Read This: Russell Brand on Heroin, Abstinence, and Addiction

In the last few days, as I’ve tried to make sense of the loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman, these words from Aaron Sorkin keep bouncing around my brain:

“Phil Hoffman … did not die from an overdose of heroin. He died from heroin.”

What Sorkin manages to — once again — succinctly boil down to a soundbite, Russell Brand explains in detail in a March 2013 article in The Spectator. The British actor-comedian, who’s been very open about his addiction in the past, talks frankly about his daily decision not to drink, not to take heroin, a round-the-clock battle with himself.

“I cannot accurately convey the efficiency of heroin in neutralising pain,” Brand says in the opening paragraphs. “It transforms a tight white fist into a gentle brown wave, and from my first inhalation 15 years ago it fumigated my private hell. A bathroom floor in Hackney embraced me like a womb, and now whenever I am dislodged from comfort my focus falls there.”

The only way to help addicts is to treat them not as bad people but as sick people, he says. Find out how we can help.

Read This: Russell Brand on Heroin, Abstinence, and Addiction

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