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!