Famous comedian and comedic actor Russell Brand has recently announced that he will begin raising money for a foundation that will focus on helping newly recovered drug and alcohol addicts in the time during their transition from using to living a clean and sober life. The fund, which Brand has coined the Give It Up Fund will be managed by non-profit Comic Relief.
Financial Aid and Support
The Give It Up Fund will specifically target recovering addicts as they leave rehabilitation facilities and attempt to rebuild their lives in a productive and healthy way. The fund will give addicts the financial assistance they need to get their lives back on track and will include support systems in what will initially be three cities. Brand has stated that his mission with the fund is to “perform a kind of social alchemy turning hapless (often smelly) junkies into helpful busy bodies, pottering about and contributing.” In other words, the ultimate goal of the fund is to help facilitate the process by which recovering addicts may reclaim the stability that is necessary to remain safe and drug free. This means having the chance to hold down a job, which will in turn provide income and a sense of stability for an addict as they begin to construct a reality that is rife with a sense of productivity and purpose.
Russell Brand a Recovering Addict Himself
That Brand is interested in helping recovering addicts may come as no surprise to many individuals, since the star has long been forthright about his own past struggles with drug and alcohol abuse. Brand was at one point a heavy user of both alcohol and heroin. He has long been very vocal about his thoughts on the importance of creating programs to aid struggling addicts while also urging the general public to behave with thoughtfulness and compassion when it comes to their attitude about addiction and the struggles that it creates. He has explained that he believes drug addiction is always a symptom of a deeper pain, and that when he was using it was because of deep emotional wounds. He has described the degree to which he used drugs to dull emotional pain by saying "I cannot accurately convey the efficiency of heroin in neutralising pain...It transforms a tight white fist into a gentle brown wave, and from my first inhalation 15 years ago it fumigated my private hell.” He has used this as a plea to the public to treat addicts with kindness and empathy. In Brand’s view, this is truly the only way to effectively deal with an epidemic that strikes people of all ages, nationalities, and socioeconomic backgrounds but which is still met with some stigma in many circles.
Criticism For Policy Based Action
Brand has stated that he believes action similar to what he plans to do with his fund, which offers practical assistance to those who are ready to get better from addiction is the best, and perhaps the only way to stem the tide of addiction that is growing in his native United Kingdom, as well as several other places, not least of which is the United States. Brand contends that attempts to halt the drug problem by toughening anti-drug laws are more or less ineffective, as individuals who are prone to using are, as he was, not deterred from using by the fact that drugs are against the law. Brand feels, as many who are involved in recovery do, that the only real way to help reduce instances of addiction and to lower the rates of death and serious ruin because of drugs are to combat the real reasons that addicts are using.
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Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.