Archives For Celebrate Recovery

By Scott

After many sobriety attempts from drug and alcohol addiction, my official recovery journey started December 26, 1993. I entered an addiction treatment center in my community that day to see if I could make this new lifestyle finally stick. And it did. I recently celebrated 25 years of clean and sober living! Praise God!

Early on in my recovery, I realized I had a lot of other stuff I needed to address—not material stuff, but emotional, spiritual, and psychological stuff. I was filled with anger and resentment, along with an unhealthy addiction to pornography, which was also getting in the way of living my life functionally.

I had been introduced to the secular 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) prior to this time. I only appeared at meetings to try and understand what 12-step work was all about. I wasn’t interested, and it didn’t stick. During my treatment stay, though, I was challenged with finding a sponsor before being released. I started attending meetings again, and after finding a sponsor, I really started working the 12 steps for the first time.

Steps 2 and 3 were a struggle for me spiritually. However, while…

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By Scott Kemp – Celebrate Recovery North Central Regional Director

“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills” (Deuteronomy 8:7 NLT).

I get excited about springtime. The sun gets warmer and flowers begin to poke through the soil that’s been loosened by the cold, snowy winter. An inventory of tasks begins to take shape in the form of window and screen cleaning, sweeping out the grit from the garage floor, touchup painting, and moving lawn furniture out to the patio. All taking place in preparation for a fresh, new season. Exciting, right?

The fourth step—a personal inventory—is a little bit like spring-cleaning because it can prepare us for a fresh, new season!

However, for many people, it’s their least favorite step. It involves the things we don’t want to do: Face our past, our mistakes, our scary thoughts, our emotions, and our current problems. Though it can be scary, it’s still one of the most important steps in recovery.

Addiction and compulsive behavior are merely symptoms of underlying inner conflict. While working a recovery program,…

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Experiencing Joy through Freedom

By Laura

Hi, my name is Laura. I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ, and for many years my struggle was with insecurity and low self-worth.

I was raised in a family where I felt as though I could never please anyone. My father was orphaned at 4 and raised in a Catholic orphanage during the Depression. My mother was an adult child of an alcoholic who had never dealt with any of her issues. This caused me to have a desperate need for approval and acceptance, setting up a pattern of bad behavior over the years. When I was 8 years old, I blindly went with a stranger in search of the acceptance and approval I so desperately wanted. Sadly, he stole my innocence from me.

For years I believed that what happened to me was my fault. I began a pattern of self-hatred, low self-worth, and insecurity.

I could not see the treasure God had created me to be. All I could see were shame and guilt. I was no longer pure and innocent. I felt tainted, ruined, and worthless.

I was angry with God and believed he could not…

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Pass It On

By Celebrate Recovery

Pass It On

By Sabrena Stolze, SE Regional Director

More than anything, I want others to know what Jesus Christ has given me through Celebrate Recovery® and what Celebrate Recovery has done in my marriage, my family, my relationships—my life.

When I meet someone new, I seek opportunities to bring up my recovery to introduce the ministry, hoping to plant a seed of curiosity they might explore. So how do I explain this amazing ministry to strangers? What do I want them to know? What might you share if you had the opportunity?

We could just go with the facts: It’s a Christ-centered recovery program that helps people heal from their hurts, hang-ups, and habits. That’s fantastic, after all! And this is certainly information I want people to receive. However, it goes so much deeper.

I want to share what it feels like when Christ loves people right where they are. He begins to heal them, transform them, restore them through steps, groups, relationships, love, grace, tools, accountability, transparency, and safety.

In one of Beth Moore’s studies, she described her childhood as having a foundation of pain, hurt, and struggle with moments of joy scattered throughout her…

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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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