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What Does It Means to Celebrate Recovery?

Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin are leaders of the Celebrate Recovery Group meeting in Appomattox VA

Celebrate Recovery


Have you been asking what happens at Celebrate Recovery? I think the best way to answer this question is to listen to a person who personally knows the answer. Christina Stolass wrote about her experience at CR. This is her story.


How Christina Got To CR

A spiritually mature friend recommended Celebrate Recovery to Christina. CR’s stated purpose is “to encourage fellowship and to celebrate God’s healing power in our lives as we work our way along the road to recovery”. It is common to hear people say, I did not think I needed help until a friend confronted me. This was the case with Christina.

Denial .. A River in Egypt

Christina reaction was to ignore the suggestion because she told herself she was not an addict and did not need recovery. We call this Denial, not facing up to the fact we are all dealing with hurts, hang-ups and harmful habits.

She went on with her life continuing the insanity cycle—doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. On the outside, people saw the polished Christina, a supermom, entrepreneur, godly wife, and leader. But what they didn’t see was that her marriage was falling apart and the shame of past decisions that was crippling her spiritually and emotionally.


View On The Church

Celebrate Recovery was started in Saddleback Church in California. The CR meetings are in churches around the world. The Bible is the basis for the teaching in CR.

Christina considered church as a place to parade her spiritual resume, not a place to disclose her weaknesses. But her life was not working. So, even with all her doubts, Christina went to her first CR meeting. The meetings were not in her home church, and she could attend the meetings in secret. Christina was stunned when she heard the leader boom out “This is a safe place. You can take your masks off here. We’re all messed up, every single one of us.”

As a child, Christina attended all the activities at church. For Christina, church was not a safe place to acknowledge much less talk about her struggles. Therefore, she found it strange to hear the leaders being transparent and unguarded, admitting they struggled with anger, pride, or lust—especially a pastor.

Going But Not Engaging

Christina continued to attend the weekly meetings but she only superficially shared about her week. Fear kept her from sharing more details of her life. Fear that if people really knew her struggles, they would hate her. Her pride kept her locked in her prison of shame.

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However, in going to the weekly meetings, Christian began to embrace what she was hearing. The recovery process of Celebrate Recovery changed Christina. She began to address her issues, but she still could not let her friends know she attended CR meetings. That changed when her struggling marriage fell apart, and she separated from her husband. Trying to handle their problems on their own and in secret had failed.


The Next Big Step !

A big surprise, her husband started attending CR. Their struggles were out in the open. There was no more hiding their problems, their hurts, hang-ups or harmful habits. The only left to do was to look at their issues; to start working on the issues in their lives.

Christina describes the restoration of their marriage as a process that didn’t always move perfectly forward. Through tears, moments of doubt that their marriage could be saved and questions about whether it was worth the struggle, Christina states “the principles of truth, confession, and forgiveness we learned at CR freed us.”


Who Can Find Help At CR?

Christina says Celebrate Recovery isn’t just for people struggling with drug or alcohol abuse it’s:

  • for people who’ve been hurt
  • for people who’ve hurt others
  • for people who are crippled by depression, anxiety, grief, sexual addictions, shame, eating disorders or other habits that are hard to kick
  • for those who feel judged by the church
  • for those who don’t think they have problems
  • for people who wear masks
  • for those who crave authentic fellowship
  • for those who feel isolated
  • for people who realize they can’t save themselves
  • It’s for people like me, and people like you!

Where Can You Find A CR Meeting?

Celebrate Recovery is where people are set free, and where, through Jesus, messages of hope are found, and people find restoration from their messes.

Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin lead a group that meets on Tuesday nights at 6:45, Memorial UMC, 403 Court Street, Appomattox VA. You can find more about us at or facebook @celebrate.recovery.appomattox.

If you are not in the Appomattox area, you can find a meeting near you at

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Cheryl Gowin

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