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Divine Rehab

When Heather Kopp arrived at rehab, she was a 40-something mom of two and a veteran of Christian publishing. She had never been in jail or on the streets, she’d simply let a nightly glass of wine turn into two, which turned into a bottle, which eventually led to additional mini bottles hidden and secretly chugged in the bathroom. Soon enough, every moment of her life revolved around her next chance to sneak away for a drink.

Karen’s story opens a window into the mind of a burgeoning alcoholic. But as she moved through her rehab and recovery phases into her struggle to understand God’s presence amid her alcoholism, she arrives at a universal truth: Substance abuse is a physical manifestation of a spiritual addiction to sin. And everyone, it turns out, is an addict.

But this isn’t a story of how addiction led Karen to God, or how God pulled her out of addiction. Instead, Karen’s story is one of confronting the nature of sin and understanding more fully the necessity and beauty of God’s grace.

Karen now reflects on her sobriety, “(People) think I just resist temptation over and over because I’m a good person or because I have all this willpower. Can you imagine? How do you explain to people that it’s not anything like that?” Recovery is a living example of the miracle of grace. When addiction removes the illusion of self-sufficiency, the addict must reach a point of surrender from which to accept grace without conditions, and to have confidence that God really is in control, no matter what.

Possible Preaching Angle

It’s tempting for the nonalcoholic to hear Karen’s story about alcoholism as a detached observer. We can marvel at the depths from which God can save a person from pursuits that bring only harm, pain, and grief—and thank him that we haven’t fallen as far. But Karen’s story reminds us that we are each living our own addiction story. And we can’t lose sight of the complete and total dependence on God’s sustaining grace that offers any hope of a way out. Whatever your addiction, God’s grace is the only hope for a way out.

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