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Comedian Russell Brand Celebrates 17 Years of Sobriety

In a 2014 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Russell Brand astutely described his battles with addiction throughout his childhood and young adulthood, stating that, “I look to solve inner problems with external things. I’ll use anything to stop myself feeling, and as a little kid I was very lonely and confused. Anything that could temporarily relieve that, I was very grateful for. When you take drugs out of the equation, those issues remain.”

For those who have struggled with addiction themselves, Brand’s words make an incredible impact. Today, the once troubled comedian celebrates 17 years of sobriety, and is reflecting on the support and hard work it took to get him here.

In a heartfelt Twitter post on December 13, Brand commemorated the occasion with a photo of a homemade card, presumably written by his family, which includes wife Laura Gallacher and two young daughters.

The note reads, “Congratulations on 17 years. You are incredible, Daddy. We love you.”

Accompanying the photo, Brand wrote, “17 years clean and sober today. With love and the support of others real change is possible, no matter how dark times may seem. Thank you to everyone who has carried me on this path.”

Russell Brand’s History of Addiction 

Unafraid to share his story with others, Brand has been extremely open about his personal demons throughout his show business career. As a child, Brand struggled with conditions such as bulimia, ADHD, and bipolar disorder, which contributed to his early experimentation with drugs and alcohol.

Brand faced traumatic events in his childhood that he described in his memoir, Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions. All before entering his teen years, Brand was the victim of child abuse, was forced to cope with his mother’s cancer diagnosis, and had a fractured relationship with his father as the result of his parent’s divorce.

At age 16, Brand left his mother’s home due to disagreements with his new stepfather. At this time, Brand began to abuse alcohol and drugs more intensely, and experimented with many dangerous substances such as amphetamines, LSD, and ecstasy.

Brand had discovered a talent for performance during his teen years, though his troubled nature led to many academic consequences. In 1991, he was expelled from college due to poor attendance and illegal drug use.

Over the years, Brand gained fame in the United Kingdom, taking on hosting gigs and performing as a stand-up comedian. Though as he grew in popularity, British tabloids zeroed in on his heavy drug use and partying, which had begun to spiral out of control.

By the early 2000s, Brand had begun to abuse heroin. Reflecting upon this time, Brand wrote that he “sort of fell in love with the warmth of it.” Working at MTV’s studios in Camden, Brand explained that heroin was readily available, describing the dark paths that pursuing the drug had led him to. Brand writes of this time period with a sense of clarity and detail—so much detail that it is incredible to realize he survived.

After facing an intervention, Brand got sober through a 12-Step recovery program. Now a firm believer in the program, Brand speaks openly about his personal convictions, which include a heavy emphasis on meditation. Through many interviews, he has reiterated that he knows he will never be able to take another drink or drug again, stating that,  “The reason I can’t have drugs or drink today is because I know that I can’t manage it.”

Now 17 years into his commitment of sobriety, Brand has experienced personal and professional success, and is able to share his story with others through the platform he worked hard to create. His story proves that long-term sobriety is within reach, no matter how dark the road may be.

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