Author Spotlight: Leah Grey
We are pleased to introduce Leah Grey. Leah recently published No One Brings You a Casserole When Your Husband Goes to Rehab with us, which is now available through the Word Alive Press Bookstore, and everywhere fine Christian books are sold. We asked Leah to share a little bit about her new book and her ministry. But first, a little bit about her.
Leah Grey grew up in a small town in Southern Ontario’s Mennonite country. She had two loving parents, a sweet little brother, and the world’s most perfect dog. There was absolutely no reason whatsoever for her to become a wild child or rebel.
Her elementary school grade one teacher told her that she would be a writer. The books that Leah created from cereal boxes covered in wallpaper were overall quite impressive. However, Leah believed that all writers grew up to be poor, so that was not a good career path.
With all this wisdom, she completed one year of University toward an English and Arts degree, four months of college courses toward interior decorating, and left hair school after she became pregnant. Forever resilient, she finished her hairstyling certification after she had the baby.
Life was pretty average for Leah until she met her (now) Latin-lover husband, ran off to New York City and got married. Her rebellious wiles caught up to her as she was faced with what she knows now is referred to as a “humbling” from the Lord.
Humbled, alone, and painstakingly broke, Leah decided she may as well go back to writing. This time on a blog instead of a cereal box. As it turns out, her elementary teacher was right, her stories were pretty good after all.
Leah moved to Burlington, Ontario, Canada with her husband and three children in 2020. Leah is an award-winning writer whose online courses on boundaries and addiction blogs have reached over 350,000 women since its start in 2014. She created an online support group, Habit, that focuses on Biblical principles and advice for wives and partners of addiction.
If you’re tired and overwhelmed, and in need of a friend who gets it, visit Leah’s website to contact her or access her free resource library: leahgrey.com
Q: You said you were rebellious growing up. What does that mean?
A: You know, I thought I was bad. I thought I was super tough because sometimes I would hang out with the druggie crowd. But looking back, I was a very socially anxious child. It was much easier to fit in with the “misfits” than it was with the popular kids, and using drugs helped me to feel less shy. I think this is an issue for so many kids. Social media and communicating solely through technology are only making it worse. Sadly, I expect to see many more people struggling with addiction as time goes on and they’re continually getting younger.
Q: What happened that led you to help wives of addiction?
A: I fell into this world the same way everyone does; they love someone who struggles with substance abuse or compulsive behaviour. My husband was predominantly using high-end drugs to get through long working hours. I most commonly help believing wives whose spouses are drug addicts or alcoholics, but we have a large group of women who are hurting from a spouse’s sexual addiction or gambling problem.
I say believing because there is a spectrum of beliefs. Some women may be on the fence, some may have lost faith, some have radical faith lives and they’re unequally yolked, and some are married to pastors!
Q: Why do you think your resources have been so well-received?
A: I’m super normal. I don’t claim to know everything and walked this out openly with my community, which built a lot of trust. I am also an honest person and don’t like to give praise where it isn’t due. My advice is to learn the Word of God and follow what He calls you to do—I cannot take credit for any of it working!
Q: What led you to write No One Brings You a Casserole When Your Husband Goes to Rehab?
A: It was a long and tedious, well-thought-out, overly planned thing… I told my therapist at the time, “You know, no one brings you a casserole when your husband goes to rehab!” And he replied, “Hey, that would make a great book. You should write it!” So, I spent the next four years writing it.
I tried to quit writing the book many times, and then someone in one of my support groups would come in with a comment like, “You know, no one brings you a casserole when your husband goes to rehab!” To which I would internally reply, “Okay, fine, God.”
Q: Have you taken any writing courses?
A: I haven’t done any kind of writing, outside of one year of University when I was 17. I started writing No One Brings You a Casserole When Your Husband Goes to Rehab in 2015, while my husband was in rehab. I was also writing a screenplay, which I was learning how to format on YouTube. I entered the first three chapters of the book and the screenplay to the Word Guild’s Word Awards in the amateur writer category and was shocked to find out that I won!
Like, actually shocked. I went to the award ceremony thinking that I was shortlisted for the book and left with a win in both categories, as well as the grand prize for unpublished writers. I couldn’t even speak when they called me up, I had no idea what to say except, “The Cornish hen was delicious…"
Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
A: Sure. Go for it. Don’t make it some crazy thing. If you can write, you will do it. You’ve got it or you don’t. And if you’ve kind of got it, but it needs a lot of work to get there, then work with an editor, and you’ll get better. I think it’s smart to write every day, even if it’s just a little bit.
All that said, I don’t follow my advice.
Everything in life is a story for me. I mentally take a step backward in very normal, everyday situations and romanticize it. I think that great writing is an extension of the overly complicated brain. If you’re a hot mess, you might make a great writer. Especially if you’re already broke, what do you have to lose?
Kidding! You can make a living as a writer (I think)!
Like most things in life, learn the rules and then throw them all away. Maybe that’s bad advice. I’ll maintain that, you can take it or leave it!
Q: How do you think that we, as Christians, should be responding to the issue of addiction?
A: Oftentimes, the church is like a high school full of adults. There are the “popular” ones who volunteer, whose children sit well through sermons and know all the answers in Sunday school. There are family members that are all related and stick together. There are the softer men’s and women’s groups where they share on growing more in the Lord and do, excuse me for saying this, “fluffy” Bible studies. There are the helpers, the bleeding hearts, who are nicer than many of us could ever be on our best days. And then there are the rebels. The church may have a group for them after-hours (like Celebrate Recovery). Everyone knows who they are because they’ll light up a cigarette in the parking lot after church.
I recently was invited to participate in a newer church plant. The community was discussing “theology,” which was in actuality nothing more than politics and current events. There was a single mother in the group who wrote a comment and said something along the lines of, “Holy, you guys are scaring me!” with a swear word. The pastor publicly chastised her on her language, not once, but twice. There was no chastising of the community for not supporting this single mother in love, reaching out to her, telling her of the hope she can find in Jesus—nothing. No one addressed her fears.
If the church could figure that out, it would be a much safer place to go for help for those who are addicted and for their family members.
Q: Do you have any last words of advice on addiction and faith to leave with us?
A: Having honest conversations is so important. Most of the time, because of what I do, I have people open up to me who would never tell anyone what’s been going on in their homes. Statistically, for every ten people in the church, three of them are affected by addiction. That’s an astronomical number!
Beyond that, most of the regular advice doesn’t work. No one should have a 12-step program in their church. We don’t need 12 steps we need one step—Jesus. I met an amazing ministry in North Carolina that way. I said that line in my group, and someone said, “Hey! That’s the name of our ministry!”
We have been using the same process to deal with addiction since the 1930s, and addiction is only getting worse. If parents are equipped with the right information, tools and support, they can help their kids to make better choices, too.
Prevention is the best medicine, isn't that right?