Celebrate Recovery (CR) is a 12-Step recovery program designed to deal with any hurt, hang-up, or habit. That is almost unbelievable! How can one ‘program’ help deal with coping mechanisms, divorce issues, sexual issues, anxiety, depression, grief, fear, rejection, substance abuse, or any other hurt, hang-up, or habit? That’s right! It’s not just for addicts! It’s for anyone who is stuck and can’t move forward in life.
CR presents 25 lessons which are broken down into four sections; getting ready to write down your inventory, writing your inventory, dealing with your inventory, and continue to manage your inventory. The term inventory is simply a list of significant areas of your life including sins you’ve committed, sins committed against you, traumas, lies you’ve believed, attitudes you’ve experienced as well as blessings you have received and discovering your identity.
CR takes eight (8) lessons just to get us ready to write down and deal with our inventories!
- We start by coming out of denial and recognizing ‘I have a problem.’
- We realize that we have tried to control this problem and can’t. We need a power outside of ourselves to help us and that power is Jesus Christ.
- We begin to hope again because we understand that we matter to Christ and He has the power to help us recover, which leads us back to truth.
- We choose to turn our lives and our wills to Christ’s care and control. And we recognize that we must do something different than what we have been doing to get a different result.
- We commit to complete honesty about our lives and we surround ourselves with others who have gone this road before.
This sets us up for success!
Now this is where the rubber meets the road and it starts spinning out, doing wheelies, and flipping over. This is where we tend to lose people. I’ve heard it countless times, “Why do I have to rehash all the crap in my life? Can’t I just move forward?” Yet, every recovery program has an inventory process so it must be important! So, the answer is, yes you can move forward but without healing from past wounds it’s like walking over broken glass with bare feet. You simply cannot heal until you deal with the past.
In CR, there are three inventory lessons in which we write down the good, the bad and the ugly. We write down people who have hurt us, people we have hurt, life’s significant events, deaths, and how we’ve responded to these traumas. We answer questions like who am I resentful of, jealous of, or am critical of? What makes me lose my temper or what do I worry over? Have I stolen from anyone or been dishonest? We write it all down. I suppose that’s the scary part as we see ourselves looking back at us from the paper. We begin to own our stories, so that our stories will no longer own us.
Writing down our inventories is not meant to shame us or make us proud. We simply write down the truth about our lives. We then take our inventories through God’s healing process to find freedom.
Dealing with our Inventories
Here is where the miracles happen! God’s healing process is simple, but it’s not simplistic. This is so difficult that we really can’t do it on our own. We need safe people to help us navigate the truth by helping us see when we are still believing lies. We need safe people to grieve with us in the losses of our life. We need safe people to be an example of how to walk the road to freedom. And, of course, we need the Holy Spirit to enable us to do these things. It’s not meant to be done alone.
- We start by confessing our sins, our needs, and weaknesses. This is the first step of the healing process! It’s a guaranteed promise.
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from unrighteousness.”
- We admit our wrongs to another person. This is such a necessary part of recovery because this is where we walk out of shame. I know it feels like we would be walking into shame, but that’s not the truth! We tell another person our sins and the world doesn’t end. In fact, most of the time, at CR you will hear ‘me too.’ You get to take your mask off here, you get to be the real you, and you are loved for who you really are. Your mask gets thrown away.
James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
- We are ready to have God remove our character defects as we voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in our life. (In religious terms that’s called repentance.)
Matthew 5:6 “Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires.”
- We evaluate all our relationships. We offer forgiveness to those who have hurt us and make amends for the harm we’ve done to others when possible, except when to do so would harm them or others. This needs to be wisely done and having others help you navigate these relational issues is huge!
Luke 6: 31 “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
And there we have it! Boom-Sha-ka-la-ka!! Confession – Admitting – Repentance – Amends –Forgiveness. These steps break any bondage we are stuck in and put us back in right relationships with God and (as far as we can do) with others. At CR, we call it ‘cleaning up my side of the street.’
You see, these steps don’t really make sense. If I were to create steps, it would be all about gaining control of my own world or finding solutions to manage my own happiness. That makes sense to me. But God’s plan is possible for all to follow because He does the work. When we have done our part in following God and in restoring relationships, He breaks any bondage we are held to and we find freedom. It’s interesting to note, that even secular recovery programs use this as a basis because God’s principles always work even when you don’t give Him credit. It’s a spiritual law much like the law of gravity.
What this does not do is fix physical issues such as cancer or even depression, although many people have found relief from depression when they follow these steps. It does not control another person to act the way you want them to, although it can free you from their control. It doesn’t save you from the consequences of poor past decisions. And it does not make life easy…sorry, life is still life.
The last eight lessons of CR are how we continue to walk in the grace of God. We establish new habits of confession, admitting our struggles to safe people, repenting, making amends and offering forgiveness on a daily basis. We establish safeguards for relapses in our character, develop an attitude of gratitude, and learn to give away what we have received.
Celebrate Recovery works because at its core is the Gospel. We learn to recognize our part in all of life’s issues and we trust God’s plan of breaking the bondage through His provisions.
If you are in or near Moscow, Idaho I invite you to come any Friday night at 7:00 p.m. at Real Life, Moscow Campus. If you are outside of my area, then look up one of the 35,000 Celebrate Recovery groups world-wide here.