gave me the insight and courage to give it a try. I write this review 4 months after reading this book and having yesterday picked up my 3 month ‘sober chip’ at AA.
This book makes the 12 steps more accessible to a modern audience in several ways. Principally, and by Brand's own admission, by removing the more obvious references to God, and replacing them with a more secular language of spirituality, whilst maintaining the meaning and relevance of the idea of a higher power. By doing this, this book helped me to work the steps. If you are experiencing pain, and aren't familiar with 12 step programs, this is a great introduction. Kudos to Brand for an insightful, honest, and ultimately very useful book.
Hmmm, what to say about this book..... I have long thought that Russell Brand was an interesting character, he is clearly highly intelligent, has a busy brain and a lot of energy he doesn't know what to do with.
I found this book a real eye-opener actually, and a lot of the things he says make a lot of sense to me. I wasn't thrilled by his liberal use of the f-word but it is what it is, and I love how he made the 12 step program so much more understandable for the average person. He also made sense of the fact that whatever addiction you have, and lucky for me, it doesn't include alcohol or drugs, the root cause is some emotional issue which you haven't dealt with. I think that is absolutely spot on and some of the ways of thinking that I have had for a long time, have been altered by reading this book.