Comedian and actor Russell Brand recently celebrated 16 years sober from alcohol and drugs, and took to Twitter to post an emotional message of gratitude.
The 43-year-old has always been painfully open and honest about his history of addiction, his struggle to get clean, and his journey ever since.
Brand was struggling with addiction up until 2002, when he was treated at a rehabilitation clinic for heroin addiction and other drugs.
In recent years Brand has stayed sober, and thanks his wife, Laura Gallacher, and their two daughters for transforming his life.
In a video he posted on Twitter, the comedian said:
Hello, here is my message of gratitude and thanks on being 16 years clean today – December 13th.
I remember being eggshell fragile this time 16 years ago, December 12th, the day before, 2002… Jesus. I’d scored two of each – two brown, that’s heroin – two white, that’s crack – it may be a little more, I can’t remember…
But anyway, I remember using it in Camden, hanging out at my various mates’ houses, none of whom were drug addicts, I was just sort of sneaking off to do drugs in their toilets.
And then […] I had the privilege of going to the twelve-step treatment centre, getting three months there – the hugs man, the hugs, the optimism. And then coming out and finding other support groups where people would sort me out, meeting mentors to hold my hand along the way, lights further down the path to look at, to guide me.
He went on:
And now, 16 years, two daughters, married, dogs, peace of mind, not enslaved by the opinions of other people, not enslaved by ‘Aw, if I could get more money, if I could get more fame, if I could get more sex.’
All of the things that get me off, drinks and drugs, can be worked in every area of my life. And those of you that are struggling with drink, drugs, food, sex, porn, bad relationships, other people’s opinions – all of these things, you can be liberated from.
First you have to admit it’s a problem. Then, you have to believe it’s possible to change. Then you have to ask for and accept help.
Some of that can be metaphysical, help from perfect consciousness within you and without you. And some of it, deeply practical – just asking [for] help from other people that are further down the path than you.
I was a proper smack-head, crack-head, and look at me now! No smack, no crack, still problems, still crazy, I mean look at that [pointing to his hair], that should have been tended to before putting a video up. But I have freedom now, and you can have freedom too.
We can change ourselves, we can change everything.
Thanks for everyone, I’m extremely grateful to everybody who has helped me on this journey. All of you, thank you.
Message of Gratitude – 16 years Clean. THANK YOU. ❤ pic.twitter.com/7FtemuvQky
— Russell Brand (@rustyrockets) December 13, 2018
Congratulations, Russell! Here’s to the next 16 years.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.