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What Is Celebrate Recovery, and What Is It Not?

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” What is Celebrate Recovery (CR), and why does this prayer matter? It can be a little confusing at first, especially if you’ve never heard of Celebrate Recovery (CR) and what it has to offer.

You may be thinking, “I don’t have an addiction, so Celebrate Recovery cannot help me.” There are so many ways that Celebrate Recovery can help you, no matter what your circumstances or situation is.

It may be scary at first to be around a group of people you don’t know, but that group of people may turn into great friends over time!

In this article, we will discover what Celebrate Recovery really is and what it is not. It’s important to understand what you are walking into when you first enter that room because it can be quite overwhelming for some. Have no fear, though; I’m going to walk you through exactly what you need to know to get started with Celebrate Recovery.

What is Celebrate Recovery?

Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered recovery program born out of the heart of Saddleback Church by founders John Baker and Pastor Rick Warren.

The recovery program began in 1991 in Lake Forest, California, at Saddleback Church. There are now over 35,000 churches that participate in the Celebrate Recovery program.

The program’s curriculum is based on the 8 principles from the Beatitudes, as listed in the New Testament of the Bible. You can review the eight Beatitudes in Matthew 5, beginning in verse 3.

Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor.

Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Happy are the meek.

Happy are the pure in heart.

Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires.

Happy are the merciful.

Happy are the peacemakers.

Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires.

Celebrate Recovery is a 12-step recovery program for people with hurts, addictions, or other pain. Learn more about the 12 steps and 8 principles on Celebrate Recovery’s website under “Resources.”

What Is Celebrate Recovery, and What Is It Not?

Who is Celebrate Recovery For?

Celebrate Recovery is for anyone suffering from hurts, habits, and hangups. You might feel a little out of place if you don’t have a severe addiction, but you shouldn’t feel that way.

That’s what’s great about CR; it’s for anyone!

You don’t have to be an addict or have a severe problem going on in order to “fit in” at Celebrate Recovery.

Depending on the groups available in your area, you may be able to go to a “life issues” group or an “abuse support” group. It depends on what’s going on with you and what is offered at the CR group in your local area.

Locate a CR near you, and they will help you fit in somewhere! You don’t even have to be a Christian or have beliefs – one way or another – to join in.

What are the Benefits of Celebrate Recovery?

You get to share your hurt and pain with other people who are like you. Their experience and advice can help you get through the tough times that you are facing.

Also, at Celebrate Recovery, they have resources and tools to help you during these troubled times. You can join a step study to get even more involved and dive deeper into the solutions to your problems.

You find a community, make a group of friends who will be there for you at the drop of a hat. Eventually, you will probably find a sponsor in your small group, and one day, you may even become one! That’s a relationship that will be bonded forever.

Finding Christian friends, people who put God first, is a great way to heal and feel more at peace about your issues.

You get a chance to experience freedom from the many issues that you feel are controlling your life. Maybe you feel stuck or cornered at the moment, not sure which hurts, habits, and hang-ups you suffer from. You may not know what you are feeling or where you belong.

Celebrate Recovery can be the answer. You will hear testimonies from other CR members who are in recovery from the hardships that affected their lives.

They may also talk about the healing power of Jesus Christ when discussing their hurt, hangup, or pain. If you aren’t the religious type, there’s no harm in listening to the principles of recovery and how they changed their life. You might learn something from what they went through.

What is Celebrate Recovery Like?

I’ve been to many Celebrate Recovery meetings, but I haven’t been to all of them, and new ones are popping up all the time, which is great! I can only share my experiences because every CR meeting is a little different. Locate one near you to discover for yourself what CR can offer you. You may discover things you never dreamed were possible!

At the Celebrate Recovery meetings that I have gone to, we have had a group dinner first, where everyone is welcome to have a meal together. This isn’t required; it’s just a great way to have community with fellow members of CR and get to know new ones.

After dinner, the church or auditorium has a large group session with everyone. There is usually some praise and worship, but you aren’t required to participate if you do not feel comfortable doing so.

After that, they have a great lesson on recovery or, on alternate weeks, a testimony to listen to. It’s very uplifting and motivating; it’s always found a way to reach my heart.

Next is the small CR groups. This is where men and women are separated, like in a non-Christian recovery group, into smaller groups based on their struggles.

If you have abuse, addiction, or other issues, you would want to go to the group that deals with those issues. First-timers usually go to an introductory group that explains all about Celebrate Recovery.

What Is Celebrate Recovery, and What Is It Not?

How to Get Started with Celebrate Recovery

Find a meeting near you! If you feel like your problems are controlling your life, why wouldn’t you want to seek help? Don’t get me wrong; CR is not a counseling program, but there is no cost.

You can meet quality people who genuinely care about your problems, people who will do what it takes to help you come out of your shell of despair with Jesus on their side!

You can purchase a Celebrate Recovery Bible if you want to study on your own or pick one up at a Celebrate Recovery meeting. After attending a few meetings, you may decide CR is right for you and want to join a step study.

If you decide a step study is the right course of action for you, you can obtain more CR books that will guide you through the 12 steps with your group.

A step study is like an intense small group, but with the same group of people. It’s an incredible experience! You will forge friendships that will last your entire lifetime, bonds you wouldn’t believe were possible!

It’s because you share with each other things you never shared with anyone in your life, and you have unique things in common with one another. You also build a bond that’s really unbreakable.


There are so many great things about Celebrate Recovery, but you really should find out for yourself. What is celebrate recovery to you? Are you suffering from a hurt, hang-up, or habit you’ve been trying to kick?

You will find blessings beyond measure at a meeting – a place you probably never thought you’d be! Learn more about the benefits you can receive from a CR meeting by going to one near you!

If you’ve found this article to be helpful, valuable, or interesting, please share it on social media. I’m trying to get this blog up and running, and I’d appreciate it if you’d help spread the word!

If you’d like more articles like this one, make sure you leave a comment, letting me know what you think. This will help me know what kind of content to create for you! I look forward to hearing from you and really hope you’ll consider Celebrate Recovery! It will change your life!

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