Incorporating your faith into your recovery journey can help you stay sober. A Bible-based, Christ-centered, 12-Step recovery program, Celebrate Recovery (CR) is designed to help people struggling with addiction, hurt, or pain of any kind while reconnecting with God.
Celebrate Recovery’s Beginnings
In 1991, Celebrate Recovery had its first meeting in a church in Saddlebrook, California. At the time, its co-founder, John Baker was a member of the church staff and also a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. He wanted an addiction recovery group that was specifically Christian.
Working with the support of Rick Warren, the evangelical pastor of the Saddlebrook Church, the first meeting was held with 43 people in attendance. During the first 10 weeks, the program grew to over 1,500 members. In the beginning, there were only four open sharing groups: men’s chemical dependency, women’s chemical dependency, men’s codependency, and women’s codependency.
The Growth of the Recovery Program
Since its beginning, Celebrate Recovery has continued to grow. Today, the program has more than 35,000 churches around the world and they continue to increase in number. More than five million people have completed Step Study, and they offer 14 kinds of open sharing groups.
Celebrate Recovery is not just growing in churches. Today meetings are held in rescue missions, recovery houses, prisons, and universities throughout the world.
The Celebrate Recovery program is open to anyone in need of help, regardless of the type of addiction, pain, or hurt they are experiencing. According to their website, the Christian organization brings the healing power of Jesus Christ to the “hurting and broken” by working their three programs: Step Studies, The Journey Begins, and The Journey Continues. Similar to other 12-Step programs, Celebrate Recovery is a safe, anonymous place for members to share their experiences, feelings, and struggles while gaining hope and strength for the future.
The 12-Steps and Eight Principles
Two of the main tools of the program are the 12-steps developed by Alcoholics Anonymous and a very similar set of eight sequential principles that are understood as a lesson of Jesus’ Beatitudes.
- The 12-Steps of Celebrate Recovery are each paired with a Bible verse to show how the words of Jesus Christ are used as a guideline.
- The eight Beatitudes were the words God spoke when he gave his Sermon on the Mount which he began by stating the Eight Ways to be Happy. Today those words are called Jesus’ Beatitudes and are believed to contain the progressive path to recovery.
- In addition to the meetings for open sharing groups, separate meetings are scheduled for step studies.
Generally, the Celebrate Recovery program runs on a one-year repeating schedule. Meetings are once a week for 52 weeks and members cover the material in 25 lessons and testimonies.
Features That Make Celebrate Recovery Different
According to the co-founder of Celebrate Recovery, Pastor Rick Warren, there are seven features of the program that make it unique.
- Celebrate Recovery is based on the Bible as God’s word. The Beatitudes Jesus spoke during the Sermon on the Mount was the Eight Ways to be Happy and are God’s road to recovery.
- Rather than looking toward the past and going repeatedly going over painful memories, Celebrate Recovery looks toward the future. What already happened doesn’t matter. The answer is to start making wise choices now and depend on the power of Christ to help you make the needed changes.
- Celebrate Recovery puts a strong emphasis on personal responsibility. Members face their own poor choices and deal with them. You realize you cannot control everything that happens, but you can control how you respond to things. That is the secret of happiness.
- Spiritual commitment to Jesus Christ is emphasized in this recovery program. For lasting recovery, people must make a total surrender of their lives to Christ. Celebrate Recovery is completely evangelistic regarding their belief that everybody needs Jesus.
- Celebrate Recovery is built around the fellowship of a caring community and small group interaction. It is built around the principle of the New Testament that we need each other and cannot get well by ourselves. According to biblical truth, in order to grow emotionally and spiritually, we need each other.
- While most recovery groups only address a single problem, Celebrate Recovery is a large umbrella program where all types of habits, hurts, and hang-ups are addressed.
- Because Celebrate Recovery is biblical and church-based, the program produces lay ministers. Many members go into the ministry after they have gone through the program and found Christ.
Getting the Help You Need
Sometimes when a person is suffering from addiction, they do not know where to turn for help. If you or someone you love is in that situation, call and speak with a professional at Canyon Vista Recovery Center’s Arizona drug and alcohol treatment program. Our treatment services have helped clients from across the US begin the journey toward a clean and sober life.