Archives For Celebrate Recovery

By Rodney Holmstrom, National Field Director  

The holidays can be especially tough for so many. It can bring up past memories, losses, and even unwanted anniversaries. This year seems to add an extra level of heaviness with Covid and ongoing strife in our world.

The question that seems to be resonating in this season for me, and may apply to you as well at this time, is: “Am I ‘struggling’ or am I ‘challenged’?” I am learning that there is a difference between the two for me. If we are facing a trial in our life but are not using the tools around us to deal with it in a healthy way, then it is struggling…with no hope. However, if we are facing the trials, temptations, or all our battles with the tools we have before us, it moves us from “struggling” to “challenged,” which comes with hope for a better future. I don’t know about you, but I will take challenged over struggling any day.

As it’s been said, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” This season may bring up some old memories and pains, leaving you challenged today as…

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By Mac

I’m a believer in Jesus Christ whose drug and alcohol addiction brought me to Celebrate Recovery, my name is Mac. Being raised in the church by godly parents is no sure ticket to heaven. There are still choices to make. And my choice was to party! At all costs, I did what made me feel good at the moment, and I would forget all the church talk of living the good life ingrained in me from my first memories. Now I was free to do what made me feel good: drugs, alcohol, and getting my girlfriend, Mary, pregnant at age 15. We married at age 18, and that’s when I really became free to do whatever I wanted. No one was going to tell me how to live. Ironically, by the age of 29, all the things I was doing that were part of my freedom became my master. I was now a slave. My wife had chosen to go back to our church roots and re-engage her relationship with Jesus Christ. My drug addiction became a heavy yoke, while Mary found true freedom in a relationship with Jesus Christ.


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By Richard


Hello, I am a believer in Jesus Christ recovering from chemical dependency and compulsion. My name is Richard.


At 16, only two days into my school year, I was in a car wreck that left me in the hospital with months of rehabilitation, and my best friend dead. I felt powerless watching him die, but I thought I had to be strong.


Only two years later, I started five years of insanity, not a single sober day. I was experiencing many blackouts with no recall of what I had done. I never thought about God, family, or friends. My life was meaningless, compulsive, and all about me.


I married my girlfriend, who was pregnant. Our relationship was all about the party life. We had three daughters in three years, but that did not stop the partying. When my wife was pregnant with our third daughter, she went into premature labor while trying to lift me from the floor after another blackout. My daughter Ashley lived for 11 hours, and it seems like I would die with her. When the doctor told me, my knees buckled, and I collapsed on the floor in a…

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“The Shepherd”

By Celebrate Recovery

by Andy Petry

I was reminded of something important this week as I was reading: we don’t walk this path alone, but we have a God who is willing to walk alongside us and picks us up like a loving Father when we’re struggling. I was reminded of this passage in Isaiah 40:11:


“He tends his flock like a shepherd:

He gathers the lambs in his arms

and gently carries them close to his heart;

He gently leads those that have young.”


As I’ve walked through this season, this has been an enormous truth I’ve needed to grab on to. I love every time in the Bible where it talks about God as a shepherd.  Because a shepherd in those times was dedicated entirely to caring for and nurturing their flock, even to the point of fighting off the bears and lions that tried to harm the sheep. This dedication was a beautiful mixture of compassion, strength, and a willingness to live in the middle of the mess and grime that came with living with a bunch of livestock. A shepherd wasn’t afraid of the mess. He loved the sheep with all his heart and fought…

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By Eugene

I was an emotional and insecure child. I just never felt good enough. One of my earliest memories was at Christmas time when I was 3. My parents wanted to take a picture of my grandparents holding my brother and sister and asked me to step aside. I stood off to the side and started blubbering uncontrollably. I felt like I had been discarded for the two cuter babies and I was out of the picture completely.

My father drank and my parents frequently argued. I remember being caught in the crossfire at times. Along with my insecurity, this led me to strive for perfection to keep the peace.

In 3rd grade, I went to a neighbor’s Good News Bible school and there I accepted Jesus as my savior. This was a turning point for my family. Mom took us to church and we continued to attend for many months until they had a gospel sing and Dad agreed to go. There he accepted Christ and never drank again, and we became a church going family. But I was still striving for perfection. I worked for straight A’s and just knew that…

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By Sheila Knudson, Celebrate Recovery Northeast Regional Director

“We have this HOPE as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

Hebrews 6:19

In ancient times, the anchor was viewed as a symbol that represented safety. Because of this, Christians adopted the anchor as their symbol of HOPE. The word “anchor” is used in this verse as a metaphor for that “which supports or keeps one steadfast during a time of trial or doubt.”

Even though we aren’t living in ancient times, we all know right now, we can have plenty of trials and things to have doubt about. In our personal recovery journeys, we can be struggling to navigate through tumultuous, perilous and uncertain waters.

During these times of struggle, we have to place our hope and trust in our one and only Higher Power, Jesus Christ. He alone is our Hope and the Anchor for our souls.

As I researched the word “anchor,” I found that there are many types of anchors which are used for different purposes. We can compare those to the roles Jesus plays as the “anchor to our souls.”

Some anchors are…

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By Meaghan Grider, National Director Saddleback Church

What was Christmas morning like for you as a child? Was it a happy day filled with laughter and gifts? Was it a difficult day filled with disappointment and tension? Perhaps it was somewhere in the middle or changed from year to year.

Many of us may have longed for the Christmas mornings we saw in movies and on TV or perhaps even in the homes around us. My Christmases had plenty of traditions, spending snowy days with my many cousins and aunts and uncles in a small house in Mequon, Wisconsin. This California girl always looked forward to my white Christmas. Until I got there and came face to face with some of the other “traditions.” My Dad, unaccustomed to fathering full time, would forget to buy my sister and my gifts every year. We had one or two presents my mom sent in our suitcases, and then we watched with pasted-on smiles as our cousins opened gift after gift after gift. After a few years of this, I remember wishing I was in one of their families instead of my own. I…

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By Danny Duchene, CR Inside Pastor at Saddleback Church

Leilini’s story

During the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, it has not been easy for many of the Angel Tree families who have a mom or dad in prison. One of these families includes the family of a particular four-year-old Angel named Leilini. In 2019 Leilini’s dad was released from prison and, unfortunately, lost his battle with opioid addiction. For those who struggle with addiction, the first few weeks after prison release are a high-risk period for relapse and overdose. Consequently, Leilini’s father died of an overdose shortly after his release. As a result of these circumstances, the Covid-19 crisis has been incredibly difficult for Leilini and her family. However, this tragedy associated with post incarceration relapse is why our prison ministry continues our relationship with this Angel Tree family.

Leilini has been an Angel Tree participant for the first three years of her life. Since she was born while her father was in prison, Angel Tree volunteers from Saddleback Church have taken a special interest in Leilini and her family. During this time, Leilini has participated in Saddleback Church’s annual Angel Tree event at the…

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I still remember the moment I realized I was co-dependent. Through Celebrate Recovery, I had been working on issues with control and people pleasing. However, I hadn’t quite put the full puzzle together yet. I was sitting in a breakout session at the Celebrate Recovery National Summit in 2017 and it hit me all at once. “I’m struggling with co-dependency!” My eyes welled up with tears as I processed that thought. I so desperately wanted to be a strong, independent woman and here I was – co-dependent.

I was born into a broken home, with a father recently home from the Vietnam War and a mother determined not to repeat the mistakes she experienced growing up. Life was unstable and emotional, to say the least. It didn’t take long for me to figure out the last thing my world needed was more emotional turmoil. Instead, I was determined to bring joy and approval into my life. I would earn the love my father wasn’t capable of showing and my parents would never be anything but proud of me. It was a tall order, but it made me feel powerful and in control…

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Choosing Trust

By Celebrate Recovery

By Cheryl Luke, National Director Cultural Communities

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)

An interesting exercise in trust is falling backwards into the arms of another person. Maybe you’ve played this game as a child: One person is blindfolded, spun around several times, then positioned in front of someone else. When ready, the blindfolded falls back into the waiting arms of the person standing right behind them. It’s a game of anticipation, hope and trust. Think about the moment just before the fall back. The desire to participate is present, along with the no small degree of trepidation. It’s unnerving! Questions abound. “Can they catch me?” “Will they catch me?” “Do I really want to go through with this?” “I. Can. Do. This!” Fists clenched. Arms crossed tightly over chest. Three. Two. One. Fall back.

Once the decision to fall back is acted upon, self-reliance shifts to total dependence. Whole-hearted confidence and trust are surrendered. This is what God asks of us, as his followers. This is where He wants us to live….

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By Dickie Everman, SE Regional Director

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

Philippians 2:12-13

These verses are two of my favorite verses. I was not raised up in church, even though my grandfather was a pastor. My dad was one of those rebellious pastor’s kids who stopped going to church until later in life. I became a Christ follower when I was thirty-five years old with my wife, JuaNita, and our four children. What brought me to the church was my battle with alcoholism. I wanted to find out who this God was I was praying to. God put some amazing men in my life who invited me to a men’s conference. It was amazing to see and hear 50,000 men singing and praising God with their hands held high. God used this men’s conference and these men to make me want to be a man of…

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By JuaNita

My name is JuaNita, I am a believer who struggles with codependency.

I knew of Jesus and went to church some as a child. By the time I was in elementary school, we quit going to church. I wouldn’t seek Jesus until I was so desperate and hopeless in my life. I became a Christ follower at age 43.

Before giving my life to Jesus, I lived a very worldly life. I took everything it had to offer and lived taking chances. I had so many troubles and I had no idea how to fix them. I suffered the consequences of my actions.

His Word says in Romans 5:3-5: “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” I love this verse…it tells me that life is not going to be all roses when we serve Him. It tells me we will have troubles and suffering. But look what we gain, HOPE AND JOY.

I was sexually…

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