Celebrate Recovery

Have any of you heard of the Christ centered group called Celebrate Recovery? It’s a Christian recovery group for people with a wide variety of problems ranging from depression to food addiction.

I have an anxiety disorder and depression and was wondering about this organization. I’d only recently learned a little about it and am looking for some feedback. My church doesn’t sponsor this group, but a Baptist church not too far from here does. I was wondering how receptive they’d be to a Catholic joining them? Have any Catholics here joined this group or something else held in a Baptist church?

I think I’ll make a call and see if all the members are Baptist and how they’d feel about a Catholic coming to the meetings. In the meantime, opinions here are welcome.

Here is a website explaning the group.


I’ve been attending Celebrate Recovery for about 5 years. You do not have to be a member of the host church to attend. In fact, even non-christians are welcome so long as their discussion about the Triune God is not offensive (such as using the name of God or Jesus as a cuss word).

The people at Celebrate Recovery first meet as a large group (men and women and all areas of recovery). Then they break off into small groups segregated by gender and by area of recovery. In the large group, they will teach a lesson every other week that will include some Protestant doctrine. However, there is no teaching in the small group and the guidelines prohibit anyone from trying to “fix” you. It is just a safe place for you to talk about what is going on in your life. You could just attend the small group if you are uncomfortable in the large group.

I love Celebrate Recovery and I hope you give it a try.

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Rick Warren copied AA, made it more Christ centered, applied it any “hurts, hangups and habits” that you might want to get rid of, and renamed it Celebrate Recovery. Lots of AA people don’t really like what he did but for lots of people, Celebrate Recovery works and they can be very enthusiastic about it.

It’s also nondenominational so you should be okay. It’s associated with Rick Warrens Saddleback Church and I know some of those guys are very enthusiastic about their church as well as celebrate recovery. I wouldn’t rule out someone trying to convert you even though they’re really not supposed to be doing that in Celebrate Recovery. You could cross that bridge when AND IF you get to it.

I emailed someone from CR, asking if ther are any other Catholics and she said that she really didn’t know – there are definitely people there who don’t belong to her church but that they don’t talk about the churches they’ve come from. It sounds like they’re just focused on the program.

As a Baptist that now attends a Friends Church (Quaker), my wife and I are in charge of our churches Celebrate Recovery Ministry. We usually don’t know, care, or ask which church someone is from. From information that I have heard or know, we have people from Assembly of God, Pentecostal, Methodist, Vineyard, Church of Christ, non-denominational churches, and even some who do not attend regularly. We may have Catholic attenders now or in the past, I don’t know.

Our program is very 12-step and bible oriented. We definitely stress that Jesus Christ is our higher power. I don’t see that it would necessarily promote Protestantism over Catholicism. We are most concerned with seeing people get help with their recovery. We feel that a relationship with Jesus Christ is important in the recovery process.

One of our leaders’ wife works for the Catholic Diocese in our area and says that the bishop has a big heart to reach out to people that are in recovery, or seeking help. She is going to try to set up a meeting for us to speak with him about Celebrate Recovery.

We do not try to recruit new members to our church, but do encourage people who are not attending any church to do so.

Give Celebrate Recovery a try. If you have any concerns, please feel free to discuss them frankly with the leader of the group you attend.

God Bless,


I’m planning to attend my first Celebrate Recovery meeting tomorrow night. I’ll let you all know how it went.

Please do.


I attended too many of these organization meetings because of a spouse and in my opinion the best thing you can do is go to SMART recovery meetings. They have the best approach that I know of. You may have heard on EWTN about St. Gregories


Both are based on CBT and actually have scientific evidence of succes rather than testimonial.

You may want to visit Stanton Peele



You may or may not know that Jesus Christ the bearer of the Water of Life was written by the Church and addresses the 12 step scenario.

You may or may not know that the “disease” model is not 100% accepted by all in the field and that the 12 step model forces you to accept you have a disease for which there is no cure, I believe to be nonsense.

The alternate CBT approach is that you make choices. The CBT approach denies the disease model. The Church teaches we make choices. We make choices to sin or seek salvation. When we stop sinning the results are no stigma. When the 12 step paradigm is in place you walk the earth with a Scarlet Letter on your forehead with an “A” for addiction no matter what you do to change.

You may or may not know that the 7th and 9th Circuit court of appeals has declared 12 step programs to be a religion, in my opinion “methodism”

I would steer clear of the so called non-denominational programs because if these programs are steering you to God ask yourself why mother Church cannot do the same. Do you need a Protestant program?

This is my extensively researched, extensively read and studied, extensively experience opinion.:slight_smile:

You are aware, that 12 step program was model after the oxford group, which was a very religous group. Before the big book was ever printed, they used the bible. You know that the cathoilc chuch had input in the editing of that said book. You do know that Father Dowling was Bill W’s spiritual sponser. Sister Ingatia’s started the first treatment centers with Dr. Bob. Between the both of them they said they helped over 5000 people recover from thier disease. You know that thier’s many, many Catholic priest in twelve step programs. You do know that the twelve step programs has brought back thousands back to the catholic church. Other denominations have approved the twelve step program.
So, tell me where is this nonsense you speak of?
God bless

jesus g

I have Oxfrord Groupers original writings, the Moral rearmament writings from which they sprang, you may want to research Frank Buchman, I have read all the original work and what led up to the 12 steps…

Did you know that the Oxford Groupers were intent on infliltrating the Churches and bringing back what they called 1st century Christianity…Protestant…

Did you know that they were very anti-Catholic, there are letters condeming Bill W because of that association…“popery” it was called…

Father Dowling wrote something in the book to suggest an endorsement. There is no impramatur and there is no knowing if the entire book was endorsed or just the steps…

Did you know that the first edition of the big book had stories of “recovered” and therefore cured and it was later edited to take those stories out so that people could forever be “in recovery” never to be cured.

Did you know that according to their own statistics their is less than a 10% success rate with this model.

The nonsense is in the notion that this is a disease for which there is no cure. As a physician this is nonsense. You may want to study the book written by Stanton Peele…
“The Diseasing of America” after you read and study how the notion of “disease” nonsense was introduced you might have a different perspective.

It matters not what the commencement was. The reality is what it is. I matters not to me how many priests, Nuns, Police, Fireman, angels…whatever are in it…it is what it is.

You have an opinion. I have an opinion. My opinion is based on fact and research not testimonials.

Be aware that what this discussion is about is Rationalism and Empiricism. They will never agree. I am a scientist in the pursuit of truth. This is not about Faith. This is about how anyone can understand something. In the field of science experience has value however it does not outweigh Reason in this regard. Science is not based on Faith it is based on Reason. I have to shift gears here and look at experience as …OK show me the proof. Again this is not Faith.

The nonsense is the “disease model” I have a right to that belief and share it. You can reject it and I am not trying to convert just inform.

Try researching on the internet on any search engine you like the following…“incurable diseases”…you could go to a medical library and do the same, the results would be the same. This would be a start.

I am open to sharing my opposition which will not change. You can look at the information on this website. You may want to ask why there are books like “12 step horror stories”…


While you suggest that there are many denominations endorsing the 12 steps…I offered you the “Jesus Christ the bearer of the water of life”…you may want to read this and see what the Chruch says about the 12 steps…


I am just a source of informed information, not testimony.

If you listen to Catholic Answer Radio, you will hear and see that Catholic Answers endorses the program run by Stanton Peele, St. Gregories, based on CBT. The Catholic Church is not a denomination.

You may want to understand the following.

To believe that Alcoholism and any other behavior is a disease then you commit to the 12 steps.

Disease model=12 steps

If you believe that this is a choice, then you do not believe that behavior is a disease and you then exercise your choices to change and choose programs that promote that change.

You may want to view the youtube videos by Stanton Peele, start with this one.


He is a Phd/Lawyer and has been in the field for a long time.

There is someone in New Mexico that has written a book on the topic who disagrees with the “disease model” and actually categorizes what works…I cannot find the book, when I do I will let you know what it is and put that information up.

HBO has a great series on Addiction. It is hard to get hold of. This actually puts things into perspective. Addiction is a problem that can change the body however when the substances are gone the body heals…unlike the idea of once diseased always diseased.

You may not have thought of this however the problem with all man made religions is that there are faults…Too many “diseased” take the path of “I can’t help the fact that I drink all the time, I have a disease”…on the other hand when it is choice…"Yes you can help yourself, you can make a choice.

The other problem is this…I have seen too many in many different places say “I am a recovering Alcholic and a recovering Catholic”…too many that struggle and struggle with their faith…these emotional lows is where too many are led into Protestant churches because of the Protestant influence…sooner or later as these people move through these meetings, the God of their understanding…they are prone to get involved in a Church…and too often it is not the Church founded by Christ.

I believe that these meetings are near occasions of sin.

St. Gregory and CBT is about choice. The Catholic Church teaches choice. St. Gregory and CBT do not ask you to seek the God of your understanding…they teach you to choose.

Veritatis Splendor is a magnificent writing as to the choices we make. Choosing the Will of God is the true freedom we seek in all things, even in abberrant behavior.

I suggest you review what I posted and go to the website and review what they say. Rick Warren as you know is struggling with membership as are all the megachurches.


This information is from that website.

This recovery program emphasized spiritual commitment to Jesus Christ. The 3rd principle calls for people to make a total surrender of their lives to Christ. Lasting recovery cannot happen without this step. Everybody needs Jesus. Celebrate Recovery is thoroughly evangelistic in nature. In fact, the first time I took our entire church through this program over 500 people prayed to receiver Christ on a single weekend. It was an amazing spiritual harvest. And during the ten week series that I preached to kick-off this program, our attendance grew by over 1,500 people! Don’t be surprised if this program becomes the most effective outreach ministry in your church. Today, nearly 73% of the people who’ve been through Celebrate Recovery have come from outside our church. Changed lives always attract others who want to be changed.

Finally, this recovery program produces lay ministers! Because Celebrate Recovery is biblical and church-based, it produces a continuous stream of people moving into ministry after they’ve found recovery in Christ. Eighty-five percent of the people who’ve gone through the program are now active members of Saddleback Church, and an amazing 42% are now using their gifts and talents serving the Lord in some capacity in our church.

This is the DNA of the program…

Life’s Healing Choices is part of the approved curriculum. You will find this book may be used in many creative ways in your Large Group, Newcomers group, and Step Study groups. To find the 5 ways you can use Life’s Healing Choices in your Celebrate Recovery ministry locate the reference

You have and found Christ in the Catholic Church. Choices is the key. Even the Protestant Warren has figured that out. Jesus Christ the bearer of the Water of Life says that “addiction and recovery” have taken the place of “sin and salvation”…does this sound like what Rick Warren is saying…oh yes…and CBT says it is about choices.

I suggest you read and study, memorize, put into action Veritatis Splendor, like Dorothy in the wizard of Oz as you go looking for Christ…there is no place like home…recall that many that go looking never realize that what they left was as precious as what you have…This program is nothing more than a way to build a Protestant Church and to get what they got you can read the bible, that is what they say you should do, you can go to your Church/receive Christ…they can’t do that…and you can look into CBT and make choices, that is what they, Catholic Church and CBT are saying…why go where you can’t get what you got.

Not Impressed

Not Impressed…

Stick with Catholic resources. If there is not an AA group at your parish, ask about starting one.

Another Catholic resource:


I have seen Catholics be led away from the Church in “Celebrate Recovery”.

I don’t suffer from addiction.

I’m not making a choice to have an anxiety disorder or depression.

Anxiety disorders and depression ARE diseases – they’re mental illnesses. I’ve had years of therapy, including CBT and medication, and while I feel better than I used to, I’ll never be 100% free from this.

Facts are facts and are not meant to impress. You choose to not be impressed. I presented factual information.

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