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Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up with a Christian Drunk Hardcover – May 7, 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"In SOBER MERCIES, Heather Kopp's soft wisdom is delivered so skillfully that it continued to settle in days and weeks after I read the last page. Heather's vision of Christianity is vast, inclusive and interesting. Her journey is hilarious and inspiring and her honesty is both surprising and comforting. I plan to keep extra copies of SOBER MERCIES on my bookshelf, ready to give to any friend struggling with faith, recovery, forgiveness, or life. So, I'll give it to everyone, I guess. I love this book. SOBER MERCIES is a gift and Heather Kopp is my favorite kind of person: a student-turned-teacher of life."―Glennon Doyle Melton, founder of Momastery.com, author of Carry On, Warrior

"I loved SOBER MERCIES. Kopp is funny, heartbreaking, compelling, and wise. More than that, this is an important book. Kopp talks frankly about being a Christian and an alcoholic. This book is a must for any church recovery group or anyone facing addiction."―Susan E. Isaacs, actor, author of Angry Conversations with God

"SOBER MERCIES is simply one of the best, most honest, brilliantly written memoirs I've read. Heather Kopp gives such encouragement for when we wonder why faith alone hasn't rescued us from destructive habits. Her story stands as a beacon of hope for all of us in a broken world."―Jud Wilhite, author of Pursued, senior pastor of Central Christian Church

"SOBER MERCIES is a delightful and brave read. Heather Kopp's narrative, full of gut-wrenching detail and heartfelt confession, is beautifully crafted, a story filled with the kind of self-reflection and wisdom reminiscent of Anne Lamott and Mary Karr. And like the works of Lamott and Karr, the true gift of Kopp's tale is that every reader--addict or not--will find its honesty and hope filling."―Matthew Paul Turner, author of Churched and Hear No Evil

"Taut prose, a compelling story, and a beautifully fresh voice kept me turning the pages of SOBER MERCIES. This is not a pretty story. It's not another well-decorated memoir where the author glosses over failure and stress. Heather Kopp's story is raw. Her bravery will give others the permission to grow, change, and heal."―Mary DeMuth, author of Thin Places: A Memoir

"I couldn't put this book down, devouring it in a weekend. Even people who have never struggled with addiction will find themselves in Heather Kopp's memoir of finding God's strength only when she recognized her own powerlessness. As she says, it's about 'how to lean-helplessly, foolishly, hopefully-on a God you can't fully explain. And how to do it, over and over, every day.'"―Jana Riess, author of Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor

"This is not a book for alcoholics, or a book for friends and family of addicts, or a book for counselors, or a book for women; it's a book for everyone. Heather's story--honestly and beautifully told--invites us all to the table, baggage in tow, to confront our shared brokenness, our shared hopes, and our shared need for community, forgiveness, and grace. This book will challenge and change you. It will reintroduce you, with new words and images and stories, to the grace and goodness of God."―Rachel Held Evans, blogger, author of Evolving in Monkey Town and A Year of Biblical Womanhood

"...easy-to-read yet deeply moving narrative ... gripping, heartfelt, and eye-opening, a valuable read."―Publisher's Weekly, starred review

"...a story of confronting the nature of sin and understanding more fully the necessity and beauty of God's grace....SOBER MERCIES reminds us that we are each living our own addiction story. And we can't lose sight of the complete and total dependence on God's sustaining grace that offers any hope of a way out."―Christianity Today, 4-star review

"Kopp shares her victories and setbacks with honesty and bravado, as a friend and confidant for readers who may be grappling with questions and doubts in their own spiritual lives."―Homecoming Magazine

"Heather Kopp's journey from being a young, devout wife to a secretive, Chardonnay-guzzling alcoholic is recounted with astounding honesty. She enters a recovery center in an effort to get sober and begins attending meetings of a program she deliberately chooses not to name. After a relapse and several close calls, she writes this book with several years of sobriety under her belt. A practicing Christian, Kopp tackles head-on the attitude that drinking too much is a sinful compulsion that can be prayed away. Instead, she reiterates that alcoholism is a treatable disease that cannot be cured. Kopp's willingness to reveal her stumbling blocks in her recovery efforts will make this addiction memoir helpful to those struggling with similar diseases, Christian or not."―Library Journal

"Ultimately, a renewed understanding of the gospel helped her [Kopp] change - and that makes the book encouraging for anyone struggling with issues that self-help religion can't fix."―World Magazine

About the Author

Heather Kopp is an author, editor, and blogger. Among her books are a critically acclaimed memoir, I Went to the Animal Fair and The Dieter's Prayer Book. With her husband, David, she wrote Roar! A Christian Family Guide to the Chronicles of Narnia, the Praying the Bible series, and other books. Heather blogs about addiction, grace and recovery at HeatherKopp.com. She and her husband have five grown children, and live in Colorado.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Jericho Books (May 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455527742
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455527748
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #519,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I had no idea of what to expect when my publisher, Jericho Books, sent me Heather Kopp's Sober Mercies, especially when I noted the subtitle- "how love caught up with a Christian drunk".

Trying to be a good team player, I agreed to take a look at Heather's book even though I smugly didn't think it would have many lessons for me. On the surface, it didn't seem to immediately apply to me. In other words, I'm not an alcoholic and I enjoy drinking in moderation.

Well, I was wrong. As we all know, a good story applies to everyone's life, and Sober Mercies is no exception. Heather's story unfolds with such raw honesty that one is hard-pressed to put the book down. In fact, I kept this book on top of all the guitar and drum catalogs stacked on my bathroom shelf. My dreams of vintage Stratocasters were left in limbo while I was captivated by this real life story.

The author doesn't spare herself as she reveals her cringe-worthy episodes, rife with shame and guilt. Driving her kids to school while drunk, hiding bottles in her bathrobe, and ruination of all manner pave the road to Heather's recovery. The only consolation the reader has is the hope that the book exists because it has a satisfying ending.

The telling of this tale is done with humor and class, and a kind of self-effacement that doesn't become tiresome. In fact, Heather's humor is a clue to the health the she discovers on a harrowing journey.

The peril of reading a book like this one is in thinking about someone you know who should read it. After all, you're not a drunk... Well, hang on for the ride, because you'll find yourself somewhere in these pages.

The nitty gritty of Sober Mercies is the question of how people perceive God, particularly long time believers in God.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read thousands of books over the last 50 years, many of them very good, a few superb. And I have read more intently many in the last two years. I pay particular attention to books now because I have written several reviews, but even more so, because those that I write about affect me personally. But two books stand apart from all the others. Aside from the Bible, these two books have profoundly affected me, and in several different ways.

Emily Cook wrote "Weak and Loved," and I had the privilege of reading a preview copy and writing a review. Her writing was gripping, realistic, and compelling. I read it in one day, literally spending 10 hours reading. As a parent I agonized with her in the long, unknown future of her daughter. I rejoiced with her in the answer to prayers, far beyond the miracle of Aggie, to the miracle of God working in Emily's heart.

And now Heather has written the second stand-out book. Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up with a Christian Drunk The writing is on par with Emily's, the story is just as riveting. But this one is so much closer to home for me. I am still reeling from the emotional impact. I didn't expect this; but it is probably the highest compliment I can pay to Heather. As I read, I marked several places, "this is right on target" --not for her, but me! I began thinking how many quotes are so pertinent to me. Half way through I gave up, because there were too many quotes to remember. But they are too good not to share.

By opening her life to us as she relived the pain, struggle, hurt, anger, and more, she opened my heart for some needed searching and examining in some long forgotten recesses where I still struggle.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I saw Ms. Kopp's website and learned about her book earlier this week. I knew almost immediately that if I read it, it would be the end of my drinking days. I had known that day was coming anyway, but felt strongly this was going to be the proverbial final straw. So I decided to buy it at the end of the week so as to have one farewell get together with my close friend Vino. Imagine my surprise when I found myself buying it on Tuesday, finishing it on Wednesday and telling my husband on Thursday am that I had a drinking problem and was done with it. Telling him was like breaking the chains that had curled around my soul. It's over and Vino and I never did have that final get together. If you think you have a problem with alcohol, if you know you have a problem with alcohol, if you know someone who has a problem with alcohol, then buy and read this book. It is amazing. Enough said.
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Format: Hardcover
Sober Mercies

How Love Caught up with a Christian Drunk

In her spirited memoir, Sober Mercies, Heather Kopp describes her dependence on alcohol, along with the convoluted thinking and crazy-making behavior that accompanies most addiction. In a frank, open manner, Heather relentlessly takes her readers to some of her darkest places and deepest realizations. She never once lets up on the honesty and clarity of her message.

Shedding all religiosity, Heather speaks candidly of the miracle that never came; the miracle that, somehow, if she prayed and repented, would surely free her from the bondage of alcohol. The miracle that does come, however, is the realization that she needs help. It's a miracle Heather doesn't want.

How do you live with the idea of losing something you can't imagine living without?

Heather's greatest fear is recovery. Ultimately, she shows us that recovery is a place where the things we hope, as well as the things we dread, really do come true. And that mercy, when it comes to us, is indeed sobering.

As a reader, I wanted the book to grab my attention and help me to understand more about addiction. As a human being, I wanted a good story. As a Christian, I wanted the story to help me to see and to love differently. Sober Mercies is all of these.

On the journey toward recovery, it finally dawns on Heather that not only was alcohol at the center of her life. Alcohol was her life.

How do you start over and create a whole new life for yourself?

Heather's first attempts lead eventually to relapse; a relapse that somehow sends both Heather and her husband Dave deeper into their marriage and deeper into God's grace.
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