Book Review

Sober Mercies

How Love Caught Up with a Christian Drunk

reviewed by Kat Franchino

Hachette/Jericho Books, 2013

Stigma often accompanies addiction. In some religious communities, addiction may be associated with sinfulness, making it difficult for some churchgoing addicts to address their addictions head-on. In Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up With a Christian Drunk, Christian author and recovering alcoholic Heather Kopp writes about her addiction, its effect on her relationship with God, and watching as her son Noah spirals into addiction himself.

For years, Kopp wrote books for Christian audiences and drank from her secret stash of mini wines, arguing with herself that while she did drink heavily, alcoholism didn’t affect good Christians such as herself. “God couldn’t possibly expect me to seek outside help, or to go to those silly meetings,” writes Kopp. “I wasn’t like those people. I was a Christian, after all. I was supposed to have victory in Jesus.”

But soon after a move to Colorado Springs, Kopp watched as both her marriage with alcohol and her marriage with her husband started crumbling. After nightly blackouts, daily fights with her husband that she barely remembered, and concern about the example she was setting for her son, Kopp admitted her addiction to alcohol and sent herself to rehab.

For years Kopp refused to confront her addiction and instead hid behind her Christianity without really reaching out to God for support. “Up until that day when I fell on my knees and sobbed beside my bed, God’s grace had been a nice option, a convenient option, but not my only option.”

Today both Kopp and her son are sober and lend their support to recovering addicts. Sober Mercies is a heartfelt and humorous account of one women’s battle with alcoholism and serves as a reminder to all faith communities that addiction affects both non-Christians and Christians. Yet through community support, faith in oneself, and God’s love, recovery is possible.

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