'Live Talks' hosted by Dr. Drew Pinsky & Russell Brand Event Review:
By Amelia G. @filmpatch
At the ‘Live Talks' event at the Ann and Jerry Moss Theater for British comedian Russell Brand’s new book, Recovery: Freedom From Our Addiction on Friday night, a woman with a question for Brand and his “in conversation” partner, addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinksy, is handed a microphone. She wants to know how she can help her brother with a drug addiction.
“Where is your brother right now?” Dr. Drew asks.
“He's here.” The woman hands her brother the mic and we hear him openly confess about his struggle and his chronic addiction to cocaine. Brand commiserates, and when he and Pinsky advise finding an inpatient treatment program as soon as possible, a woman across the theater speaks up. She runs a rehab center that will take him right away, if he’ll go. There is applause, and tears, when the woman’s brother accepts.
Just one of the raw, candid, moments in an evening full of them, like Brand’s book, in which he chronicles his addictions to drugs, sex, and pornography, and lays out a recovery program of his own. “Connection,” Brand says, is most important.
This intimate event at the Herb Alpert Educational Village in Santa Monica with Brand and Dr. Pinsky, better known as Dr. Drew, of radio call-in show Lovelines, which recently ended its more than thirty year run, had recovery experts and addicts captivated with conversations about the tools for recovery and how to people heal people. Several years drug and alcohol-free, the entertaining rants Brand is known for are now focused on helping addicts like himself. While Dr. Drew admits he’s not quite up to what he calls Brand’s “poesy”, when a rambling, slightly slurred question from a woman in the audience had Brand at a rare loss for words, Pinksy thought he recognized the symptoms of benzodiazepine addiction, and launched into an impassioned monologue about the over-prescribing of benzodiazepines, which he fears is the “next big drug crisis”, and recalled his appearance on the Larry King Show in 2008, predicting that Heath Ledger’s fatal opiate overdose that year would be the first of a surge, leading to the current epidemic of opiate addiction in the United States.
Towards the end of the event, another woman raised her hand to ask what she should say to her 17 year old son also struggling with addictions. As they had earlier in the evening for the woman asking for help on behalf of her brother, Pinksy and Brand spoke about the co-dependency typical in relationships with addicts, and we discovered this woman’s son was also in the audience. Brand invited him to the stage, and with his arm around the boy, hiding under a baseball cap in front of a theater full of strangers, on his thirty-first day without using crack, meth, opiates, MDMA, or any other of his usual drugs of choice, Brand recounted hilarious teen anecdotes and pearls of wisdom, and ranted again, about connecting to a caring community to help connect to true self, to conquer addiction. “Rant over,” said Brand, releasing the boy back to his mother, adding, “Get unfucked, mate.”
Dr. Drew Pinsky and Russell Brand both have a lot to contribute in this space of addiction and recovery. By their authentic advice, often presented with a fun touch of witty humor, they emphasized the power of “Connection” and made us believe we are in this battle together against addiction and that that is the best way to fight it. Together.