My name is Tyler and I am a believer who struggles with addictive behaviors. I grew up in a Christian family and we were church goers for all things church. Youth groups, Weds night dinners and teachings and of course Church retreats. I have no excuse for falling away as I did and spending 23 years in active addiction. I was and athlete and played all sports and lettered in 2 varsity sports in High School. I liked the attention it gave me. I also was an attention seeker. I still struggle with that. One of the things it led me to was following a crowd of people I thought was cool. They were also rebels and at that time called Hippies! Weed was the main thing they used to get high and I tried it. It led to other things to experiment with and I did. I eventually went to college and found a different and easier to obtain drug in alcohol. It led me to being arrested and nearly kicked out of school.

I did however graduate and then moved to a sales job where money was decent, and drugs were easier to get. I fell in to that crowd again. I was a successful salesman for many years. The drugs finally took over my life and it led me to losing everything I had. As I look back, losing everything is what I truly needed to become the man I am now...broken and pieced back together with the help of Jesus and recovery. Recovery led me to Christ, and worship, and a lifestyle that is so much more fulfilling than hiding from the law and living in the dark with no hope or money to turn on the lights.

Discovering Celebrate Recovery in 2004 gives me a gratitude for a program that has allowed me to find true freedom! I can do anything through Christ that strengthens me! I can and do walk with Him each day in freedom from addiction and many of the hurts and habits that kept me from knowing him and what love really is.”

Thanks for letting me share. Tyler

I had grown up in church and believed in Jesus, but it wasn’t until I put down alcohol and chose Jesus to lead my life at the age of 27 that I began a living relationship with my Lord. However, when I said “I do,” I gave up Jesus as my priority, and co-dependency took over my life.  In 2004, my marriage ended after 26 years. I had been living in codependency afraid of my husband’s anger. My relationship had been entirely based on pleasing someone else.  So when the marriage ended, I felt like a teenager trying to figure out who I was.

I had been sober for almost 30 years with the help of AA, so I sought out Christ-centered help that included this kind of gut level honesty.
A program out of Saddleback Church caught my attention as I had found Rick Warren’s book “Purpose Driven Life” very helpful in my recovery journey.  I ordered the Celebrate Recovery Starter kit with the intention of sharing it with my pastor and starting it in my church.

In 2005, I attended my first Celebrate Recovery Summit at Saddleback Church, and was blessed beyond words. As I attended the workshops, and learned more about CR, I felt as if I had come home!! Everything I heard brought me healing. This Summit was also the first time a new outreach program of Celebrate Recovery was introduced: Celebrate Recovery Inside (jails and prisons).

As a Probation Officer for 22 years, my goal was to help people, and now as I saw how much CR was helping me, I knew it would help the defendants and inmates in prison. I brought the program back to my church and to the prisons and jails in my community where I seek to continue to bring the restorative impact of CR to our inmate participants and their families from incarceration through re- entry into the community where CR is a ministry of the local church. I continue to grow through CR into the child of God He created me to be and I seek to follow what He has called me to do.

Thanks for letting me share, Nancy

I was an only child to parents who divorced when I was 10. I lived with my alcoholic father from then until I was 16 that led to many unsupervised hours hanging with the wrong crowd. I always knew my father loved me, even though he couldn’t say it. The only way he knew how to show his love was through enablement, constantly bailing me out of jail.

I became addicted to heroin at 13 and later on to meth, and spent the next 40 years chained to a life of drugs, motorcycle gangs, crime, prison time and broken relationships.

At 52 I found myself staring down the end of my 44 magnum all alone, broken, and ready to end this life of hopelessness and misery when God stepped in and steered me to a Christian rehab center which ultimately introduced me to Celebrate Recovery. After rehab was completed I returned home, found a local Celebrate Recovery where I found a forever family that loved me just like I was with no condemnation about my past. It was here that I learned the tools I needed to live a successful recovery. On Dec 15, 2018 I took my 13 yr CR sobriety chip. CR has become my passion, not only for my own recovery but also because I’ve witnessed so many of God’s miracles in countless lives.

Last year I was diagnosed with liver cancer and stage 4 end of life liver disease as a result of my 40 yrs of self destruction. On Fathers Day 2018 I was given a new opportunity at life when I received the miracle of a liver transplant. I’ve seen God’s handiwork time and time again this past year, and while being called 5 times before the actual transplant was stressful, God gave me peace and calm to never doubt He was in control.

Today I’m living proof that God loves me and has a plan for my life. I get to serve locally in my CR and as a CR state rep for Georgia! I’m also the East Coast National Director for Broken Chains, the motorcycle arm of Celebrate Recovery. Only God could do that! My prayers are that many more will find healing and new life in Jesus Christ in 2019!

Thanks for letting me share Mike!

It’s Testimony Tuesday, and as this year’s SUMMIT OF HOPE approaches, we asked some of our incredible volunteer state representatives to share their stories of hope... Today’s comes from Brian who found hope in the midst of crushing grief. “The Psalmist wrote, “There is no hope except in God”. But I had to ask myself, on what is my hope based?

On Memorial Day of 2015 my daughter went to the hospital after becoming dehydrated. Later that day, my son called me to tell me that Heather had gone into cardiac arrest but that they were able to restart her heart. I was devastated. What went from being being dehydrated to a life-threatening event was incomprehensible. My son called again to tell me that Heather had coded a 2nd time. Finally the call came that I had been dreading. That morning my wife and I were like zombies as we drove to Maryland to say good bye and bury my daughter. As I walked away from the cemetery, I turned to look back to witness the backhoe tamping the ground down over my daughter’s grave. I’ve played that scene repeatedly in my mind for almost 4 years, beset by “what if’s” and “why”, being angry with God, and filled with guilt that I didn’t stay up that night in prayer. I felt like it was a joke to have hope.

But God showed up as I grieved and continue to grieve the loss of my daughter. He reminded me of the women who went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’s body; that they too must have lost hope. He reminded me that what they had been hoping for was in the natural, what they could see and feel, He reminded me that they weren’t looking to the “invisible spiritual realities”. But God also reminded me that they bore witness to the “resurrection power” of a holy and righteous God who raised Jesus from the grave. The same resurrection power was there when my daughter closed her eyes on this earth and opened them to see Jesus. And, it is that same resurrection power that lets me walk in victory in my daily recovery from my addiction to alcohol and struggle with co-dependency... and in my grief.

The Psalmist wrote,”There is no hope except in God”. This is where I find my Hope.

HopeThank you for letting me share.

Only 8 months after our wedding we were both serving in the church when our marriage took a hit that I wasn’t sure we’d recover from.

At this point in our marriage I really didn’t know where to turn. I felt like there was no one I could talk to about what was really going on. We were both faithful servants in the church and, with my trust issues, I worried if anyone knew what was really going on we would both be judged.

I did the only thing I knew to do... pray and fast over my marriage and try to figure out how to deal without letting anyone into our issues. What I’ve learned is that is right where the enemy wants us to be- suffering silently feeling alone and isolated!

When Jonathan told me that he was going to start going to CR, in my head I was saying “great that is exactly what you need to do!”

In 1 Corinthians 13:5 it says love keeps no record of wrongs. I knew if I really loved my husband like I said I did then I needed to offer him the same forgiveness Jesus gives and still gives me over and over again. To my husband’s surprise when he asked me about going to CR I said “okay i'll go.” Little did I know is that night I would hear a testimony on how CR healed a couple’s marriage.

As I sat in the back row with tears in my eyes I knew this is where Jesus wanted me to be. Just keep coming back is what they say and I did just that! I decided to join a step study and began working the steps. I went through the motions for a while and started praying and asking God why isnt this helping like I thought it would. Yet again the Lord reminded me that you have to be real to get what you need. I finally opened up to my sponsor in more detail. Through sharing with her and others I grew to trust this was a safe place where I could be open & vulnerable.

Today our marriage is stronger than ever and we both lead our ministry’s Landing (Celebrate Recovery’s Teen ministry) where we are helping students come out of their isolation and find hope and healing from their hurts, hangups and habits!”

Thanks for sharing letting us share. Faith and Jonathan