first Celebrate Recovery experience

April 20, 2009

I attended my first Celebrate Recovery meeting last week. 

For those unfamiliar, it is a 12-step program used by people who recognize God as the Bible describes him as their higher power.

Overall, it was very good and it felt like where I needed to be on that particular night.

Of all that happened, the most compelling things to me were the guys I met there who had so many amazing similarities to me in their journey.

Also, this simple list from the literature of what Celebrate Recovery is and isn’t.  Here it is…

celebrate-recoveryThings we (Celebrate Recovery) are:

  • A safe place to share.
  • A refuge.
  • A place of belonging
  • A place to care for others and be cared for.
  • Where respect is given to each member.
  • Where confidentiality is highly regarded.
  • A place to learn.
  • A place to demonstrate genuine love.
  • A place to grow and become strong again.
  • A place for progress.
  • Where you can take off your mask and allow others to know who you are.
  • A place for healthy challenges and healthy risks.
  • A possible turning poing in your life.



 Things we are not:

  • A place for selfish control.
  • Therapy.
  • A place for secrets.
  • A place to look for dating relationships.
  • A place to rescue or be rescued by others.
  • A place for perfection.
  • A long-term commitment.
  • A place to judge others.
  • A quick fix.

Imagine if an organization of people could actually adhere to these determinations in a meaningful way?  What a powerful setting this would create.

First thing that jumped to my mind is that if more of my church experience was centred around these objectives, I may have found church a more helpful place.

Looking forward to seeing how this unfolds.






  1. Hey Chaz,

    Hope things work out well for you with CR. Like other programs, it works if you work it. Stay the course, and get some guys around you who will walk with you through this.

    • Thanks MTSIDAD! It was a good experience and I have hooked in with couple of guys. One I know from my other recovery program. I really need to get closer to God the and I think this is a good way to do it.



  2. CR is usually great “church” because of the reasons you mentioned. It’s real and not fake funk. Probably more what Jesus had in mind for a meeting of believers and as a place to invite unbelievers. Jesus shows up at CR!

  3. BTW- I am Ben’s wife.

  4. Chaz,

    I’m pleased the group you found was true to what CR is supposed to be. I’ve seen a couple different versions.

    Personally, the CR I went to was what I’d always hoped “Church” would be. Christians, and Non-Christians, recognizing their frailty, and seeking after the one true source that can actually help them with their journey through recovery. Hurts, Habits and Hang-Ups; the heart of the matter; the source of their suffering.

    One of my close friends I met through CR used to say, “I got sober in AA. It was the best thing that has ever happened to me. I’ve found God, and my path to continue in recovery in CR.” He was one of the most humble and honorable men I’ve met in my life. He attended AA and CR concurrently. I’ve missed him since we left Florida. I’m hoping to meet people like that again soon.

    Thanks for sharing friend.


  5. Thanks Riz and Ben…

    Ya, it was a very positive experience.

    Interestingly, a pastor friend of mine who had been very successful in a profession before joining the ministry, ended up leaving a position with a mega-church to return to his profession. Feeling that the mega-church system was not really representing what he felt a body of believers was meant to be. So much time and effort spent on admin, financial needs of the organization, titles, meetings, etc, etc.

    One of the final thoughts he shared with me was that he wondered if church would not funciton better if it worked like AA meetings. Run by the people for the people it served. Little to no titles, little to no overhead. No outside issues. Just a focus on a clear primary purpose.

    In our town, there is an AA or NA meeting pretty much every waking hour of the day. And nobody is paid or titled to put the meeting on.

    Now, I am not saying church should go to this kind of extreme. I just feel, as does my pastor friend, that the mega-church model is quite cumbersome and resource-hungry. And frankly, I do not feel I have a place in it.

    I liked the simple earthy feel of the CR meeting. Nothing to complicate it. Left more time and focus for the content and fellowship.

    I plan to go this week again. And there are a few other AA people attending too.



  6. Chaz,
    Great to hear you attended CR. AA saved my life and CR saved my soul. I love the marriage of the steps and scripture and I appreciate how the CR program lays out both of them together and makes living focused on Christ much easier.

    In Him and fully alive,
    Laura in SD

    • Thank Laura.

      I expect to attend more meetings of CR but find it hard given only one per week and they are so long.

      One value in AA is that you can catch a meeting most times of day, most places in the western world.

      I wonder if CR engages the practice of short meetings?



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