Brand power

russell brand bookReview by Garth Jones

Book | Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions | Russell Brand

THE seven deadly sins, according to Wikipedia, originated with desert father Evagrius Ponticus.

Ponticus identified seven or eight evil thoughts or spirits humans strove to overcome. The concept was later transplanted to Europe by Ponticus’ student John Cassian, and became fundamental to the Catholic confessional.

Today, we commonly understand these ‘sins’ – pride, lust, envy, greed, sloth, gluttony, wrath –as embodiments of negative habits and addictions that have plagued humanity since its inception.

English comedian Russell Brand has publicly jousted with many demons since entering the public eye hosting the original UK version of Big Brother in the early 2000s.

Brand – whose CV also includes author, activist and actor – has variously battled addiction to drugs, sex and the narcissistic trappings of global stardom.

Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions is Brand’s fourth book. The author’s first two efforts were autobiographies exploring his childhood and ascent to fame. Both were florid, charmingly written insights into the pathologies behind Brand’s self-destructive lusts. His third book, REVOLution, focused on political activism during the lead up to the UK’s 2015 General Election, and is further illustrative of the author’s self-admitted Messiah complex.

Brand’s latest work offers us a relatively secular 21st century framework – adapted from the 12-step program used by Alcoholics Anonymous – for navigating addictions and anxieties. These range from food, smoking, gambling, sex and internet addiction to alcoholism and hard drug abuse.

Writing in his familiar voice – a combination of cheeky Disney chimney sweep and latter day esoteric guru – Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions, walks us through Brand’s humanist self-help process. Charming and conversational, this approach encompasses mindfulness, meditation and a program of rigorous self-reflection.

Brand weaves empathetic vignettes on his ongoing path to recovery throughout the program, including reflections on his path from junkie to first-time fatherhood.

Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions is an approachable, useful guide for readers looking for an alternative toolkit to help them negotiate the traps and pitfalls of modern life.

Available at: www.panmacmillan.com.au RRP: $24.50, kindle $24.78

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