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What is Celebrate Recovery?

Celebrate Recovery is a Bible-based, Christ-centered recovery program for those who struggle with life’s hurts, habits and hang-ups. Its curriculum takes participants through The 8 Recovery Principles, which are based on the Beatitudes.

Who started Celebrate Recovery?

Celebrate Recovery was created in 1991 by Pastors Rick Warren and John Baker at Saddleback Church in California. John Baker started Celebrate Recovery with the main purpose of being able to talk openly in his recovery meetings about Jesus Christ as his Higher Power. Over 17,000 people have gone through the program at Saddleback Church, addressing many of life’s hurts, habits and hang-ups. It is currently being used in over 19,000 churches nationwide and internationally.

What is the Purpose of Celebrate Recovery?

The purpose of Celebrate Recovery is to fellowship together and celebrate God’s healing power in our lives by sharing our experience, strength, and hope through The 12 Steps and The 8 Recovery Principles. This experience allows us to “be changed”.

Who is Celebrate Recovery for?

You may be thinking that recovery is only for those with alcohol or drug problems. This could not be further from the truth. Most of life’s hurts, habits and hang-ups can be addressed through this one ministry, including problems with abuse, anger, grief, alcohol, drugs, depression, guilt and shame, financial loss, divorce, dysfunctional families, sexual problems, eating disorders, and much more!

What are Hurst, Habits and Hang-ups?

A hurt, habit or hang-up is anything that hinders your walk with God. They postpone or prevent genuine fellowship with Him and your loved ones. They include:

  • Abandonment & Rejection

  • Abuse: Physical, Sexual, Emotional

  • Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families

  • Alcohol, Drug & Chemical Dependency

  • Anger & Rage

  • Anxiety, Fear & Insecurity

  • Co-Dependency & Unhealthy Relationships

  • Controlling Personality

  • Depression & Loss of Hope

  • Divorce & Loss of Relationship

  • Eating Disorders: Over-eating, Under-eating

  • Gambling

  • Grief & Sadness

  • Guilt & Shame

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior

  • Overspending & Financial Loss

  • Overworking & Workaholism

  • People-Pleasing

  • Perfectionism

  • Sexual Addiction: Adultery, Pornography, Homosexuality

Who Could Benefit from Celebrate Recovery?

Are you someone who struggles with hurts, habits and hang-ups? Do you struggle with a particular issue, sin, problem or behavior that seems to have such strength and power over you that it has prevented you from experiencing any real victory over it? Have you been secretly hoping that a ministry like this would come along where you would have a safe place to share your struggles with Anonymity and Confidentiality and get healing from God? Perhaps this is God’s timing for you, too! Take courage and join us!

Do you know people (inside or outside the church) who struggle with the kind of hurts, habits and hang-ups that are described on this website? Please speak with them about CR, and share this website with them. Encourage them to speak with any member of the Celebrate Recovery Leadership Team about how this unique ministry can bring about real change in their lives. They can have a real hope that the Holy Spirit will use this ministry to work in them the changes they have been unable to work in themselves by their own power.

How Often Does Celebrate Recovery Meet?

Celebrate Recovery meets 52 weeks a year because life’s hurts, habits and hang-ups don’t take a holiday!

What Makes the Small Groups a Safe Place for Open and Honest Sharing?

Celebrate Recovery insists that certain Small Group Guidelines apply during Open Share Groups and Step Study Groups. These are the foundation for creating a safe place for sharing. Perhaps the most important factor in establishing and growing a successful CR ministry is in creating a safe environment for people to openly share their hurts, habits and hang-ups. The Small Group Guidelines are one of the most important and distinctive features of the ministry designed to create such a safe environment.

What is Recovery?

In physical health, the term “recovery” refers to the process of moving from illness to wellness. Our hurts, habits and hang-ups are like spiritual illnesses. By using the tools of Celebrate Recovery, we can begin to move from spiritual illness to spiritual wellness. Some might say we move from bondage-to-self to freedom-in-Christ. Others might say we move from self-reliance to faith-in-Christ.

Is Celebrate Recovery Right for Me?

Celebrate Recovery offers a person the opportunity to participate in a group fellowship where love and hope combine with God”s purpose to mend our lives. Ask yourself:

Are there things in my life that I do that hurt me or others?

Is there something in my life that I wish I could live without?

Is there something I have tried to quit but can’t do so on my own?

Do I have a painful habit or hang-up from which I need to be freed?

Is there one particular thing I can’t let go of that is destroying my life?

Is it time to admit that my life is out of control?

Are there people in my life I am trying to fix?

Am I a people pleaser?

If you answered “yes” to any of these statements, then we urge you to attend a Celebrate Recovery meeting to see if it is right for you.

Does it Cost Anything to Attend?

No. We do not charge for attendance at this ministry. However, our Celebrate Recovery ministry is self-supporting, which means that we do ask participants to pay something reasonable to cover our costs for the Dinner and the Solid Rock Cafe’, and for books and other resources sold at the Information Table. However, “scholarships” are available for those who are truly in need.

Is Celebrate Recovery Confidential?

Absolutely Yes! Celebrate Recovery maintains strict Anonymity and Confidentiality. This promotes an atmosphere of trust and enables recovery. We are serious and diligent about protecting your Anonymity and Confidentiality! “What is said here stays here!” The Small Group Guidelines protect all of us from judgment and being fixed by someone in the group. Because CR is a safe place, you can take off your mask and be real and honest without fear. You are 100% in control of when and how much you share about your struggles.

Do I have to be a Member of This Church in order to Attend CR?

No. You are not required to attend or be a member of the church, this church or any church. However, we strongly recommend that you search and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you to a church home, if you do not already have one. Celebrate Recovery is a ministry for anyone who is interested in a Christ-centered recovery program that will enable them to recover from life’s hurts, hang-ups, habits and addictions.

Do I have to Share in the Groups?

There is no real opportunity to share in the Large Group. And you will never be required to share in the Small Open Share Groups. You can pass anytime you wish, and take as long as you need to become safe enough to share. In the Step Studies, however, everyone agrees to share as the group moves through the questions set forth in the curriculum books.

What is a Step Study?

A Step Study is a Small Group that takes place on a night other than the Large Group meeting night. The Celebrate Recovery curriculum is based on The 12 Steps and their related Scriptures as the biblical model for living your life, and is set forth in four Participant’s Guides. A Step Study is a personal journey through The 12 Steps in a confidential group that is lead by a trained facilitator who has already completed their own Step Study. When you finish a Step Study, you will have worked your hurts, habits, and hang-ups through each of The 12 Steps. A Step Study is a serious commitment to the other members of the group. It typically takes 8-12 months to complete a Step Study. After completing a Step Study, we hope you will continue to work with us as we minister to others who are dealing with their own hurts, habits and hang-ups. The Small Group Guidelines are strictly followed in the Step Study.

What if I Can’t Make it Every Week?

You are welcome to come whenever you can to the Large Group and the Small Open Share Groups on Friday nights. However, if you join a Step Study, you will be expected to come each week until the curriculum is completed. As with any endeavor, the more effort you put into Celebrate Recovery, the more benefit you will receive for your own personal recovery.

Is Celebrate Recovery Only for Alcohol or Drug Problems?

No. Celebrate Recovery is for everyone! Because all of us go through seasons when we need support, messages of hope, and testimonies of victorious life change, the Celebrate Recovery program is open to everyone. It is a time and place where every person can experience hope and encouragement at the level where they are most comfortable.

The purpose of Celebrate Recovery is to fellowship and celebrate God’s healing power in our lives. This experience allows us to be changed. We open the door by sharing our experience, strength and hope with one another. In addition, we become willing to accept God’s grace in solving our lives problems. By working and applying these Biblical principles, we begin to grow spiritually. We become free from our addictive, compulsive and dysfunctional behaviors.

This freedom creates peace, serenity, joy and most importantly, a stronger personal relationship with God and others. As we progress through the program we discover our personal, loving and forgiving Higher Power - Jesus Christ, the one and only true Higher Power

How do I Know if I Have an Addiction or Problem Behavior?

If your life has become unmanageable due to the use of alcohol, drugs or other chemical substances, food, gambling, pornography, sex, relationships, or because of other hurts, hang-ups, or habits, then you may have an addiction or problem behavior.

Who Leads the Groups?

Celebrate Recovery groups are not lead by pastors, teachers, professional counselors or paid experts. Instead, CR groups are facilitated by men and women who are in recovery themselves. They all have a measure of substantial healing from their own struggles, and therefore celebrate their recoveries. As a result they have a high degree of sensitivity to those in need. In other words, the leaders in CR are not high-priced salesmen, but satisfied customers!

Are All of the Leaders in Recovery Themselves?

Yes, each of our leaders have, by the grace of God, walked through a process of recovery from various hurts, habits and hang-ups.

How does Celebrate Recovery Differ from Alcoholics Anonymous?

Although Celebrate Recovery incorporates The 12 Steps, it does so with a distinctly Christian approach. We firmly believe and depend upon the miracle-working power of the Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit in the process of recovery. We also address many more issues than just alcoholism. For instance, see this long list of Hurts, Habits and Hang-ups.

Can a Person Overcome an Addiction or Behavior that they have Struggled with for Many Years?

YES. We believe the answer is a resounding YES! Through prayer, the penetrating work of the Holy Spirit, a commitment to change, and the surrender of our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ, we believe we can find freedom from any addictive, compulsive or destructive behavior.

What if My Struggles are Not Related to Alcohol or Substance Abuse?

The principles used in Celebrate Recovery can be helpful for all types of destructive behaviors, hurts, hang-ups and habits, and for people suffering from the consequences of the destructive behaviors of other people.

What if I Myself do Not have an Addiction, But I have been Deeply Hurt and Affected by Another Person’s Addictions? Can you Help me?

Yes. Celebrate Recovery also ministers to people who are affected by others who are battling addiction or some other destructive behavior. You are welcome to join us and gain support and wisdom.

What if I am Too Embarrassed to Let Someone Know What I am Struggling with? Can I Just Come a Sit Quietly?

Yes. We will do nothing to embarrass you or shame you. We trust that the safe and caring atmosphere of the group will encourage you to share your struggles when you are ready. All of our activities insure that you remain anonymous and that your issues are kept in confidence.

Will I Need to Find a Sponsor in the Group?

We encourage participants to pair up with a person of the same sex within their small group, who is actively working the program and who can serve as an encourager and prayer partner. Sponsors generally have a minimum of one year of recovery over an addiction, habit, hurt or hang-up.

Does Celebrate Recovery Provide in depth Counseling or Clinical Therapy?

No. Although each of our group leaders has a caring heart, they are not equipped to offer in-depth counseling or clinical therapy. In the event this type of treatment is necessary, we would be able to refer you to a qualified Christian professional.