Archives For Celebrate Recovery

How Voluntary Submission Changed My Life

By Robert

I was born to a 15-year-old girl who had been kicked out of her own home just before my birth. We lived in Austin, Texas, in a small duplex where my mother began doing drugs. I would bounce back and forth between my mom’s place and my dad’s house. The early years of my life were difficult times, filled with confusion and trauma. Over the course of those years, my aunt would take me into her room and molest me. I never told a soul.

Eventually, my mom met an older man who took us in and cared for us in a way that gave the illusion things were going to be okay. But it was just an illusion. My two younger brothers were born, and I felt as though my mom forgot I existed. So much of her attention was given to my brothers and my stepfather. I turned to my friends in the streets to seek refuge and meaning. I would be their entertainment by way of bullying, fighting, stealing, vandalizing, and setting things on fire. But at least they recognized my existence.

My stepfather…

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The Last One Standing

By Cheryl Luke, CR National Director for Cultural Communities

Do you remember playing team games as a child? Two leaders are chosen, and one by one, each leader picks team members. As the crowd decreases, those waiting to hear their name silently scream, “Pick me; I don’t want to be the last one standing!”

Picture the last individual waiting to be selected, their hands hanging at their sides. Looking down. Avoiding eye contact with the “chosen.” Realizing they’re the one that no one would select unless they had no other choice.

As a child, this can be devastating. As an adult, the sense of devastation is no less appalling.

In Judges 6:15, Gideon sees himself as insignificant and irrelevant among his people and family. He carries the weight of being the least of the least. Not only does Gideon feel inconsequential, but he also senses that his people have been completely abandoned by God. However, his perception couldn’t be further from the truth.

There’s more to Gideon than meets the eye! If you look at his situation from a place of sheer survival, one might think this guy is not doing much. He…

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By John Eklund, National Director – East

It’s pure torture when you’re a growing teenager and an array of the greatest food ever created is laid out in front of you amid the awe and splendor of your grandmother’s finest dishes, neatly folded napkins bearing the images of autumn leaves, and gleaming silverware whispering sweetly to you, “Pick me up and dig in. What are you waiting for? It’s going to get cold . . . eat, eat.”

Then you’re suddenly interrupted by another voice, carried over the steaming mashed potatoes, the turkey, and the stuffing, asking the question that is the gatekeeper between you and an epic feast of magnificently gluttonous proportions.

“What are you thankful for?”

Sigh. What was I thankful for? Same thing I am grateful for today, I imagine. Each year the question was raised at our family Thanksgiving dinner. And I expressed my monosyllabic gratitude with only enough enthusiasm to get me closer to those homemade rolls glistening with melted butter.

“Health.”

“God.”

“Food!”

I was asked this question again by members of my Forever Family as we talked and laughed through our annual Fried Turkey “Fryday” Feast that preceded this past week’s Celebrate…

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By Karen

Hi, my name is Karen, and I am a grateful believer in Christ who struggles with fear and anxiety.

I came into the world weighing less than three pounds. I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when I was just 2 years old and was subjected to five surgeries before the age of 10. I had one additional surgery my sophomore year of high school. All the surgeries were traumatic and fearful events that came with many unknowns.

I don’t remember comfort, compassion, or explanations regarding the surgeries I endured as a child—just feelings of fear and vulnerability. The one thing I did know, the one thing I was sure of, after wearing many braces and being subjected to a lot of different physical therapies attempting to make my body work right, was that there was something wrong with me. I was not the same as everyone else. I was different.

From as far back as I can remember, fear and worry ran my life. Very early in my childhood, my anxiety physically manifested itself in painful stomachaches so severe that our family doctor had to put me on medication. I worried about my…

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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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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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By James Daman

I used to work in a juvenile detention facility. I took the job expecting to make an impact, but I was the one that was impacted. I met so many bright, affable children. But in all my time there, I noticed one commonality in what each child needed. After security and safety, they just wanted to be loved.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV)

I didn’t know it at the time, but a lack of loving myself is what brought me to Celebrate Recovery. Matthew 22:39 says to love your neighbor as yourself, but if you don’t love yourself, how can you love others and love God? Celebrate Recovery taught me how to love the person God designed me to be, and the overflow of that love led me to love God and love others.

I began…

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By Danielle

My name is Danielle, and I am a grateful believer in Jesus who suffered from the overuse of opioid medicine. The oldest of four siblings, I grew up in Brooklyn, New York. I was raised in a dysfunctional family, and my life was far from picture-perfect. I was baptized at the age of 1 and was in and out of church my entire life; however, I never attended on a regular basis and didn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus.

I also never had a healthy relationship with my father. My parents separated when I was young, and my father took off with me to Florida when I was about 3. I lived with him till I was about 5, but I always wanted to be with my mom. I don’t have any happy memories of living with my father—just memories of being left with a babysitter for days on end and waking up to a house filled with smoke from an alcoholic father leaving food in the oven. When I was about 5, a judge allowed me to go live with my mother. But I always wanted the loving relationship…

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