“For now, though, know this: this is a journaling of my days of coming clean.  It’s not a book as one normally thinks of a book.  Perhaps you’ll find a narrative arc.  Perhaps you won’t  What you’ll find, I hope, is an honest piece of writing that tracks my first ninety days of sobriety, one that deals with pain, with healing, and ultimately, with the mystery able to help us all come clean.”

“Your sin is not the thing. The thing is under the sin.  The thing is the pain.  sin management without redemption of life’s pain is a losing proposition.”

Seth Haines has published an incredibly honest journaling of his first 90 days sober from alcohol addiction.  As I read the ponderings of this man seeking healing and understanding I realized his words from the beginning on coming clean would apply to my own spiritual journey as well.

I was nervous the presentation of this journey would somehow minimize the depth of his addiction, but in reality, the opposite is true.  Seth Haines takes the reader into his darkest memories, deepest wounds and even his counseling sessions.  His honest questions of exploration hit home in my own thoughts.  Why doesn’t God answer our prayers the way we ask?  Why does God say no to very reasonable things?

As Haines explores the challenging faith statements from people in his past, I have to admit I’d found similar statements to be a stumbling block for me.  Whether it was the friend, who promised to heal because Haines is a man of faith or the charismatic preacher who called the Holy Spirit to heal Haines as a child the implication of the connection of healing coming through faith weakens many.

As Haines writes of Coming Clean, his journey revealed the comparisons to anyone losing faith in the struggle are clear. As his counselor said, it’s a wonder he didn’t become an atheist. It’s a wonder we all don’t for that matter.  That wonder comes to the realization that God never leaves us, and his grace is sufficient.



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