Russell Brand on What It's Like to Be an Addict

Russell_Brand_Arthur_face

Drugs and alcohol are not my problem, reality is my problem, drugs and alcohol are my solution.

If this seems odd to you it is because you are not an alcoholic or a drug addict. You are likely one of the 90% of people who can drink and use drugs safely. I have friends who can smoke weed, swill gin, even do crack and then merrily get on with their lives. For me, this is not an option. I will relinquish all else to ride that buzz to oblivion. Even if it began as a timid glass of chardonnay on a ponce’s yacht, it would end with me necking the bottle, swimming to shore and sprinting to Bethnal Green in search of a crack house. I look to drugs and booze to fill up a hole in me; unchecked, the call of the wild is too strong. I still survey streets for signs of the subterranean escapes that used to provide my sanctuary. I still eye the shuffling subclass of junkies and dealers, invisibly gliding between doorways through the gutters. I see that dereliction can survive in opulence; the abundantly wealthy with destitution in their stare.

—Comedian and actor Russell Brand, in The Guardian last year. His essay explores his past as a heroin addict, and how he has stayed sober for the past 10 years. Read more from The Guardian.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

***

We need your help to get to 5,000 Longreads Members.

Join Longreads now and help us keep going.

Julia Wick is a contributing editor for Longreads.
Get the Longreads Weekly Email

Sign up to receive the Top 5 Longreads of the week, delivered every Friday.