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Celebrate Recovery Support Groups

Celebrate Recovery commenced in 1991 at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California.  At that time, the church was gathering at a high school gymnasium.

On the first night, 43 people attended, and Celebrate Recovery was born.  Opening with only four Open Share Groups — Men’s and Women’s Chemical Dependency and Men’s and Women’s Codependency — the ministry has expanded to up to 14 groups today.  Over 27,000 people have proceeded through the program at Saddleback Church and many of them are currently serving in Celebrate Recovery.  Celebrate Recovery is the number one outreach service at Saddleback Church, with over 70% of its participants now coming from outside the church.

The Celebrate Recovery program proclaims as part of a movement that delivers the healing power of Jesus Christ to the hurting and broken.

Growth Of Celebrate Recovery

Celebrate Recovery is expanding in churches and recovery houses, rescue missions, universities, and prisons worldwide.  New Mexico was the first state to embrace Celebrate Recovery into its state prison system and now has Celebrate Recovery pods in all its state prisons.  In August 2004, Celebrate Recovery was declared as California’s state-approved substance abuse program for prisons.  This is a unique and growing outreach opportunity for every Celebrate Recovery.

 Since 1991, over 27,000 people have progressed through this Christ-centered Celebrate Recovery program at Saddleback Church.
Since 1991, over 27,000 people have progressed through this Christ-centered recovery program at Saddleback Church.

John Baker is the founder of Celebrate Recovery, a ministry born in Saddleback Church.  The Cele­brate Recovery program is currently being used in 35,000 churches nationwide.  Over five million individuals have completed the program as well.  [1]

Celebrate Recovery 12 Steps and Biblical Comparisons

1. We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.

– I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.

For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Romans 7:18 NIV

2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

– For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.  Philippians 2:13 NIV

3. We decided to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God.

– Therefore, I urge you, brothers, because of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.  Romans 12:1 NIV

4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

– Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.  Lamentations 3:40 NIV

5. We admitted to God, ourselves, and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

– Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.   James 5:16a NIV

6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

– Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.  James 4:10 NIV

7. We humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings.

– If we confess our sins, he is faithful and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9 NIV

8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

– Do to others as you would have them do to you.  Luke 6:31 NIV

9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

– Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First, go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.  Matthew 5:23-24 NIV

10. We continued to take personal inventory and, when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

– So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!  1 Corinthians 10:12

11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

– Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.  Colossians 3:16a NIV

12. Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and practice these principles in all our affairs.

– Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore them gently.  But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.  Galatians 6:1 NIV

 Celebrate Recovery's 12 Steps based on the Bible.
Celebrate Recovery’s 12 Steps being connected on the Bible.

Celebrate Recovery’s Eight Recovery Principles

The Road to Recovery Based on the Beatitudes

  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 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

Why Should We Join Support Groups Such As Celebrate Recovery?

 Isolation is an obstacle that only contributes to addictive and harmful substances.  Support groups like Celebrate Recovery, are vital because they let participants know that they do not have to be detached from others.  They also extend a network of advice, assistance, and skill-building exercises.
Isolation is an obstacle that only contributes to addictive and harmful substances.  Support groups are vital because they let participants know that they do not have to be detached from others.  They also extend a network of advice, assistance, and skill-building exercises.

According to National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is a chronic disease similar to other chronic diseases such as type II diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

Human investigations of addictive behaviors have connected both environmental and genetic influences and interactions between the two.  While genetics play a significant role in determining who we are, the environment in which we are raised is just as influential.  [2]

Provided that, participants of support groups will not be judged for their choices or actions because the other people in the support group have pledged to non-judgment and may have similar life experiences.  New group members can look to other members who have been able to make successful transitions.  The life of others can support the future goals of others by inspiring them to cope.

We Level Up New Jersey Support Group Programs

At We Level Up New Jersey, we firmly believe that the best chances of lifelong recovery are when clients are given the proper coping means.  But that is still only half of the fight against addiction and relapse; making those resources accessible plays a vital role in lifelong recovery.  As such, we are pleased to offer our treatment programs (individual counseling, group therapy, and 12-step program meetings that work as a support group like Celebrate Recovery) at the same facility.  This implies less headache and nuisance for our clients, who can spend more time concentrating on getting better.

Looking for Immediate Help?

Please speak with an Addiction Advisor today here at We Level Up NJ.


[1] Celebrate Recovery –

[2] Drug Abuse and Addiction: One of America’s Most Challenging Public Health Problems – National Institute On Drug Abuse