Archives For Celebrate Recovery


By Alexandra Applegate, Storytelling Intern at Saddleback Church

The echoes of Jerry’s screams bounced off the walls and the vulgar words he used rang in his ears, making his wife and children recoil in fear. When he lost control and became inconsolably angry like this, it was hard for Jerry to look in the mirror and not see his own parents.

Jerry’s father was a military man who believed physical abuse was a form of discipline, and Jerry’s mother spent most nights drinking rather than being with Jerry. The time spent at his father’s brought physical bruises and tears while the time spent at his mother’s left him questioning why he wasn’t her first priority. Consistently being mistreated and forgotten about by his divorced parents left him with an anger he didn’t know how to separate himself from as an adult.

“I had my father’s anger. It was explosive at any given time,” Jerry said. “When something didn’t go my way, I got angry. If I couldn’t control the situation, I got angry. I yelled, I cursed, whatever made me feel better at the time.”

During his adulthood, this anger continued to lurk around every corner of Jerry’s…

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By Mary Owen, National Training Coach Celebrate Recovery

When Mac and I were first married, we loved to go camping. Part of the adventure became floating down whitewater rivers. At first the rivers we ran were easy. As our sense of adventure grew, so did the difficulty of the rivers. We soon discovered that it wasn’t wise to go through rapids until we pulled over and scouted the best possible approach. We witnessed many people just plow through the rapids. Some would make it. Some would capsize and need rescuing. We decided to pull over at fast-moving spots to identify the rocks that could trap or capsize us. We would choose the safest route and then go for it!

This took extra time and effort. However, it increased our chances for a safe and exciting run because we had a plan. There was another alternative. We could have said, “No way, we’re not doing that!” Then we’d have to hike to the road and get a ride to our car. Soon we’d be back at our campsite, ending our adventure and feeling defeated.

Problems are going to arise in life’s adventure. We can scout it out…

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By Roger Nix

Hi, my name is Roger Nix, and I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ. I’m celebrating recovery from sexual sin and from anger issues that have come from parenting a special needs child.

I have been in ministry all of my adult life. At 18, I felt a call into ministry. After four years of ministry preparation at Oral Roberts University, my wife and I were newly married and part of a team that helped launch an evangelistic ministry (which happens to be one of the producing entities of the film Home Run.) For the past 16 years I have been privileged to pastor a beautiful community in Tulsa, Oklahoma, called Believers Church.

But long before I ever heard God’s call into ministry, long before I ever was married or was involved in pastoring, I had an encounter when I was 10 years old that would nearly destroy my life and take everything I held precious and dear to me. One day my buddies and I decided to go dumpster-diving in hopes of finding buried treasure. What we found, however, was a pile of Playboy magazines. To a group of young…

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Hi, I’m a grateful believer in Jesus. I struggle with codependency, anxiety, and the effects of past abuse. My name is Tiffani. I became a Christian when I was 30 years old, and for many years I volunteered in children’s ministry. I served as a Sunday school teacher, VBS teacher and coordinator. I also served as a youth group leader, teen chat leader, young adult leader, and eventually as the children and youth ministry coordinator. All the while my life was secretly spinning out of control. The poor choices I made left me feeling unloved, unworthy, and lonely. When my chaotic lifestyle came into the light, I was asked to step down from all of these positions that I loved and found my worth in. My heart broke; I had to accept I was not a good example for the children. I was hopeless. Fortunately, a counselor told me about a local Celebrate Recovery program and I started attending.

After a few years in Celebrate Recovery, I went to my first One-Day event where I attended the breakout session for Celebration Place. I remember thinking – this is it, this is what I…

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Lily Pads

By Donna Yearsin, National Celebration Place Coordinator

The view outside my living room window is a beautiful pond teeming with wildlife. There are times when the pond is so still it looks as though it is made of glass. Then a goose or some other bird will break the surface, sending ripples across the pond to the shore. Other times, a fish will jump up from under the water, sending more ripples to the shore. Like the goose or other bird that plunges into the pond, our actions affect the lives of those we love. Over the past nine years, I have seen families come into our Celebrate Recovery meetings with one parent struggling with an addiction, the other broken from strain as the addiction rips their family apart. Their children were scared and angry. Hope was all but lost.

One such family stands out. A dad came to Celebrate Recovery with his young daughter. The mom was active in her addiction and out of the picture. The little girl was out of control. She hid under tables and ran away from our child care workers. When we added Celebration Place…

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Offering All


By Bill Natalzia, NE Regional Director, Celebrate Recovery

“You’ve already put in your time in that God-ignorant way of life, partying night after night, a drunken and profligate life. Now it’s time to be done with it for good. Of course, your old friends don’t understand why you don’t join in with the old gang anymore. But you don’t have to give an account to them. They’re the ones who will be called on the carpet — and before God” (1 Peter 4:3-5 The Message).

This verse tells us that we must be finished with our old way of life for good. Drunkenness comes in many ways. Not the least of this is the recreational use of marijuana. Recreational marijuana is all the rage nowadays. One state after another is passing laws that accept this behavior. As Christ-followers we know different, and to follow the beat of this drummer is what the apostle Paul refers to in Romans 12 as “conforming to this world.” He goes on to write that we are transformed in Christ by the renewing of our mind. Here is the catch — you cannot renew a mind clouded…

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Recovery Road

My name is Doug, and I’m a faithful believer in Jesus who’s in recovery for substance abuse. I grew up in a good, God-fearing home. I have two wonderful parents that loved and provided for me. You could say that I had a good childhood, but a very sheltered one. I was 15 years old the first time I smoked marijuana. I liked it! I liked the way it made me feel, carefree and very chilled out. At first it was only a once-in-a-while thing at parties or camping out with friends on the weekends. It didn’t take long for this to become an every-chance-I-could experience to eventually an everyday habit. At first I didn’t buy it, just smoking when someone around me had it. Eventually I was not only buying it, but getting some for other people. This was the beginning of years of dealing drugs to feed my own habit.

I wish I could say that marijuana was where I drew the line, but I went to places where other drugs were also available. Marijuana brought me into a drug culture where people were buying and selling all kinds of drugs.


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Once Addicted, Now in Ministry – Seth’s Celebrate Recovery Story


My name is Seth, and I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ. My struggles with drug and alcohol addiction brought me into recovery.

I grew up in a small town in North Central West Virginia. My family included a loving mother, a father who expected perfection, and a sister with whom I competed for my parents’ attention.

At school, I craved to fit in with everybody. This led to my first experience with drugs and alcohol in 7thgrade. By my freshman year in high school, I was drinking alcohol every weekend and smoking marijuana every day.

When I graduated high school with honors, I was a fully functioning drug addict. I was captain of the soccer team, an all-conference performer in basketball, and a member of student council and honor society.  I was also using hard drugs regularly and selling them to classmates to support my habits.

I followed my friends from high school to a small college about 45 minutes north of my hometown. I drank every day for over two years straight, not even missing a major holiday like Christmas or Thanksgiving, and experimented with…

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Hundred Dollar Bill

By John Eklund, National Director East

“Someone dropped this in the parking lot and I wasn’t sure what to do . . .”

The woman speaking stood in the middle of the sanctuary. She held a cup of heavily creamed coffee in one hand and a rectangular piece of paper in the other. Our Celebrate Recovery cafe time was starting to pick up steam as folks exited their open share groups and headed for the desserts.

Clutched in her hand was cash. Big cash. Not a $10 bill or a $20, but a $100 bill.

Two questions came immediately to mind. Who in the world would be so careless to drop this amount of money? And then: How in the world am I going to find said careless person?

This mystery paled in comparison to the new one replacing it — a delayed realization that what we held was a counterfeit. Dozens of people gathered around to touch it, to look at it, to close one eye and stretch it out against the ceiling lights.

One young lady, a banker, went into detail explaining how to tell the real thing from a fake.  What struck me was…

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By Danny Duchene, National Director CR Inside

Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times” (Mark 4:8 NIV).

When Ted asked the local jail commander for permission to start a Celebrate Recovery (CR) ministry, the commander pretended to relent. He said, “Sure, you can have 15 minutes every Friday.” But Ted didn’t even flinch at what was obviously a put-off. He said, “Sure, I’ll take it!” Walking out of the commander’s office, he prayed, “Father, thank you for this opportunity. But how am I going to do a CR Inside ministry with only 15 minutes?”

Over the weekend, the jail commander went to church and heard about Celebrate Recovery for the first time, with a testimony of a changed life. On Monday he called Ted back and said, “You now have two hours every Friday!” In less than a year, that time doubled.  Ted and his team now have a full CR ministry for both men and women in the jail.

When Ted told me his story, I thought of how Ted’s perseverance is an example of the qualities needed…

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Hi, my name is Randal. I am a believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with alcohol and drugs. I am the Celebrate Recovery Inside Regional Team Lead for the South Central U.S. region. I formerly served Celebrate Recovery in prison. Now one of my greatest privileges is to go back inside the prisons in Louisiana to share the love of God. I help the inmates with their Celebrate Recovery programs and help the men and women form their own Purpose Driven churches right where they are, inside prison. Recently, I was part of a two-week-long revival inside a prison. I could tell many stories about what God did, but this is one of my favorites!

It was the first night of the eight-week revival held at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. This is the largest prison by population in the country. Angola was one of the most violent prisons in the country. Although many positive reforms have taken place in Angola, much of the prison population remains anti-social and in need of a personal relationship with Jesus.

On the first night of the revival, many newcomers filled the seats looking like they had…

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I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ. In the past, I struggled with drugs and alcohol, and today, I struggle with control. My name is Kyle.

I can trace my descent into the depths of addiction and my rebirth from it to two separate days, two moments in time.

It was Memorial Day 2007 when everything began to unravel. I was serving with the US Army in southern Baghdad on the tail end of a 16-hour mission. Some kids were playing ball by our vehicle, so I got out and kicked their ball over a few streets to move them along. Back in the Humvee, I’m speaking to the guy next to me when I hear a thud. Before that moment, smoking weed, drinking heavily, experimenting with drugs, essentially distancing myself from God – I planted seeds that now came to bear.

After several surgeries, which saved my life, I flew back to the States. While I was unable to move, and stuck in a hospital, my wife of one month was completely taking care of me. Already feeling like I was failing my guys, I received the news that set me over the…

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