By Jessica King
Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of friendlybaptist.org

In a season of uncertainty and isolation due to COVID-19, many students are searching for a remedy. According to celebraterecovery.com, Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered recovery program that began in 1991 at Saddleback Church in Saddleback, California, by John Baker. The program has expanded to over 30,000 churches worldwide and is “geared toward a relationship with Christ and restoring whatever is broken or lost,” said Shelby Chunn, Celebrate Recovery ministry director at Friendly Baptist Church.
According to Chunn, Celebrate Recovery is available for anyone seeking healing for any hurts, habits and hang-ups, such as overeating, divorce, grief and loss. In comparison, traditional recovery programs mainly focus on finding freedom from alcohol and drugs.
Celebrate Recovery is “good for [college students] personally, but it’s also good later on in life just to have a basis of what not only the Lord says, but just an avenue to navigate through [life],” and “understand that circumstances happen whether that be a loss of a relationship, or a loss of a job, that there is healing and other ways to cope then turning to food, alcohol, drugs or internet,” Chunn said.
Due to COVID-19, Celebrate Recovery offers an online recovery group connected with Saddleback Church through Facebook live teachings on the Celebrate Recovery Facebook page. Chunn said, there are three in-person recovery groups in Smith County. Students can get involved by visiting celebraterecovery.com, plugging in their zip code, and the website will connect them to recoveries in their area.
Celebrate Recovery has “changed the way I look at myself and the things I struggle with and given me so much hope that I won’t be struggling with this forever,” said Sidney Knight, Celebrate Recovery participant at Friendly Baptist Church and UT Tyler student. “It shifted my focus from the addiction and the pain, to what led to those issues and how Jesus loves us despite our problems.”
Celebrate Recovery meets for the large group event every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Friendly Baptist Church. “The group meetings help me to get a chance to talk about my problems and open up, as well as hear others’ problems so we can relate and know we aren’t alone,” Knight said.
For more information about Celebrate Recovery, visit celebraterecovery.com or friendlybaptist.org for more details on how to get plugged in with the Celebrate Recovery group at Friendly Baptist Church.

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