This article is part of a ongoing series exploring the rich spiritual soil that can be found in Griffin and Spalding County.
“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.”
Those words have been repeated over and over – in church basements, community centers, and in the privacy of individual homes. As a core practice of the 12 Step tradition, this prayer (and the accompanying program) has guided many former addicts from sickness to health, from bondage to freedom, from death to life.
Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in 1935 and now has groups that meet all over the globe. In 1991, a group of former addicts were looking for a more explicitly Christ-centered recovery program. Noticing the close connections between the teachings of the Bible and the 12 Step principles, they founded an organization called “Celebrate Recovery.”
Celebrate Recovery is for more than just addicts, though. According to their website, “Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered, 12 step recovery program for anyone struggling with hurt, pain or addiction of any kind.” While they are there to help with all different kinds of addictions, many have found freedom and healing from other destructive habits and painful experiences in their lives.
One of the leaders in a local group states, “I wanted to start this group because I saw a need in Griffin for a Christ-centered recovery program. As a former addict, I wanted to give people who were searching for healing and wholeness a place to be in community and to hear about the hope we have in Jesus Christ.”
This leader went on to say, “We all have addictions and brokenness in our lives. The worst thing that we can do is to hide in isolation. We need a community who will love and support us.”
On Sunday mornings around our community, many people will put on their Sunday best, show up at a house of worship, and exchange superficial pleasantries with others. All the while, they may be silently suffering inside for fear of judgement.
On the other hand, groups like Celebrate Recovery begin with members introducing themselves and naming their deepest, darkest secrets. They start by naming their brokenness in hopes of finding healing by coming out of the shadows and into the light.
The well-known pastor and spiritual writer, Frederick Buechner, found hope in a 12 Step group for the families of addicts. Writing about his experience, he said, “I believe what goes on in [these meetings] is far closer to what Christ meant his church to be, and what it originally was, than much of what goes on in most churches I know.” Maybe we could learn a few things from the courage, vulnerability, and honesty found right here in our own backyard.
If you, or someone you know, would benefit from a Celebrate Recovery group, there are three groups currently meeting in Griffin: New Mercy Baptist Church (Mondays at 6:30), First Assembly (Thursdays at 7:00), and Centerpoint Church (Fridays at 7:00).
Rev. Steven Norris