Gulf Breeze Recovery on Russell Brand's Comments that Drug Addiction is an Amplification of Consumerism

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Russell Brand says "If you’re constantly broadcasting to people that they ought to be afraid that they are not good enough they can purchase somehow externally the feeling of well-being, then addiction for me is a natural conclusion of this phenomenon."

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“I am glad to see that there is a growing number of people who support the connection between consumerism and the growing epidemic of drug addiction and alcoholism." Barnett Gilmer

On October 6, 2017, comedian Russell Brand appeared on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. When the subject of drug addiction was mentioned, Russell Brand wasted no time in stating the following:
These are times when we live on the outside; external phenomena has stimulated us to a ludicrous degree. Addiction is just the amplification of consumerism. If you’re constantly broadcasting to people that they ought to be afraid that they are not good enough they can purchase somehow externally the feeling of well-being, then addiction for me is a natural conclusion of this phenomenon.

Mr. Brand’s comment echoes a systemic problem in the United States. The search for something outside ourselves to find happiness, contentment, serenity, etc. leads many, who are innocently looking for a solution, to drugs and alcohol. This conditioned “outside” search may be the reason for the increasing prevalence of drug and alcohol addiction in the United States.

Supporting Brand’s argument concerning consumerism and addiction, Ole Bjerg, author and professor at the Copenhagen Business School, in a 2008 article states, “[Being addicted to drugs] is a radical way of fulfilling the imperative of enjoyment constantly thrown at us by the contemporary ideology of consumption.”

In speaking to the inner emptiness that consumerism can create, Victor Frankl, a neurologist, psychiatrist and Auschwitz Holocaust survivor coined the term “existential vacuum”, claiming that it is a situation where people have “the feeling of total and ultimate meaninglessness of their lives.” The existential vacuum, according to Frankl, is a widespread 20th century, and some would argue 21st century, phenomenon which seems prominent in the United States. Frankl cited a statistical survey in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, revealing that “among my European students, 25 percent showed a more-or-less marked degree of existential vacuum…Among my American students it was not 25 but 60 percent.”

Frankl suggests implications for those experiencing an existential vacuum, “Such widespread phenomena as depression, aggression and addiction are not understandable unless we recognize the existential vacuum underlying them.” It can be said that when people experience a void or emptiness in their lives, the inclination is to try and change what they perceive as a “negative” feeling and follow their conditioning. In the United States we are conditioned to find a product to fulfill our “needs” or to fill the “vacuum.” In numerous cases, the product many find is drugs and/or alcohol.

When speaking about finding “true” happiness, Russell Brand commented, “For me, the only drug I am interested in is the drug we are pursuing in the first place, the drug of connection, of unity, of love. For me, all of these things are placebos – every drug, every commodity – false idols as we seek out some kind of truth and connection.” Clearly the solution Brand is speaking of is one of an inside-out nature. A solution where people realize what is truly important in life.

When asked about Brand’s statement, Barnett Gilmer, CEO of Gulf Breeze Recovery proclaimed, “I am glad to see that there is a growing number of people who support the connection between consumerism and the growing epidemic of drug addiction and alcoholism. It is also refreshing that more people are recognizing that drug and alcohol addiction are typically the result of an innocent attempt and a conditional response by someone to find peace, happiness, contentment, serenity, etc. (a way to fill the existential vacuum) through an outside source such as drugs and alcohol. The real sustainable solution to individual drug addiction problems are drug and alcohol treatment programs that help people understand the true nature of addiction and to see that the answer they are looking for is always inside of them, which is one of connection, universal truth and love.” Gilmer continues, “The viable solution to the systemic problem of drug and alcohol addiction is educating our youth on the true source of where their happiness comes from and to beware of falling into the outside-in consumerism trap that creates a downhill spiral of endlessly searching for that next ‘thing’ that will make them happy.”

About Gulf Breeze Recovery: Gulf Breeze Recovery is changing the future of addiction treatment. Gulf Breeze Recovery’s THRIVE® program is designed for those who are looking for a drug and alcohol treatment program that may produce a different and positive result. This non-12 step program allows you to drive beyond your addictions and promotes a new outlook on life. Gulf Breeze Recovery’s THRIVE® program is designed for those who struggle with chronic relapse. Gulf Breeze Recovery is now accepting select insurance policies as a full or partial payment for all program costs. The exciting news is that people can now attend one of the most highly regarded drug treatment center in the country at little to no cost to them. For more information about our program or to speak with an Admissions Counselor, please call 855-973-3551.

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Barnett Gilmer
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