Sober Mercies

“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

Sober-Mercies-198x300So 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.

Join me on my graceful journey.

14 Replies to “Sober Mercies”

  1. Sounds interesting! I come from a long line of alcoholics. That addictive gene jumped over me, but landed in my son. I truly believe that addiction is a disease (dis-ease?). People do not CHOOSE to get addicted. They choose to drink or do drugs, but I have never heard anyone say “I am going to drink until I can’t stop” Or “I think I will get addicted to heroin!”. Another good book on addiction and addictive behavior is “Why Don’t They Just Quit?” by Joe Herzanek. I just finished that one and I can tell you that it is very informative. Joe was actively addicted for 15 years to multiple drugs & alcohol. He has been clean and sober for over 30 years now, has become a drug counselor. life coach and much more. He and his wife Judy, who is also in recovery, have dealt with the heart ache of having a child addicted also. The book has insight on both sides of the issue. He makes no excuses and shines a bright light on the issues. I am also reading a book by the late Jeanne Cooper (Katherine Chancellor, of The Young and the Restless), where she talks about her alcoholism and she used the same words I read here about keeping a consistent level of alcohol in her system. Interesting…
    Have a good day Joanne!

    1. Hi Cathy, I like how you used dis-ease. So true.
      I think addiction and alcoholism are so prevalent these days and many are suffering. It is good that books are being written to disclose the true meaning of the disease and that there is truly another way to live.
      Thank you as always, for commenting. I hope all is well with you!

  2. Great review, Joanne. You’re really good at this!

    Anything can become addictive to some degree…even sugar becomes addictive if you eat it all the time. And that’s really true. In many, and probably most cases, also, it is some form of dis-ease, dis-ease within oneself, that causes someone to want to drink, take drugs, smoke, eat sweets. (or even sexual relationships) to a degree of excess, until the amount or what they are consuming isn’t enough to get the feeling they want from it and they have to consume more or something stronger. A constant desire for mind altering substances is mostly manifested because someone is dealing with some sort of stress (from outside or self inflicted) and the comfort of of the substance makes them think they feel better…for the moment, anyway.

    We are such complex physiological beings, with a whole universe of things going on within us, spirit, mind, and body,

    A great topic, and sounds like an interesting book.

    Blessings for stress-free day,

    Marianne xo

    1. Marianne,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You bring up some interesting points as always, and I love that you leave such thought provoking comments!
      Have you ever thought of reviewing books yourself? As a blogger/writer, I think you’d be fantastic at reviewing spiritual books. If you go to Hay House publishers at
      and click on “Join Book Nook”, it is easy to apply. You get to choose the genre and books you want, one at a time and have 30 days to write a review.
      I hope you consider it!!
      Joanne xo

  3. Joanne! I am delighted to be catching up through your wonderful blog this morning and this amazing post is timely for me. I will be getting this previously unknown (to me) book! And your writing is outstanding. I love what her counselor told her. And this is incredible: “An education not only on alcoholism, the twelve steps, faith and God, but also the enlightenment that comes with going deeper.” Going deeper. I am all about that. Thank you so much for sharing about this book! Hugs, Gina

    1. Gina, your blog inspired me this morning and I actually shared it on my Facebook page. It is wonderful to see your beautiful rose on my blog posts and I welcome you with open arms. Thank you so much for your comments and for your own inspiring writing! I look forward to “going deeper” with you…xo Joanne

  4. I’m afraid I disagree with the theory that alcohol is a disease. It starts with a choice. The choice to drink. It is a choice, frequently, to drink more than what would be considered socially acceptable. Many factors are involved in the decision to not only drink, but to get drunk & either get that way frequently or stay that way. I have also heard of people deciding to get “knee walking, commode hugging drunk.” These decisions do not indicate illness but a clear headed forethought to descend to & ultimately stay in a drunken state. You will not see any medical tests to determine alcoholism & I have yet to hear of a doctor who walked into an examining room & announce to his patient, “i’m sorry to tell you that you have alcoholism.” There is a medication which is supposed to keep people from drinking, I can say first hand that the drinking can resume if the person quits taking it. Rather it is a condition of the spirit & can frequently need deliverence.

    1. I used to think the way you do but I do not anymore. I too thought it was a choice to over drink (I had an uncle and grandfather that were afflicted) but I have met many alcoholics who simply could not stop. They would NEVER make the choice to ruin their lives, their families’ lives, etc. for a drink. Instead, their drinking is a compulsion. Many would make promises to themselves they could not keep and this happened over and over again.
      The first of the twelve steps of recovery is stated as such: “Admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable”. The rest of the steps are a willingness to turn life over to “a power greater than myself”. I do believe spiritual salvation can deliver relief.
      I appreciate your comment and encourage you to go to a few “Open Speaker” AA meetings (check the AA website) with an open mind. It’s a transforming experience. I for one feel very close to God when in a room full of recovering alcoholics.
      Blessings, Joanne

  5. Hi – making my way through your posts – for some reason, they don’t appear in my reader. I don’t know why.

    I have to say, I have a very hard time understanding – really understanding – that alcoholism is a disease. I believe that there it begins with choice – but once addiction kicks in (and it does so, slowly, malevolently) choice disappears. Still, at some point, the person had a choice. At some point, the person chose to pick up a glass/can/bottle to staunch her/his pain, rather than go for a run or play the piano or read a book or watch an old film or listen to music or cook something comforting. Ben’s alcohol nurse once told me (long ago now) that some people develop maladaptive behaviours while others don’t. So, whereas I dealt with my depression by exercising or disappearing inside a novel, Ben would hit the drink…. or some other thing which I really don’t have the courage to write about here – and probably never will. I don’t dispute that alcoholism is a disease, only that there is an element of choice somewhere in there which also needs to be recognised. And that, once someone has cleaned up and is no longer physically dependent on alcohol, s/he needs to reach deep inside him/herself to find the strength not to return to that dark place. Ultimately, it is our will that carries us through and into recovery.

    1. This makes ample sense. It will take me many years to understand that alcoholism a disease (intellectually, I know this, but in my heart, I still find it hard to believe, although I am slowly coming to understand it). I absolutely agree that once someone has been through rehab and has been equipped with the tools to face their addiction, then they do have a choice.

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