Passionate people come hungry to learn. Passionate people are contagious. Their faith can’t help but overflow as they pour out what God is pouring into them. They are purpose driven. Passionate people thrive on seeing other people thrive. Passionate people are absolutely magnetic.
I visited Celebrate Recovery (CR) for the first time last week and I can tell you that you can’t help but be drawn to the people and the movement that is happening there. Though I was familiar with many aspects of the program, there were parts that honestly surprised me. The parts that you can only see for yourself.. firsthand.. rather than hearing about them. Here’s a quick bird’s eye view:
1) Honesty in struggle connects people quickly.
It is often the case that people think that if others knew what they had done or what they’re currently doing, they wouldn’t be able to handle it. Maybe they’d be judged? Maybe they’d be told they’re not welcome in a “Christ-centered” program?! This is a place created specifically so that those who take the first step to come are met with an atmosphere of acceptance and encouragement. We can’t fix you, but we know who can. Scoot on in next to me and let’s do this together. The connection is tangible and the sense of belonging is instant.
2) It is both Christ-centered and a safe place to come as you are spiritually.
I did not get the impression whatsoever that anyone was going to take a holier-than-though stance with anyone else. Everybody is rowing in the same boat of admitting their struggles and also admitting they are works in progress. This is a biblically-centered program so Jesus will be present in the conversation, the teaching, the testimonies and the steps. However, Jesus will also be present in the people who love you where you are, instead of casting stones to condemn you if you’re still figuring out where you are spiritually.
3) It is just as much for the family member’s support, as it is for the ones struggling with hurts, habits or hang-ups.
Many of you may be familiar with AA and Al-Anon. One is for the one struggling and the latter for the people affected. I am encouraged to see that CR is for everyone. I think someone whose spouse is in a dark place would be helped by going even if their mate wasn’t open to it yet or ever. What you find when you walk through the doors is that we could all benefit from CR as we all have our issues. We all struggle with being defined by things done to us or choices we made along the way. Knowing that we cannot save or fix our loved ones, sometimes getting in a place of healing ourselves and taking the first step could be what eventually leads them to walk through the door alongside us.
4) Recovering physically (such as quitting drinking) is a goal, but not the ultimate goal.
Though there is a great mood of celebration as chips are given out for everything from 24 hours to decades of having recovered physically, it is clear that everyone’s recovery is without definitive end. Spiritually and emotionally there are phases of recovery that continue for years after the last drop of alcohol is drunk or the last day of depression is felt. We can’t forget that people are coming to find hope for so much more than addiction. Anger, sexual integrity, depression etc. No matter what it is, we are not suddenly “out of the woods” because a behavior is no longer present.
5) While the thought you enter with at first may be, “I’m not sure I’m ready for anyone to know about this.” The thought you leave with is often, “I’m not sure why I didn’t do this sooner!”
There is a great verse in Romans that says: “that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith” (Romans 1:12). When you enter a space where people are being set free from bondage, where people are opening up their hearts and their lives to each other, where they can begin to see God’s power and promises overtake the lies they’ve been believing…you just can’t help but want to go back for seconds. Load my life up with some of that!
In conclusion, I just want to say that I’m glad I visited. It was time well spent. Whether it be Celebrate Recovery or the HopeFirst initiative that is raising money to purchase recovery homes throughout Washoe County to help people with addictions find hope and healing, I am excited that our church has looked at our community and decided to punch addiction in the throat.