Book Review - Sober Mercies – A Memoir – How Love Caught Up with a Christian Drunk

Although alcoholism has wrecked cars, marriages, and lives on both branches of our family tree, I’ve never lived with an alcoholic. But my husband was one, before Christ saved him. 

His B.C. (before Christ) stories of fights, foolishness, and near-death experiences, combined with heartbreaking tales of how alcohol destroyed his family, are more than enough to convince me that our family is vulnerable. Your family is, too. 

Addictions wear many faces. And they sneak up on good Christian people, not just college students and homeless men. Such is the memoir Heather Kopp shares in her book, Sober Mercies

Heather is a believer. Heather is happily married. Heather works for a Christian publisher in Colorado Springs. And Heather hits bottom. 

Hopelessly addicted to alcohol, lying to everyone who loves her, and disgusted and disappointed by the realization that her faith alone isn’t enough to free her, Heather takes the first step back. Sober Mercies tells the story of her journey. 

This book isn’t just for addicts, or those who love addicts. It’s for everyone who wants to live moment by moment in God’s strength. Heather talks about finding freedom from bitterness as she describes her relationship with her abusive stepfather. She explores the question of whether addiction is a sin or a sickness and shares how Christians can reconcile their faith with their failures. And she tackles the greatest question of them all, is God powerful enough to answer our prayers and entrust with our futures? 

My greatest take away from this book has nothing whatsoever to do with addiction. It has everything to do with trusting God with my children. As Heather described the fear/faith/fear cycle she was hopelessly trapped in as she prayed her son Noah through his own battle with alcoholism, she wrote words every praying mother can identify with: 

“Later, sitting in my chair at home, it was clear to me that I couldn’t carry this ache. I couldn’t carry Noah. I couldn’t bear the responsibility of praying hard enough to save him, not could I stand the idea of not trying, nor could I escape my anger at the idea that I just needed to twist God’s arm harder to make him care more. 

“I began to cry. I let the horribleness of my terror for Noah wash over me. I sobbed over the precariousness of hope. I wailed about the uncertainty—I was tired of feeling like I was about to watch my child fall from a high ledge while knowing that no matter what happened, I wouldn’t be able to catch him. . . and then things took an unexpected turn. . .” 

Sober Mercies is about addiction. It’s about the sin that so easily entangles us. And it’s about hope and the power of God to triumph in seemingly hopeless situations. 

Who should read Sober Mercies? Anyone who needs hope for whatever is broken in your life. Like Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ arms when he grew weary in the battle, the story of Heather Kopp and Sober Mercies will help hold up your hands until God brings the victory. 

Thanks, Heather, for sharing your story. 

To order Sober Mercies, CLICK HERE. 

Disclosure statement: I received a free copy of Sober Mercies in exchange for my honest review.


  1. Question? What's the perspective on the definition of addiction? Does she see it as a disease? I'm not a fan of some of the people who endorsed the book so I'm trying to figure out the author's worldview.

    Elizabeth@Warrior Wives

    1. Elizabeth,
      Great question. Let me quote from Sober Mercies:
      "These days, instead of viewing addiction as either sin or sickness, I believe it involves both.

      "We are all sinners, of course. When we battle compulsions and obsessions, we make choices that are fair to call sin. That is, we make choices that offend God and hurt others and ourselves.

      "But when these behaviors progress to the point of addiction, things get more complicated. Now we're dealing with a condition that includes very real physical, psychological, and spiritual components. . .

      "I was caught in an endless cycle of trying and failing to conquer my sin. I didn't understand that a sinful compulsion can also be a disease of the body, mind, and spirit. That a spiritual solution that didn't address all these componenets could treat only one aspect of my malady.

      "For me, the idea that my alcoholism is a disease is not a means of escaping responsibility, but an invitation to fully embrace a program of recovery specifically designed to treat it." (pgs. 200-201).

      I hope this answers your question :) Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I have heard so many mixed reviews on this book... I am with Elizabeth, I might need to know more about author...


    1. HI Marissa,

      You might appreciate the excerpt from Sober Mercies I've quoted above. . .Thank so much for visiting HFG today.