Because of the addictive-type issues I have observed in my personality, I often say I am an alcoholic waiting to bloom. Basically, I believe that – if I would start drinking alcohol – I would be an alcoholic.
So I do not drink alcohol. Ever.
But that is not to say that I do not struggle with addictive behaviors or have habits that are hard to break. And it is not to say that I do not see how addictions and their consequences have created havoc in the lives of friends and family whom I love.
For all of those reasons, a little over a year ago, I was drawn (via Facebook share, of course) to the title of a blog post on a site titled “Sober Boots” where Heather Kopp writes a few times a week about the intersection of addiction and grace. The title comes from the fact that, until she began her recovery path is 2007, Heather used to hide alcohol all over the house – including in her boots.
And her blog speaks to me. I cannot wait for her postings to arrive in my email inbox.
A few weeks ago, her book Sober Mercies arrived on my steps (after I had offered to read it, review it, and post about it here), and I read the book all in one evening because I knew I would not sleep without finishing it. The thing that I love the most about this book is that it is not just for those in recovery, those who want to be in recovery (or don’t but know they should be), or those who love someone who struggles with addictions.
It is a beautiful story about how we are helpless to change our paths of destructive choices without realizing that we are just that – helpless. It reveals that we must surrender every moment of our lives to the love that God has for us. Anyone of us could find something to learn from this book as we deal with our own lives or as we deal with others in our lives.
There were times that I felt Heather was inside my own head, and that is a pretty scary feeling when I read a book. There are some things that I would prefer never leave my brain – and there they were in print as I read Heather’s story!
The most important part of Heather’s story for me is the way in which she unwraps addiction and her faith. So often, as Christians, we think we are immune from various issues, but many of our struggles come from biological – often hereditary even – tendencies that need a faith foundation for recovery. We need to be willing to stand up and say, “I struggle with this, and I need help.”
There are plenty of serious moments in Sober Mercies. But just as things start getting to the point where my heart might break from feeling with Heather as she shares her story – Heather drops in some hilarious lines.
In relation to her debate about how long she would have to go without drinking, she writes, “No one cares if a ninety-year-old drinks, do they?” (pg 69).
And then a few pages later, Heather describes finding “sober” activities to do together. She and her husband started biking – something they had not considered doing when she was drinking. She writes, “Although, now that I think about it, I could have put alcohol in one of those camel-style backpacks that you drink from through a tube….(pg 73).”
This mixture of serious, funny, truth, and reflection sealed the deal for me on the book’s worth. As Heather has shared on her blog (and in the book itself) about how hard it was to write this book, about how much she questioned if she should write it, and about how she feared that no one would read it, I kept thinking that it seems like a necessary book.
Now that I have read it, I highly recommend it to others.
Sober Mercies will take you into the world of addiction, but it may surprise you when – even if you are do not struggle with addiction – you find yourself in it as it teaches you about grace, God’s love, and forgiveness.
Thank you, Heather, for writing this book, for sharing so honestly, and for dedicating your redeemed path to helping others find their redeemed paths.
To order Sober Mercies, CLICK HERE.