My Story from the Downstairs Church with Caroline Beidler
Caroline Beidler, MSW, came charging into our world at Grit and Grace Life with a laser-focused sense of direction. Her life has been reclaimed, and she knows it. Her sense of purpose has been clear from the moment she entered our door—no one here had to convince her of it or help her discover it. We simply wanted to help provide a platform to share it, because we believe in her, and we believe in her desire to help others.
We’ve enjoyed her talent as a writer, we’ve become acquainted with her heart, and it’s all so vulnerably lovely. So, what greater privilege could we have than the opportunity to share the grand news that she’s written a book? (We always knew she could do it.) And wait—there’s more—we have the honor of including a free downloadable chapter of her new book here: https://www.carolinebeidler.com/freechapter.
But first, here’s a Q&A with Caroline so that you can get to know her a bit better.
The Downstairs Church Interview
Q: Caroline, what is the name of your book?
A: Downstairs Church: Finding Hope in the Grit of Addiction and Trauma Recovery. Of course, I had to include the word “grit” in the title somewhere and you’ll find the theme of “grace” woven throughout.
Q: Why did you decide to write this book?
A: My own experience of finding and maintaining sobriety (it is a process), has led me to discover some amazing truths about recovery. One of them being: the journey propels me outside of myself and my comfort zone to share this recovery life with others. In other words, I had to write this book.
Q: Can you try to describe what it’s like to be involved in the recovery community?
A: The recovery community, for me, is a family. A large, funky, and dysfunctional one, to be sure, but a family that holds up a loving mirror that says “you are welcome here.” The recovery community, for me, has been an agent of healing. I first learned to be myself here. I first learned to have a voice here. I first learned that I am loved here. In the recovery community, I met and learned more about God, too. It wasn’t in a church sanctuary. It was in a church basement that I met Jesus.
Q: What is it about the people you encounter in recovery that make you feel welcome?
A: In most recovery spaces I’ve found a level of honesty and truth that is hard to find anywhere else. There are no masks that say “everything is fine.” The social hierarchy is non-existent. It doesn’t matter if you live in a Southern mansion and your daddy’s a millionaire or you’ve come into the rooms from the biting cold of the cardboard-lined streets.
Philip Yancey, best-selling author of Where the Light Fell: A Memoir says: “From the downstairs church I learned radical honesty and radical dependence. We can’t make it on our own.” I’ve learned this—am learning this—too.
Q: What is that like—for people to be fully transparent and open themselves up to one another?
A: It’s tough. But it’s real. Something gritty and beautiful happens in recovery places. Perhaps you’ve experienced it, too. Perhaps you, like countless of us, are searching for a better way. A new way. A life of healing and purpose and meaning. God tells us that when we are real with each other, when we share and confess our sins with one another, we will be healed. This happens so beautifully in any recovery space I’ve ever visited.
When a group of people sit in a circle (either in-person or virtually) and share the deepest parts of themselves without reservation, hearts are changed. Those of us who have been broken down by the struggle of addiction are able to come from a place of surrender. This is one of the miraculous and upside-down gifts of grace.
Q: If someone were to pick up Downstairs Church: Finding Faith in the Grit of Addiction Recovery, what can they expect from it?
A: In the book, I explore addiction, mental health, and trauma recovery and then highlight the freedom, faith, and hope that can be found in the “downstairs church” or recovery community. The radical vulnerability required of addiction and mental health recovery is something that we can all benefit from and I want to share this with anyone who cares about this issue. It doesn’t matter if you are in recovery from addiction or not—everyone can learn something from this book.
Q: Would you be willing to share one of your favorite quotes from the book?
A: “Basement grace is a gift. It is a radical love reserved for the rag-tag, the outcast, the lost. What if we could share this gift on Sundays, on all days, without question, expectation or limitation? What if we could bring what we learn in the basement upstairs into the light?”
So, there you have it. This refreshing, hopeful new read is out there waiting for you, and you can download the first chapter, here, for free! We trust you’ll enjoy it, gain wisdom, and become inspired on your own journey. And of course, congratulations, Caroline!
LINK TO DOWNLOAD FIRST CHAPTER: https://www.carolinebeidler.com/freechapter