Archives For Celebrate 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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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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By Bob Newby, Regional Director for the West

I walked through the doors of Celebrate Recovery 14 years ago on the recommendation of a family counselor. She suggested that I might be struggling with some codependency. I wasn’t sure why she thought that. I was fine. The fact that I was unhappy and anxious was not my fault. It was everyone else who was messed up! I’m a pastor! I knew my marriage wasn’t perfect, but we hadn’t cheated on each other. We were deeply committed to staying together. Sure, we had conflict, but I thought that if my wife would just respect me, our marriage would be so much better.

I was angry with our teenage son for using marijuana. I remember thinking, I am not the one who needs help in this family. If my wife would change, if my son would get his act together, things would be fine. My focus had been on pointing out how they needed to change. I tried quite diligently to get them to change but to no avail. I would use my loud voice. I felt shame when I did that. I would offer…

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By Carol Holmstrom, National Assimilation Coach

“‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’ . . . But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man’” Genesis 2:18, 20-23 (ESV).

The Bible goes on to recount how Adam and Eve fell into temptation and did the one thing that the Lord told them not to do. They then played the “excuse and accuse” game. They blamed each other for their mistakes and bad choices.

How often do we do that in our relationships—especially in marriage? “If my husband wasn’t this way, I wouldn’t respond like that.” “If my wife…

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Testimony of Change

I’m a follower of Jesus Christ who struggles with addiction and self-control. My name is David.

I recall receiving affection and attention as a child, attending church with my folks, and going to the racetrack with my dad, who was a jockey for 14 years. My mother was loving and giving with everyone she encountered. But my parents also struggled greatly.

As a boy I tried to fit in with others while battling a sense of feeling “less than” others. But I thrived as a wrestler and was academically successful. I was fairly industrious working after-school jobs. By high school, I felt alienated from the church.

During college, hard drugs were everywhere and took a toll on others and me. It was so easy to delude myself into thinking that I was only hurting myself. People were wrecking their cars, their marriages, and going to jail. Two kids died from heroin overdoses at my house. I came to hate heroin and what it did to people. Yet there I was using other substances.

I had played music professionally, but my focus shifted as I became involved with people who had been exiled from Iran during…

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By Danny Duchene, National Director for CR Inside

Therefore comfort each other and edify one another” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NKJV).

The paradox of recovery is that both the wounds behind addiction and the healing of those wounds are relationally based. This is why healthy relationships are a protected and essential part of Celebrate Recovery. Unfortunately, many men are resistant to healthy relationships and, as a result, are not maturing in recovery.

One of the reasons men resist needs-based relationships is what I call masculine-masking. I believe one of the most spiritually crippling masculine-masking messages is the belief that “needing someone is weak.” This mask is especially dangerous because spiritual growth is relational. We grow spiritually and emotionally through healthy relationships with God and others. When we say we don’t need anyone, we are halting our own progress. In reality, this mask reveals emotional wounds rather than emotional health.

When I was a young teenager and both my parents were incarcerated, my response was to protect myself from close relationships in order to avoid getting hurt. In his book Hiding From Love, Dr. John Townsend explains this response: “When you experience emotional injury, fear, shame, or pride,…

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