Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Celebrate Recovery: First Thoughts

I’m looking forward to the opportunity to blog about Celebrate Recovery and how good God is to us. Celebrate Recovery (CR) is a Christ-centered recovery group, similar to other 12-step programs. The difference is that we have a recognized “Higher Power”, JESUS. Our program is held every Thursday night from 6:30-8:30pm. The first hour includes worship, reading of the 12 steps and Scripture, and a lesson or testimony. The second hour is a small group discussion time, usually separated by gender (and hopefully one day by area of need). We open the doors at 6pm for building relationships over coffee and yummy treats. Once a month, we prepare and enjoy a meal together before the meeting.

Over the past 2 years, CR has transitioned from a small group of strangers into a close family who weekly share their struggles and weakness along with their hope, strength and victories. A typical meeting can have anywhere from 6-15 people, averaging around 10 or so. There are a variety of struggles shared at CR, ranging from alcohol and substance abuse, other destructive addictive behaviors, relational difficulties, emotional abuse, anger, depression, etc. We strongly value an authentic culture of trust (anonymity and confidentiality) and love (we come to support each other, not to “fix” each other). Judgement must be left at the door, which tends to happen naturally as we are honest with ourselves and one another.

I also wanted to briefly share my personal experience with this CR family. I can’t describe the privilege it is to meet and learn from such beautiful people. My hope tank is filled every single week, as I see God work and move in people’s lives. There is a commonality of desperation for God and, in this, He provides in ways that blow us all away. A couple of weeks ago, a man who has struggled to be clean from drugs for a few years suddenly lost his job. He’s been in and out of homeless shelters and is learning how to live clean and sober after a lifetime of drug abuse. Without God, this would have been a prime time to go back out, to give up and numb the pain. But, this past week, he came back and tearfully shared with me what God had done. Someone just gave him a car and his old job gave him enough money to fix the car. He received a new job within a week of applying and is now able to give back and help others with transportation. This is just one story of many and God is so good to those who take refuge in Him. I look forward to sharing more in weeks to come, including some of the difficulties we experience at CR as well.

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