Heather Kopp was a self-described “Christian drunk.” She kept secret stashes of booze all over the place–hidden behind books on her shelf, tucked away in a special compartment in her purse, stuffed inside her boots at the back of her closet. Even as her career and marriage teetered on the brink, Kopp couldn’t get a grip, desperately hiding the true extent of her drinking problem. During the day, she wrote books about God and prayer and family; at night she’d locked herself in her bathroom to guzzle chardonnay.
Kopp details her experience–and how she escaped addiction–in her new book, Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up with a Christian Drunk. Here we talk about addictions, recovery, and why her faith was a hinderance to getting help.
JM: Your book is intense–plain and simple. What was it like reliving your experiences while writing it?
HK: Both awful and wonderful, actually. The awful part was seeing my story in black and white and recognizing just how bad it got. I was reminded how much I hurt other people, especially my kids. I’m sure this is one reason it took me more than two years to write the book.
Wierdly, facing the ugly truth was also the wonderful part. It’s hugely important for those of us in recovery to never forget what it was like in the darkest days of our drinking. The longer we’re sober, the greater the likelihood that we’ll forget. And I don’t want to. That’s why recovery meetings are so important.
JM: In Sober Mercies, you imply that your Christian faith was more of a hindrance for you getting help with alcoholism than a help. Explain.