I grew up in a two parent, church going, successful family. I also grew up with physical, emotional and sexual abuse. By the time I entered school, I felt unloved and alone, certain I didn’t matter to anyone. I learned to numb all the pain I felt with food by age 7, alcohol at age 10 and drugs at age 18. Outwardly, I was successful in school and life, but inwardly I was miserable and afraid of everything. In college, I was forced to deal with my drug addiction because of an overdose that almost got me thrown out of my field of study. I went through treatment and stopped doing drugs, however, I made alcohol my new love. I lived the next 25 years of my life as a functioning alcoholic who was very good at hiding my addiction. I had a successful business, married and had three sons.

During a severe episode with depression in my 30’s, I cried out for relief, but I found so much more. I found real hope in Jesus Christ. I became a Christian at 38 and served in church as a Sunday School teacher and VBS leader, but I still had the horrible secret of my alcoholism. I went through treatment a couple more times, but I couldn’t stay sober until I was introduced to Celebrate Recovery. My pastor told me about CR when I finally shared my addiction with him.

CR was the place I felt at home. I was able to say I was a believer, but I still struggled greatly. Celebrate Recovery not only helped me find sobriety one day at a time, it also brought true recovery from addiction, self-loathing and anger. It has helped me heal from childhood abuse, learn healthy coping skills for my depression and anxiety and find purpose. I am no longer a slave to addiction, anger or fear. I am a child of God. I am His beloved and cherished. God is using my mess as his message as I serve as ministry leader in my CR and as a state rep. I live today in gratitude to Jesus, who redeemed my life from the pit, set my feet upon a rock and put a new song of praise in my mouth. Freedom is possible. I am living proof. Thanks for letting me share.

Ann

“For a while in the chaos of my life I almost never had a sober moment... cocaine , drinking, weed every day. I was a firefighter and a paramedic, but once I retired it was a fast and steady spiral downhill. The drugs and alcohol were not enough to numb the pain I felt inside and I became suicidal. In prison, completely hitting bottom I attempted to take my life on March 22,2016. Miraculously I was literally shocked back to life.

It was out of that dark place where all seemed lost- my freedom, my hope and almost my life, I found Jesus submitting myself to Him. It was through His power that I gained my sobriety and a purpose to keep living! After prison I plugged into a great church and I have never looked back. I am back on 2 wheels by the grace of God, slinging hope through the ministry of Celebrate Recovery and Broken Chains where people are finding hope and healing out of the darkness just like me! Thanks for letting me share.

Luckey

Since I can remember I have always been in trouble with the law. As I struggled through life as a non-believer, fighting, lying, stealing, cheating and abusing drugs, my parents and I started a small business of selling crystal meth. In the midst of that chaos I experienced the most traumatic event in my life. I pulled out in front of a young man on a motorcycle who passed away on his way to the hospital. I tried to end the pain by consuming as much drugs as I could hoping I would die. 2 weeks after the accident the police raided my house and my parents and we all went to jail.

While in jail God led me to a bible study where I felt His presence drawing me closer. I asked for repentance and said to Jesus, “if your really there, I surrender.” I was given a heart transplant. Jesus took my heart of stone and gave me a heart of flesh and put His Spirit inside of me. Looking for ways to support me, my girlfriend started attending a local Celebrate Recovery. Soon after she attended, a man named Scott came to visit me. He sent me a CR Bible and CR Step Study Books. Before you know it, God was using me to lead recovery based small groups inside the jail! As we studied the CR lessons I came across the CONFESS lesson. Proverbs 28:13, He who conceals his sins will not prosper, but the one who confess and renounces them finds mercy. God said to me, “to be free you must not only confess Jesus as your Lord you need to confess your sins." With the Holy Spirit in control I told the detective every place I stole from which piled 3 theft felonies onto my drug felony. Yet, because of God’s amazing grace, I was miraculously released from jail after only 3 months.

As soon as I was released from jail I plugged into 2 local CR ministries with my girlfriend, and our kids began attending Celebration Place. God then called Trish and I to get married and we went to the 2015 ECS for our honeymoon. Today I am the ministry leader of our Celebrate Recovery and a CR state representative. I am a new creation in Christ because of those people that brought Celebrate Recovery into that jail. To those men and women I say thank you. It is my prayer that others answer the call to help bring freedom and purpose to those behind bars in the name of Jesus. Thanks for letting me share.

Jeremy

I was un-churched raised in a house full of alcoholism, sexual abuse, control, manipulation and emotional chaos. This contributed to teenage years of rebellion, drugs, alcohol, bad grades, promiscuity and total disregard for self.

In 1993, I found Jesus, but it was a very one-way relationship. I tried to play the part, got married, completely replanted myself, and left my old ways. I was white knuckling it, but this proved not to work, as I still had issues that were unresolved. I left that marriage and continued pulling my trailer loads of pain around. I became a single Mom of 3 and did my best raising my kids, I eventually did get in a relationship through which alcoholism re-entered my life. As an adult, I attempted to "fix". I was sober now, but with an anxiety issues, control issues and deep co-dependency.

In 2011, I began attending a church, but struggled to get connected. I sat in the back row, resisting engagement, essentially remaining nameless. However, I made a decision to help with the greeting, and with that, I found a person I could trust who was in recovery. I soon found myself in a step study learning that I was sick, that I had a people problem, and that I needed help.

There was so much pain and regret. I had no self-worth. God was about to tell me who I was because I had no idea. With the loving help of the Pastor and his team, and the process of the 12 steps I processed through the pain that had spanned decades with a new definition of who I was and what I was made for. My heart became whole and I began to step to God's glory as a leader in Celebrate Recovery. Today I am also a Hope Dealer as a member of Broken Chains, a Fellowship of Bikers who have found healing in Jesus Christ through the ministry of Celebrate Recovery. XXX All the Glory to God! Thank you Jesus for not leaving me where I was. Thank you for bringing others to meet me where I was to walk me to a safe place to unpack and heal. I will forever be grateful.

Thanks for letting me share.
Lisa

All my life I tried to hide the real me with whatever mask I found necessary. I tried to please everyone as I felt this was the best way to avoid getting hurt. The pain of past sexual abuse, being bullied because of my weight, and the resulting fear and confusion in my youth took its toll in adulthood.

My weak self-esteem turned into self hate and I began self-harming and eventually attempted suicide. From one extreme to the next I wrestled against obesity to anorexia which brought me to the brink of death and into the dregs of depression. I can truly say that I would have died if not for Celebrate Recovery.

Celebrate Recovery helped open doors for me to a new safe family who loves me for who I am and who I can become in Jesus Christ. Through working the steps and principles I was able to accept the person I see in the mirror. I admitted I was powerless but not worthless, lost but not a lost cause. Celebrate Recovery helped lead me to a Savior I see now loves me unconditionally, and sees me not for my issues but as His child He sacrificed to save.”

Thanks for letting me share.
Jacky