It’s been such a long time since I’ve written. Life certainly has a way of getting big, and mine did … in spades! Work, having family visit, us visiting family, and finishing my preparation for a writer’s conference this month have all been pulling at my time. But I have a good friend, you see … and this friend wrote this incredible book … and I had to stop my life’s tempo to share it with you.
Sober Mercies: How Love Caught up with a Christian Drunk (Jericho Books) is more than a book about the need for recovery. It’s a story about what happens after someone addicted to alcohol lives with recovery. And it’s about how someone who has a relationship with Christ can suffer from addiction.
Heather recounts a conversation with a newbie (a new attendee of a 12-step meeting) in her book (pp. 199):
“I’m a Christian actually,” she said. “I don’t know how I ended up with this problem. I know God. But for some reason that hasn’t kept me from getting addicted to food and alcohol. I can’t believe I’m here.”
My heart went out to her. And I wondered for the umpteenth time if we Christians don’t make the most miserable addicts. Since we tend to think of addiction strictly as a moral failing, most of us try to pull ourselves up by her spiritual bootstraps. We pray harder, repent more fervently, and fight temptation until we’re blue in the face.
When our best efforts proved futile, we feel even more guilty and ashamed. And confused. Don’t we love God enough to quit? Doesn’t God love us enough to deliver us?
Meanwhile, to even admit that we have become addicted feels like a trail of Christ’s work on the cross.
Dealing with addiction as a Christian can destroy not only the person affected, but other aspects of their lives as well. Heather’s honest account of coming clean with the lies and deceit that held her captive for years—all the while working as a Christian writer—is enough to make Sober Mercies a worthwhile read.
But there’s more!
Sober Mercies is also an incredible love story. It’s a story about Heather’s love for her God as well as her Chardonnay. And it’s the strength that she pulls from her love for her husband, Dave, that gives her the courage to dip her toe into the pool of transparency and try to put order to the chaos surrounding her life.
As Heather takes us on her journey out of that chaos, we meet several people who impact her life along the way. We meet Susan, a recovering alcoholic, who shows her that a happy life without drinking is possible. There’s Nicole, a friend from rehab, who for a time is the only person she can talk openly with. Then there’s Kate, her sponsor, who guides her though the minefields of step work. And we see the love Heather has for her children. Even though her damaged life influenced her boys, Noah and Nathan, her example of giving up the need to control lights the way to sobriety.
But most of all, Heather shows the relationship she has with God. Not the condemning or shaming God that has sometimes been associated with drinking to access, but Jehovah Rafah, the God who heals. You will read of one account after another how God offers hope to her along her journey.
Sober Mercies is not just for struggling Christian addicts, it’s for anyone who dares to seek an honest relationship with God. It’s for anyone who loves an addict—recovering or practicing—and wants to understand what types of demons they have lived with. It’s for church leaders who know that recovery isn’t experienced within a cookie-cutter format of healing.
Addiction isn’t just sin. Addiction isn’t just a physical condition. It’s both, and Sober Mercies shares that like no other book I’ve ever read.
Get yourself a copy of Sober Mercies, your life will be enriched by reading it.