May 27, 2022 9 min read

Addiction and Hungry Ghosts with Russell Brand, Dr Gabor Mate & Dr John Demartini

Addiction and Hungry Ghosts with Russell Brand, Dr Gabor Mate & Dr John Demartini
Addiction & hungry Ghosts.

Solutions for “dis-ease”, address the roots which have many possible sources; such as trauma, physical dependence, overexertion, lack of boundaries, abuse or simply dysfunctional lifestyles. These root causes may manifest in a multitude of symptoms that create an imbalance or dis-ease.


8 Steps to beat Addiction and Hungry Ghosts with Russell Brand


Russell Brand has a long history of abuse and addiction. Throughout his life, his addictions and predilections have been varied, ranging from eating disorders to pornography addiction before resulting in excessive drug and alcohol use. He has also been diagnosed with ADHD and bipolar disorder, two factors that likely contributed to the growing cycle of abuse.

At the peak of his abuse, there were few drugs Brand wasn’t willing to take. Heroin was a personal favourite, but he also used crack, marijuana, meth, alcohol and hallucinogens. While necessary to him at the time, his problems with drug addiction affected many aspects of his life. Brand said, “I hit rock bottom in 2003 with an addiction to heroin, which had cost me a job at MTV, a radio show, friends and girlfriends.” Over the course of his addiction, Brand’s abuse saw him arrested 12 times.

This was a CRISIS point. We all have our own heroes' journey and can relate to this feeling from the context of our own life. Pain is felt in the same way, on the same day, by different people.

By 2003, when he was 27, he knew it was time to make a change. His friend and then-manager, Chip Sommers, told him that if he didn’t get help, he would end up in prison, dead or in a residential psychiatric care facility. Instead of facing these eventual fates, Brand decided to get clean, once and for all.

To battle his demons, Brand took the same first step as millions of others around the world: he entered the Alcoholics Anonymous program. Twelve-step programs are popular worldwide, offering a way to come to terms with addiction, make amends and focus on a brighter future free of the tethers of drugs and alcohol.

Brand truly believes in the community that a treatment program can provide. Unlike many celebrities who choose to go to rehab under a shroud of secrecy, Brand is willing to break the stigma associated with getting help and speak candidly about the advantages.

“Under the guidance of a mentor, with the support and community of other people on the same path, you have, by following the actions suggested in the right programs, the ability to break free from your prior confinement and become a different person,” The person you were truly born to be.

He shares that the right rehabilitation program can be a community, providing the foundation of support necessary for a healthy future.


Addiction develops when a person begins to turn, consistently and habitually, to something outside of themselves – such as a behaviour, substance or belief – to alleviate inner feelings of unease.

These can range from mild discontent, irritability and anxiety, to an intense sense of emptiness, depression, self-hatred and more.

At some point in time, the person displaying addictive tendencies reaches a tipping point, a threshold beyond which their behaviour pattern goes beyond the limits of their conscious control becomes largely involuntary, and plays itself out against the will of the individual, with increasingly detrimental consequences. Self Harm, more so than SelfCare.

The person is then trapped in a repetitive pattern of automatic response and default behaviour, in many cases reaching a state close to insanity, with insanity defined here as repeating the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.


Addiction and its derivatives can manifest in many different ways. However, the causes of substance abuse and addictive behaviour are not rooted in the substances or behaviours themselves. Identifying the underlying issues can be a difficult and gradual process that varies in duration and complexity depending on the individual.

Address your personal challenges on all levels – mental, emotional, physical, social and spiritual. Build a solid, durable foundation from which to go out and live a life of sustainable wellness, rich in potential and possibilities.


The Realm of the Hungry Ghosts originates as one of the 6 Realms in the Buddhist Wheel of Life over 2,000 years ago. It is the iconic representation of addiction and a valuable reference.

The Six Realms of Rebirth

The Six Realms are a schema in which beings are reborn according to the kind of life they lived. The realms are depicted in the Wheel of Life (bhavachakra), a vivid representation of samsara—the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.

Wheel of Life (bhavachakra)

The Three Lower Realms

  1. The Animal Realm, In which inhabitants are driven by basic needs. Considering that 1 billion people will go to bed hungry tonight and over 80% of the population lives on less than $10 a day. It's safe to see that over 8 in 10 people are operating here in 2022. Animals are driven by their need to eat, sleep, and procreate; people in this state live mechanically, controlled by basic needs.
  2. The Hell Realm is a place of constant suffering and torment. Much of this suffering comes from our mind's inability to find peace within, where we seek external validation to avoid the hell on earth or within. Living as a character that we were never born to be, as Jim Carrey alludes to with his commentary on overcoming depression. Have you heard that "hurt people, hurt people?". The hell realm describes people living with extreme suffering, heedless of others. Their own hurt is so great they may even harm those around them.
  3. The Realm of the Hungry Ghosts, grasping beings who are never satisfied. A majority of people are suppressing their pain, and emotions or hiding from their shadows. Resulting in a life of seeking the next dopamine or serotonin hit, to find momentary pleasure. Hungry ghosts (pretas) are those driven by unquenchable desire, chasing the next possession, the next meal, the next relationship, only to find themselves dissatisfied and craving the next thing.

The three “higher” realms are

  1. The Human Realm, where you and I find ourselves. "Humanity". A place where we treat others in a way that we could only hope to be treated ourselves. With compassion, love and empathy. The human world is the realm of action, the only one in which practice can take place and buddhas can appear. Here we find the only exit from the six realms—the liberation of nirvana. The human realm, the scriptures explain, is neither so pleasurable that there’s no motivation to seek liberation, like the higher realms nor too full of suffering to attempt to escape samsara, like the lower realms. Human birth is said to be so rare and precious that a turtle surfacing in a vast ocean is more likely to put his head through a small ring floating on the surface than we are to get a human birth. This is why the Buddha urges us to put our human life to good use!
  2. The Demigod Realm, where godlike beings fight for power. Look to the corporate greed, governments, wars and conflicts in the world. Behind each conflict is an individual or group of people seeking power at the expense of others or causing collateral damage to the natural world. Profits and power over people.  The realm of demigods (asuras) is marked by constant warfare, competition, and anger; it is the home of climbers on the corporate and social ladders—those who are driven to get ahead.
  3. The God Realm, where beings enjoy a life of pleasure. Who do you know that is living and acting as if they are "god". Playing "god", or living a life of pleasure building taller fences rather than longer tables. Those in the god realm (devas) float high above the world, free of suffering, but this realm too is ultimately unsatisfying. Without adversity, the gods develop attachments and have no motivation to escape samsara.

It’s important to note that some Buddhists view the realms as literally real, while others interpret them psychologically as metaphors for the emotional states of the human condition.

Karma plays a role in determining where we are born and reborn, which keeps happening until we reach nirvana (bliss, harmony) and escape the cycle.

Until then, we are stuck in the six realms. But for those who interpret them as metaphors rather than actual places, the six realms depict life as we are living it here and now.

The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts with Dr Gabor Mate

Dr. Gabor Mate is one of the foremost experts on addiction in the world today, and the author of the book, “In The Realm of the Hungry Ghosts”. He explores addiction as a symptom of distress, from the pain of individual trauma and family history to the spiritual emptiness pervading our entire society.

The book draws its title from the name of one of six Buddhist realms, through which, in Buddhist belief, Beings must ascend before they reach liberation.

The Hungry Ghost realm is characterized by the fact that its inhabitants, while desperately craving nourishment, are unable to satisfy their hunger because their necks are so narrow they cannot let food pass.

These unfortunate creatures are a fitting metaphor for those suffering people who, likewise, can never find the lasting relief from the discomfort they desire, nor fill the void (emotional or spiritual) they experience within because they attempt to do this using things outside of themselves – substances and the distractions the world can offer – none of which can, of course, offer more than temporary relief from their pain.

Hungry Ghosts

Values & Voids with Dr John Demartini

So how do we break the cycle of addiction and being a hungry ghost that is never satisfied? A good place is to remind ourselves of our own innate wisdom and values.

Dr John Demartini has synthesized 1000s of years of knowledge from theologians, philosophers, Nobel prize laureates and other great minds in science, business, finance and health. Stand on the shoulders of giants and implement this great tool in order to gain the ultimate advantage in all 7 areas of your life.

Knowing your unique hierarchy of values, or highest priorities, is the most important place to start if you intend to expand to the next level of your empowerment.

The more important a value is – the higher it will be on your hierarchy of values and the more discipline and order you will have associated with it.

  • When you live according to your highest values you become inspired and awaken genius.

The less important a value is – the lower it will be on your hierarchy of values and the less discipline and more disorder you have associated with it.

  • When you live according to your lower values you require continuous outside motivation and you suppress your genius
Your destiny, your fulfilment means the filling of your perceptually empty voids.

The hierarchy of your voids determines the hierarchy of your values. The hierarchy of your values determines how you perceive (what you selectively attend to) and how you act (what you selectively intend upon) in your world and therefore they determine your immediate destiny.

Since your values change over time, your destiny, therefore, changes over time.

The summation of your series of destinies determines your evolving life journey. Your ultimate or relatively unchanging core value dictates your infinite journey the most. Your transient, changing, crusted hierarchy of values dictate your series of transient finite destinies.


Move from Self Harm to SelfCare and then Self Mastery. If change was easy, then everyone would be doing it. However, we need to find a deeper sense of purpose to move from the cycle we are in, to a new cycle of living and being. Whether you find a mentor, a retreat, a spiritual quest or a calling to travel. Find your medicine.

If you would like some guidance, grab the SelfCare Book and immerse yourself in ancient wisdom and modern science to find some solutions in plain sight. If you need 8 simple steps to follow, then join the Empower course and run the 8 steps with a community of people breaking the same cycles. Seeking happiness, health, bliss and harmony in the context of their own lives.


  • Freedom from Desire
  • Values & Voids with Dr John Demartini.
Take the free Values Assessment Below.
Values Assessment - Internal Compass Alignment with Dr John Demartini
Your underlying private voids drive your overlying public values. Your present purpose or mission for life will reflect your present highest values. Take the Values Assessment with Dr John Demartini


This is directly referenced from the best-selling amazon SelfCare Book "Lifestyle Medicine For the People" by Rory Callaghan.  If you would like to read more content like this. Grab the free online chapters of the book or a hard copy.

We have done our best to reference everyone’s expert opinions, peer-reviewed science, and original thoughts, all references available here and referenced in the text.

We also understand that most thoughts are not our own and there is a collective unconsciousness, unconsciousness, and universal mind stream of energy that is always at work.  How are references are sorted and filtered is here.

Dr. Ghost
Dr. Ghost
Our artificially intelligent, reliable, and trusted source for the latest credible and evidence-based medicine in the virtual collective consciousness

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