Coming Clean (Zondervan 2015)
Spiritual Formation Award of Merit winner in Christianity Today’s 2016 Book Awards!
Amber and I were in the hospital, planning funeral songs for Titus, our youngest son, when I made a conscious decision: that was the last day I would feel. I called my sister, asked her to smuggle in a bottle of gin, and gave in to anesthetizing my pain.
Whether or not you’ve ever had a drop to drink, haven’t you looked for ways to cope with pain? Haven’t you sought balms for the anxiety of what sometimes seems to be an absent, unresponsive God? Haven’t you turned to people-pleasing, shopping, the internet, food, career highs, or even good works and elite theology? Haven’t you attempted to anesthetize your anxiety through addiction—any old addiction? Do you still?
In my debut book Coming Clean: A Story of Faith (Zondervan 2015), I write a raw account of my first 90 days of sobriety, illuminating the ways in which I faced my own pain. It’s a narrative of rediscovery, of finding an abiding God in darker hours of life. It’s a journey through pain, through the passion of Christ, and into wholeness. Would you join me in the Coming Clean?
Praise for Coming Clean
“Just finished one of my favorite reads of 2015: @sethhaines Coming Clean. @sniequist recommended it to me and now I do the same to you!” Bill Hybels, Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church (via Twitter)
“Seth writes with a distinctly Southern sensibility—elegant, evocative, lyrical–and his wisdom and honesty shine through every page, gently illuminating our own fears and secret hearts along the way.” ~Shauna Niequist, author of Bread & Wine and Savor
“Coming Clean is not simply a book for alcoholics; it’s a book for anyone who has dealt with pain and been left scrabbling after God when their coping mechanisms fail or easy answers run out. This book is a mirror, held up for all of us to behold our addictions and the ways we’re all still recovering. Raw, sobering, miraculously ordinary, hopeful, beautiful, and yet terrifying. Seth is an honest writer, and there is no higher praise.” ~Sarah Bessey, author of Out of Sorts and Jesus Feminist
“Haines tells an engaging story of faith and addiction, of hope and despair, of trust and fear, of joy and pain, of patience and pride. His honesty is refreshing, his faith is challenging, his hope is encouraging, his love is passionate, and his portrait of God’s grace is amazing. This book is worth reading slowly and thoughtfully, allowing the transformative power of God’s grace to change the reader as it is changing the author.” ~Glenn R. Kreider, Professor of Theological Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
“Vivid, uneasy, convicting. Seth Haines has written the best book of the past year. Coming Clean is the work of a true storyteller, a direct, crisp narrative shot through with poetic asides and the turmoil common to us all. At once a celebration of and a eulogy for our humanity, Haines commands language and style so deftly the work reads like the highest literary fiction. Approachable and witty, Coming Clean is a sobering reflection, no matter your addiction.” ~Preston Yancey, Canon Theologian, Anglican Diocese of the Western Gulf Coast
“No one wants to admit they have a problem, but the truth is we all have one. Coming Clean acts as both a mirror and a map. Seth Haines’ beautifully pointed writing and compelling story of sobriety force us to look at the realities of our own pain, but show us the way of healing by directing us to the goodness of God. For the pastor, for the layperson, for the victim of addiction, for the person with air in their lungs, Coming Clean is required reading. I’ve waited my whole life for this book, and I’m giving it to everyone I know.” ~Nish Weiseth, author of Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World