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Celebrate what is found, Recover what was lost

Celebrate Recovery

On the first Tuesday of the New Year, January 3rd, 2012,  I drove to the church I attend and parked my van in the parking lot. I sat in my van for several minutes trying to get up the courage to open my door and walk across the parking lot to a Celebrate Recovery meeting that started at 7:00 p.m.

I saw someone in the parking lot I knew. I waited until they walked into the church before I got out of my van. I didn’t want anyone to see me.

I quoted a bible verse about being able to do all things, over and over again in my head.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

I opened my door. I closed my door. I took one step towards the church, and then another. I opened the door to the church and walked inside. I was met with a smile and was handed a program that listed the 12 Steps  and the 8 Principles of Celebrate Recovery.

Celebrate what is found, Recover what was Lost

I had been thinking about attending a Celebrate Recovery meeting for over a year. One of the Celebrate Recovery leaders  told me that the group stressed anonymity. She didn’t even tell her husband or her daughter, who came to the  meetings.

I felt alone. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was sad and angry. On the outside I smiled. “Hey, I have my life together. I can handle my problems.” But deep inside I was still the little girl who wished her father had noticed her more. I was still the little girl who had been molested and  wanted someone to protect her. I wanted to recover what was lost.

I didn’t have to be addicted to alcohol to attend the meetings. I could attend because I am addicted to bananas. I could attend the meeting because I struggle with anger and throw things. I could attend the meeting because I wanted to move closer to God.

I sat in the back row. A volunteer leader led the meeting and introduced themselves to the group. They said their name and what they struggled with. On the first meeting on the month they hand out Recovery Chips to mark special occasions or clean time in recovery.

If you are new tonight, please do not feel pressure to pick up a blue chip, as not everyone takes a chip at CR.

The  first chip is most important. It is blue, reminding us to surrender to Christ only. If you’ve identified a new area of your life you’d like to surrender to Christ or if  you have relapsed and are coming back, we hope you will come forward to take a blue chip to remember this surrender date. If you have relapsed, remember there is no shame in coming back. We feel blessed that you made it! Would anyone like a Blue Surrender Chip?

Read by A Celebrate Recovery Volunteer Leader

Several people went forward to receive chips. They played a song; it was a celebration. I wanted a blue chip, but I stayed in my chair. It seemed like a good idea to surrender my hurts, habits and hang-ups to God. I wanted to walk to the front, but I stayed in my chair. After they had handed out the other chips to celebrate different milestones in recover, they offered the blue chip again.

We would like to offer The Blue Surrender Chip one more time. If you have now decided you would like to surrender an area of your life or if you have relapsed and are coming back, please come pick up a blue chip!

I walked to the front and got my blue chip. I was ready to take the first step

We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behavior; 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

I have kept attending Celebrate Recovery on Tuesdays.  I worked on the 12 Steps of Recovery. On January 1st, 2013 during the chip ceremony I went to the front of the church and received my one year chip. I celebrate what is found. I have recovered what was lost.

Celebrate one year in recovery

Today is Tuesday. Tonight there is a Celebrate Recovery meeting at my church. I will attend.  I am not ashamed anymore.

If you would like to attend Celebrate Recovery you can type in your zip code here to see if there is a meeting close to where you live.

Thank you for listening. 

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Reinhold Niebuhr


About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • Celebrate Recovery is a wonderful program. It took a lot of courage for you to go, and go back, and go get your blue chip. Good for you, and congratulations, well done.

  • margaret simon

    Celebrate, indeed! You have great strength and confidence that shines forth in your writing. Thanks for sharing.

  • AJF

    Your strength and courage are amazing. You have recovered what you lost and started on a brave new journey of demystifying the often hidden abuse of children. In my humble opinion, you deserve a shopping trip now and then even if you go to TJ MAXX! Embrace today and as you are doing, the power of the human spirit to endure and grow.

  • Rebekah

    Hi Pamela,
    Here is the Serenity Prayer for marriages:
    “God, grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know that one is me.”

    God bless.

    • Yikes, that is a good one Rebekah. Are you sure you got that right? Doesn’t my husband have to change and I get to keep on being bossy old me? I know you are right. I will work on myself and stop the “Husband Improvement Program.”
      Thank you friend.

  • Brave girl, so glad you shared. I have another friend who went through that program and it was lifechanging. Everyone needs help sometimes, I hope your transparency encourged others to step forth

  • nancy Hatcher

    I loved hearing about your journey. I’m am so glad that you made that choice of surrender and that you have stayed in the circle for a year. I admire you as a writer and am glad that I am your friend. xo

  • Elsie

    It took courage and strength to attend that first meeting as well as sharing it with the world through your writing. Your life becomes richer with each step you take to heal.

  • Thank you Janelle. Friends help me be brave.

  • I know that had to be hard. I’m glad you are no longer ashamed and have found the ability to celebrate. Great post, Pamela!