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 Sylvia Chesser, Celebration Place Director of Celebrate Recovery


“For You have been a defense for the helpless,

A defense for the needy in his distress,

A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat;

For the breath of the ruthless

Is like a rain storm against a wall.” Isaiah 25:4 (NASB1995)

I love thunderstorms… watching the clouds turn dark and start to churn with lightning playing in the shadows is fascinating and exciting to me, and I love the grumbling sounds of the thunder’s chorus.

What I love most is how a storm can change the climate in multiple ways. In some cases, a storm will dramatically lower the current temperature, bringing a cool change to a hot day. Other times, when the storm has run its course, the dampness in the atmosphere causes the heat to feel even more oppressive and sticky. Rain can clean things and make them look shiny and new or cause huge messes if it’s heavy enough. Large storms have been known to knock out power for days and put trees through the roof until people work hard to clean up and set things right.

Rough situations that happen to us or…

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By Sylvia and Stan

Sylvia – I’m a grateful believer in Jesus who struggles with co-dependency, pride, and food issues. I grew up in church but didn’t understand what it meant to have a personal relationship with Christ. My biological father left when I was young, and I used things like food and men to fill a void left by his absence. My mom always said, “Release, let go, and let God,” and while that helped me keep a strong faith in Him, it also kept me from feeling like I needed to do any work on who I was in Him.

Stan – I’m a grateful believer in Jesus, recovered from 25 years of tobacco use, and am in recovery for my trust, anger, and control issues. My dad was a deacon at our church, so we were known as a Christian family; however, having this label came with pressure to live up to certain expectations. As a young adult, I worked in a profession that expected me to move often, and I filled my time with drinking, anger outbursts, and no meaningful relationships. My relationships revolved around others doing what I…

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” canceled the debt, which listed all the rules we failed to follow. He took away that record with its rules and nailed it to the cross.”

Colossians 2:14 (NCV)

You are going to fail in life. That’s a given. Thankfully, you can live free from guilt and learn to move beyond your mistakes.

The Bible is painfully honest about the failures of its heroes. God saved the world from the flood through a man named Noah—yet his story ended in shame. Moses led the children of Israel through the Red Sea and into freedom—yet his anger kept him out of the Promised Land. King David was a man after God’s heart—but he had an affair and murdered the woman’s husband so he wouldn’t be discovered.

God realizes your frailty—and he has a solution for it: grace. If he only used perfect people, the Bible would be a short book. Jesus canceled our debt; he paid for our brokenness when he went to the cross.

God transforms failure into triumph, and he transforms broken lives into trophies of his grace. This is what the world needs; this is what it must be…

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By Michelle

I am a grateful believer in Jesus. I struggle with depression and self-worth, and my name is Michelle.

I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Put simply, it’s an emotional dysregulation disorder causing me to have unstable moods, behaviors, and relationships. This affected my ability to do schoolwork, social life, and self-esteem.

As a teenager, I was deemed overdramatic, but my problems were all-consuming, and I couldn’t figure out how to handle them. I was suffering from severe depression and anxiety and began self-harming. My problems didn’t get any better with a diagnosis.

I had to figure out how to live with my problems and handle day-to-day life. My bad habits were running from my problems, ignoring them, and distracting myself because I didn’t want to deal with reality. My life was completely unmanageable. I got overwhelmed easily and was overtaken by my depression; doing tasks like going into grocery stores alone gave me such anxiety that I would avoid it at all costs, and all my relationships were extremely unhealthy. It was my extreme lack of self-worth that was my major issue.

I deemed myself unlovable. I allowed myself to be used and…

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By Mary Owen, National Training Director

“The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control.”

2 Timothy 1:7 (ERV)

We all, at some point, have felt powerless . . . You may even be feeling powerless today. In that Bible verse I just read, it says our source of power comes from God. If we’re not plugged into His power, there IS reason to be afraid. But, when we’re plugged into God, He supplies us with all we need: HIS power, love, and self-control.

It’s God’s triple power surge!! The very three things we need in order to be wise, healthy, and have peace in our hearts, no matter what circumstances we’re going through.


  • I need God’s power to break unhealthy habits I can’t break on my own.
  • I need His power to do what I know is right but can’t seem to do it in my own strength.
  • I need His power to break free from the past and not let those memories hold me in bondage anymore.
  • I need His power to live the new life He…

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“The tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A great forest can be set on fire by one tiny spark. The tongue . . . can turn our whole lives into a blazing flame of destruction and disaster.”

James 3:5-6 (TLB)

When we don’t have self-control in our life, we’re vulnerable to all kinds of problems.

Anything out of control in your life can harm other people and damage your close relationships. Uncontrolled anger, addiction, spending, or ambition can create enormous problems. But the greatest destroyer of relationships is an uncontrolled tongue.

The average person has 30 conversations a day. That means you will spend one-fifth of your life talking. At some point, your mouth will probably get you into trouble.

James compares the tongue to a tiny spark because that’s all that is needed to create a great forest fire. A careless word can ignite your relationships and make them all go up in smoke.

Have you ever met a verbal arsonist?

Their words are dangerous. They use words of discouragement and criticism. Gossip is especially destructive because it spreads like an airborne virus. Careless words have destroyed…

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By Sarah Stanton, Celebrate Recovery National Director of Mental Health

Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month? In 2016, Celebrate Recovery started a Mental Health Initiative. Seven years later, CR continues to intentionally create safety in our local ministries for those working through mental health challenges.

The church hasn’t always known what to do or even wanted to help “those” people. But WE are those people. Mental health, like physical health, is something that we all have. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.

Here’s your opportunity to take a quick mental health check-up. How is your emotional, psychological, and social well-being? Do you need a tune-up? Do you need a safe person to share this with? Do you have a safe place to share this in?

Fear and anxiety are both something I’ve wrestled with. I have wrestled with it since I was a little girl. I was worrying about the time, the thoughts, and opinions of others, loved ones and their salvation, and my girls in this current climate. You name it; I’ve probably felt anxious about it.

Something I’m learning is that perfect peace is not found in…

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By Pastor Johnny Baker, Pastor and Global Executive Director

“If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”

Mark 5:28 (NIV)

When I first got into recovery, I thought of it as a spectator sport. I figured if I hung around enough, recovery would kind of just happen to me. Recovery by osmosis, I guess. But the first three lines of the Serenity Prayer showed me pretty quickly that this was not the case.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” So there are things I can’t do, and there are things I can. How am I supposed to know which is which?

I love to pray and ask God for his direction and guidance. I will often ask God what I should do in a particular situation, or sometimes, just in life in general. I know that many of us could give a testimony of a time he answered that prayer and showed us what to do. As good as it feels to seek God in these situations, there is…

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By Pastor Johnny Baker, Pastor and Global Executive Director

Hi, my name is Johnny, and I’m a believer who struggles with alcoholism and codependency.

I have been in recovery since 2004 and have seen my life change in so many ways. One thing I have learned is what brought me here isn’t what keeps me here. I began attending Celebrate Recovery when my first daughter, Maggie, was about to be born. I knew I wanted to break the cycle of dysfunction in my family and needed to get help overcoming my addiction to alcohol. I tried to do it on my own for a few months, but I didn’t have the power to sustain it. So, I began attending Celebrate Recovery in Lake Forest, CA. I say began, but I should say I started attending again. See, I was part of the very first group of people to do Celebrate Recovery when it started at Saddleback Church in 1991. At the time, I attended groups and completed a step study in the area of codependency. My father was an alcoholic, and I was a teenager who had decided I would never drink.

Cut to…

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Cling to God

By Celebrate Recovery

By Jeni Baker, Co-Global Executive Director

When I remember You on my bed, I meditate and thoughtfully focus on You in the night watches, For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63:6-8 (AMP)

When my kids were young, my middle daughter had a fear of loud noises. One day, when she was about 3 years old, I was bringing groceries in from the car, and she was trailing behind me. I set the bags on the ground and as soon as I opened the front door, the home phone was ringing. It caught my daughter off guard and terrified her. She proceeded to somehow climb up my body and cling to my neck with every ounce of strength she had. If she could have somehow burrowed into my skin, she would have. She clung to me because she…

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By Jeni Baker, Co-Global Executive Director

Hi, my name is Jeni, and I’m a child of God who struggles with co-dependency and I’m an adult child of family dysfunction. I first got into recovery 9.5 years ago when I was finally willing to admit that I was in emotional pain and that my desire to control everything and do it all on my own power was making my life unmanageable. Even though I have been in recovery for a while now, going through the pandemic has shown me just how important it is to keep working on my own recovery. New issues may pop up, or in my case, old hang-ups and habits can creep back in during times of stress and pain. My struggles with control and codependency came roaring back during the pandemic. Everything felt chaotic, a big trigger for me, and my life suddenly had no routine to it. We were all home all the time, and even though it was kind of fun for a couple of weeks, we all quickly…

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By Andy

I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with anxiety, depression, 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. Unfortunately, my parents both grew up in homes with alcoholic fathers who would occasionally turn abusive. Due to this, my parents promised each other that their children would grow up in a stable home. Mom and Dad achieved this to the best of their ability and gave my brothers and me a home where we were loved and raised to work hard. Growing up, I became quite competitive with my siblings, particularly with my older brother. When I compared myself to him, I always felt like I fell short somehow, and I became jealous and resentful of him. I wanted to show him that I had worth and value, that I wasn’t the fat, slow, stupid kid I saw myself as when I compared myself to him. This desire to prove myself would bleed over into other areas and relationships in my life.

Throughout school,…

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