Archives For Celebrate Recovery

Celebrate Recovery, founded by John Baker and Rick Warren at Saddleback Church, is now used in over 25,000 churches as a Christ-centered recovery ministry, helping people recover from their deepest hurts, hang-ups, and habits!

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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“We stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.”

2 Corinthians 1:9 (NLT)

God’s strength will carry you through every storm. Sometimes we experience storms that push us to the limit. The apostle Paul would agree. He was once so depressed by his circumstances, he felt like he was out of options. Paul had come to the end of his strength. On his own, he could no longer endure.

How did Paul get through that difficult time? He plugged into God’s power—the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.

How about you? Have you come to the end of your own strength? Are you out of options and wondering where you’ll find the power to take another step forward?

There is just one condition for receiving God’s power in your life: humility.

God doesn’t give his power to arrogant people. Humility is simply admitting to God, “You are God, and I am not. I am powerless to change this situation, so I am giving it to you.” The moment you do, God brings…

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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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“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.”
Psalm 37:23-24 (NLT)

Do you feel like you aren’t growing fast enough?

When you first become a Christian, you start growing quickly in your faith. After a while, the growth slows down. Your spiritual growth is like a baby; they double in size within their first year. However, that growth isn’t sustained. If they grew that fast every year, they’d quickly be bigger than a house!

God isn’t in a hurry for you to grow—he is never in a hurry! You might be, but he isn’t. He wants you to have a life deeply rooted in Christ. He wants you to stand strong so when the rough winds of life hit you, you won’t get blown over.

In seasons of slow spiritual growth, you may feel like God has stopped caring about you. This is never true because he “delights in every detail” of your life. Your spiritual growth is a process that will take your entire life. You won’t finish growing in a week, a month, or…

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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 Pastor Rick Warren

“Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ.”

1 Corinthians 1:30 (The Message)

Jesus is in the business of giving people a fresh start. You may think, “I’ve blown it; I’ve really made a mess of things in my life. I wish I could have a fresh start.”

Here’s some life-changing news: You don’t have to stay the same! When you confess your mess to Jesus, he lovingly and graciously responds by giving you a fresh start.

Beneath all the sins, all the things you’ve done wrong in life, God sees you. He created you to love you. God’s message is, “You can be what I made you to be—and start living in a whole new way.”

God will show you how he sees you, and that will transform your life. When you commit your life to God, he will give you a fresh start. If you’ve never submitted your life to Jesus, do that now. Just say, “Jesus, I want you to…

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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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“Then the man said, ‘Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’”

Genesis 32:26 (NLT)

When God allows a crisis in your life, he doesn’t solve it immediately. Look at the life of Jacob. When he and God had their wrestling match in Genesis 32, God could have overpowered Jacob and ended things instantly—but instead, they wrestled until dawn. Why did God let the struggle continue?

You might be asking God the same question about your life. God lets your struggle continue because he wants to see how serious you are about seeking him. If God answered every prayer immediately, you’d begin to think he was a vending machine: Put in a prayer and pull out whatever you need.

For example, if God instantly bailed you out of a financial crisis caused by your own poor choices, then tomorrow you might overspend again. You wouldn’t learn discipline or how to manage your money. God will help you get out of debt, but he wants to build your character in the process.

If you’re in…

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