Celebrate Recovery can help you recover from any type of hurt or struggle, including those related to addiction and substance use disorders. It observes eight principles that can help you find greater peace and healing.
Here are the eight principles of Celebrate Recovery, how to observe them, and how you can find one of these support group meetings in your area today.
What Is Celebrate Recovery?
Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-based 12-step program for anyone who needs help recovering from pain, hurt, or addiction. It can also help you recover from dysfunctional behaviors and behavioral health disorders, including mental illnesses.
Celebrate Recovery is based on the actual words of Jesus and uses the same 12 Steps from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), observing Christ as the Higher Power. It was founded in 1991 by John Baker, a former alcoholic who worked at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California.
This support group program has three guiding principles in addition to its eight principles of recovery. These are:
- Our Higher Power is Jesus Christ. It is our goal to honor and glorify Him in all that we do—in our worship, in our teaching, in our testimonies, in our small groups, in our step studies, and in our fellowship. We praise Him for His mercy and grace.
- The Word of God is our guidebook and authority. When in doubt, go to the source of authority, the Holy Scripture.
- Confidentiality is an absolute commitment and is essential to our “safe place.”
What Are the 8 Principles of Celebrate Recovery?
The eight principles of Celebrate Recovery are based on the eight sequential principles that are understood as a lesson of Jesus’ Beatitudes. These principles, along with the 12 Steps of AA, are discussed regularly at Celebrate Recovery support group meetings. The first letter of the first word in each of the eight principles spells “RECOVERY.”
Realize I’m not God. Admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable.
People are human—we are not God, and we are not perfect. Admitting that you are not God and are powerless in controlling your tendency to do the wrong thing can help you let go of the control you thought you may have had previously.
Giving up your control can sound scary, but as long as you look to God for help, you can begin to see there are other solutions to your problem that are better than those you had before. If you tend to struggle with control, make time for God every day and pray or meditate. This puts you back in control while also allowing God to guide you in the right direction.
Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, and that He has the power to help me recover.
Having faith is vital, especially during difficult times or situations when you may need to rely on faith to make it through. You must believe in God’s power to help you recover, even though you may not understand why He makes you suffer or do not know what His plan is for you. You must have faith that He knows what He is doing and that everything will be alright in the end.
Consciously choose to commit my life and will to Christ’s care and control.
Once you choose to accept Christ as your savior and into your heart, you may find that you start feeling better about yourself and your situation. You may also notice a series of positive changes in your life, whether or not it’s you who is consciously or deliberately causing those changes to happen.
Some people believe that Faith is about believing in the impossible or in things you never believed would ever happen to you. Focus on keeping your Faith in the forefront, and allow God and Christ to continue caring for you and guiding you throughout your recovery journey.
Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.
Discussing your faults with those you trust is another effective way to let go and further your healing and recovery. Talking to God is a good place to start, but connecting with those in your Celebrate Recovery support group can give you that human interaction that reminds you that nobody is perfect and that you are loved just the way you are.
If you’re not sure how to practice Principle #4, consult with your sponsor in Celebrate Recovery. Your sponsor has already completed this program and can offer sound advice and guidance on how to proceed. Your sponsor can also give you tips on how to recognize your flaws and faults, especially those that may be holding you back from achieving peace and recovery.
Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects.
Now that you have recognized and admitted your faults and flaws, it’s time to submit to God and ask Him to help you remove those defects so you can become a better, healthier, more functional person. This requires you to let go of control and hand it over to God, who will remove them Himself or provide you with the tools and empowerment you need to do it on your own.
Here are some phrases you may say during moments of prayer and meditation when you’re ready to work on character defects: “God, please empower me with the tendency to remove my character defects on my own” or “God, I realize I am powerless to remove my character defects, please guide me and help me with this recovery step.”
Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others.
Making the effort to mend and repair relationships with those you have harmed on behalf of your addiction or dysfunctional behavior can help you overcome feelings like guilt, shame, and embarrassment holding you back from recovery. Offering forgiveness to those who have hurt you is also a vital aspect of letting go and turning yourself over to God and His healing.
While observing this principle, it’s extremely important that you only reach out to those who will not be harmed further by having contact with you. Your sponsor with Celebrate Recovery can help you determine who you should and shouldn’t reach out to based on your history and relationships with those you have hurt or who have hurt you.
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.
Make time for God every day, whether it’s for an hour or two at night before you go to bed or 10 minutes in the morning after you wake up. Use this time to strengthen your relationship with God through prayer, meditation, or reading the Bible. This allows you to communicate with God regularly, which will bring you closer to Him.
Communication is always a two-way street. Talk directly to God when you pray, and allow yourself to hear His voice in your head when reading the Bible. After doing this regularly for some time, you’ll have an easier time recognizing His cues and following His guidance on an everyday basis.
Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and by my words.
When you start practicing principle #8, you may already have spent several months to a year working your way through the Celebrate Recovery program and now have the wisdom and strength to help others who are at the beginning stages of their own recovery. Now, it’s time for you to share the Good News related to what Christ has done for you in terms of healing. Help others understand that healing and recovery are possible no matter how low they may feel or how bad their situation is.
Be open to sharing how Celebrate Recovery has changed your life, and how it has helped you recover from your hurt, pain, and suffering. It’s okay to look to God for help, motivation, and courage when observing this principle, as He will be right by your side cheering you on as you spread His Good News.
What if I Need Help Observing the 8 Principles?
Like many other 12-step programs, Celebrate Recovery has sponsors available to coach you and guide you through every step of this highly therapeutic program. Sponsors are always available to help you when you may be experiencing a crisis or are on the verge of relapse if you are in recovery from an alcohol or drug addiction.
Celebrate Recovery sponsors can also:
• Provide an objective opinion or point of view on topics and situations you may be struggling with.
• Discuss matters that are highly personal to you that you don’t feel comfortable sharing during meetings.
• Give you personalized “assignments” or tasks that can propel you toward recovery.
• Hold you accountable for attending meetings.
• Check in with you regularly to discuss and monitor your recovery progress.
All sponsors with Celebrate Recovery have completed the 12-step program and have been completely sober and abstinent for at least one year. They are also required to actively attend meetings and may even have their own sponsors.
The best way to find a Celebrate Recovery sponsor is to attend a meeting and get to know all the members of your group. This can help you identify one or more potential sponsors with whom you resonate and connect and who make you feel completely at ease about your unique situation.
Understand that it’s also okay to attend several Celebrate Recovery meetings if you want to explore your options and find a group that makes you feel most comfortable. Fortunately, many churches have Celebrate Recovery meetings for those who can benefit from this program. You do not have to be a member of a particular church to attend these meetings.
How Do the 8 Principles Tie into the 12 Steps of AA?
If you’re familiar with the 12 Steps of AA, you may have noticed that many of the eight principles are closely aligned with the 12 Steps. During meetings in which one of the principles is discussed, the corresponding AA step or steps is also discussed.
The main differences between AA and Celebrate Recovery are that in Celebrate Recovery, the “Higher Power” referred to in the 12 Steps of AA is Jesus Christ, and not everyone who attends Celebrate Recovery is an alcoholic or someone with a drinking problem.
The 12 Steps of Celebrate Recovery are:
- We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.
- We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God.
- We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- We humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings.
- We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
- We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
- 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.
- 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.
How Can I Find a Celebrate Recovery Meeting?
Visit the Find Support Groups website today to find an available meeting in your area. Select “Celebrate Recovery Christian Based” from the search dropdown menu, then enter your city and state to find nearby meetings. Or, call us at (561) 559-9210 to speak with someone who can help you find another support group meeting.