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Celebrate Recovery

Written By Ann Wilkos

Are you angry?

Are you stuck in a secret sin that you don’t know how to get out of?

Are you stuck in depression?

Are you addicted to alcohol?

Are you grieving the loss of a loved one?

Do you struggle with codependency?

Are you prideful?

Do you turn to food to when you are hurting?

Is your life a mess?

Does the past you thought you buried keep popping up to haunt you?

The saying goes “time heals all wounds”. Unfortunately, we know this isn’t true. The truth is time usually makes things worse. Wounds left unattended tend to fester and spread infection. That infection can present itself in many ways. It can explode in anger at unsuspecting loved ones, debilitating anxiety about the future, the feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness, depression. We can try to numb the pain with alcohol, drugs, food, sex, shopping and a host of other things. Some of these numbing techniques are not bad things-I used to scrub my house clean-but when used as a drug to numb pain it distracts from God’s desire to heal our pain. Time only extends the pain if the problem isn’t dealt with. So, what can we do?

Celebrate Recovery is a Christ centered program that takes the same 12 steps that work so well in organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous and places it’s healing elements in a setting with a Biblical core helping people to recover from hurts, habits, and hangups of all kinds.

When I first stepped foot in a Celebrate Recovery meeting it was because I had seen an email asking for volunteers to serve others. I thought, I am going to help “those people”. We were halfway through that first meeting when I realized I am “those people”! Pastor Rick Warren has added 8 principles based on Jesus’ teaching on the beatitudes alongside the 12 steps.

In Principle One I realized that I am not God; that I am powerless to control my tendencies to do the wrong thing and that my life had become unmanageable. “Happy are those who know that they are spiritually poor” At the time I didn’t know what my issues were. I had been in denial and numbing my pain for so long I couldn’t see that there were festering wounds in my soul. I was a very angry person and exploded often with venom that hurt the people closest to me and I was out of control. I didn’t know why at the time. All I could do at this time was to step out of denial and into Christ’s marvelous light.

Principle Two was an easy one for me. I have always believed in God so I “Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and that He has the power to help me recover. “Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”.

In Principle Three I had to decide that whereas I have always believed in God can I now believe God. Can I trust fully in Him and give Him complete control of my life. Can I trust that He is able to clean up the mess I had made trying to be in control myself? “I Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.” “Happy are the meek.

Principle Four tells us “Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust. “Happy are the pure in heart.” Honestly, I would have preferred to skip this step/principle. This is where I looked at my pain instead of pretending it wasn’t there. This is where I recognized my character flaws. Where I had hurt others. Where others had hurt me.

Once I recognized where I was failing God, myself, and the people around me I had no problem with Principle Five that says “Voluntarily submit to any and all changes God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects. “Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires” I want to be who God has called me to be so, yes, take away all of the mess!

Principle Six tells me to “Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others, when possible, except when to do so would harm them or others.” “Happy are the merciful. Happy are the peacemakers.”

In Principle Seven I promise to “Reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will.”

And Principle Eight I “Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and my words.” “Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires.”

The last 2 principles are lived out for the rest of life. I have gotten the floor of my heart clean, and I want to keep it that way. It was during that daily self-examination that I recognized quite a large amount of gunk in a closet of my heart that we must have missed the first time I went through the step study. It must get dealt with, so I am going through the steps again. It’s a lengthy process and a huge commitment of time but it is so worth it when God cleans out all the infection and makes me well, whole. I don’t hide from my pain. I don’t numb it with exhaustive cleaning or overeating and I don’t explode on my husband or my children anymore.

Some folks are in recovery a short time and then move on with clean lives to serve Christ in all the ways that He has called them to. He has a purpose for us all. “I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in His grace until His task within you is finally finished on the that day when Jesus Christ returns.” Philippians 1:6 Some of us are “lifers” in recovery. -until that day when MY Jesus returns.

If you would like to know more about Celebrate Recovery, please contact me at

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