The publisher's description of this book says that it was written for everyone, whether or not they've had a drop to drink in their life. I'm on the "have not" side of that scale, and I agree. This was a worth-while read, because it's the story of one human being who decided that he was coming clean. He was going to face his fears, tell the truth, and see what was really driving his choices.
The truth about yourself and where you are with God and others is hard to untangle on the best of days, and when Seth decided to come clean he was in a period of family crisis. He and his wife Amber were watching as one of their babies, Titus, barely clung to life. Seeing a cadre of medical professionals struggle to find the reason for your child's sickness would push anyone to the breaking point and when Seth felt himself getting close to breaking, he chose to become numb. Alcohol was effective for drowning and deadening, so alcohol was what he used.
You might expect this to be a story of alcoholism and addiction, but it's not, not really. The gin was only the method of the madness, and it's the madness that needed to be healed. And Seth had to find the root of the madness, the beginning of the running and hiding and numbing.
It's been said that every problem and question is actually a theological one. In plain speech: every human thing involves God and depends on what he's doing, what you think of him, and how you're relating to him.
So, Coming Clean is Seth's story, with him going back into his memories as far as he can and asking: when did things change? How did a lie, a fear, a doubt, and a system of religion replace the whispers of the God he once felt all around him? It's his meditations on sobriety, on the valley of the shadow, on childhood faith, on the will of God, and on how we can lose and find everything that matters.
Reading this material is ultimately a pleasure, because Seth uses words so very well. So does his wife Amber, if you've never heard of her. She has written a book full of grace and wisdom, titled "Wild in the Hollow" and published by Revell.
If I've piqued your interest, I hope you'll consider reading both books by the Haines.
I thank Zondervan for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest opinion.