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 Hess

I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with depression and anger, and my name is Hess. I was blessed to grow up in a great family, but one thing I did not learn was how to open up to those closest to me. As a result, I was a “stuffer” and “conflict-avoider” early on. I thought the life goal for Christians was to please God and people. And if I got angry, I stuffed it. 

My first bout with depression came when I was 20 years old, when I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. Accompanied by painful cramping, bleeding, and uncontrollable diarrhea (providing me with many humbling experiences!), I had to be hospitalized for six weeks after Christmas of my junior year. During the third week in the hospital, that depression started settling in while I kept track on the bottom of a Kleenex box the number of times I barely made it to the bathroom each day. 

I prayed many times a day, asking God for healing. But the healing never came. As a 20-year-old, I came to understand CR Principle 1…

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By Joe Clark, National Director of Celebrate Recovery Native Nations

The Christmas season was rapidly approaching, and Thanksgiving was just a few days away. My birthday was just a couple of days ago, and I caught a cold on my birthday. I didn’t get to go to Celebrate Recovery because I didn’t want to get anyone else sick. With all the chaos in the world and the distractions in the news, it’s easy to forget what the season is and what it represents. If we take our eyes off Jesus and the hope that only he can bring, it is so easy to lose hope. Hebrews 6:19 says we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and strong. It enters behind the curtain in the Most Holy Place in Heaven, where Jesus has gone ahead of us and for us. Jesus has plans, hope, and a future for us.

Some people love the holidays and look forward to them all year long. Some of us struggle during the holidays, and it’s definitely not our favorite time of year. Learning to focus on Jesus Christ, our relationship with God through him,…

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By Will

Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors and that our lives had become unmanageable.

Hi, my name is Will. I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ and a recovering addict. I am a Native American and a member of the Yurok Tribe.

My pride & ego prevented me from admitting I was powerless and that my life had become unmanageable. For this reason, I stayed in my addiction for decades. It’s also the reason I thought the only way I’d be able to quit was to commit suicide. But thankfully, God had something else in mind.

I’ll be sharing a little about my past & end with what my recovery journey has been up to now. I celebrated ten years of recovery on February 14, 2022. I realize what I went through in my 58 years of life helped prepare me for the man I am today. I would not trade this experience for the world.

I was born in Santa Cruz, CA, in 1964. I was raised by a Christian mother who tried her best to raise me and my five siblings by herself. She…

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Don’t Fear the Shadows

By Rick Warren

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 

I will fear no evil, for you are with me;

your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Psalm 23:4 (ESV)

In life’s dark valleys, there is loss. When people go through loss, there are two common reactions. One is fear, and the other is grief. Grief is good. Grief is the way you get through the transitions of life. In fact, if you don’t grieve, you get stuck! Grief will only hurt you if you don’t let it out. 

On the other hand, fear is a bad thing. Not once in the Bible does it say, “Grieve not,” “Sorrow not,” “Weep not,” or “Cry not.” What it does say is “Fear not.” And it says that 365 times! 

For example, shepherds carried a rod and a staff to guide and protect their sheep. In the same way, David knew that God had the tools to protect him, and he trusted God—even in the darkest valleys. 

Perhaps you are going through the valley of the…

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By Bob Newby, West Region Director for Celebrate Recovery

I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ. I struggle with codependency showing itself in anxiety, avoidance, people-pleasing, and control. My name is Bob.

Growing up, nurturing was hit or miss…it mainly seemed a miss for me. I grew up with the pain of feeling ignored, marginalized, and unimportant. 

My insecurities and hurts led me to abuse alcohol at a young age. The first time I got drunk, I was only 14, on a deer hunting trip with my dad and his buddies. By the time I was 17, I was regularly drinking to cope with my emotional pain. 

During the fall semester of my freshman year of college, a man named Jim came to my dorm room and invited me to a Bible study. I really wanted to come, because I had lots of questions. I had been reading the Bible on my own off and on for a couple of years. This man had joy and peace that transcended his circumstances. Jim had what I wanted. I could see Jesus in my friend Jim….

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By Bob Newby, West Region Director for Celebrate Recovery

Our small group is reading through the book of Daniel. There are some very profound lessons for those of us in recovery. I want to highlight one for us to consider. 

Nebuchadnezzar was a mighty, wealthy, influential, and gifted man. He built Babylon into the greatest empire of his day. From the world’s perspective, he had it all. He built the world’s most powerful military for aggression, protection, and influence. He had access to all the resources to create whatever he wanted. It would seem at first glance that if he wrote a book about leadership, it would have been a best seller. In 600 B.C., he would have been the “Man of the Year” for Time Magazine.

That is why it is so shocking that this amazing king of kings and Man of the Year winner would be homeless, isolated, eating grass, with fingernails like the claws of a bird and unkempt hair like the feathers of a bird—only twelve months later.

Here is how that happened:

King Nebuchadnezzar had…

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Godly Habits

By Rick Warren

Practice these things. Devote your life to them so that everyone can see your progress.

1 Timothy 4:15 (GW)

God’s truth will set you free, but it may make you miserable at first. For instance, when you think about facing your weaknesses with honesty, fear can keep you in a prison of denial.

But when you allow God to shine the light of his truth on your faults and failures, you’ll be set free from the old habits and patterns that have held you in bondage. You’ll finally be free to replace your old way of doing things with God’s way of doing things.

How can you find this kind of freedom? It begins with understanding how much God loves you. He is already aware of all your weaknesses and mistakes, and he is actively working to help you change. It won’t happen overnight. The truth is, even though you were given a brand-new nature at the moment of conversion, you still have old habits and patterns that need to be replaced. Doing that takes time.

You may wonder if it’s really possible to be free from your habits, hurts,…

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Nothing Surprises God

By Rick Warren

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

Psalm 139:16 (NIV) 

God can see past, present, and future—all at once. 

This part of God’s character is something we can’t fully understand, for God is not like us. However, we can take great comfort in God because he knows everything that has ever happened and will happen. 

You trust a doctor with your health because that person has great knowledge. Greater still, you can confidently trust God because his knowledge is perfect. 

The future will surprise you because things don’t always work out as planned—but God is never caught off guard. He is never baffled or bewildered by anything that happens. He is above it all! 

The next time you face a crisis, you may find yourself asking, “What’s happening—where is God?” The truth is, God is constantly aware of everything. He’s with you now, and he knows what’s coming around the corner. When times are difficult, he is…

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By Charlie

I’m a follower of Christ in recovery from alcoholism, codependency, lust, and the lingering effects of racial trauma. My name is Charlie.

Situations or people did not make me an alcoholic or codependent. However, they made me nervous, uneasy, and desirous of comfort. My thinking led me to believe I had some power over people, places, and things. I believed a drink or a relationship would provide the needed ease and comfort.

I grew up in a wonderful East Coast University city surrounded by supportive family and friends. I was never in need. I maintained relationships with a host of diverse friends from high school and college. Though my city was relatively ok, surrounding cities were not always as welcoming. In school, I was taught the Bill of Rights. My experience had me questioning that document. Coupled with the usual concerns of youth, acne, dances, crushes, and homework, I was getting uncomfortable and confused. From the murder of Emmett Till in 1955, the 16th St Baptist Church bombing, Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Bloody Sunday, and the murder of Fred Hampton in 1969—I’ve been confused for a long time. As Fannie Lou…

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By Cheryl Luke, National Director of Cultural Communities

So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife.

Genesis 16:3 (ESV)

Hagar was a woman with no voice. An Egyptian captive, pregnant with another woman’s child. Powerless to control her environment, and rather than submitting to Sarai, she chose to run away to escape her mistreatment. While wandering in the desert, in utter distress, Hagar had an unexpected encounter with God that would alter her thinking and change the trajectory of her life.

“She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me’” (Genesis 16:13 NIV).

The Lord saw her! A writer for notes, “God saw Hagar in her faults, she despised Sarah.” “God saw her frustrations.” He knew she was powerless and abused, and “he saw her fear.” He found her wandering, alone, in the wilderness, with nowhere to go.

To say Hagar felt lonely, afraid, and…

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The Path Back to God

By Rick Warren

“When you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.”

Jeremiah 29:13 (The Message)

When you’ve drifted away from God, how do you get back to him? What does it look like to “get serious about finding” God again? 

Be honest with yourself because nothing is going to change until you admit that things aren’t working as they should. Finding God requires your full commitment—half measures won’t work here! You will need to want it “more than anything else.” 

God wants to be first in your life; if you are distant from him, something else has taken the number one spot in your heart. You will need to do some significant soul-searching to discover what has taken God’s place. Then you need to confess your sins to God. He loves you unconditionally, just as you are! But you need to ask for his forgiveness for the things you’ve done that have taken you away from him. 

Once you’ve said yes to Jesus, you’ll never lose your relationship with him. However, when God isn’t…

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By Dickie Everman

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 12:11 (NIV)

As I read this verse, it reminds me of when my wife and I had taken one of my daughters and three of our grandchildren up to see the Ark Encounter in northern Kentucky. We spent one day at the Ark, which was amazing, but that’s another story.

The next day we took the grandchildren shopping for school clothes. I am not sure how this always happens, but we were in a clothing store, and Bennie, who is four, and Abagail, who is seven, found the table with closeout toys. I told them we were there to buy school clothes, not toys.

To make a long story short, I gave in and bought the toys. Bennie had picked out the Star Wars ship, the Millennium Falcon. I decided to go ahead and pay for it, so that I could take him to the car and the girls could continue shopping. He was so excited to open the toy to…

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