Archives For Recovery

By Vinson

The first time I walked into Celebrate Recovery® at Horizons Church, I showed up for all the wrong reasons: I wanted to impress my girlfriend, Kourtney, who had been bugging me to go with her.

As I sat through 45 minutes of what I later learned was “Large Group,” I determined my Celebrate Recovery experience would be “one and done.” I thought it was time to go, but Kourtney informed me that there was more to the CR experience. I listened halfheartedly as the man up front rattled off several “Open Share Groups” that would be taking place in five minutes. The last group he mentioned was “Men’s Welcome Home for Veterans.”

“They’ve got a group just for veterans?” I mumbled. “Well, I’m stuck here until Kourtney is ready to leave; I might as well be stuck with some fellow veterans.”

I had joined the Marine Corps right out of high school, after a very difficult childhood in rural Lewis County, West Virginia. My early years were an endless crucible of sexual and violent physical abuse. I often told social workers cover stories for my own mother. I thought I was being responsible…

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Thank You

By Celebrate Recovery

By Quint Pitts, National Director Welcome Home

When I was a kid we played outside—without iPhones, Xboxes, and PlayStations. We used our imaginations a lot. Some of my earliest memories are of playing Army in my neighborhood. The tiny town of Nutter Fort, West Virginia, became the great battlefields of American history. Park Hill was Mount Surabachi on Iwo Jima, Elk Creek was Omaha Beach, Norwood Park became Gettysburg, the woods behind the elementary school became the Ardennes. My friends and I were fierce warriors, turning back our nation’s enemies with our daring deeds. We never lost a battle. We never lost a friend.

When I was a kid I’d never even heard of Iraq or Afghanistan. But in those distant lands, war ceased to be a game I played as a kid. The weapons weren’t made of plastic, the explosions weren’t cheesy sound effects I made with my voice, and the battles didn’t end when Jimmy had to go home for dinner.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, we lost battles.

I lost friends.

It’s one of the reasons we honor every veteran on Veterans Day. There is perhaps nothing more honorable in all of human activity…

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The way you see your life shapes your life.

I wrote those words 16 years ago in The Purpose Driven Life, and I still mean them today. We’re tempted to see ourselves as everyone else does. You know the way it goes. You see yourself as broken and beaten up. You see yourself as an addict or former addict. You see yourself as a failure.

If that’s what you believe about who you are, you’ll never become who God wants you to be. How you define your life determines your destiny.

That’s one of the reasons why, when John Baker first started Celebrate Recovery®, he didn’t ask people to identify themselves by their addictions.

Instead, in Celebrate Recovery, participants each identify themselves as “a believer who struggles with” a specific issue.

There’s a huge difference between the two. Your identity isn’t your sin. Your identity is in your Savior.

Don’t let the ugly words in your past (or even in your present) define you any longer.

Other people may see you as broken and damaged goods. But that’s not how God sees you.

I don’t know where you are in your walk with God today, but if you truly…

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I’ll never forget the night years ago when my younger brother, Andy, told me he was addicted to heroin. We sat in my parked car near the beach, the darkness shrouding his face as he told me the story.

“I need to tell you something, Kay. I know you’re going to take this hard. I started using heroin a few months ago and I can’t stop.” The world stood still for a few moments as I absorbed the news that my baby brother—the one whose arrival in our family eight years after I was born gave me the sibling I had longed for, the one I carried in my arms, the one I pretended was my personal walky-talky doll when he was 2, the one who used to snuggle in my arms and call me “Sissy”—was a heroin addict.

Through my tears I shouted questions at him: “Why did you start shooting up heroin? What’s the matter with you? Are you stupid? What did you think would happen? Did you think you could play with heroin and not become a drug addict?” I was shocked and angry and confused. Mostly I was frightened. Was I going to…

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By Nate Stewart, CR National Director – Mental Health

“But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”’ (Isaiah 43:1-2 NIV)

I find a great deal of comfort in these two verses of Scripture. I am reminded of times as a child when I would look across a crowded room and see my father. I knew that at any moment if I needed him, he would be there for me—he would protect me. I knew that my father loved me and was there for me because I was his.

God is illustrating through these verses that, in the same way, my father was there for me, God is there for us. When trouble comes—and it will most definitely come—God is there. And because I put my faith in Jesus,…

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Truth Over Lies

By Celebrate Recovery

By Michael

When I look at the face of this 52-year-old man in the mirror, I finally understand why my fears look the same as they did in 1973 when I was in first grade. I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ. I struggle with anxiety and its different manifestations. My name is Michael.

My early childhood was torn apart by alcohol, anger, and abuse. My father was a violent alcoholic. My mother was a nurturing codependent who loved him as long as she could. They divorced when I was 4. My world was already filled with fear. But it wasn’t from fear of physical threats or beatings. My fear began as soon as I felt I had something to hide. I had an older friend who was 7 or 8 at the time. He was teaching me things that were always our secrets. I was told not to tell anyone. He said people would be angry and punish me. Or even worse, they would be ashamed and send me away. From age 4 through 6 these days were common in my life. A child that age doesn’t see the lie or…

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Messy

By Celebrate Recovery

by Sabrena Stolze, SE Regional Director, Celebrate Recovery

I don’t like messy. I like neat, orderly, organized, and systematic.

No doubt the chaos and trauma that began in my childhood and continued into my teen and adult years, before recovery, greatly contributed to this part of my personality. But I also know this personality trait was woven into me by God for his purposes. The chaos and trauma created distortions of my God-given personality—distortions that cause me distress as I navigate a messy, unordered world. But God, through recovery, always gives me grace.

I continually struggle with the clash between grace and the distortions of my personality. I am thankful that grace showed up and that reminds me that God isn’t finished with me yet. Everything we do in Celebrate Recovery ® feels messy on some level. And I am grateful for that, because it presents opportunity after opportunity for God’s grace to shine even brighter!

I pray today that God’s grace shows itself mightily in you, and through you in spite of your distortions, whatever they are. Let’s continue to love, encourage, and build one another up through it all. Keep doing the good,…

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Just Enough Faith

By Celebrate Recovery

By Diane

My name is Diane, and I’m a grateful believer in Jesus who has victory over love and relationship addiction and codependency. I’m overcoming pride, judgmental thoughts, and grief.

I’m the oldest of four. My father was an alcoholic and my mom was a critical, judgmental codependent. Both parents brought their own baggage into the marriage, which flowed downhill to us kids. So, like many families, ours was dysfunctional.

As a result, I grew up believing love was conditional and I had to earn it and prove I was worthy of love. This led to feelings of unworthiness and insecurity, and to people-pleasing, perfectionism, codependency, and love and relationship addiction. I was not raised in church but accepted Christ as a teenager. I quickly turned back to the world. Soon after, I discovered I could get the attention, affirmation, and affection I needed from boys by using my body. I mistakenly equated sex with love.

I used sex, love, and relationships to feel valuable and loved. They were just a means to an end, a temporary fix to dull my emotional pain. These choices would initially produce good feelings of love, affection, and acceptance….

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How do you help people take their first steps into recovery?

Many people will fight it. They’ll put up a facade. They’ll pretend they have no problems.

But you and I know everyone needs recovery from something. All of us have been hurt. No one has it completely together.

In Luke 5, God gives us a great picture of what it looks like to help people get on a path to healing. (In fact, it’s such an important story that the writers of the Gospels include it in two other places, Matthew 9 and Mark 2.)

Jesus is inside a home teaching the Pharisees and religious leaders. Some men want to get a paralyzed friend to Jesus so he can heal the man. But thanks to the crowds surrounding the house, there is no way in. So these men climb onto the roof, open up a hole, and lower their friend through the roof to Jesus.

What Jesus does next is a great model of ministry for anyone involved in helping people recover from their hurts, habits, and hang-ups.

And you’ll see this pattern of ministry in all of Jesus’ interactions with people in the Gospels. They…

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Breaking the Chains of Hopelessness

The first time Rick publicly prayed at a weekend church service for people living with a mental illness, his words were simple. He asked God to bring comfort and strength to anyone living with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or any other mental illness. He asked God to reassure them that their pain and suffering mattered to God and to their brothers and sisters, and to remind them that as a church family, we would do all we could to offer support to them and their families.

The response from the congregation was astonishing. As he stood on the patio following the services, dozens of men and women who were living with a mental illness, or who loved someone living with a mental illness, lined up to give him a hug and to thank him for bringing their struggle into the light. Many spoke through their tears about the deep gratitude they felt to hear mental illness mentioned from the pulpit in such a loving and positive way. “I’ve kept my illness a secret at church,” several said. “I didn’t know it was okay to talk about it.”

That simple,…

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You’ll go through lots of doors in your life. Some of them are incredibly important, like the door you’ll open to walk into your first home or the one that leads to your child’s classroom on the first day of kindergarten.

But you’ll walk through more important doors than those. Recently, I’ve been studying what the Bible teaches about doors. They are all over the place as metaphors for opportunities that God provides. You’ll face many kinds of doors of opportunity in your life—doors to happiness, to abundance, and to achievement.

The most important door of all, is the door to freedom. Before you can ever take steps toward where God wants you to go, you’ll have to exit the prisons in your life.

You may have never been incarcerated, but you don’t have to be behind bars to be in prison. The most significant prisons in life aren’t the physical ones. They’re the prisons in our minds.

Pretending to be someone you’re not traps you in a prison of other people’s expectations.

Unforgiveness traps you in a prison of bitter resentment.

Guilt traps you in your own failures.

But here’s the good news about those prisons and…

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Parent and Child

One of the most important things we can do for our children is to teach them that God loves them unconditionally.

It’s extremely important that we teach our kids that they are loved, not because they earned our love or are good enough to be loved, but that they’re loved because God put them into our families to be loved.

This is hard for many of us because we have had a hard time receiving God’s unconditional love ourselves. God wants us to spend some time with him, letting him love us, and in turn giving that unconditional love to our kids.

How can we show God’s unconditional love to our families? Here are two practical ways:

1. Forgive your kids as God forgives you.

Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ” (NCV).

I love that God forgives me, but I’m not always ready to give that same kind of forgiveness to other people. Parenting requires massive doses of forgiveness. You’re in a position all the time to forgive your kids for things that they do.

2. Never give up on your kids.

We’re told in 1 Corinthians 13:7a,…

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