The angry red wound on the man’s leg begged the question of what had happened. His refusal to explain only raised more questions. One day the truth came out. An altercation with police in the process of a drunk driving arrest had led to violence. But that wasn’t the worst thing about it. His ultimate goal had been to commit “death by cop” suicide. And this happened despite the fact that he attended church, and had professed faith in God.
The result of this slide into the dregs of despair finally propelled him into the arms of rehab. In addition to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) he discovered Celebrate Recovery (CR), a Christ-centered program designed to help believers deal with all kinds of addictions – e.g. alcohol, drugs, sex, co-dependence. Unlike AA, which encourages members to believe in a higher being, CR points them toward the healing power of Jesus.
Celebrate Recover began when John Baker also struggled with alcoholism. But in AA he couldn’t talk about his God, and in church he couldn’t talk about his addiction. This led him to the idea of starting a recovery group for Christians. His pastor, The Purpose Driven Life author Rick Warren, agreed with his plan.
The premise of CR follows accepted practices of other recovery programs. There’s responsibility and accountability while following a twelve step program. But in CR the twelve steps are paired with supporting Scriptures. And The Road to Recovery statement includes Eight Principles Based on the Beatitudes by Pastor Warren.
At some point during CR meetings, everyone may read the full version of The Serenity Prayer written by Reinhold Niebuhr. Before breaking off into small groups, men with men and women with women, a lesson or testimony is shared with those assembled. Once the groups are split up, they must follow guidelines that ensure discretion, anonymity, and support for those sharing their stories.
Breaking the rules by disclosing what is shared with anyone outside the group, including family, friends and even spouses, could result in being asked to leave the gathering. That’s how serious CR is about protecting those who have already suffered enough.
Many believers may know fellow Christians who are in bondage to some addiction. They may stand by helpless as their friend/loved one slides deeper into despair. That person’s denial of their problem only complicates anyone’s efforts to assist them. The one seeking to help may not know where to point someone needing freedom from whatever trap they’ve fallen into.
Before directing the person to CR, family and friends should prayerfully consider when and how one could be pointed towards a CR meeting in their area. Then pray about how to share this beacon of hope with those who are suffering.
Jesus came to set the captives free. Shame and fear may keep many from seeking help. And while confronting anyone with the fact they need help may be intimidating, once an intervention has occurred, CR stands ready to help them take the first step towards recovery.
According to their web site:
Celebrate Recovery is a biblical and balanced program that helps us overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits. It is based on the actual words of Jesus rather than psychological theory. 20 years ago, Saddleback Church launched Celebrate Recovery with 43 people. It was designed as a program to help those struggling with hurts, habits and hang-ups by showing them the loving power of Jesus Christ through a recovery process. Celebrate Recovery has helped more than 17000 people at Saddleback, attracting over 70% of its members from outside the church. Eighty-five percent of the people who go through the program stay with the church and nearly half serve as church volunteers.
Celebrate Recovery is now in over 20,000 churches worldwide!