I recently finished a book called “Coming Clean” by Seth Haines. I won’t say that it was an entertaining book because it was the 90 day journal of an alcoholic moving towards sobriety. Not exactly light stuff, but the writer has a way of drawing you in to his story and rooting for him to succeed, and searching yourself for your own area of addiction. Haines invites you to sit with him in the cave of his soul and do the hard work of sifting through the reasons for abusing alcohol/food/money/time/loved ones by numbing oneself. He often poses the question to the reader that he is answering for himself, so it comes off as transparent and genuine and doesn’t feel like a self-help book. Because it’s not meant to be. I whole-heartedly recommend this book because we all have areas that need work and because we love folks who struggle with addiction. There is a beautiful section on forgiveness that is so important for all of us to accept and to give to others.
I read “Coming Clean” during the week of Easter, and it felt like the right place to be. For years I have felt it important to be able to explain myself; to justify my actions and to be ready to give the reason for the choices I have made. Feeling misunderstood is something that makes me a little crazy, I want people to know my motivations and realize my intentions and can come off as very defensive in the explaining. On Easter morning I was reminded of the fact that Jesus never took a defensive stance, all the way to the cross. He was questioned repeatedly and answered with kindness, knowing the people would not understand.
Jesus never showed a need to justify himself, he allowed his actions to do the talking. So these days I am sitting in my cave, sifting through my reasons for needing to feel understood. Justified. Maybe I just need to let my actions speak for themselves, and not worry so much about the translation.
I will check out this memoir that you are describing here. I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, 11 years clean at the beginning of this year. Before I ever had alcohol and drug addiction I had anorexia at the age of 7, then bulimia, self-harm, OCD and clinical depression. My life has been blighted by mental health problems. But since I started writing my blog on WordPress in the middle of last year I now think that all the terrible things that have happened to me that caused the addictions and mental health problems were meant to happen to give me material to write about. God or someone gave me a gift of comic writing so I am able to transmute all that suffering into something that makes people laugh, obviously in a rather dark way. If I couldn’t write I might be tempted to feel sorry for myself. But I have been given the talent to write and it gives my life meaning.
I struggle with feeling misunderstood as well. It is such a challenge to trust that God’s opinion is the one that really matters, that I shouldn’t be overly concerned with the translation. Sounds like a good read.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!