Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up with a Christian Drunk

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Overview

Where do you turn for hope when you already have the answer—but the answer isn't working?

As a long-time Christian, Heather Kopp never expected to become an out-of-control alcoholic who kept private stashes of booze all over the place—tucked behind books in her study, zipped into a special compartment in her oversized purse, at the back of her closet stuffed inside her boots.

Even as her career and marriage teetered on the brink, Kopp couldn't ...

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Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up with a Christian Drunk

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Overview

Where do you turn for hope when you already have the answer—but the answer isn't working?

As a long-time Christian, Heather Kopp never expected to become an out-of-control alcoholic who kept private stashes of booze all over the place—tucked behind books in her study, zipped into a special compartment in her oversized purse, at the back of her closet stuffed inside her boots.

Even as her career and marriage teetered on the brink, Kopp couldn't get a grip, desperately hiding the true extent of her drinking from the rest of the world—her husband included. During the day she wrote books about God and prayer and family. At night she'd locked herself in her bathroom to guzzle chardonnay.

For her, as for many Christians who struggle with addiction, overwhelming shame and confusion only made things worse. Why wasn't her faith enough to save her? Why didn't repentance, Bible reading and prayer work? Where was God?

Meanwhile, as she watched in horror, her grown son descended into his own nightmare of drugs and alcohol. She feared for his life, yet she couldn't stop drinking long enough to help him—or find a way out for herself.

Until the day everything changed.

Engaging, funny and bracingly honest, Kopp shares her remarkable journey into darkness...and back to the light again. Her story reveals the unique challenges and spiritual conundrums Christians face when they become ensnared in an addiction, and the redemption that's possible when we finally reach the end of ourselves.

If you love Jesus but shop too much, drink too much, eat too much, crush on men who aren't your husband, or otherwise fixate on doing things you hate but can't stop doing, SOBER MERCIES is for you.

As you follow Kopp's sincere, stumbling journey toward freedom and a deeply satisfying relationship with God, you'll find renewed hope—and practical steps of recovery—for your own journey.

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Editorial Reviews

Glennon Doyle Melton
"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."
Susan E. Isaacs
"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."
Jud Wilhite
"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."
Matthew Paul Turner
"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."
Mary DeMuth
"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."
Jana Riess
"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.'"
Rachel Held Evans
"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."
Christianity Today
"...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."
Homecoming Magazine
"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."
World Magazine
"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."
From the Publisher
"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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781455527748
  • Publisher: FaithWords
  • Publication date: 5/7/2013
  • Pages: 210
  • Sales rank: 932,785
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet 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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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 31, 2013

    Worth Reading!!

    Once upon a time, I assumed my Christian faith would make me immune to the kind of gross moral lapse I considered alcoholism to be. The way I saw it, if you were a sincere believer, you would rarely, if ever, drink. And if you did drink, you would be careful not to drink too much. And if you never drank too much, you couldn’t become an alcoholic”. Heather Kopp

    So begins Chapter Two of Heather’s book “Sober Mercies”, a book I couldn’t put down and read in a little over a weekend.

    I was fascinated by Heather’s story mainly because I personally have the privilege of knowing many members of my local recovery community. I admire those individuals who recognize their drinking has gone awry and make the choice to live sober. Matter of fact, my recovery friends have taught me a great deal about spirituality, faith and living life one day at a time.

    But a Christian drunk exposing all of her deepest fears, shortcomings and basically, dirty laundry? Yes. Heather gets right to the point and shares the secret life she led- hiding bottles, discarding used bottles and the constant maintenance of a consistent level of alcohol in her system. And the insanity that brought her to bended knees, finally causing her to admit she had no control over her insatiable desire for alcohol. And finding out alcoholism is a disease, not a question of self will.

    Because, as Heather explains, it is a disease. She hears this in treatment, thinks it’s an excuse, and the counselor blows her out of the water by explaining that “no one would propose lung cancer, directly caused by cigarettes, or diabetes brought on by obesity, are not legitimate disease, even when they arise from or are triggered by an avoidable indulgence.”

    Heather analyzes her own Christian faith, realizing that she brought “a finely tuned and biblically supported belief system about God” to recovery. But then she realizes just how much her recovery meetings begin to feel like a close encounter with grace.

    The difference? The people in the meetings come in desperation, asking God for help. And they are saved by their surrender and willingness to turn complete control over to the God of their understanding.

    Why read this book? Maybe you are a member of a recovery community yourself, or maybe you know someone who drinks a little too much. Regardless, you will find an education within the pages of “Sober Mercies.” An education not only on alcoholism, the twelve steps, faith and God, but also the enlightenment that comes with going deeper. Heather inspires us not to settle for the comfortable (or uncomfortable) spot in life, but to look beyond and inside ourselves for answers and the real meaning of why we do the things we do.

    I hope you will take the time to read this beautiful book.

    And, of course, here is my disclosure. The book was given to me free of charge and I am not compensated for my review. This is my own opinion of “Sober Mercies” by Heather Kopp.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2013

    All I can say is that this one book is what made me open up enou

    All I can say is that this one book is what made me open up enough to start AA and work to get sober. It is THAT powerful of a read in my eyes.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 20, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Mary DeKok Blowers for Readers' Favorite Sober Merc

    Reviewed by Mary DeKok Blowers for Readers' Favorite

    Sober Mercies, by Heather Kopp, is a frightening look behind the scenes of the social alcoholic. Heather thought for the longest time that she couldn’t be an alcoholic, because she was a Christian, and she couldn’t believe she was like those people who went to meetings. But she carried mini wine bottles in her purse, had a secret stash at home, and blacked out, forgetting whole evenings until her husband told her how unreasonable she’d become. There was almost no situation she could survive without alcohol, and every night she began drinking at 4 or 5 p.m. 

    She was amazed that her husband stood by her as he was frequently embarrassed by and the object of her drunken tirades, not to mention the expense of her addiction. Heather tells how this all affected her relationships with her first family, her children, and her step-children, how it affected holiday traditions, and even kept her from taking trips because she was afraid she’d have trouble getting enough alcohol. Her lies and deception will shock you as you hear the great lengths she went to to hide her drinking from friends, family, even her husband, until she could hide it no longer. 

    Not your typical drunk-turned-sober story, anyone who has ever wondered if they might have a drinking problem should get this audio book, Sober Mercies, by Heather Kopp. I was so embarrassed for her as she outlined her strategies to get and hide alcohol and the intricate lies she told. It was humbling, and yet enlightening, and kept me listening to find out if she, her marriage, and her children, would survive. Would people respect her? Could she ever respect herself? One of the “mercies” of the title is that God still loves us despite our issues, baggage, and sins.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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