Russell Brand has announced a fund to develop recovery communities for people leaving treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. As for his own recovery, Brand has been clean ten years and says, “My life has immeasurably improved. I have a job, a house, a cat, good friendships and generally a bright outlook.”
The Give It Up Fund and Comic Relief
The Give it Up Fund, which will be managed by Comic Relief, a major charity based in the UK whose mission is to drive positive change through the power of entertainment, aims to provide financial aid to help people remain free from substances by setting up support groups in three pilot areas of the country. The funds will be used to provide a practical alternative for people completing drug treatment programs and who need more than the typical next step: sober living. With initial donations of £500,000, the fund is already off to a good start.
Gilly Green, who is Head of UK Grants at Comic Relief said: “Comic Relief has supported those facing addiction for many years. We’re looking forward to finding out more about the potential of recovery communities through these pilots and hearing more inspiring stories about how they can help people to recover from addiction.”
The purpose of recovery communities is to provide someone who is recovering from this devastating disease with all the local services they need to sustain their sobriety and continue their abstinence from mood and mind-altering substances, including alcohol. Recovery communities support people in recovery by providing assistance with housing, career support, peer support and health support. All of this, so that recovering addicts and alcoholics can continue to make lasting changes to be successful at sobriety and improve their overall quality of life.
Of the project, Brand said, “It’s integral that people entering a life of abstinence after the chaos of addiction have stability, support and a role to play in the wider community.”
Russell Brand: Advocate for Addicts
Brand, who is in recovery for alcohol and heroin, has become a veritable spokesperson and advocate for people in recovery and has spoken openly on the topic. “For me it’s not about the drug laws, it’s about treating people with addiction issues in a compassionate and empathetic way.”
Back in June of last year, he said, “I don’t think drug laws are working because people take drugs all the time. People will take drugs because of social, psychological and emotional reasons.”
On the nature of addiction, Brand said, “As a recovering drug addict myself, when I was using drugs I didn’t care if drugs were illegal. If I need drugs because I’m in pain inside, I’m taking drugs and I know this to be true of drug addicts all over our country.”
He went on to say that criminalizing and marginalizing drug addicts “make[s] it difficult and shaming for them to get treatment. That is the wrong way to handle the situation.”
Brand spoke at The Recovery Group UK (RGUK) and Give it Up’s conference ‘Creating Recovery,’ for health commissioners, those working in the drug and alcohol treatment system and police and crime commissioners that was held at the London Film Museum last week.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.