In the last couple of weeks, I was made aware of a program sponsored by a church in area. The program is called Celebrate Recovery®. It is described as a help for those with “hurts, habits and hang-ups”. This program was started by John Baker from Saddleback Church. The Celebrate Recovery® program began in 1991 and has grown to serve folks in over 10,000 churches. You may have heard of Saddleback Church in California, as their Pastor Rick Warren wrote “The Purpose Driven Life”© series.
The brochure for this program lists the purpose as helping those in need “to embrace God’s healing power by sharing our experience, strength and hope with one another. Through the process, we become willing to accept God’s grace in solving our problems, pain, shame, and addictions.” There are explicit guidelines for what to expect and what is not included in the program. It is very clear this program is not for therapy. Leaders are not professional, licensed counselors.
This program could be a resource for those leaving religious mind control groups. Some of the issues being addressed include: Depression, Divorce, Anger, Hurtful Relationships, Codependency, Eating disorders and Addictions. The program provides a safe place to share with others. There is respect given and expected from each participant.
The list of things not to expect includes a place for selfish control, secrets or dating relationships. No long term commitment is required as well as no quick fixes are guaranteed. There are sharing guidelines that allow all who are willing to participate, to feel safe. Support for those in the group is expected, but no one is there to “fix” one another. What is said in the group stays in the group. Those outside the group environment need not know what is said in the group – even in the form of a prayer request!