Archives For Celebrate Recovery

By Nate Stewart, National Director of Mental Health for Celebrate Recovery

I consider myself an independent person. I am comfortable by myself. Over the years, though, I have come to realize that there is a significant difference between being by myself and being alone. One of the hardest parts of my mental health struggle is the feeling of being all alone.

At times I feel like I have no one to reach out to for help. Sometimes I feel like no one understands what I’m going through. When I’m feeling like that, I really don’t want to be alone.

Thankfully, I have come to an understanding about God that has helped me through those times when I am feeling alone. God is not some distant being who cannot relate to me. He is someone who does understand because Jesus, who is God, came to Earth and lived among us.

For me, one of the most powerful verses in Scripture is John 11:35, “Jesus wept” (NIV). These two words speak so much to me. “Jesus wept” does not mean he had one little romanticized tear running down his cheek. He bawled. He felt the pain and…

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By April

Depression is a monster — a foul beast that creeps into the mind and a storm that torments the soul, wreaking havoc while destroying hope. My name is April, a grateful believer in Jesus who struggles with depression and anxiety. My grandmother, my Mema, was the center of my life during my early childhood. When I was 11 years old, she died after a struggle with breast cancer. I was left trying to make sense of it all. She had told me she was going to run circles around me in the yard when she got better, and she would never lie to me, right?

I became angry with God. I hated him and openly blamed him for the cause of my pain. I questioned his existence. Why would a loving God take away one of the most important people in my life? Why would a loving God take away one of the greatest sources of joy and love I felt I had ever known? A paralyzing depression closely followed her death. It was a painful poison that slowly spread. This poison intruded my thoughts and debilitated my ability to maintain…

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God Even Calls Broken Believers into Ministry Imageby Andy

I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with insecurity, anxiety, and sexual addiction, and my name is Andy.

I was raised in a wonderful home, the middle child of three brothers, and a son to a mom and a dad who loved their children dearly. My parents both grew up in homes with alcoholic fathers who would occasionally turn abusive. Due to this, my parents endured a great deal of dysfunction growing up but promised each other that their children would grow up in a stable home. Mom and Dad achieved this to the best of their ability. They gave my brothers and me a home where we were loved, and they raised us to work hard and always do our best.

Growing up I became quite competitive with my siblings, particularly my older brother. When I compared myself to him I always felt like I fell short somehow, and I began to deeply resent him and became jealous of him. I wanted to show him that I was better than him, that somehow I had worth and value. It would mean that…

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Thirsty

By Celebrate Recovery

Thirsty - Waterfall Imageby John Eklund

I am not really much of an outdoorsman.

So when my brother-in-law, Luke, suggested a weekend camping trip along the Appalachian Trail, I resisted. I’m quite fond of roofs, mattresses, refrigeration, and indoor plumbing. I really like indoor plumbing. Conversely, I am not such a fan of malaria, poisonous snakes, poisonous spiders, and poison ivy. I pretty much like to avoid anything poisonous. He shrugged off my quick refusal, challenged my manhood, and began painting pictures in my imagination rivaling the best L.L. Bean and Cabela’s catalog covers. The next thing I knew I was trudging up the side of a mountain with a hastily purchased army surplus rucksack bouncing heavily against my back.

Luke had mapped out our trip, meticulously gauging and packing the precise amount of supplies we would need for our journey. We planned to hike up to and then down the trail several miles, make camp, and spend the night. We would wake up early, make for a spring that marked our halfway point, refill on water, and spend the rest of our final day trekking back to the start.

The first day went as…

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God is Good

By Kareena

I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with co-dependency and with love and relationship addiction.

My childhood was filled with rejection, abandonment, and abuse. My biological mom left my sister and me with our dad when I was 8 months old. Growing up, I was physically abused by my stepmom and sexually molested by a step-sibling from the age of 6 until I was 12. The molestation stopped when a relative alerted authorities, but no charges were pressed because someone said it was untrue. I was taught not to talk about it, to act like those six years never happened. Putting on a mask, I tried to be “normal.”

At 19, I married a seemingly charming man. My husband soon showed that he was a verbally abusive and controlling alcoholic. Degrading insults, getting drunk, and punching holes through walls were common events. After 14 months of marriage, I got the courage to say that I wanted out.

Four years later, I married Joe, whom I’d met online. After two years of infertility, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome. Around that same time, we went to church with relatives although…

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By Scott Kemp, North Central Regional Director

“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again — my Savior and my God!” (Psalm 43:5 NLT).

I recently became ill and was eventually diagnosed with influenza A. As I sank deeper into the illness, a real sense of hopelessness began to rise up in my mind. I started getting delusional and began to think:

“I sure hope the doctor can give me something to make me feel better.”

“I sure hope I can get better in time for that special event this weekend.”

“I sure hope I make it through this!”

The fear and anxiety generated by the infection were real, and that hopeless feeling slowly became depressing. Turning on the TV during my recovery, I quickly realized how hopeless the world can be, too. We humans are hurrying to fill our empty lives with “stuff.” Abuse, addiction, illness, and broken relationships surround us. It’s so easy to lose heart. I began to feel doubtful about myself and began bathing in self-pity. I desperately needed some encouragement and hope.

As I lay on the couch feeling sorry…

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by Bryan E. Crute

February is designated as a time of celebration and reflection, a time designated as Black History Month. But as our nation continues to be divided along racial, religious, socioeconomic, and a host of other divisive fault lines that constantly threaten to create relationship quakes of epic proportions, I am reminded of my childhood.

I experienced overt racism growing up in a small country town of about 3,000 people. Epithets, dripping with anger and ignorance, were hurled at me on a regular basis and cut me to my core. The old idiom “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” just wasn’t true. Being rejected and isolated solely because of my skin color often left me feeling alone and lonely. Why would some of my white friends treat me differently when they were with their parents than when we were in the classroom? It was very confusing for me.

My dad and mom took my siblings and me to Sunday school and church every Sunday. They kept Jesus’ example of love and forgiveness before us, along with their support and love. This laid a foundation for…

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Meeshias Story

by Meeshia H.

As I folded a new basket of clothes, I would work on one article of clothing and glance back at the television. I would go back to another article of clothing and then glance at the TV again. I was watching the sentencing of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar given by Judge Rosemarie Aquilina.

My heart and mind continued to go through many different reactions: horror, anger, and sorrow. My heart wept for those women. As Judge Aquilina handed down her sentence of 40 to 175 years in prison, my heart leaped in my chest. Now he pays the price for the abuse he has done! Now these beautiful ladies can rest knowing he will pay the price!

But as soon as the celebration of justice was delivered, I heard this haunting question rise to the top of my emotions: “What of the thousands of sexual assault victims who never receive justice? What of the victims who will never lift their voices to stand on the #MeToo platform or have their case presented in front of a judge? How will they ever heal?”

I, too, have been that woman…

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Rebels

By Brian Raynor

Hello, my name is Brian. I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ, and I struggle with alcohol and drugs.

As a young child, life for me was pretty normal. My mom stayed home and my dad bought wrecked cars, fixed them, and sold them. It was fun, as a little kid, having a garage behind our house. I could go down to the shop, hang out, and watch my dad work. I started helping him out, and I was good at working on cars. Just like my dad.

A few years went by and car sales were not going well. My dad was a perfectionist and would invest more time and money in the cars than they were worth. The business was bleeding money, and he ended up going through his entire life savings. All this stress made my dad an angry and uptight person. I was with him every single day working, and as I got older I was expected to work and help with the cars. The work I did never seemed to be good enough or right for him, no matter how hard I tried. All my…

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First Time at Celebrate Recovery

By Mac Owen, National Director, Celebrate Recovery

I’ll never forget the big, 6-foot-4 shell of a man who walked into Celebrate Recovery one cold winter night. He had a bodyguard on either side of him. Actually, they were two friends who brought him to a place where he could find help, and they weren’t going to let him escape. He had an expression of pain and sadness on his face. There was no mistaking that much of his life’s plans had gone badly.

They brought him to Newcomers 101 that night so he could hear about the program. About halfway through my explaining what Celebrate Recovery was all about, he raised his hand said, “Can I ask a question?” “Sure, go ahead” I replied. “Why are you smiling so much? I don’t have anything to smile about.” I responded, “Well, hopefully, that will change. Please keep coming back for at least six weeks. See if things might just start to get better. We always have a misery-back guarantee.”

He liked that and said, “You’re on; I will be back for six weeks. But really I don’t see how anything can…

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Give Gift

By Danny Duchene, National Director Celebrate Recovery Inside

“Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and my words.”

A few weeks ago I taught the “Give” lesson from the Celebrate Recovery Leader’s Guide. As I was preparing the message, a statement from Pastor John Baker stood out for me. He said, “By placing God first in your life, you will realize that everything you have is a gift from him.”

This was the pivotal statement for the lesson on “Give.” All that we have comes from God. This includes material possessions, our recovery, and even the encouragement we have received from others. In reality, it was God working through people that brought recovery and encouragement into our lives. Even our faith is a gift from God.

When we share our faith with others, we are sharing a gift given to us. It was the greatest gift when Jesus gave his life. “ did not even keep back his own Son, but offered him for us all! He gave us his Son—will he not also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32 GNT). Take a moment…

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Christmas Gift

Lori’s brother was given a 23-year sentence. Out of compassion Lori chose to raise her brother’s daughter. Becky was only 3 years old when Lori became her new mother. Since Becky’s dad was arrested close to Christmas, the season always came with difficult emotions. But when Becky was 5 years old, something new began showing up that reminded her of her daddy’s love: Angel Tree gifts, brought through Prison Fellowship’s Project Angel Tree. For the next 10 years Becky was an “Angel.” This means that from the age of 5 to the age of 15, Becky received regular gifts from her daddy, who was incarcerated. Every year, when the Angel Tree gifts were brought by local church volunteers, Becky jumped up and down with delight, because not only was she getting a Christmas gift, it was from her daddy.

As Becky entered her teens she gained a better understanding of her dad’s circumstances. She realized that her dad was not buying and sending the gifts to her by himself, but that caring people she had never met were volunteering their resources and time to bring her gifts in the name of her daddy….

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