Archives For Celebrate Recovery

Hello, my name is Lillian, and I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ that struggles with depression and PTSD.

Did you catch that? I identify first as a believer in Jesus Christ, not my struggles or addictions. As a young adult, my difficult journey became my identity.

I believed and identified with what the world called me. Trash, a waste of space, a kid with an attitude, a problem child, not good enough, a bully, a teen up to no good. My old list is extensive and painful.

As I grew into a young teen, depression and PTSD crept into my life. I needed help; I needed a way to unpack my struggles. I had nowhere to go. As a young girl, everyone around me had levels of brokenness I couldn’t wrap my little head around. So, I developed habits for what I thought would create normalcy.

Amid my suffering, I had the tendency to become selfish and make it all about me. As I’ve done in the past, while in the midst of the destructive trials I see nothing but that. It consumed me with a crippling invisible force.

As I grew older, I knew I needed…

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Kid with a BibleHi, my name is Sylvia, and I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with co-dependency and food issues. I came to Celebrate Recovery in a different way than most. I have led our Celebrate Recovery Kids Time program for eight years. The kids had fun and got to see Jesus each week. However, this was not helping improve their lives. I had a strong management background and knew how to take care of kids. I thought that was all I needed.

Although I was a Christian who had strong faith, I wasn’t actively seeking time with Christ to work on my stuff. I was not learning who he wanted me to be. I struggled with abandonment issues with my earthly father, and I didn’t want to search for a deeper relationship with God. I did my job and wanted the best for the kids. I did not focus on life-change for them because my life hadn’t changed yet. I didn’t understand what that really meant.

We started using the Celebration Place curriculum immediately after its release. We loved the lessons but hadn’t ever gone through Celebrate Recovery

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Dave Gonzales was living a life most people dream about. But when divorce sent him into a depression, Dave turned to drinking to cope with the pain and loss. Now looking back on the decade that he spent as an alcoholic, he is grateful that despite the odds, he didn’t end up at the bottom of a grave.

Without a family to go home to, Dave began frequenting local bars and restaurants. What began as a few drinks after work developed into a much greater problem. When the bars would close, Dave would head home to spend the balance of his night drinking and gambling online. Shooting whiskey, drinking beer, and playing cards into the early morning hours became a regular occurrence.

Things grew worse for Dave when the economic crisis set in and his income dropped. Now dependent on alcohol, Dave made cuts everywhere in his life except his bar tab. He lost his apartment and car, and with no place to go, his only option was to sleep on his mom’s couch. Things had spiraled out of control — alcohol controlled Dave’s life. As time went on, his consumption continued to…

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Lonely OrnamentEvery year we enjoy having a Thanksgiving meal in our home with family to celebrate the gratitude of God’s blessings. We invite someone into our home during the holidays, someone who for one reason or another isn’t able to be with his or her family. Our kids have taken on the example, and now when they come they always bring someone with them. This Thanksgiving was no different.

Our youngest daughter and her husband invited a friend, Charles, who has been to our home before for the holidays. Charles, in turn, invited his friend Howard. The aroma of a great meal filled the kitchen. The sound of laughter echoed as the adults talked and the kids played games.

We gathered for prayer and then formed a line to fill our plates. Charles and Howard stood back and waited for everyone else to go through the line. Mary and I waited, too. By the time we were ready to sit down, the dining room table was full.

Charles knew there was a smaller table on the back porch. So that’s where he headed, with Howard following him. Mary and I joined them and started…

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Loneliness and AddictionI am a grateful follower of Jesus Christ, and I struggle with alcohol and addiction. My name is Ken.

The holiday season is upon us. Supposedly, this is a time of celebration. This time of gathering with friends and relatives would seem to be the perfect opportunity to not be alone or feel lonely. However, the holidays were usually the time of year when I felt most alone.

As a child I felt excitement and anticipated traveling to see my family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was born in Boston and most of my mom’s family lived nearby. I have such great memories of my great-grandmother speaking Polish and giving us ginger ale, and being surrounded by my grandmother’s big family. We always went to midnight service, and I loved staying up late on Christmas Eve. The holidays at Grandma’s were loud and lively. There was always plenty of food. The delicious smells emanating from my grandma’s kitchen are some of my favorite memories. Even as I write this, I am thinking about her homemade fudge and bread.

We moved to Texas when I was 6, and Christmas at Grandma’s became a…

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Always Beside You

By Celebrate Recovery


This is my command — be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9 (NLT)

That verse is not just reserved for the field of battle. We can apply this to the battlefield of our everyday life. As a veteran this verse means a lot to me. It is important for us to remain strong and courageous. Returning home from serving, whether in peace or in wartime, can be difficult for veterans.

How comforting it is to know that wherever we go, God is there with us. Sometimes as veterans we find ourselves in situations and we wonder if God is paying attention. We may feel so alone and even depressed. We can’t feel God’s presence. We need his guidance and help.

Sometimes friends, spouses, and parents don’t really understand what we are going through. But God does and he cares. God told Joshua to be strong and to have courage. Then he told him a wonderful truth: The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Yes, that’s right . . . wherever! We don’t have to feel…

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This will not sound right at first, but hear me out. Many military veterans find ourselves actually missing the war after we leave the war. I first noticed this in June 2003 while talking with some young Marines after we ousted the Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, from power. This was toward the end of my first of four deployments. We were just sitting around in the desert waiting for a ship to come and take us home.

These young Marines were complaining that they didn’t want to go back home. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! I couldn’t wait to go home! But for most of these young 19- to 21-year-old corporals and lance corporals, their participation in the Iraq War was the most important thing they’d ever done in their lives. The young men who served in their platoon had become like family to them; for some, this was the closest they’d ever had to family.

These young men had figured out that going back home meant that they would likely lose the sense they were doing something important and the sense of family in one stroke. And there’s the rub….

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Hello, my name is Nate. I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with addiction and mental health issues.

My parents did a great job of raising four boys in a loving home.  But when I was 10, my father, a pastor, felt called to serve the Lord in a small town. It was a three-hour drive from Minneapolis, MN, where I had grown up. In that three-hour drive I might as well have stepped into another world. My 5th grade class in Minneapolis had a higher population than the entire Wisconsin town.

I felt isolated. I tried to adapt but the emotional stress was too much for my body. I was missing school quite a bit. And depression set in. Looking back at all of this it was obvious to recognize what was going on, but at the time, people didn’t talk about mental health. I was just a kid, having kid issues.

Over the next couple of years I developed unhealthy coping skills. I didn’t let people in. I tried to hide pain and anger behind humor. Until, that is, I discovered that if I misbehaved I got noticed. It didn’t come out…

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No Voice

By Celebrate Recovery

sabrena-headshotI’m currently experiencing day three of “no voice.” I can’t talk above a whisper, which is uncomfortable. I’ve had to cancel two lunch dates, two counseling appointments, Celebrate Recovery Training, a conference call, apprenticing with our new Ministry Leader, and I will miss Celebrate Recovery tonight as well. The temptation to try to talk is too great when I am around people, which just makes the healing take that much longer, as it irritates my vocal cords further. So, I sit at home, not talking to anyone all day (but God) and working as much as I’m able on my computer. I know I will begin to feel antsy and depressed if this continues for too long, as I am an extrovert who needs interaction with people to feel refreshed.

How similar these past few days have been to my life. Allowing my codependency to rule me gave me no voice. I missed out on life because I would not say what I wanted, didn’t want, needed or didn’t need. I wouldn’t do what I wanted to do and did what I didn’t want to do.  Just like trying to talk before I…

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I’m a believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with drug addiction and the consequences of sexual abuse. My name is Sharon.

I was born into a family with three older siblings, who are much older than I, and a twin sister. Karon and I were the “second” family for our parents. I grew up in a strict religious home. My Dad was a preacher, so we were in church every time the doors opened. The family you saw at church was not the family you’d have seen at home behind closed doors. You see, growing up, I was sexually abused by my dad from an early age.

The first, most obvious outward sign of abuse was weight gain starting in the second grade. I became the chubby kid in class and I have struggled with obesity all my life. Food become my first drug of choice. My first diet was Weight Watchers at age 13. I lost over 50 pounds and received a summer vacation. By the end of the summer, I had gained half of it back. I was never the popular kid in school, being shy and overweight. To make matters worse, we moved…

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myvuli_iMy name is Nate, I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with addiction and mental health issues. I serve as the National Director of the Mental Health Initiative for Celebrate Recovery.

One in 4 people will experience some type of mental health issue this year, and over half of all people will personally go through some mental health issue in their lifetime. This is an issue of life or death for many people. Globally, one person dies every 40 seconds by his or her own hand. More Americans die by suicide than from war, cancer and HIV/AIDS combined. When someone is in a mental health crisis the first place they go is not to their friends, family, or doctor; they go to the church. The Church needs to be prepared. Celebrate Recovery is striving to do just that.

Celebrate Recovery won’t start counseling centers or try to fix anyone. We won’t even launch separate groups for mental health. The professional work will be left to the professionals. But we can make a difference. Because of the stigma that surrounds mental health, many of those who struggle do so in silence….

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Not Fair

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NLT)

Recently while at a ballgame in the extreme Louisiana summer heat, our youngest grandson’s face was beet red while playing.  Rex was obviously hot, tired and thirsty.  We noticed him standing beside a little girl who had a large cold Icee. The look on Rex’s face said it all, “This is not fair. Why does she have one and I don’t?”

This reminds us, even as adults, how much we are all alike. We want life to be fair. Ever since that other kid got an Icee and we didn’t – and they wouldn’t share…we’ve all been saying the same words, “That’s not fair!”

Whoever told us life is going to be fair?  God surely didn’t.  He didn’t say, If you have many kinds of troubles.”  He said, “You will have many kinds of troubles.”

Troubles are part of the package so don’t be surprised. You’ve turned your life over to God but life will not always be easy….

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