It was between 9 and 10 years ago that my son was in a recovery program through a hospital here in Illinois. I prayed for his success and for him to come out of it clean and sober. Along the way there were things that the counselor suggested that we as his parents attend and one of those was a meeting with other addicts that had gone through or were going through the program.
I have been in recovery since my late 30s and I have been a part of church programs through Harvest, Willow Creek, online programs, telephone programs with Jerry Leach, and even biblical counseling. It seemed I was always going to meetings at some program or another so I fully understood why the counselor wanted us all to attend this program. My wife couldn’t make it but I got off work and went downtown to meet with these addicts and be with my son as he went through this journey.
When I arrived, there was the typical large room with a small circle of chairs and when the meeting started, a man or a woman would get up and announce their name and how they were an addict and then tell their story to us parents, friends and spouses of the addicts in recovery. It is always amazing to me how God has worked in my life and though I had attended meeting after meeting in my own search for recovery, I guess I just never heard any of what was spoken. It was like that feeling of being on top of the mountain with a choir of angels singing the Hallelujah Chorus as I really heard what these common garden variety addicts were saying. It all hit me like a ton of bricks as inside my head I was yelling “I do that and that and oh yeah that is a part of my cycle as well.” All I had to do was to replace their drug of choice with mine and voilà I had finally found what was missing – honesty and accountability with people having the same habits I had struggled with. SEX & LUST
So after that I had to figure out where I could go to get into a meeting and I found a program called Sexaholics Anonymous. I went to that program for over 2 years and did some of the work, I got sober, a sponsor and the peace that I wasn’t alone, wasn’t a bad person and that I had to rely more on God for my recovery.
I went back out there as we say for about 3 more years. It was what I call my dark period. I went back to the meetings at SA, confessed things and at about that same time a friend of mine from Church was telling me about this program that he was trying to start called Celebrate Recovery. I was fairly jaded at this point so I wasn’t really interested in another program and especially one that didn’t have my signature sin of lust as a recovery point. After all, isn’t that important to have each group of recovering addicts with their own group? At least that is what I thought!
You see in hindsight, one of the challenges that I faced was that I was safe at SA and not in a good way for me. I didn’t really know these guys, we weren’t close friends, we didn’t see each other except on the 1 or 2 days a week that I went to a meeting so I could cheat. Now I did try to stay sober and I did try and do the work but not with the right attitude or spirit. Because even after all I had been through and all the pain I had put my family through, I still wasn’t ready. Ready for what? The actual work of recovery!
I knew the 12 steps and I had all the books but there was still something that was missing and that was Jesus Christ. I was saved at 8 yrs. old and believed with all my heart that He was my savior but I don’t think I trusted Him to do what He said He would do. It was that same dis-trust that laid dormant in my heart against all men and Jesus was a man to me so I had to overcome that feeling of dis-trust and begin in small ways to begin to trust God with everything in my life. I had to check out this thing called Celebrate Recovery and I went to a meeting.
I have been a member of CR for about 4 yrs. now and I am also part of what we call a step-study where I meet with guys every other Monday to go deep into our lives and our hurts, habits and hang-ups and where we can share with each other what is going on in our lives, what struggles we have had and what victories God has blessed us with. On Thursday nights we have an open share meeting where we get together as a large group of males and females to fellowship, worship, pray and break into our individual smaller groups of men and women to share. The great thing about CR is that it is Christ centered and it is through our relationship with Him that we are healed. I do not have a problem with any 12 step group but I think that for a Christian trying to survive in this world with a biblical worldview, CR is the place for any recovery. The following is from the website – Celebrate Recovery.
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 17,000 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!
I will be in recovery for the rest of my days here on earth and I praise God for that because I am a recovering sinner! How about you?