Archives For Celebrate Recovery

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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By Nate Stewart, National Director of Mental Health for Celebrate Recovery

I consider myself an independent person. I am comfortable by myself. Over the years, though, I have come to realize that there is a significant difference between being by myself and being alone. One of the hardest parts of my mental health struggle is the feeling of being all alone.

At times I feel like I have no one to reach out to for help. Sometimes I feel like no one understands what I’m going through. When I’m feeling like that, I really don’t want to be alone.

Thankfully, I have come to an understanding about God that has helped me through those times when I am feeling alone. God is not some distant being who cannot relate to me. He is someone who does understand because Jesus, who is God, came to Earth and lived among us.

For me, one of the most powerful verses in Scripture is John 11:35, “Jesus wept” (NIV). These two words speak so much to me. “Jesus wept” does not mean he had one little romanticized tear running down his cheek. He bawled. He felt the pain and…

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By April

Depression is a monster — a foul beast that creeps into the mind and a storm that torments the soul, wreaking havoc while destroying hope. My name is April, a grateful believer in Jesus who struggles with depression and anxiety. My grandmother, my Mema, was the center of my life during my early childhood. When I was 11 years old, she died after a struggle with breast cancer. I was left trying to make sense of it all. She had told me she was going to run circles around me in the yard when she got better, and she would never lie to me, right?

I became angry with God. I hated him and openly blamed him for the cause of my pain. I questioned his existence. Why would a loving God take away one of the most important people in my life? Why would a loving God take away one of the greatest sources of joy and love I felt I had ever known? A paralyzing depression closely followed her death. It was a painful poison that slowly spread. This poison intruded my thoughts and debilitated my ability to maintain…

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God Even Calls Broken Believers into Ministry Imageby Andy

I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with insecurity, anxiety, and sexual addiction, and my name is Andy.

I was raised in a wonderful home, the middle child of three brothers, and a son to a mom and a dad who loved their children dearly. My parents both grew up in homes with alcoholic fathers who would occasionally turn abusive. Due to this, my parents endured a great deal of dysfunction growing up but promised each other that their children would grow up in a stable home. Mom and Dad achieved this to the best of their ability. They gave my brothers and me a home where we were loved, and they raised us to work hard and always do our best.

Growing up I became quite competitive with my siblings, particularly my older brother. When I compared myself to him I always felt like I fell short somehow, and I began to deeply resent him and became jealous of him. I wanted to show him that I was better than him, that somehow I had worth and value. It would mean that…

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Thirsty

By Celebrate Recovery

Thirsty - Waterfall Imageby John Eklund

I am not really much of an outdoorsman.

So when my brother-in-law, Luke, suggested a weekend camping trip along the Appalachian Trail, I resisted. I’m quite fond of roofs, mattresses, refrigeration, and indoor plumbing. I really like indoor plumbing. Conversely, I am not such a fan of malaria, poisonous snakes, poisonous spiders, and poison ivy. I pretty much like to avoid anything poisonous. He shrugged off my quick refusal, challenged my manhood, and began painting pictures in my imagination rivaling the best L.L. Bean and Cabela’s catalog covers. The next thing I knew I was trudging up the side of a mountain with a hastily purchased army surplus rucksack bouncing heavily against my back.

Luke had mapped out our trip, meticulously gauging and packing the precise amount of supplies we would need for our journey. We planned to hike up to and then down the trail several miles, make camp, and spend the night. We would wake up early, make for a spring that marked our halfway point, refill on water, and spend the rest of our final day trekking back to the start.

The first day went as…

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God is Good

By Kareena

I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with co-dependency and with love and relationship addiction.

My childhood was filled with rejection, abandonment, and abuse. My biological mom left my sister and me with our dad when I was 8 months old. Growing up, I was physically abused by my stepmom and sexually molested by a step-sibling from the age of 6 until I was 12. The molestation stopped when a relative alerted authorities, but no charges were pressed because someone said it was untrue. I was taught not to talk about it, to act like those six years never happened. Putting on a mask, I tried to be “normal.”

At 19, I married a seemingly charming man. My husband soon showed that he was a verbally abusive and controlling alcoholic. Degrading insults, getting drunk, and punching holes through walls were common events. After 14 months of marriage, I got the courage to say that I wanted out.

Four years later, I married Joe, whom I’d met online. After two years of infertility, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome. Around that same time, we went to church with relatives although…

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By Scott Kemp, North Central Regional Director

“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again — my Savior and my God!” (Psalm 43:5 NLT).

I recently became ill and was eventually diagnosed with influenza A. As I sank deeper into the illness, a real sense of hopelessness began to rise up in my mind. I started getting delusional and began to think:

“I sure hope the doctor can give me something to make me feel better.”

“I sure hope I can get better in time for that special event this weekend.”

“I sure hope I make it through this!”

The fear and anxiety generated by the infection were real, and that hopeless feeling slowly became depressing. Turning on the TV during my recovery, I quickly realized how hopeless the world can be, too. We humans are hurrying to fill our empty lives with “stuff.” Abuse, addiction, illness, and broken relationships surround us. It’s so easy to lose heart. I began to feel doubtful about myself and began bathing in self-pity. I desperately needed some encouragement and hope.

As I lay on the couch feeling sorry…

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