Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions By Russell Brand
If you are not familiar with Russell Brand allow me to introduce you. He is an English comedian, actor and activist who is a little bit on the intense and zany side. In addition, he is 15 years sober from alcohol and drugs and is also a recovering sex addict.
In 2017, Brand published the book Recovery: Freedom from our Addictions and that is my first recommended read for 2018, with one caveat. If you are sensitive to use of the f-bomb, this book is likely not for you as that word and others of its ilk are used liberally (and quite hilariously) throughout, including playing a prominent role in a re-written version of the 12-Steps that he offers the reader.
However, if you can withstand the added spice, this book is a surprising gem of a recovery tool. Brand spends the intro providing a thoughtful and deeply true definition of addiction. He then talks about the amazing potential for transformation involved in working and using a 12-Step program. Coming from someone who has spent his life fighting systems and ‘the man’, Brand’s embrace of the 12-Steps and his detailed and vulnerable confessions regarding the way that he uses them in his life and how it has and is changing him is both surprising and unique.
Brand takes the 12-Steps and spends a chapter on each, unpacking them and providing the reader with a great deal of helpful insight into the purpose of the step and what it means to really work each step. If you are working a 12-Step program I highly recommend this book to you as it will give you new insights and applications. Brand is particularly adept at helping the reader to understand the way in which each step is designed to be used over and over again on a daily basis to help you live your life in a manner that does not require continued medication through addiction.
My best recommendation for this book is to get the audio version. It is essentially a dramatic reading of the material by Brand himself and between his accent and his tendency to rant here and there, it is an entertaining listen while also giving you great information and wisdom.
Facing Codependence: What it is, Where it Comes From, How it Sabotages our Lives By Pia Mellody
We all know the word codependence and hear it thrown around and applied to an entire panoply of relational behaviors. However, for most people it is a vague concept and one that is often misunderstood.
Codependence as a term was first coined as part of the early alcohol recovery movement and was used to describe a range of behaviors often exhibited by partners and family members of alcohol and drug addicts. However, what we now know is that codependence actually arises out of all dysfunctional family systems and is rooted in being raised in a family system that does not provide consistent nurturing and boundaries for children.
Pia Mellody was one of the first practitioners to truly identify the root causes of codependence and to define not only it’s impact but provide a clear path to relational healing and wholeness.
Her model of codependence identifies five core things that are true about all children. All children are valuable, vulnerable, imperfect, dependent and spontaneous. If you grow up in a family system where you are not parented well around these five core issues, then you will struggle in the following specific ways:
Valuable = Self Esteem Issues
Vulnerable = Boundary Issues
Imperfect = Human Imperfection Issues
Dependent = Needs/Wants Issues
Spontaneous = Moderation Issues
Mellody’s book Facing Codependence unpacks each of these five core issues, helps you to understand the very specific ways that you can struggle with them and then provides a roadmap to healing around each issue. If you have not yet read this book, I highly recommend it.
To take a deep dive into this material you can also attend the 5 Core Issues of Developmental Trauma (Codependence) workshop being offered at CRR on January 27th from 9-12:30.