A few weeks ago, a friend and I sat on my couch and had a long, meandering chat about nothing and everything.
Somehow, our conversation turned to a point where I explained how loneliness is at the core of much suffering in the United States. Ours is a society that has elevated consumption over connection, competition over collaboration. We buy what we can buy and beat whom we can beat, only to discover there’s an ache inside that neither trophies nor toys can touch.
After I’d finished trying to explain this, my friend said I might enjoy Russell Brand’s Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions. She said that he and I shared similar perspectives, and that she found solace in his words.
I replied that I’d been impressed with Brand when listening to his podcast once. I’d been on a George Monbiot kick, and had been impressed with both Monbiot and Brand in their shared discussion.
Soon after, I happened across Recovery on a book sale table. I picked up a copy and went to read a few pages at a park before returning home.
I was immediately floored. Brand’s words were companionship spilled onto a page; together, they overflowed with (sometimes-tough) love and encouragement.
Now it’s a few weeks later, and I haven’t finished the book. I haven’t delayed because I don’t love it. I’ve delayed because I haven’t needed to actually open the book to feel encouraged by it. I want to have more of the book still left to discover.
So page here, page there, I read Recovery. Since I picked it up, I’ve read several other books in full.
But, hey. If it takes me a year to finish Recovery, it will have been a year well spent. For once, my goal isn’t to read and absorb everything with haste. It’s simply to read, reflect, and sit with gratitude that the book was ever written, and that I came–thanks to my friend–to own a copy.