What Is Celebrate Recovery?

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What Is Celebrate Recovery?

There are many 12-Step programs that cater to a wide variety of individual needs. One popular choice for people interested in a Christian focus is Celebrate Recovery. Celebrate Recovery is a “Christ-centered, 12-Step recovery program for anyone struggling with hurt, pain, or addiction of any kind.”

What Is Celebrate Recovery?

Founded in 1991 by Pastor John and Cheryl Baker, Celebrate Recovery (www.celebraterecovery.com) follows principles based on the Beatitudes: eight statements from Jesus Christ delivered in the Sermon on the Mount. Baker, then a member of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, asked its pastor Rick Warren if the ministry would support this vision for Celebrate Recovery (CR). The first night 43 people within the church attended—now there are more than 35,000 programs around the world.

Baker, who once struggled with alcohol use disorder, had tried Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) as a support mechanism, but as he became more devoted to his faith, he wanted stronger Christian-based guidance for his sobriety. He believed that individuals adhering to the Beatitudes could “find a pathway predetermined by God for wholeness, growth, and spiritual maturity.” However, while developing CR, Baker included some aspects of AA, and many people used both support systems together, including a unique Bible-focused 12-Steps for Daily Living.  

With the acronym of “recovery,” the eight primary principles are as follows, which we provide verbatim from CR: 

  1. Realize I’m not God; I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable. (Step 1)
    “Happy are those who know that they are spiritually poor.” Matthew 5:3a TEV
  2. Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and that He has the power to help me recover. (Step 2)
    “Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4 TEV, NIV
  3. Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control. (Step 3)
    “Happy are the meek.” Matthew 5:5a TEV
  4. Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust. (Steps 4 and 5)
    “Happy are the pure in heart.” Matthew 5:8a TEV
  5. Voluntarily submit to any and all changes God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects. (Steps 6 and 7)
    “Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires” Matthew 5:6a TEV
  6. Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others when possible, except when to do so would harm them or others. (Steps 8 and 9)
    “Happy are the merciful.” Matthew 5:7a TEV; “Happy are the peacemakers” Matthew 5:9 TEV
  7. Reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will. (Steps 10 and 11)
  8. Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and my words. (Step 12)
    “Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires.” Matthew 5:10 TEV

Pastor Warren explains how CR works.

Attendees participate in large group meetings, but Baker also designed the program structure with approximately 14 breakout “open share” small groups to help individuals find more supportive connections for their particular needs. Small groups may be gender-specific or issue-specific, and topics include chemical dependency, codependency, marriage resources, and more. Most of the CR ministry outreach happens in churches, but also in numerous after-school children and teen classes, prisons, rescue centers, and other locations.

John Baker passed away in 2021. Now his son, Johnny, also in recovery, leads CR as pastor and global executive director.

How Spirituality Can Help Support Sobriety 

Living a healthy and happy sober life doesn’t require spirituality—or religion, for that matter. But for some people, following a spiritual path often provides valuable grounding that reinforces essential belief systems. This foundation keeps individuals on track when times get tough, especially when certain triggers threaten sobriety. Ultimately, it’s your decision as to whether a particular type of aftercare program and other tools help you avoid relapse and live with a focused purpose.

Learn More Tools for Success at Seabrook

The board-certified professionals at Seabrook’s four addiction treatment centers in New Jersey understand the value of treatment and relapse prevention programs that resonate with each individual. For someone hoping to reinforce sobriety with the strength of their Christian faith, Seabrook’s Christian Track may be the best option. Ask our admissions team more about the success of this approach.