In the wake of the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman The Guardian republished an article written by Russell Brand last March to promote Comic Relief’s involvement in raise awareness of, and money for, abstinence-based recovery. The UK charity Comic Relief was born pretty much the same year I started drinking and so has been a feature of most of my adult life. They are a great charity who raise large sums of money on an ongoing basis.
In the article he describes how Comic Relief’s Give It Up want to ‘popularise a compassionate perception of drunks and addicts, and provide funding for places at treatment centres where they can get clean using these principles. Then, once they are drug-and-alcohol-free, to make sure they retain contact with the support that is available to keep them clean.’
His piece which I read at it’s time of initial publishing is both compassionate and understanding of the dangers of addiction, as he himself is a recovering addict of both heroin and alcohol. He has been clean and dry for over 10 years. I love Russell Brand, both for his comedy but also for his outspoken tackling of subjects that most others would steer away from. This is one of them. The writing is both evocative and haunting and I just wanted to highlight the part that really resonated with me, but the entire article is worth reading and can be found here
A friend of mine’s brother cannot stop drinking. He gets a few months of sobriety and his inner beauty, with the obstacles of his horrible drunken behaviour pushed aside by the presence of a programme, begins to radiate. His family bask relieved, in the joy of their returned loved one, his life gathers momentum but then he somehow forgets the price of this freedom, returns to his old way of thinking, picks up a drink and Mr Hyde is back in the saddle. Once more his brother’s face is gaunt and hopeless. His family blame themselves and wonder what they could have done differently, racking their minds for a perfect sentiment; wrapped up in the perfect sentence, a magic bullet to sear right through the toxic fortress that has incarcerated the person they love and restore them to sanity. The fact is, though, that they can’t, the sufferer must, of course, be a willing participant in their own recovery. They must not pick up a drink or drug, one day at a time. Just don’t pick up, that’s all.
Millions tune in to watch the TV coverage of Red Nose Day and Sport Relief – it reaches all ages, generations and social classes. My kids school hold a Red Nose Day every year to raise money for the charity. My hope is that with the help of Comic Relief addiction will become less stigmatised and stigmatising.