Monday, February 20, 2012

Ready for Lent - Parched, by Heather King


"My own life was a mystery to me"
                                               Heather King, Parched

I have spent time in recent weeks reflecting on Heather Kings’s 2005 memoir Parched.  I’m gearing up for Lent and giving up alcohol is on my short list of Lenten observances this year.
The book chronicles Ms King’s life as a drunk and her eventual recovery.  The stories in her book provide plenty of reasons to lay the bottle down for six weeks and remind me that there is a price to be paid even for casual drinking. 
Letting go of the habit for forty days will help me re-assess the role drinking plays in my life and the extent to which it may interfere with my relationships with others and with God. 
But Parched is a great Lenten reflection not because it is about giving up drinking, it’s really about giving up everything. 
From her first beer in ninth grade and over the following twenty years her whole life centered around alcohol. As she describes it...
 "A normal person would regard the next two decades of my life, scratch his or her head and say, “Why’d you do that? Why didn’t you just stop?” But already I couldn’t have stopped. I didn’t know that by taking that first drink I had surrendered my free will: the thing that distinguishes me from an animal”
For Heather King, to stop drinking was not a matter of giving up one thing, it required giving up the entire life she had cultivated over the previous two decades. It also required the grace of God.
Toward the end of the book, King recounts how she was set up by her family. She was picked up at her apartment in Boston by her younger brother under the pretense they were going to a family gathering to celebrate her father’s birthday. She arrives to find her family sitting in a circle with an intervention counselor, a pitcher of lemonade, a litany of examples of how her drinking had hurt them and a plane ticket.
A few days later her family put her on a plane to Minnesota where they had booked her for a thirty day stay in a treatment facility. Her life, such as it had been,was now over.
A cynic might say that she did not recover through the grace of God, but through the intervention of her family. If a loving family isn’t a grace from God, what is? 

And what is a Lenten sacrifice if not an invitation to grace?

While we're on the subject of drinking, Merle Haggard, John Lee Hooker, The Louvin Brothers, George Jones and others are featured on my short Spotify playlist,
Songs by for and About Drunks.  


  1. Grеetings! This iѕ my 1st comment heгe ѕo I just ωanted to gіve
    a quick ѕhοut οut anԁ tеll you I genuіnely enjoy reading through your blog pоsts.
    Ϲan уou гeсοmmenԁ аny other blogs/websіtes/forums that
    cover thе samе subjects? Τhank you!
    My blog instant payday loans

  2. Ріece оf writing ωriting is also a fun, if yоu
    know then yοu can writе or еlѕе it is complicated
    to wrіtе.
    Here is my web site Personal Loan

  3. I've been browsing online greater than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is lovely price enough for me. Personally, if all webmasters and bloggers made excellent content material as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before.

    My web-site :: Eternity rings

  4. I tгuly love уour websіte.. Gгeat colors & themе.
    Dіd you make this site yourself? Please гeply bасk аs I'm trying to create my very own site and want to learn where you got this from or just what the theme is called. Cheers!

    Also visit my web page: keyword
    My site > keyword

  5. I liκe thе helpful info you provide in your artiсles.
    Ι will bookmark youг blog and cheсk again herе regulaгly.
    I'm quite certain I'll lеarn mаny nеω stuff right
    hеre! Best of luсk for the next!

    Hеre is mу site - one month loan

  6. I have гead so many posts about the blogger lovеrs hоwеver this article is truly a fastidious pіece of
    writing, keеp it up.

    Stop by my web blog; payday loans

  7. That is a verу goοd tіρ pаrtiсularly tо thosе neω tο
    the blοgosρhеге. Ѕhort but verу precisе information… Thanks fοr sharing this one.

    A must гead post!

    Here is my ωeb blog :: payday loans

  8. Magnifіcent items from yоu, man. I've understand your stuff previous to and you are simply extremely great. I actually like what you'vе obtаined
    herе, reallу liκe what you're stating and the way through which you say it. You're making іt еnteгtаіning аnd you ѕtіll care for to kеep it sensible.
    Ι can nοt wait to learn muсh more fгom you.
    Thiѕ is really a greаt web ѕіte.

    My blog pοst - Payday Loans

  9. I am regular visitоr, how are you еvеrybody?
    Thіs аrtiсle postеd at thiѕ web ѕite is
    aсtuаlly fastiԁiоus.

    Hеre is mу weblog Payday Loans

  10. ӏ always useԁ to rеad article
    in news papers but now аs I am a useг of net so from now
    I аm using net for аrticleѕ, thanks to web.

    Hегe is my homеpagе :
    : New Bingo Sites