Coming Clean

A Story of Faith

by Seth Haines, Shauna Niequist

On Sale: 2015-10-27

Price: $15.99

Book Summary

Coming Clean is an uncensored personal account in which the author leads us through the process of trading the numbing addictions we choose to cope with life’s anxieties for something far better---the peace of the presence of the abiding Christ.

About the Book

Christianity Today Book Award Winner; ECPA Award Finalist

Boldly honest, powerfully told, deeply moving - this is a story about finding yourself. Seth Haines' memoir holds up a mirror to all of our stories to show the peace that is possible when we release our addictions and receive the healing presence of God.

Seth Haines was in the hospital with his wife, planning funeral songs for their not-yet two-year-old, when he made a very conscious decision: this was the last day he wanted to feel. That evening, he asked his sister to smuggle in a bottle of gin and gave in to addiction.

But whether or not you've ever had a drop to drink in your life, this book is for all who have sought ways to stop their pain. Like Seth, we're all seeking balms for the anxiety of what sometimes seems to be an absent, unresponsive God - whether it's through people-pleasing, social media likes, shopping, the internet, food, career highs, or even good works and elite theology. Too often we attempt to escape our anxiety through addiction - any old addiction. But it often leaves us feeling even more empty than before.

In Coming Clean, Seth Haines writes a raw account of his first 90 days of sobriety, illuminating how to face the pain we'd rather avoid, and even more importantly, how an abiding God meets us in that pain. Seth shows us that true wholeness is found in facing our pain and anxieties with the tenacity and tenderness of Jesus, and only through Christ’s passion can we truly come clean.


Coming Clean is not simply a book for alcoholics; it’s a book for anyone who has dealt with pain and been left scrabbling after God when their coping mechanisms fail or easy answers run out. This book is a mirror, held up for all of us to behold our addictions and the ways we’re all still recovering. Raw, sobering, miraculously ordinary, hopeful, beautiful, and yet terrifying. Seth is an honest writer, and there is no higher praise.

We’ve all got our vices, but without them, how would we cope? Along comes Seth Haines, with a luminous pen, an uncommon authenticity, and a palpable hope for anyone who’s tired of numbing the pain. Read at your own risk. This book might change your life.

Haines tells an engaging story of faith and addiction, of hope and despair, of trust and fear, of joy and pain, of patience and pride. His honesty is refreshing, his faith is challenging, his hope is encouraging, his love is passionate, and his portrait of God’s grace is amazing. This book is worth reading slowly and thoughtfully, allowing the transformative power of God’s grace to change the reader as it is changing the author.

Seth Haines is a powerful storyteller, one who sticks to the narrative no matter how difficult the details without overcompensation, flowery disclaimers, or too much commentary. In Coming Clean, Haines offers readers a raw glimpse into his own brokenness, a struggle involving faith, substance, and life’s difficult path. Within these pages I not only became engrossed in the beauty and pain of Haines’ journey, but I also found bits and pieces of my own humanity throughout. Coming Clean is one of the best books about faith I’ve read this year, and I believe it will be one of yours too.

I honestly don’t know how to put into words how this book has opened my eyes, healed me, pushed me, and brought me peace. But it has done all those things, and I will never be the same.

Vivid, uneasy, convicting. Seth Haines has written the best book of the past year. Coming Clean is the work of a true storyteller, a direct, crisp narrative shot through with poetic asides and the turmoil common to us all. At once a celebration of and a eulogy for our humanity, Haines commands language and style so deftly the work reads like the highest literary fiction. Approachable and witty, Coming Clean is a sobering reflection, no matter your addiction.

Seth Haines’ Coming Clean is a profoundly courageous work that provides any reader a major dose of hope and guidance, whether or not he or she struggles with the more conventional addictions. His prose is heartfelt and moving, and though written in journal form, there is a depth to his reflections and revelations. They are significant thoughts, and the glimpses into his soul are truly meaningful. Readers will be encouraged and inspired in their own faith lives.

Coming Clean is more than it seems. More than a journey toward sobriety, more than another memoir. With honest pain and discovery dappled with poetry, Seth Haines prophesies to us of what it means to find the peace of God and the forgiveness of Christ. Read these words; you will never be the same.

Seth had me imagining what the world could look like if we all were widening our wounds, bleeding together, rejoicing in the astounding, transformative work of suffering, and coming clean as a global community. How beautiful. How kingdom.

If honesty were an ocean, Seth boldly goes to the depths. Coming Clean is a book we’ve been waiting for, mostly because the church rarely goes below honesty’s surface. Hopefully, this book will not only teach us to swim; it will teach us to start diving.

Coming Clean is a gift of redemptive lyric, growing out of sober reflection that quietly compels the reader to honestly process their own faith journey.

Seth Haines states it plainly around the fiftieth page of Coming Clean when he writes that “words are often poor illusions” when it comes to discussing the painful topics of addiction and unforgiveness. But using those “poor illusions,” he offers up an honest and engaging narrative. Raw and soothing by turns, this memoir is a fine creation, one that provides a plumb line for anyone who has walked away from the simple center of faith.

Within these pages you will encounter the heart of a man and God’s heart for him. Seth’s honest words invite us all to come clean before a God who is comfortable in the mess. Coming Clean offers hope not feigned but known in the dark hours of pain and doubt. This is a book of uncommon depth and beauty.

This is a book about about coming clean, yes, but also about faith and pain and how we try to medicate our fear that nobody is listening when we pray. Seth’s honest words about his own journey of loss and recovery and forgiveness give me hope and encourage me to keep walking.

No one wants to admit they have a problem, but the truth is we all have one. Coming Clean acts as both a mirror and a map. Seth Haines’ beautifully pointed writing and compelling story of sobriety force us to look at the realities of our own pain, but show us the way of healing by directing us to the goodness of God. For the pastor, for the layperson, for the victim of addiction, for the person with air in their lungs, Coming Clean is required reading. I’ve waited my whole life for this book, and I’m giving it to everyone I know.

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780310343646
  • ISBN 10: 031034364X
  • Imprint: Zondervan
  • On Sale: 2015-10-27
  • Pages: 224
  • List Price: $15.99
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication Date: 2015-10-27
  • Trim Size: 139.000mm x 209.000mm x 15.000mm
  • Weight: 203.000gr
  • Category 1 : RELIGION / Christian Life / Personal Growth
  • Category 2 : SELF-HELP / Substance Abuse & Addictions / Alcohol
  • Category 3 : BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Religious
  • Category 4 : BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs