I’m Gary, a believer who is grateful to God for my relationship with Jesus Christ. I am recovering from the effects of drug and alcohol abuse. By the grace of God, the fellowship of believers, and the CR program with its 12 Christ-centered Steps and 8 Principles, I’ve continued to stay sober since August 22, 2000.
On that date, two close friends, my physician, and my attorney intervened, and I spent a month in a rehab center. I was angry at best. I was in a troubled marriage and felt so alone. I blamed my wife for our problems. The only responsibility I would admit was my drug and alcohol abuse. But I had convinced myself that even that was her fault. It was hard to admit that I had chosen to take drugs and alcohol to escape the emotional pain of the marriage and that I was culpable for that choice as well as other faults and failures.
By abusing drugs and alcohol I anesthetized my emotional pain, put to sleep my spiritual walk with God, and permanently damaged my spinal cord and legs.
Jacob of the Old Testament wrestled with God all night long (Genesis 32:24-31). He so wanted a blessing from God! He received the blessing, but also a permanent limp.
I also wanted to be blessed by God and I, too, received a blessing along with a limp. I found a new way to walk with God physically and spiritually. He has blessed me with a fresh living relationship with Him through Christ as I choose to walk with Him daily. I no longer anesthetize my pain. I do feel emotions today, both the pain and the joy of life. Because of my renewed relationship with Christ, my family, friends, coworkers, and new friends in CR, I now KNOW I am not alone. In fact I have continued hope and want others to know the hope I have experienced, that they are not alone in their Hurts, Hang-ups, and Habits.
Today, I know I can physically walk only with the grace of God, but I know I must keep company with God through Christ every day, every hour, and every moment. In so doing, I will recover the life that God intended for me! And today I am living that freedom only availed to me by God through the miraculous and healing power of Jesus Christ!
Here are several important verses I choose to live by: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:4-5
“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations (that’s translated in the Greek originally as “pressure”), knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
“Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:6-9
“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
I’m Karen, a grateful believer in Jesus Christ, who is in recovery from childhood sexual abuse and adult sexual addiction.
At the age of 50, I began to have flashbacks of childhood sexual molestation beginning approximately at age 3. At that time, I worked hard with a counselor to process my anguish over these memories. I thought I was finished. But in the past several years I have come to see that what began to motivate my life as a young child, the need to protect myself and to never, ever be helpless or out of control again, still motivated my adult behavior.
I did everything in my power to see that the people I was associated with would value me, would think well of me. So I became a workaholic perfectionist people-pleaser. I never said “no” to any request. I pressured my husband to modify his behavior so I would look better. The search for financial stability became one of the major motivating factors of my life.
The Lord brought many pressures to bear on my life to show me how I had walked away from Him in rebellion. My marriage was stressful. I had cancer. I lost a valued job. My business didn’t succeed as I had hoped. I found myself chronically under-employed.
I have participated in Celebrate Recovery at First Baptist Dallas for the past three years. During that time as I have worked through the eight principles and the twelve Christ-centered steps of Celebrate Recovery, the Lord has freed me from the frenzied efforts to earn appreciation. He has enabled me to grow in my ability to trust Him and my husband to take care of me. He is teaching me how to love others without worrying about what they think of me. I have been able to forgive the ones who abused me and I have made amends to people I have hurt. Of course, I continue to struggle from time to time with old thoughts and habits. But now I am equipped through the principles of Celebrate Recovery to continue my own recovery so that I will become an ever clearer reflection of Jesus Christ to the people around me.
Today, I am determined to love God by trusting Him when I am tempted to fear helplessness and loss of control. He has said I should not fear because He is with me. I have decided to stake my life on that promise. And I serve Him by sharing with other women who have been abused the comfort He has given me as I have worked through the pain of sexual abuse. God never wastes a hurt, and I want Him to have every possible opportunity to use me to comfort and encourage others.
My name is John. I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who is overcoming the affects of childhood abuse.
I'm in my fifties and started seeing a therapist in early 2006. After much encouragement I decided to try Celebrate Recovery. I went to several meetings at different locations before deciding on First Baptist Dallas. Not being a member of First Baptist Dallas has enabled me to feel safe and gain much strength in my journey.
Today, after two and a half years of CR, I serve as a leader and enjoy a renewed and closer walk with my higher power Jesus Christ. I experience new found peace and contentment personally and see others experiencing the same. I encourage you to try CR for at least six weeks and see how God will help you with your Hurts, Hang-ups, and Habits.
My name is Chris, and I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who is in recovery from co-dependency and the effects of a painful divorce.
I came to Celebrate Recovery as the result of the ‘hurt’ I experienced from divorce. I was absolutely devastated when my husband of 26 years walked out of our marriage. However, through CR, God was able to completely heal that wound as He showed me my responsibility in the failure of my marriage. He helped me come out of denial and face my anger. He taught me how to forgive. As I worked through the step study, God revealed to me my co-dependent behavior - my need to control others, my deep desire to please people and be accepted and my perfectionism – and how these behaviors were harming the ones I loved the most.
I don’t think you ever stop being co-dependent, but with God’s help as well as the help of my accountability partners in CR, I have been able to have victory over this co-dependent behavior. I am able to recognize the behavior sooner and to turn from it and I have been willing to turn control of my life over to my Higher Power, Jesus Christ. As a result, all my relationships – with friends, co-workers and especially my daughters – are stronger and healthier today. As I have learned to turn control over to God, the worry, anxiety and stress in my life has diminished. The freedom I feel is amazing.
To me CR is the way God intended the church to be – a group of believers who struggle – willing to walk with each other on this road to recovery – willing to love and support each other– not judge and condemn – as we find victory in Jesus over our hurts, habits and hang-ups.
My name is Melissa, and I'm a grateful believer in Jesus Christ recovering from childhood abandonment that has resulted in people pleasing behavior. Because of my desperate need to find love and acceptance in the world, I have endured many verbal, emotional, sexually, and some physically abusive relationships.
I walked through the doors of Celebrate Recovery about 3 years ago the shell of a person suffering from the effects of an abusive marriage. I was under the impression that I should do whatever my husband wanted me to do just so he would stay with me. I thought if I could learn to say the right thing, do the right thing, do things exactly how he wanted, or use just the right tone of voice…that maybe, just maybe this time it would be different. But one night when he became physically violent, I finally realized it was not me. This was abuse. I had been in unhealthy relationships before, but this was different. Now I was living with my abuser—24/7 in the same house.
With the strength I gained by working the Celebrate Recovery steps, developing my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and with the support of my CR family, I learned how to stand up for myself.
Through CR God is teaching me that He loves me because I am me and not because of anything I do. He is remaking me into the person He intends for me to be and with the help of others with similar issues I am learning that I am not alone in how I feel. I have found a safe place to share my problems, a place to belong, and grow in Christ. I have found a family—God’s family and mine.
Celebrate Recovery at First Baptist Dallas is a powerful ministry that has meant the difference between me being a shadow of another person and being the woman God intends for me to be. God is taking my life and will repay beauty for ashes; I already see His hand moving in my life. Through counseling and CR He continues to show me who I am, where I belong, and that I am not alone. I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that I never knew existed before. I know because of this relationship I can never truly be abandoned.
"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me…He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor." Isaiah 61:1-3
I’m Joe, a grateful believer in Jesus Christ, who in recovery for a porn addition, a lifetime of racism and currently struggling with trusting God.
Jesus has been after me for a long time. I started out Catholic, with a heart for God, and fell away when the ritualism ran dry. I married a woman for all the wrong reasons, had kids, started a business during a bad economy and poured lots of alcohol and drugs into my system to block the pain. One day, I opened the Bible, and God grabbed me with Proverbs 3: 5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…”.
At that point, I accepted Him, but I had no relationship with Him. I said I "loved" Him, but if that's how you treat people you love, you've got serious relationship problems. And I did! My first marriage ended in divorce. I married again to a non-believer, and that ended in divorce. After seeing both my sons struggle with drugs (while I continued to use myself), in 2002, I quit drugs, cut the alcohol, and immersed in the Word.
In 2008, I found Celebrate Recovery because a girlfriend questioned my porn use. My next few months in CR revealed a host of demons, including porn, drugs, alcohol, pride, lust, sloth, procrastination, arrogance, bullying, self-loathing, emotional eating, and, probably the worst, racism.
I was raised by racists in an all-white neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. I stabbed a black man once for standing up to me. I gave a fake name and joined a local Nazi party and posted swastikas in public areas. I proceeded to lay this on my own sons, who thank God, wouldn’t have it. In CR, I confessed these sins to my sponsor, but… after a lifetime of hatred, how do you make amends to an entire race?
I randomly called an all-black church in south Dallas and made my confession to the local pastor…who did not say, “I forgive you.” He said, “we forgive you.” Only then did my sinful, scarlet heart feel white as snow.
My life has changed thanks to Celebrate Recovery. I have addressed the sense of inadequacy that led me into my destructive ways. And, after three tours of CR, I am now leading a fourth group and discovering how I can develop an ear for God’s instruction. This was a miracle in my life. But I am not alone. There are miracles occurring in CR every day. Sure, I may have found another way to the same end. But CR is here and now. Why wait another second?
I’m Claire, a grateful believer in Jesus Christ, who struggles with co-dependency and an eating disorder.
Growing up, I felt a lack of love and nurture from those I loved best. As a result I developed the habit of trying hard to control my circumstances and relationships. This resulted in people pleasing and an eating disorder.
For years I tried to fill the void in my life with food, things, and relationships. But it was a void only God could fill. I was hurting. People had harmed me and I was the only person I could trust. I didn’t even trust God. I wanted my life to be over.
Almost three years ago I found Celebrate Recovery. And finding it, I have found myself again. I had been lost for years, just running through the motions. Celebrate Recovery has been to me as the church should be. I feel safe to be myself there, and I am learning to trust others again. Now I know that I can’t heal my own wounds; only Jesus Christ can do that. I have finally found the freedom in church that I was always told I should have as a Christian, freedom to be me without a mask, and freedom to love others and receive love from them.
Hi, my name is Janie, a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who by God’s grace and mercy and with the help of the Holy Spirit has overcome my failure to forgive others and myself. I am currently working on struggles regarding worry which basically is a lack of trusting God completely, but praise God I am continuing to grow in Him.
I came to Celebrate Recovery in July 2009 in deep pain. I had been raised in a Christian home and at about 9 years old realized clearly my sinfulness and prayed the prayer of salvation asking Jesus to be my Savior and to come into my heart. I unfortunately became a rebellious, cynical adolescent and at the age of 13 ran away from home for the first time. I was lost, angry, hurt, and knew I was hurting others and that I was not doing what was “right.” My mom had me meet with our pastor and I just told him I couldn’t seem to do what I knew the Bible taught so I just gave up and turned my back on the Lord. I left home for good at age 15. Fast forward 26 years, with lots of mistakes, terrible decisions including abortion, and way too many hurts with the root of bitterness growing deep within me. In 2000 I became so distraught I contemplated ending my life; it was just too hard to look at who I was and I knew that I would never be worthy to come home to Him, my sin was too great. But my loving Father heard me in my despair and called to my heart and praise God I turned back to Him and when He saw me coming, He ran to me and clothed me with His indescribable love. I became so hungry to know Him, learn more of Him. Even with my life still in the midst of chaos, I had unspeakable peace. He had become so personal, so real to me.
But in the fall of 2007 came a season of trial; my family was experiencing tragedy. I couldn’t seem to find grace for a precious daughter who was turning toward self and sin. I was so focused on wanting to spare her from making mistakes like I had made that I couldn’t really SEE her, I was blind to the true pain she was enduring. She had suffered abuse as a young child by a family member and in my wrong thinking, in the pain of it all, thinking someone was to blame. I latched on tightly to my right to refuse forgiveness toward the perpetrator. I also picked up feelings of guilt for not having protected her better as a child. I felt I had failed her then and even as the current situation unfolded, had failed again. I knew this refusal to forgive this person was breaking God’s heart, but I couldn’t figure out how to let go of it, how to give it to God. God heard my prayer, He knew my heart, and through the step study at Celebrate Recovery He showed me the way. He reminded me of all that I had been forgiven of including the abortion. As I weighed on the scale what the offense of the one I needed to forgive as opposed to all the sin and damage I had done to myself and others in my years of rebellion toward God, as well as the forgiveness I needed even now in my daily walk with Him, how could I not forgive the one who harmed my child? To revisit all the hurt and shame of my past was painful, but as God continues to grow me He showed me that even though I had accepted His forgiveness for my sin, I hadn’t forgiven myself for my abortion decisions. I found that the reason I had such difficulty in forgiving others was that I still hadn’t forgiven myself. The shame was buried deep and it has been a difficult journey but I am grateful to God for the work He has done in me through this hurt because I know He has a purpose for my life and I cannot fulfill it while carrying the burden of shame and refusal to forgive. I love and want to serve my Lord. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.
Hello, my name is Dawn, a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with anxiety and depression due to Bi-Polar Disorder. Three years ago I was getting help from Pathways Counseling Center and was in group therapy. My counselor Pam said the church was going to start a new 12-step recovery program and she thought it would be better for me than the group therapy. At this point in my life I was such a basket case that I had isolated myself from most of my friends and was so anxious I was on anxiety medication to make it through most days, and took sleeping pills to get through the nights.
When I first walked into the first Celebrate Recovery worship service and I sang the first song about Jesus’ love for me, I do not remember the song, but I do remember it so touched my heart that tears started running down my face. We then went into small groups, and I do not remember if I shared any of my anxieties on my first visit, but in due time I did. Later on I was able to join a step study, and sometime during the step study, I no longer took my anxiety medication, nor needed my sleeping pills.
That same year during the step study, my mother passed away. I believe with all my heart that if it was not for the step study, people praying for me, and Jesus Christ that I might have been hospitalized, but I was not. My friends have increased, I have grown in Jesus, and even though I still have to take my Bi-Polar medication, I am very grateful for Celebrate Recovery here at First Baptist Dallas. I know God is not done with me yet, because He is now allowing me to help others by being a part of the leadership team of Celebrate Recovery. “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrew 4:16