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Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up with a Christian Drunk Paperback – May 6, 2014
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"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
"Taught 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
"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
"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
"...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
"...easy-to-read yet deeply moving narrative ... gripping, heartfelt, and eye-opening, a valuable read."―Publisher's Weekly, starred review
"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.
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Very raw and emotional, I am blessed by the authors transparency in her struggle. This book needed to be written.
The author perfectly describes why
"a bunch of addicts and alcoholics manage to succeed at creating the kind of intimate fellowship so many of my Christian groups tried to achieve and failed?
". . . people bond more deeply over shared brokenness they they do over shared beliefs."
She also describes a growing understanding of prayer and God and trust that shone a light into cobwebs that are plugging up my own prayers.
There are many books out there about people who fell into an addiction, spiraled down, hit bottom, and found recovery through a 12-Step Program, faith or both. There aren't too many books about people of faith who fall into addiction, but I believe they are out there in churches everywhere. Heather does a wonderful job of telling her own story: both the journey into addiction, but also the glorious discoveries and transformation found in Recovery. She has wrestled with many of the questions a Christian might have about Recovery, and she offers her thoughtful perspective to the reader who might be wrestling with those same questions. Her book is not preachy, just an honest, engaging story.
Like Heather, I came into the Recovery Movement from a solid Christian background, not knowing what to expect. Unlike Heather, I'm not an alcoholic, but I was married to a Christian who slowly became a prescription drug addict. Unfortunately he has not found Recovery, but mercifully and gratefully, I have. I have found help in the literature and rooms of Al-Anon as surely as a diabetic finds help through a proper diet and insulin, or a cancer patient finds healing through chemotherapy and radiation. God can use a 12-step Program just as well as insulin or chemotherapy to help a person who needs it. I'm glad Heather told her story, because it is an interesting and well-told tale. But I also hope Heather's book reaches a lot of people of faith who still feel lost and alone and just don't know where to turn. I highly recommend it.
I recently became friends with someone who is in AA and have been trying my best to educate myself on the daily struggle that recovering alcoholics go through, most misunderstood by the church that believes if you pray/love God enough then that you should be all you need to quit an addiction.
One of the most moving passages in Kopp's book, at least for me as someone who is not a recovering alcoholic, was when she was at dinner where her other friends as well as her husband were drinking wine and her thought process on imagining herself drinking it as well as her growing anger towards her husband for drinking in front of her, regardless of the fact that she had told him to! Kopp is very honest in her battles to stay sober, strengthening her marriage and the steps she had to work through at AA.
The only thing I wish she had done was detail more on those steps of AA and how she handled each one, however, I realize then the book would more likely be 500+ pages. Maybe a sequel, Heather?
I had a discussion with my friend who is currently 6 months sober and how his thoughts or experiences had aligned or not to Kopp's, it was a great talk and I feel like I am a more supportive friend even if I will never truly be able to understand the struggle for most recovering alcoholics.
I say BRAVO to Kopp in her honesty and strength as not just a writer but as a person as well. I think more churches need to address the idea that prayer is not always the answer (shocker!) and that God gave us intellect, intelligence and logic to go out and join groups like AA in order to be more successful in battling addiction, despite what that addiction may be. All in all, great read and I really hope she does a follow-up book.
The daily struggles stemming from much hurt past and current. I look forward to try to put some of this into place! And to continue with my good heart of wanting to help others! I loved the honesty I had up and down emotions though! I have wanted to write a book for so long. Maybe it's time! Thank you for sharing your story!