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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.



“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”

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


Caroline Beidler, MSW is an author, recovery advocate and founder of the storytelling platform Bright Story Shine. Her new book Downstairs Church: Finding Hope in the Grit of Addiction and Trauma Recovery is available anywhere you buy books. With almost 20 years in leadership within social work and ministry, she is a team writer for the Grit and Grace Project and blogger at the global recovery platform In the Rooms. Caroline lives in Tennessee with her husband and twins where she enjoys hiking in the mountains and building up her community’s local recovery ministry. Connect with her @carolinebeidler_official and

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