Moving beyond addiction to change and growth

Brian Pennie

Brian battled a 15 year addiction with heroin and overcame all obstacles to completely transform his life. He is a qualified psychologist and is a final year neuroscience PhD student and lecturer in Trinity College and UCD, where he lectures on the topic of the neuroscience of addiction. 

He is a keynote speaker and consultant to some of Ireland’s leading corporations. His journey is documented in his autobiography ‘Bonus Time’ published last year. Brian believes that change is possible for everyone. He offers a number of courses on various subjects such as mastering self-talk and breaking bad habits.


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2:55 Brian’s experience of putting his life story down on paper

4:50 What being a functional addict is like day-to-day

8:59 The common misconceptions about addicts

12:08 Is addiction a primary or secondary issue?

13:53 Self-deception and its part in recovery

17:26 Changing identity as part of the recovery process

23:06 Brian’s definition of happiness

25:27 Lessons from ‘The Power of Now’ by Ekhart Tolle

33:04 When Eastern philosophies of the mind intersect with Western psychology: how practical is this?

37:17 Staying in the present moment

44:19 Having core values or a ‘higher force’

53:05 The role of human connection

55:39 What drew Brian to neuroscience and academia?

1:02:25 Turning negative self-talk into positive self-talk

1:08:18 The balance of stillness and ambitious actions

1:10:14 Brian’s morning routine

1:13:05 Advice to chronic overthinkers

1:15:58 Brian’s brain scan taken in 2013 versus 2018

1:20:09 Brian’s current neuroscience research

1:25:40 Making our children emotionally resilient

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