Archives For Recovery

Helping People Change Their Autopilot

We’re all tempted by something. It’s proof of being alive. If you’re not tempted, you’re not breathing.

So the question isn’t, “Are you tempted?” The question is, “What are you doing about it?”

The key to overcoming temptation isn’t to resist it. You need to replace temptation, not resist it. Whatever you resist, persists.

You might be thinking, “Doesn’t the Bible say, ‘resist temptation’?”

It doesn’t.

The Bible tells us to “resist the devil” (James 4:7 NIV). We’re to resist the tempter, not the temptation.

When I was a little kid, my mom would make chocolate chip cookies, usually before dinner. When I would go up to the table to look at them, my mom would say, “Don’t you eat those cookies, Ricky.”

“I’m not, Mom. I’m just smelling them.” Of course, right?

But those warm, freshly baked cookies had my attention.

That’s where a lot of people are when they come to Celebrate Recovery®. Something has their attention. Maybe it’s alcohol. Maybe it’s sex. Maybe it’s codependent behaviors. Maybe it’s shopping.

Or maybe it’s chocolate chip cookies.

And here’s the worst part: Whatever gets our attention, gets us. The Bible tells us in James 1 that whatever gets…

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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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7 Ways to Welcome Guests to Your Celebrate Recovery Ministry

I’ve said this over and over again at Saddleback.

Out of the 200 ministries we have at our church, Celebrate Recovery® is my favorite.

CR is all about changed lives—and that’s the biggest thrill of my life. If you want to know what makes Rick Warren tick, it’s pretty simple: changed lives.

All I need to do is hear one story of a life changed—a marriage saved, a teen who gets off drugs, or someone liberated from codependency—and I’m good for another month.

Changed lives keep me going.

I’ve never been around a ministry that sees so many lives changed by Christ as Celebrate Recovery. It’s a life-change machine—and I love it!

I know that God didn’t design the church to be a hotel for saints. He designed it to be a hospital for sinners. Your church’s Celebrate Recovery ministry demonstrates this on a weekly basis.

But if your Celebrate Recovery ministry is going to be a hospital for sinners and an incubator for changed lives, it needs to be a place where guests feel comfortable to attend.

Think about the first time you showed up at Celebrate Recovery. It…

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Lights are everywhere this time of year. In Southern California where I live, you’ll see the first lights go up in the early fall as stores start decorating. Then the cities follow by getting theirs up. Finally, as we finish up Thanksgiving leftovers, many of our neighbors are adding Christmas lights to their homes.

Christmas falls just four days after the longest night of the year; so all of this light comes at a good time.

It’s fitting. When we’re in the darkest part of the year, the light of Christmas breaks through.

Light is a major theme in the Bible. In fact, in the stories of Jesus’ birth in the Gospels, we read of a star showing the wise men the way to Jesus. We read of the angels performing a dazzling light show to get the attention of the shepherds, so they could make their way to Jesus.

In fact, Jesus tells us that the reason he came on that first Christmas was to bring light into the world. He says in John 12:46, “I am Light that has come into the world so that all who believe in me won’t have to…

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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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The way you see your life shapes your life.

I wrote those words 16 years ago in The Purpose Driven Life, and I still mean them today. We’re tempted to see ourselves as everyone else does. You know the way it goes. You see yourself as broken and beaten up. You see yourself as an addict or former addict. You see yourself as a failure.

If that’s what you believe about who you are, you’ll never become who God wants you to be. How you define your life determines your destiny.

That’s one of the reasons why, when John Baker first started Celebrate Recovery®, he didn’t ask people to identify themselves by their addictions.

Instead, in Celebrate Recovery, participants each identify themselves as “a believer who struggles with” a specific issue.

There’s a huge difference between the two. Your identity isn’t your sin. Your identity is in your Savior.

Don’t let the ugly words in your past (or even in your present) define you any longer.

Other people may see you as broken and damaged goods. But that’s not how God sees you.

I don’t know where you are in your walk with God today, but if you truly…

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