The addiction epidemic is traumatizing our families, communities, and places of worship.
In the last year alone, there has been a record of overdose fatalities and a rise in substance use, especially for women. Tragically, many are living in the darkness of shame often created by the consequences of addiction like sexual violence and even death.
In Downstairs Church: Finding Faith in the Grit of Addiction and Trauma Recovery, Caroline Beidler, MSW explores the problem of addiction and trauma for women today and then highlights the freedom—and hope—that can be found in the downstairs church or recovery community. Beidler also highlights the radical vulnerability required of addiction and mental health recovery, something that all people can benefit from. When we share our stories of struggle in real ways, authentic transformation can happen.
With compassion because of her own personal experience of addiction and sexual violence, as well as insight because of her professional expertise, Beidler blends relevant statistics and practical information with real-life testimonies of redemption.
Beidler also provides a practical list of ways that faith communities can become more trauma-informed spaces for those who may be seeking love and acceptance inside church buildings. Ultimately, Downstairs Church offers a portrait of radical grace and a God whose love persists even in church basements.
"I struggle to find adequate words to capture all Caroline shares in this treasure of a book. If you're caught on the barbed wire of addiction, sliced open by the unavoidable pain that penetrates every person's life or stuck in the doldrums of seemingly no way out, turn the next page. You will feel seen and heard and known by Caroline, and then perhaps surprisingly, by God." - Elisa Morgan, named by Christianity Today as one of the top 50 women influencing today's church and culture and author of 25 books on mothering, spiritual formation and evangelism. Her latest works include When We Pray Like Jesus, Hello, Beauty Full, The Beauty of Broken.
"The moment I began reading Downstairs Church, I couldn't put it down. Caroline's writing is relatable, honest, relevant and encouraging-even necessary. I can't wait to see how it heals addicts and self-righteous alike." - Manda Carpenter, Author of Soul Care to Save Your Life
"As Frederick Buchner wrote 'You can't help thinking that something like this is what the Church is meant to be and maybe once was before it got to be Big Business.' Caroline Beidler's book illustrates the value of vulnerability and group support through trying times, and how all Christians can benefit from this learning."- Brian Allain, founder of Writing For Your Life, Publishing in Color, How to Heal Our Divides, and Compassionate Christianity
Caroline Beidler has written an inspirational book that is everything recovery meetings are: raw, beautiful and real. She creates a relationship with her readers that is everything she wishes all life could be: honest, loving and connected. Downstairs Church is a must-read for anyone in recovery, and those who love them, as well as people of faith seeking to create true caring communities. -Kathy Izard, author The Hundred Story Home and The Last Ordinary Hour
For those who have stood helpless in the face of substance use, for those who have experienced the trauma of sexual violence, this powerful story of redemption is both heart-breaking and hope-filled. Beidler writes in a vulnerable, conversational style, with good humor thrown in. She includes a practical list of ways the faith communities and churches can encourage people dealing with substance use and trauma.
You will appreciate Beidler's extreme honesty as she openheartedly tells her story and eventually finds her way from the downstairs church-the addiction recovery community with its "cheap coffee in Styrofoam cups"-to the upstairs church with its pews and stained glass. She writes, "Maybe I did belong after all. Maybe what I found in the downstairs church of the recovery community, this vulnerable and real and miraculous healing, could be found upstairs, too." - Marlys Johnson, Speaker and award-winning writer (Cascade Awards)
"If you're looking for a dose of hope, you've found it with Downstairs Church. Caroline Beidler's debut into the literary world is as much of a memoir as it's a guide for healing and grace." - Ryan Hampton, bestselling author of American Fix and Unsettled, advocate, and person in recovery.
"In The Downstairs Church, Caroline Beidler has pulled off something beautiful. With wit, humor, and genuine vulnerability, she reminds us that recovery communities-those basement gatherings famous for bad coffee-are among the most sacred spaces on earth, because God does miracles there. I believe that many who desperately need a new start or healing for past wounds will find hope and inspiration in these pages. Her book proves what I have long believed-that people bond more deeply over shared brokenness than they do over shared beliefs. " - Heather Kopp, author of Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up with a Christian Drunk and the novel, My Name is Venus Black