Keep Those Sober Boots Walkin’: A Book Review

Sober Mercies

I have one word (okay, two words) to describe Heather Kopp’s new book Sober Mercies : spot on! She gives an intimate and real look into the world of a woman who discovers she has become something she never thought possible – an alcoholic. She begs the question, how could a nice, educated, Christian woman like herself end up in the depths of alcoholism, hiding mini wine bottles in her boots in her closet? And, while her story at times might seem unbelievable or outlandish to “normal” folks, anyone who has been there will nod their head and say, “I get it! I’ve done that too!”

Like when she says, “I understood passing out, because I did it nightly. It was the reason I usually got in my jammies and went to bed earlier than Dave. I didn’t want him to find me clothed, unconscious, and somewhere other than bed, making it obvious I hadn’t intentionally fallen asleep.” Yep, been there, done that. Or, when she describes getting honest with her husband about her drinking. “An idea that filled me with terror. Not because I was afraid of Dave’s reaction, but because I knew that once he knew the truth, it was all over. One way or another, I was going to lose something I couldn’t imagine living without.” For most people it would be a simple decision, give up alcohol to save your marriage and family. But for an alcoholic, it’s one of the hardest decisions we’ll ever be faced with because at that moment in time the thought of living without alcohol is nearly unbearable.

Heather gives a telling, yet often humorous portrayal of early recovery like when she describes flipping through a Pottery Barn catalog and noticing all the wine glasses filled with “what looked like a smooth, buttery Chardonnay” and wondering who got to drink it after the photo shoot. Oh, how I could relate! Once sober, I had to cancel my subscription to Sunset magazine because I couldn’t handle all the wine and cocktail recipes. And, I still find it troubling to flip through Pottery Barn catalogs because of all the drinking! Crazy? Maybe. True? You bet!

There are parts of Heather’s book that will make you laugh out loud and others which will show you the sadness and depth of a person trying to dig themselves out of that black hole we call alcoholism. Newly sober, she says, “It hit me then for the first time that while drinking had helped me to escape many negative aspects of reality, I’d missed so many of the good parts, too.” Reading this, I was reminded of the Easter years ago when I got so drunk the night before that I passed out and was unable to put the kids’ Easter baskets together, leaving my husband responsible for figuring out what belonged to who and putting their baskets together. It’s painful to remember those times, but it’s necessary because it’s part of my story.

As a self- described “Christian drunk,” Heather knows what is required of her to stay sober. “What I needed was humility and willingness both – and not just on big occasions, but every day. Through an ongoing posture of surrender, I would be giving God access to my deepest soul while offering as little resistance as possible to His work.”

And, that’s how we do it folks! Well, at least that’s how Heather and I do it!

Heather and her publisher have been kind enough to offer a giveaway of her book to one of my lucky readers – that sounds so game showy, doesn’t it?! So, this is how we’ll do it. You have ’till Friday 9/2 at 5:00 pm PST to post your comment. I’ll then number all the comments, put them in a bowl and have my hubby draw one. I’ll then contact the lucky reader with details.

Happy commenting!

36 responses

  1. It sounds like an amazing book – one that I have to buy! I found myself saying “yes, that happened to me” especially the Easter story – down to the detail of my husband trying to figure it out!

    • It’s a great book! It’s amazing how much we can all relate to each other’s stories. My husband and I can laugh about it now, but at the time it was horrible and so embarrassing. So grateful that’s behind us now!

  2. Chenoa, you write so very well and what an excellent book review! So happy you’re in this healthy, strong space to help so many others. It’s an inspiration to us all because each one of us have our own personal challenges and can relate on one level or another to these life lessons.

  3. Hi, new here – recently started the 100 day challenge. I’m on day 7. The mention of photo’s of wine in magazines and catalogs struck a chord with me too! Similarly, I had to completely stop watching the Today Show, specifically the Kathy Lee and Hoda hour due to the emphasis they place on drinking…in the morning. Thanks for sharing this review, it sounds like a story I can relate to.

    • The last time I accidentally caught a quick minute of Kathy lee and Hoda they segued straight from an interview about addiction and substance abuse to a segment about making the best sangria. I was amazed and so disappointed.

      • Yeah, I’m always disappointed in that show. It’s no wonder drinking among women has continued to go up when you have shows like that promoting daily drinking. Very frustrating!

    • Congrats on your seven days – hopefully more by now! You’re in the right place. The sober blogging community is a wonderful place to share your story, experience, hope, frustration – whatever is on your mind! Oh, and don’t even get me started on Kathy Lee and Hoda! I’m disgusted by their focus on alcohol and promoting daily drinking amongst women – ugh! Anyway, thanks so much for your comments! Look forward to “seeing” more of you around here!

  4. I loved this book and I love Heather’s blog. I read a lot of recovery memoirs because they remind me of where I have been, and they give me hope that lofe can be different than it was. Thanks for this post. 🙂
    ~Jami

    • Thanks, Jami! I so agree. I continue to seek out books/memoirs on drinking and recovery. More than anything, they remind me that I’m not alone on this journey. Thanks for stopping by! Love reading your blog!

  5. Uh oh…when you find yourself nodding and smiling because so much of what you read is relating probably means the drink is taking over in life. This book sounds like it might be the catalyst to drag me (kicking and screaming) over to recovery. ❤

    • Before I stopped drinking, I read “Lit” by Mary Karr and related so much to her story. At that point, I knew I had a problem but wasn’t ready to admit it to anyone else. I continue to read books/memoirs about drinking because they give me something to relate to and remind me I’m not alone on this journey. Heather’s book is wonderful – a must read. I hope you enjoy it! And, when you’re ready to get help, we’re always here for you!

  6. Yes! That is me too…. I am new to sobriety (71 days) and to the world of blogging. Finding it to be such good therapy reading about other moms like me. I was filled with shame with my own stories of passing out before playing Santa Claus and leaving my husband to figure it out. Thanks for the book review and also the honesty of your own story. It helps me more than you know.
    Peace
    Kristin

    • Thanks, Kristin! Welcome and congrats on 71 days! That’s awesome! Blogging has been a wonderful outlet for me to keep myself accountable and to also support others. I’m a little biased, but I think we’re a pretty awesome group of people! I look forward to checking out your blog! Thanks for stopping by and don’t hesitate to contact me!

    • Hi Chenoa, this book looks fantastic as does your blog. I too write and blog about addiction. I’m also recovering from the disease of addiction and work in the field. My child’s book, Gracie’s Secret, was written from the view point of a little girl growing up in an alcoholic home. It was also illustrated by a child. I have made it a FREE download on my blog http://www.jaggedlittleedges.com If you know anyone who might benifit from it please feel free to share it. Our kids really are the ones who pay the price in all of this. I know mine did. I’m also looking for reviews of my book Jagged Little Edges. This one is not for kids, but follows a ten year journey through the depths of addiction as the main character gets progressively sickier and eventually finds her way back.

      So glad I found your site. I will add you to my author page as another resourse for those involved in addiction.
      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lorelie-Rozzano/506483446066023

      All the best! Lorelie Rozzano.

  7. Very nicely written review. I’ll be looking out for this one. I think you might enjoy reading a recently published autobiograohy from Kieran Doherty, titled ‘Back From The Abyss – The Autobiography Of A Low-Bottom Alky’. http://capandbellspress.com/2013/05/back-from-the-abyss/
    Kieran Doherty passed away in 2010 but his life was a truly wild ride, sadly cursed with desperate alcohol addiction. His autobiograohy is really well written and it gives you a clear sense of what it really means to be addicted and the damage it can cause to not only yourself but everyone around you. The book follows him through unbelievable times in the military, a squandered career in the theater and time in prison. Really fascinating reading. Thanks again for the review and I look forward to reading it and posting back.

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