Spiritual Sobriety: Stumbling Back to Faith When Good Religion Goes Bad (Girl at the End of the World #2) by Elizabeth Esther (Goodreads Author)
It’s easy to get high on God in America. But is this good religion? In a compelling follow-up to her memoir, Girl at the End of the World, Elizabeth Esther explores how religious fervor can become religious addiction. The evidence is everywhere. In families who inexplicably choose to harm their children in order to abide by cultic church doctrine. But in ordinary believers too who use God the same way addicts use drugs or alcohol—to numb pain, alter their mood, or simply to escape the realities of this messy, unpredictable thing called life. If you’ve ever wondered how a religion that preaches freedom and love can produce judgmental and unkind followers; if you’ve ever felt captive to the demanding God of your own childhood; if you’ve struggled to find contentment without needing another emotional hit from a “life-changing” conference or “mountain-top” experience, then Spiritual Sobriety is for you. The author, who grew up in a hyper-controlling church cult, will help you find hope and rebirth in the ruins of disillusioned faith. Filled with stories and warm, practical advice, Spiritual Sobriety offers a gentle path out of the desperate cycles of craving-euphoria-hangover and into a freer, clean-and-sober faith practice.
The best part of this book was it was written by someone going through and laying claim to all her negative thoughts and life patterns and giving her own advice she had taken after seeking help. I've read many books that are from the perspective of the psychologist or therapist, but none so far that have included this many "I's". "I' relapsed, "I' thought this way, and "I' made the decision to live this way and this is why.
It was very humble and sobering to read. It doesn't matter if you have been through all or none of what she is discussing because it's still encouraging and might even provide you with proactive support to know how not to take heart and interpret things.
I shared many of the same thoughts and it was a relief to know I was not alone. I grew up wanting to be saved daily because of the outpouring of praise and congratulations you received and euphoric feeling it gave. I also was taught to not ask questions and how dare you care about your own well being. I thought my salvation story didn't matter because it was not dramatic since I grew up in church and it was more so expected, so my testimony must be useless. I looked up to a pastor as my leader and almost forgot about God in the process, idolizing him as a role model, then when he committed adultery I stopped going to church for a decade.
This book clears a cloud of confusion and comforts in a way I didn't know I needed. It brings some sanity and hope back into my religious journey. It contains interactive prayers, questions, and verses that touch on each subject she brings up and they act as a good refresher if you are feeling weak and need some extra encouragement. I will definitely be keeping this book on hand to reference back to.
“Shame Brain happens when we see our mistakes as our identity. It’s the difference between “I made an error” and “I am an error.” Shame Brain can also take root when we allow others to blame us for things that are not our responsibility—”
“We were taught to share at the expense of our own well-being. We came to associate self-care and self-love with selfishness.”