Anyone who walks the earth has compulsive hurts, habits or hang-ups. But people can free themselves from these harmful behaviors. At Celebrate Recovery honest, open people share stories of broken marriages reconciled, desperate folks finding hope, and depression lifted. The program, available at a handful of Edmond churches, helps addicts and sufferers of other illnesses move beyond their harmful behavior to lead healthy, fulfilling lives.
Micah Hobbs was in high school when a drunk driver killed his friend. “My life went to chaos,” he says, “I grew up in church, but at that point I asked the age-old question, if God is good, why so much suffering?” The pain of loss was too much for Hobbs and sent him down the road to alcoholism.
Four years later, a full-blown alcoholic, he hit bottom. “Like we say, ‘I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.’ I decided there’s got to be more to life than this.”
Hobbs sought help with his alcoholism and hasn’t had a drink in eight years. He finished a college degree and eventually became Director of Celebrate Recovery at Memorial Road Church of Christ. “I wanted to help people who were in the same place I’d been.”
The program addresses problems like eating disorders, nicotine addiction, anxiety, anger management, alcoholism and several other issues. Small group meetings, such as abuse survivors or codependents, stress anonymity and confidentiality. By sharing personal experiences, failures, strengths and hopes with each other, people learn how to accept help with life’s problems.
Edmond’s newest Celebrate Recovery group meets at Crossings Community Center, located at Hefner and Penn. “The church saw a great potential to help people in the community and the church,” says Teresa Peden, the Pastoral Associate at Crossings Community Church.
A licensed therapist, Peden has over 20 years of experience in the mental health field. “Program leaders are trained,” she says, “They don’t have to be mental health professionals and in fact, Celebrate Recovery works because peer leaders share from their own experience, strength and hope.”
Crossings offers gender-specific groups for depression and anger management; survivors of abuse; codependency; and chemical dependency. They offer a small therapy group for those who deal with eating disorders and self-destructive behaviors prevalent among young people. They also offer Life Tools For Kids, a program that helps children deal with feelings, changes and losses in the family and make good choices and improve relationships.
Peden stresses the importance of togetherness. “People may feel isolated, but as part of a caring community, they realize they’re not alone,” she says, “Being cared for makes all the difference in the world.”
Sheldon Adkins, also a minister at Memorial Road Church of Christ, says he started drinking regularly when he was sixteen. No consequence was powerful enough to make him stop – not a night in a jail cell or totaling a car while intoxicated. He made numerous attempts to quit and control his drinking. At 28, he woke up on the tail end of a bender with no idea what he had done the night before. He decided to get help.
“I visited a meeting and met people who understood more than anyone ever had,” says Adkins, “People seemed real, not just putting on a happy face for church.” He became a counselor because he wanted to use his mistakes to help others.
Adkins emphasizes that the church is not running from difficult issues, but offering support. People don’t have to feel alone anymore. “Where they may have never felt connected,” says Adkins, “now there’s a whole support system. Afterwards people start giving back. It’s awesome to see.”
A similar program, Transformation Recovery, meets at Henderson Hills Baptist Church where the Director, Chuck Robinson, and his wife, Vicky, have been involved in recovery since 1982. “I’m glad the church had the foresight to see the need to help,” he says, “This is an outlet for people to come and feel safe.”
At Celebrate Recovery, participants learn that their addictions are not their identities. Hurt drives addiction and when the hurt starts interfering with a person’s life, help is needed. “We tell hurting people that they don’t have to live like that any more,” says Robinson.
Small, confidential groups address specific issues such as sex addiction. “Internet pornography is killing our men,” Robinson says, “If we want better husbands and long-standing marriages, we need to address this. Getting hooked on porn is not funny anymore. It hurts.”
Celebrate Recovery can complement other types of recovery. Mainly it communicates hope, but don’t be shocked if you walk in and hear talk about Jesus. Celebrate Recovery is a Christian recovery program.
Celebrate Recovery at Memorial Road Church of Christ meets Friday evenings. Call Micah Hobbs at 405.607.6417 for more information. Transformation Recovery at Henderson Hills Baptist Church meets on Mondays. Call Chuck Robinson at 405-340-7400. Celebrate Recovery at Crossings Community Center meets on Thursdays. Contact Teresa Peden at 405-302-1249.