50: Celebrate Recovery – Everything You Wanted to Know (Sort Of)

9/27/20 We have Josh from the Unashamed Recovery Podcast on to tell us about the Celebrate Recovery program. We talk about how the program works, any differences that might exist from the typical 12 step model, and who the program might work well for.

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To learn more about Celebrate Recovery: https://www.celebraterecovery.com/

To check out the Unashamed Recovery Podcast with Josh: https://anchor.fm/unashamedrecovery


recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery and addiction topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or fellowship the views expressed here are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

all right welcome back it’s recovery sort of i’m jason i’m a guy in long term recovery i’m billy i’m also a person in long term recovery and uh in a few minutes here we’re going to get talking to josh from the celebrate recovery program so that we can learn more about that in case that happens to be you know maybe an alternative mode to recovery that somebody might get something out of maybe you know you’re sitting at home and you’re like well i’ve heard about that and it sounds interesting and and i like jesus but i just don’t know if it’s for me and i’m a little nervous about checking it out maybe they’re weird and so we’ll find out some information and maybe uh maybe that’ll inspire people to you know check it out um one of the things we did want to catch up on before we get to that we had mentioned the presidential stances uh last week and you know one of our listeners sent me an email with a link to a policy that the president signed into action last year which was like 1.8 billion towards making drug you know therapies more available whether that be mats whether that be some kind of rehab or detox and so it was very unclear in the article whether this was something that was done by congress and he just signed it it definitely leaned towards giving him credit for doing it so i wasn’t sure if it was just something he did out of nowhere or if congress passed it and he you know signed it as presidents do um so i did just a little more searching just for the heck of it because i thought well what i had looked for originally was the stances for this you know presidential election right and so i looked more at like 2016 and what he’s done and so in 2016 the opioid crisis was a bigger deal there wasn’t covid going on or or race relations like he had mentioned it it was important he was going to solve it um and he has done some things like the 1.8 billion but basically what the numbers say is that it really hasn’t gone down to priests 2016 levels as of yet and of course you know policy change takes time to trickle down and actually show in numbers um so who knows about that but he he has made some steps i would say the big difference probably with the new information being that while he’s provided money to to these type of things he hasn’t addressed really you know the criminalization of drugs or what we do with people when we catch them in possession or any of the other issues that go on that that you know joe biden talked about going after the pharmaceutical companies maybe in some roundabout ways he’s you know sort of attempted to address it but that what doesn’t seem to be his main focus he kind of had a we’ll deal with it this one way whereas i guess biden’s stance was you know we’ll go these variety of ways and hopefully the culmination of that will result in something good so i just wanted to add that correction uh do you have any thoughts on any of that no only that you know when we look at addiction and and i don’t want to take sides but it’s maybe binds a little closer on the mark in that it’s the it’s a societal problem like when you just focus money into treatment you’re really not addressing the cause of the problem you’re just addressing the problem after the fact like and this is a problem in our whole health care system now like our health care system now addresses problems after you have them not before it’s like we don’t have great you know education or teaching on like healthy eating healthy living i mean you can find it now online more than ever but like when you go to your doctor for uh for a checkup and he says you have high blood pressure it’s like well you could eat better or just take this medicine and you’ll be fine and then you’re just addressing you know the symptoms of the problems not the actual cause of the problems themselves um and i think that’s when we not that treatment doesn’t work and that treatment is a great option um but it’s doing pr work like i’ve done pr work for you know our fellowship going into talking to like high schools and things like that and what they always want to know is alright well how do we prevent kids from getting into this stuff right and of course our stance is why i don’t really know you know we don’t address prevention we just address you know people that already have a problem we’re not prevention you know and and i think more uh research and more efforts need to go towards prevention measures and you know peer peer efforts into like high schools and colleges and and getting people younger um to to look at some of these issues before they get to the state of being addicts at 16 17 years old somebody just asked me the other day uh in a message they were like what how old were you when you got clean uh you know i have a youth meeting i wanted you to do and i was like well i got clean at 23 but i don’t think you want to hear from me and me getting clean at 23. like they want a guy who’s 25 and has 18 months like that’s who they can identify with i’m just some old dude now right i’m not the youth in recovery anymore so there you go for an enterprising young individual uh who would like to we need prevention anonymous to you know figure that side of the street out because we have no idea in our program what to do with that um and just say no didn’t work in case you weren’t around for the 80s they tried that under nancy reagan and it was a colossal failure we lost the war we lost the war on drugs for sure um so billy and i got to attend a unity retreat which was fantastic this last weekend it’s i know in the age of coronavirus everything has been canceled events and and such and so to see one that still went on it was you know mostly outdoors and seemed relatively safe i can’t say that everybody there was overly concerned about being safe i did my best and enjoyed myself greatly and i got this awesome t-shirt that says xiv on the front which is to me the most ideal roman numeral for any drug addict xiv um so my daughter and i were riding home yesterday and and there was a turtle in the road so we stopped to move the turtle out of the road because it just seems like the right thing to do i don’t know why um and he was feisty he scratched me a little bastard uh he was strong too i was impressed how strong they are so i i took him and i moved him off the road and you know some guy had started to ride by and and he stopped and asked if i was all right and i just thought that was incredibly nice like i don’t know that i would get that in the city where i come from but out here it was like yeah man it’s no it’s not car troubles or nothing we were just moving the turtle but it seemed nice it seemed nice and then i got to overthinking my good deed because i actually picked the turtle up and turned him around and moved him back to the side he was closer to i should have crossed the road with him that’s what he was trying to do right so right now he’s like [ _ ] he’s gonna turn into it again right i just doubled his time on the road actually what i did [ _ ] so i don’t think i i helped out that much but i don’t know i just i was really impressed that people i’ve noticed that a lot since i moved up here i i talk about you know maybe the sentiment or the beliefs of people around here but on a individual interaction basis people seem much more willing to go out of their way to be kind they’ll wave to you when they drive by on your street and they’ll stop and make sure your car is not broken down if you know if you’re on a road and that just i like that that’s nice yeah and and i generally am the optimistic when it comes to people i think you know i think of people in their best nature um and i read a sort of i guess it was like not a meme but like a little saying the other day on the internet somewhere that said you know and i’m gonna mess it up but i’ll get it the sentiment kind of right it was like we are currently in a state where we get a lot of uh misinformation half information and half truths um or blatant dishonesty from this box that we stare at every day and that it seems like this box is focused more on um division or divisiveness than unifying people and it was like wow that’s a really i think a really true statement it’s like if we get down in the weeds of you know whether you agree with abortion or not or whether you are a democrat or a republican or whether you you know support uh gay rights or not like that [ _ ] you know not that it’s not important but it’s and it’s almost like we’ve talked about if it if you go back to a time when people are just people and you don’t need to know those things about them before you decide how you’re going to treat them like that’s a better state to live in then like oh wait what are your political stances what kind of bumper sticker do you got on your car well i can’t help you because you’re the other team and and you’re an [ _ ] you know like it’s like no can’t we just treat people like people and love and care about them and try to help them despite their political views or religious beliefs or any of that stuff yeah i i would say one of the things i forget greatly because i can have a doom and gloom version of the world and i i definitely blame my father for a lot of that uh whether they passed it genetically or you know through nurture i definitely picked up on it um but one of one of the things that i quickly forget when i feel like we’re so separated and we’re so different and we’re so angry at each other is the entire you know we’ve talked about it before the maslow’s hierarchy of needs like in order for us to be down here arguing about uh abortion or gun rights or anything else or i guess up here to according to matlab uh we’ve met so many basic needs and agreements between us all right like so really we’re disagreeing on the the 98th issue but the first 97 we ignore that we all already agree on like we’ve all been able to well unfortunately not universally but a lot of us have food and clothing and shelter right not everybody which is unfortunate because those kind of things should be addressed first before we get to these other luxury matters but just as a society in general we we have met so many things and done so many things well together that we can get to these minor arguments which i know don’t feel minor for people who who feel like their civil rights are being you know trodden on i i completely understand that and respect that uh that part of it i’m not trying to downplay that at all i guess i’m just saying that that you’re right we we agree on way more than we disagree on and if we could just sit down it’s almost like when you feel shitty about your life and you write a gratitude list and you’re like [ _ ] man it was so easy to come up with 10 things that i’m really grateful for in my life like this minor situation that i was miserable about five minutes ago doesn’t seem to weigh out and i think if we sat down and listed all the things that generally all people universally agree on for the most part we’d be like [ _ ] look at this long ass list like this is how much we have in common and we’re arguing over here and calling ourselves hating each other and shooting each other like what in the hell yeah and it’s weird i see it in my own family like i’m specifically in like my dad so my dad is a a pretty loving and caring person he’s always been a good father took care of us provided for us well you know if i called him up today and said dad i need help whatever with the kids or doing he would show right up and help um he’s participated in different charity things you know to support the recovery community things my wife’s organization’s done and stuff and and he’s just he’s a kind generally nice good person he’s not a racist he’s not a bigot he’s not a chauvinist you know he’s none of those things but if you just looked at his facebook page and all his you know he is a i’ve come a republican like trump supporting shares all the republican memes regurgitates all the republican talking points like if you just judged him off of that you would of course think he’s a hate-mongering racist you know chauvinistic bigot who doesn’t want gay people to get married and all this other stuff and it’s like you know i don’t know how he meshes those two things in his life and and lives the way that he lives in his actual life and then has all these beliefs i don’t understand how that works i can just tell you in general especially like i have no problem with him being like around my children or or watching my kids because he’s always loving and caring he never says bad words about other people you know it’s it’s just weird and so if i didn’t know that about his political beliefs he’s a wonderful human being

maybe and that’s what i’ve seen too out of people who who i watch maybe what they you know ingest from tv all day or what they do on facebook but yet whenever i see them interacting one-on-one with other humans or other people it’s a completely different person than i would expect from what i see them do right or what i see them watch or participate in and maybe that’s it maybe it’s just that like once we’re disconnected onto a facebook or like you said the box you know the tv maybe it’s easier to like have these beliefs because we just i don’t know maybe we don’t have nothing else to do in our lives i don’t know so i heard in a in a podcast i was listening to the other day a guy was talking about how we have like a natural human what he called a human failing and maybe it’s a survival technique or whatever is that if you tell someone a story about one child suffering in your neighborhood oh this one child he’s starving and his parents don’t take care of them you think oh that’s terrible here i’ll give you ten dollars to go help that kid then if you expand that out to 20 kids like it’s like your level of care goes down a little bit and then if you expand that to a thousand kids or a million kids then it’s like oh that’s a tragedy and you’ll turn around and walk away and not think twice about it it’s like the this this and it’s in all people it’s like the the kind of bigger you make things the less connected people feel to that so if you can just present one individual people can connect intimately but when you present it as a whole problem we have this ability to just blow it all off maybe it’s just too big to tackle that right you feel like you can’t affect it at all i think that’s i mean we saw this in the psychology for the advertising for you know was that sally struthers or whatever she used to have uh individual stories on the commercials about not just the price a cup of coffee a day and you could help starving children in africa but she would you know that’s what they did in their advertising they had individual stories of this individual or that because it made it more human like yeah and then when you sponsored them you would get their individual story and you’d be able to follow you know the kid that you spent and that’s why you know it’s it’s something in us that if you look at addiction as a whole it’s like well [ __ ] what do we do in the country that’s a terrible problem whereas if you see it in your individual community you might feel more inclined to to get involved or try to fix it interesting is there anything you want to catch up on before we do our interview no all right well let’s go ahead and hit our break and then we’ll come right back with josh and we’ll talk about celebrate recovery

all right so we’re here with josh who is going to tell us about celebrate recovery what i’d like to say about josh before he takes over a little bit is that he does the unashamed recovery podcast which uh obviously includes his bit of celebrate recovery which we might refer to as cr throughout this episode because it’s a little shorter um he does that from that focus slightly but includes all kinds of different recovery topics and and guests on to talk about all that so feel free to check out the unashamed recovery podcast with josh and here is josh and he’s going to tell us a little bit about how he got to the cr program yeah oh first of all i struggle with a porn and sex addiction and i’ve struggled with that all my life from a little kid and uh that addiction just kept growing and it kept growing and it built through high school and uh it got even worse in college and uh oddly enough that’s when i met my wife through through college and i always thought that this uh porn addiction it would kind of stop whenever i met you know when i had a girlfriend or when we got engaged i thought that my porn addiction was stopped when i got engaged or when we got married in 2012 i thought that i would no longer need porn addiction and uh and it just it was never the case and then when we had our first daughter in 2014 you know i found myself relying on it more and all this time i thought that i wouldn’t need it at those milestones but it was the opposite i was dependent on it more and more and i was just being sucked down this hole and uh what really got me started on this journey was in 2014 my daughter she was about six months old and we were traveling to go get some christmas pictures made for some holiday cards and my wife had my phone and she was looking at the map for directions and she found some saved porn on my phone and she had found those you know that before but this time she was she was mad and she gave me an ultimatum and i never seen her that mad before so i took her seriously and i started doing research because i never knew what i had had a name and i found that my church here in meridian uh had a brand new recovery program called celebrate recovery and i was like you know what there’s no way i can do that i cannot go to the church that my in-laws go to and share this stuff and these things that i’ve done no way so i kept digging kept looking and the only thing that i could find remotely close was a sex addicts anonymous group at jackson mississippi which is about an hour and a half drive from my house now i did that for about six months and you know i was in that denial mindset so i was like you know what i’m not like those people you know those people need help those are weird people uh you know i was i was i didn’t see myself as those kind of people but i was i was just in denial and so i wasn’t going into it with a good mindset i was closed off i would sit there with my arms crossed and i wouldn’t share i wasn’t working the program i was looking for any excuse not to find you know to work it and eventually i just stopped going and probably around april april or may of 2015 our church our pastor had just passed away and so we had a series of interim pastors come in and every sunday for six straight weeks they talked about celebrate recovery every sunday and i was like on that sick sunday i’m like all right god i get it next night i showed up for celebrate recovery uh and man i was terrified because like i said that church is that that’s my in-laws church i started going there because that’s my wife’s church and uh man i was terrified because i didn’t know what i was showing up to i didn’t know what to expect i was man i was looking for hope and uh i was i was desperate for out so i was looking anywhere for it and so i just i showed up full of fear and uh just didn’t know what to expect so that’s pretty much how i found celebrate recovery man there’s something and i will say that uh you know a commonality for sure of the start of your recovery to just that that place of humility it takes right for you to be able to go to the same church your in-laws go to for help for something that you’re you know probably shame and guilt around and don’t want people to know about it takes that like that level of humility to really find recovery at least for a lot of people um myself included so so now that you’re there and uh you know cr obviously helps people with any kind of obsessive and compulsive behavior according to their their steps so what how would you in you know brief terms obviously because it’s a huge program explain the program to us okay so and the very basic terminology i can i can give it to is uh celebrate recovery is a christ-centered uh 12-step program and how they uh i hate using this word but how they market this is that it this program is for anybody struggling with life’s hurts habits and hang-ups you know with alcoholics anonymous it’s pretty much cut and dry for alcoholics right with n a it’s pretty much cut and dry for people dealing with narcotics well with sex addicts anonymous it’s pretty much cut and dry for people dealing with sex addiction with celebrate recovery it’s with any and everything the program applies to a whole wide range of things and um you know a big misconception is like a lot of people in our church they think that this program is for alcoholics and uh substance abusers actually only one and let’s see three out of ten people are there for alcoholic or substance abuse addiction everybody else is there dealing with something else whether it be a porn addiction like myself anger anxiety food addiction we have some people working on uh grief we’ve got some people that’s working on ptsd uh just a wide range if it’s holding you down and it has got a control of your mind celebrate recovery works for that like it takes the 12 steps and that applies it to all those different uh habits and addictions and hang-ups and it puts it through the filter of jesus christ is our higher power that’s so interesting because i know in our program frequently we talk about how uh you know they need to have like an uh part of my language here but [ __ ] anonymous that just basically is for everybody you know because everybody needs a 12-step program and and i guess as long as you know uh you’re of the christian belief system that’s kind of what your program sounds like it seems a little more versatile than just focused on any one thing like anybody who’s got hurts or hang-ups can come i like that terminology honestly yes oh and that’s what kind of really brought me in was uh you know i’m sitting in the same small group circle across from a guy who’s sitting there struggling with uh let’s just say a gambling addiction and i’m sitting here with my porn addiction and then there’s another guy sitting across from me who’s dealing with coming back home from being in afghanistan dealing with ptsd it’s all different all three of our stories are nowhere near the same but when we sit there and we share i’m gonna pick up from those other two guys about stuff that i can relate to my own life you know straight up i can’t tell you anything about ptsd i’ve never dealt with that but whenever i listen to his story or he listens to my story it’s still the same struggle like we can relate on a basic principle hey you’re dealing with something that you know when you wake up in the morning i mean that’s it’s got a hole in your mind and that’s all that you can think about is that i got that i can relate to that and so you sit there and you hear somebody else’s story of what they’re struggling with and it helps in your own struggle and and that’s what i really love about it is all these different uh hurts habits and hang-ups coming together once in one group that’s awesome did you have something well i was just curious so then celebrate recovery doesn’t specifically focus and again i’m trying to relate this mostly to my experience with 12 fellowship so i guess in in your case or someone with a food addiction it wouldn’t be necessarily absent in space program like if if you’re not dealing with those issues then like so and it’s hard for something like that because like with me i can measure mine because you know it’s the amount of time i’m putting food between today and the last time i you know looked at or acted out on pornography and so with the food addiction or something like that it’s tricky because hey people’s got to eat all right but you know from the people that i’ve talked with and that i’ve you know shared with this a lot of them they base it off of that time where yeah i’m going to eat my normal meals but if i’m if i’m that type of person where i’m eating out of emotion or that i go and i binge eat or they measure against those times that when they’re not doing that you know versus just oh i can’t eat no more they don’t do it like that right uh and you know with somebody who like with uh yes some people who are there and they’re struggling with codependency a lot of people there with codependency how can you measure that and you know that’s that goes to the individual personal you know that’s their preference and that’s going to be how they judge that you know there’s really no way of putting that on paper to measure that and that that is uh that’s a problem for some people because like with me i’ve got to have that like i got to know hey how am i going to measure this spot and with some stuff like that you don’t have that and that’s just going to be up to you on your own journey and that that is all a downside to it yes so from that aspect of it i’m going to assume like in our meetings there’s you know uh keychains for for certain amounts of you know achievement i guess in one sense i’m i’m going to assume there’s not much of a focus on that type of thing in your program yes yeah we we do uh what my group specifically does is every other week we have what we call chip night and we’ve got a celebrate recovery chips and this is anywhere from uh day one all the way up to 20 years 30 years whatever your sobriety date may be but we’ve got chips to cover all of that and uh we’re real heavy on having that accountability of that chip system and celebrate most milestones with people as they get those but yeah we’re we’re real big on having that that chip knot okay so that’s interesting so i’m gonna you mentioned saa uh is is cr’s um basis of what i guess abstinence or or or healing is that based on something that like you and your sponsor or do you i guess first do you have sponsors in cr is that a thing yes okay we wouldn’t be much of a 12-step burger without the sponsor gotcha awesome so so is that based on like you go in and you say hey uh i struggle with food or or or ptsd or whatever it may be and you and your sponsor work out what it takes to decide whether you’re actively doing that or not and so you can achieve these um yeah so and i do want to make this point so you do not have to have a sponsor to get chips like right i mean your first night at cr you can go up and get a chip so you do not have to have a sponsorship but yes like you can either get in your small group because we have we have a large group where everybody men and women meet and then after the big meeting we’ll break off into small groups and it’s gender specific and it’s uh topic specific so substance abuse will meet in one group and you know a to z will meet in another group and it’s all like that but anyway you get in that group and the group will either help you to kind of really zone in and get specific about those sobriety goals or yes get a sponsor he’ll help kind of put put on paper and narrow that down of hey this is what your sobriety needs to look like okay so there’s no no exact specific rules about that that was interesting we were curious about that if people were allowed to uh are not allowed to but if if the program allowed for people who decided that you know drug use was extremely harmful for their life but maybe uh alcohol was not their problem maybe they do you know participate in that so celebrate recovery is kind of that for like leadership you know they don’t want you to you know be out there engaging in uh out of marriage uh sex or or stuff like that in leadership but if you’re just in there working the program like with me uh alcohol is not my problem uh you know opiates uh marijuana that’s not my problem my problem is you know pornography and sex and so you know hey i do every once in a while i will have to sit down and have a have a beer you know with supper now is it all is an addiction no because you know it may be once every six months and that’s the kind of i mean if it’s not your target area then you know it’s it’s uh it’s kind of outside the main focus i gotcha that sounds kind of similar to we talked with a guy from smart recovery and it was same idea like you work on the part that’s the problem area for you yeah um so curious what about does does celebrate recovery itself have any stance on uh medically assisted or is it medically assisted treatment or medicine assisted treatment i always get that confused basically to celebrate recovery have a stance on that at all like if people needed to take suboxone or felt they needed to that i do not know in our group personally we have never had that come up and so i really could not answer that one uh that’s something that uh with celebrate recovery every state has what they call state level uh representatives or state reps and uh if you’re in us you know whatever your state may be if you are dealing with that you can reach out to one of those and you can ask and they’d be probably more than happy to answer that but for us personally we have never had that come up in our group so i really could not tell you that gotcha gotcha just curious of course uh you got anything you wanted to ask not at the moment okay um so is there any like we have some weird funky rules uh i guess regulations not really rules or regulations but just kind of practices we’ve done over time around you know whether that be crosstalk in our meetings um different qualifications do you have any of those kind of things going on is it is it more of an open format like smart recovery or is it one at a time so they’ve got you know like i said our our meeting is all is a little different like we have a a very large group meeting at the beginning with the first you know hour the meeting everybody is together and in that meeting we stress the importance of anonymity anonymity is number one it it’s the top uh it’s probably what we take uh the most precaution is protecting everybody’s anonymity and then once we get done in the large group we’ll break off in those small groups and we have what we call small group guidelines and that’s just sitting there that’s these guidelines that are in place to protect everybody in there and uh they uh there’s five of them and i actually had them right in front of me if you’d like for me to share those with you yeah absolutely their number one is hey keep your sharing focused on your own thoughts and the feelings and uh that’s just hey you have some people that’s in there dealing with codependency and they want to shift the blame on their spouse you know hey i ain’t got no problem i’m here because of my wife you know she she’s the reason my problems

why are you here what is it

you know so we we had that in there uh number two is no crosstalk and that i mean i think that’s kind of uh across all the 12-step programs is that you know no crosstalk you know that’s two people engaging uh excluding all others and number three we are here to support one another we will not attempt to fix one another you know that’s a big issue i’m not going to try and sit here and fix you in the middle of this meeting i like that one yeah not while we’re here you that’s not what we’re here just to listen and to support number four anonymity and confidentiality are basic requirements what is shared in the group stays in the group and the only exception is when someone threatens to injure themselves or others and then number five offensive language has no place in a christ-centered recovery group and a lot of that is just uh for one taking the lord’s name in vain and then number two getting into graphic detail that may be a trigger for somebody else i love number three because it’s a great reminder for me not to listen trying to fix everybody because that’s usually my goal when i’m hearing people not my goal but where i end up um so you know with our men’s group that what we do is we have a little bit of a addition to that i’m not going to try to fix you but if i’ve been in a situation that you’re currently in and i’ve found a way out of it with me sharing that i don’t feel like that’s trying to fix you i feel like that’s just trying to help you avoid the same mistakes that i make and so uh with now i cannot speak for every cr group out there but with our group here that’s something that our men’s group that we do and um you know it’s just i’m not gonna sit there and watch a man struggle that’s down in a pit that i found my own way out of i’m just i can’t walk by him and leave him there right right that’s my thoughts on that so the meeting is pretty tied to the church which is very different from our you know program where we’re very separate entities from the church but i from what i understand uh billy was telling me that the celebrate recovery meetings are very entwined with the church that they participate in so yeah like if i understand this correctly with celebrate recovery the meeting has to take place at a church uh but while the meeting is taking place in the church it itself is not church the meaning is not church uh it is recovery uh but there are uh church principles applied like our the 12 steps and the we have eight principles and those are taken straight out of the bible and they’re from uh the uh the beatitudes so you do have aspects from the program that are tied to church but the meeting itself is not church we’re just taking place at a church i gotcha so uh do you have to be a specific religion to qualify for cr no uh the uh i mean we’ve got some people that are coming in that are atheists and they’re really struggling with that and they’re uh they’re that’s all one of their uh they’re battling with that but then again though just know that in celebrate recovery our higher power is jesus christ so you know you may want to look at that or to consider that when you’re thinking about celebrate recovery you know if you’re coming in from a outside religion standpoint and expecting something like a where your higher power is anything that you’re wanting it to be that’s not the case with celebrate recovery it is our higher power is jesus christ have you found any of the different whether it’s like the way you do a certain step and celebrate recovery or maybe just a certain part of the program and and i don’t know exactly how familiar you are with you know more of the aana concept but have you found that any of them are specifically different one of the things that came to mind and billy corrected me i was wondering like if for the fifth step that was automatically done in like confession as opposed to being done with a sponsor but he reminded me that that’s only like catholics and somebody else that do confession not all christians so i’m obviously confused but is there anything like that where you guys do a step specifically different or a part of your meeting simulate specifically different so with our step five though uh it is we admitted to god ourself and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs and so we’re big on confession like we actually have one of our lessons in suburb recovery is about confession and you know because there’s power in putting words to the things that we have done when we put that in the open you know the shame kind of loses its power over it and so uh but yeah uh our powerlessness uh number uh step number two we came to believe that there was a power greater than ourselves that could restore us to sanity you know you know that goes back directly to a our higher power is jesus christ that step number three we made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of god so i mean there are some things that are a little familiar with aa but we just directly apply them to you know jesus christ i was actually surprised that the steps didn’t specifically mention uh jesus name in them i guess i i’ve never looked at him before and i just always assumed since we had these generic terms for god or higher power that you guys would have like jumped on the ball and threw jesus right in there and i was like shocked that it wasn’t that way

well you know with the christian faith uh you know we believe that god jesus and the holy spirit are all one and the same and so you know you’ll see a lot where it references god and you’ll see where it references jesus but and all in all it’s still talking about the the same right so but yeah a lot of the steps do just refer to that you know as god one of the things i found interesting like uh you know we as a member of n a whatever i say it all the time i would not ask a member of aa to come share an n a meeting right because the theory is you get somebody who’s worked that specific program to explain that specific program and i believe at least around here we’ve had times where we’ve heard people that have been you know have worked in n a programs you know but been asked to come share a celebrate recovery meeting and that’s always kind of blown my mind i was like wow that’s surprising is that okay like how does that work yeah uh uh with us we’re very strict on sharing uh we you we don’t usually let anybody outside of cr come share testimony uh now we have like kind of uh how our year is set up where we’ll have like one extra meeting night where we don’t have anything scheduled and we can kind of have you know whatever we want to but as far as the run of the meal through the rest of the year it’s pretty much a tight sharing testimony of people in subway recovery i’ve never attended one where there was somebody from outside sharing that’s kind of unusual maybe that was just something like they didn’t have a whole lot of uh senior members in this area and so they got a somebody who was christian to come in and share i don’t know well that’s like oh in january we’re for our group we’re having a lady come from off the coast of mississippi she works at a women’s treatment facility and i do not believe she is a part of celebrate recovery i believe her program of choice was i i really can’t remember this time but it was not celebrate covered but she’s going to be coming in and she’s going to be sharing her testimony for our kind of bonus knot right but that’s usually about the only exception so so he’s kind of and i’ll just share it it was so my wife she’s we met through 12 step fellowship and now she’s she’s a christian and she’s been asked to speak a couple of times so i’ve been to a couple celebrate recovery meetings um and it’s always been very welcoming and she’s really good she’s she’s good with her language like she doesn’t specifically kind of throw in a bunch of n a stuff in a celebrate recovery meeting she’s respectful of you know jesus and traditions and things like that um so our experience there has always been pretty uh open and welcoming and you know you have the meal and stuff afterwards so it’s we’ve really enjoyed it um i guess i would wonder so like in a traditional 12-step fellowship you might go to meetings like at different places or at different nights of the week and they’re kind of follow like a general similarity or format um with celebrate recovery like would that be the same kind of thing like could you go to a different meeting on a tuesday or a different church meeting on a wednesday or you kind of set like your home church or your home meeting so with like how how most of the ones in our area do is we have a set meeting each week we do monday nights and uh at right now we’re not doing a meal but before all this we would have a meal

but you know yeah it was set monday night say this is this is our night that we’re doing it each and every week monday night you can set your calendar by this time next year monday night this is our meeting uh but like we have several suburb recoveries in this area and so you’ll have like our church where ours is monday nights you have another church theirs is doing on wednesday nights and then there’s another one on friday nights so you can go each week or you know each night and go to a different suburb recovery meeting and you’re not stepping on another meeting then you’re not going to miss this meeting you can still attend your home group meeting and then get to another meet is that what you’re asking bill yeah yeah that’s pretty much it yep so how in this area i think i’m going to guess i’ve only like say i’ve only been to a few meetings celebrate recovery’s fairly small at least the meetings i’ve been to or probably aren’t less than a dozen people on the couple of times that i’ve been and i think in cecil county small county we’re in there’s i think one night a week maybe two nights a week there celebrate recovery meetings and then you have to kind of travel a little bit to the next county over how big generally are the meetings in your area and so uh it’s fairly small meeting sizes at one point in time our church we were running about 80 to 90 a week and then we had some things kind of happen and had some turnover and we lost a lot of people average right now we’re running about 30. uh i went and i shared with a group two weeks ago over in birmingham alabama and their average is 320 or 350 and theirs is one of the biggest in the area and uh you usually don’t see them that large so the average is about 30 50 and you now i went and traveled up to a group in north carolina and theirs was about 15 to 20. so there’s a it is a low number average do you think that has something to do with the the area you’re in and like uh you know i guess it’s understood that the bible belt the the south you know their beliefs and in christianity and their strong held beliefs more so than maybe some other areas in the u.s do you think that’s why those meetings are so big down there uh yes but also at the same time there’s a lot of stigma around going and doing recovery at church and so a lot of people stay away you know our we have big number aaa meets down here you know they’re they’re pretty large um but yes to get back to what you’re saying i do believe just this area in general has something to do with contributing to those those numbers because this is the bible belt um it is uh it’s kind of a different perspective than other areas of the country uh so i i do i haven’t really never thought of it that way until you just mentioned that and so now that i’m actually thinking about it you know i i think it’d be a safe say to say that that’s probably got something to do with it yeah so this is uh we’re to talk right now you and i to the individual who’s out there they’re getting ready to get in recovery they do happen to be a christian like that’s their belief system and they’re sitting here and they’re looking at the programs available and they say well look i could go to this other 12-step fellowship where i’m i’m still allowed to believe in you know christian values i can believe in that in n a or s-a-a or any a i can go there and decide that jesus is my lord and savior and my higher power you know uh why do you say that celebrate recovery might be a little different and then and in your opinion which is fine because we you know we’re all allowed that better for somebody who’s christian as opposed to just going to any other fellowship and being christian what does cr have to offer that might suit them better than just being in a program of all types so number one is you’re getting that fellowship with other people ncr that are also christian uh you know i cannot speak for n a or a because i have no experience in those uh but i do know that there’s a lot of people in those programs that are not christian and so if you go to those programs i mean and there’s nothing wrong with it you know to be there in a meeting with non-christians that way hey we all have done it but that is a pro of going to a suburb cover you know when you walk in the door you’re amongst other christians uh the other aspect and this is the one that i really love about celebrate recovery is the fact of i’m going in there and the program is open to everything when i go to aaa well that’s pretty specific to alcoholics when i go to celebrate recovery like we talked about earlier it is a wide range because you all can attest to this when you go in you start working that program and you start working on the problems with you whether it be alcohol substance abuse porn addiction when you start working on that uh overlying problem and you start chipping away at it there’s other problems up underneath and where i’m getting at with this is when i started doing it and working on my porn addiction and started doing my inventory and working that steps in that i started realizing man i’ve got a lot of anger up under this man i’ve got a lot of anxiety up under this celebrate recovery works on those problems as well as the pornography and the alcohol and the substance abuse so that’s the main reason why i would urge you hey try silver recovery because it’s not just one specific it’s got a big openness for life’s hurts habits and hang-ups i like it do you have anything no all right awesome josh i know you want to get to helping your wife get them kids ready for church and everything i don’t want to hold you up or make the misses uh upset with us but uh super appreciative that you came on today my friend again josh is from the unashamed recovery podcast go ahead and check that out feel free and uh it was great talking to you my friend anytime guys anytime all right anytime you want me to come back i’d love to it’s always a pleasure to kind of talk with all with another recovery podcast

we’ll see you again soon have fun this week all right have a good day y’all too so that was a great conversation with josh uh there was you know a lot more i would have liked to ask a little bit i know he was a little crunch for time with sunday mornings being a valuable time in the life of a christian family um definitely curious about a few things maybe we’ll have to have them on again at some point to ask more about like what you know celebrate recovery says the initial problem is that leads to their their hurts and hang-ups yeah and and i have a problem and i’ve gotten better with it over the years as as most i guess addicts um since i’m not overly religious i get strongly opinionated and i want to start challenging like the beliefs in jesus and how that helps in recovery and all that stuff but i’ve grown to treat it almost like medicated assisted treatment and to understand like look wow that’s probably more offensive than any of your challenging yeah probably well your program’s like m18 no no i don’t mean it that way i mean my thinking of it is similar in that it works for some people or it’s good for some people but it’s not something that is good for me it’s not something that i need or that’s a part of my story and instead of me needing to be self-righteous and think that my way is the only way or the way that i did it is the best way or that these other ways are stupid it’s easy to just say you know what i don’t believe that i don’t necessarily agree with that but i don’t have to argue with the guy and make him feel bad about his you know not that he would feel bad about his beliefs but i don’t have to like challenge his beliefs and make him prove something to me you know he doesn’t need to prove anything to me yeah i mean i was definitely curious you know we talk about well i mean our program specifically doesn’t really talk about exactly where our belief of addiction comes from or what necessarily it is we just talk about you know what to do about it once we get to the the better ends but i’m curious if celebrate recovery has a stance on what is the initial problem that causes these you know hang-ups habits i can’t remember the damn things i love them though the first issues hurts hang-ups and habits um and you know how do you do you fix it with more jesus like i don’t i don’t know right but i i think the answers to our problems and programs usually you know relate to what we say the problem is to begin with and so i was curious about that and of course the the minor questions of like court slips and all kinds of other stuff so maybe at some point we’ll have to do a follow-up to this and ask some more questions there’s definitely curiosity i i found it fascinating though i mean it’s always interesting to learn about some other stuff and how they do it just a little different and 350 people in them yeah can you imagine well i’ve been to some n a meetings that are that big out on the west coast wow yeah that’s just a little oh i couldn’t do it we i mean we were in meetings in l.a and stuff that were hundreds of people and you it didn’t even feel like a meeting like there was so much going on right and there was people you know playing cards in the corner and you know like during a meeting and a guy speaking and there’s conversation i mean it was crazy it was like i could never that’s why see how people recover in those areas and then you go to a group and there’s like four guys sitting there chatting about life it’s interesting uh so of course you know we got the the tenth step coming up next week it’ll be october already uh and so that should be a five minute episode uh all about you know the tenth step hey look at yourself every day all right we’re done maybe we don’t have to record now we just said it we’re all done well we always think that about every step and then we find a way to drag it on way longer than probably it needs to be yeah we’ll say it’s a five minute episode and we’ll go an hour and 45 minutes it’ll be the longest one yet it’ll be the two and a half hour uh october special halloween special um i’ll find out we disagree about some minutiae detail it doesn’t even matter absolutely i can’t wait uh so just to mention in closing here um i did make the decision this week to start an antidepressant again in my life um it’s a decision i made once before well actually i made it a few times um but the last time had a great impact a great improvement in my well-being and my life functioning uh it was much easier to make the choice then because i was desperate like i was i was trying all this other [ _ ] and it didn’t work and uh so it was like well [ _ ] it i’m out of options i’ll try anything at this point so i’ll do it and it had a huge impact on my life i you know don’t want to give it power or anything but it really did transform some parts of my life and allow me to get to a place that i was pretty happy in and so this time being in a place where generally my life is pretty good and and i am pretty happy which sounds weird why would you take an antidepressant if you are pretty happy right well because depression’s not always we’ve mentioned this in our episode about depression it’s not always just being sad you know it’s not being interested in things that used to bring you joy and it’s different sleeping or eating patterns and uh just feeling like there’s something missing um in in what i’m doing and i haven’t been able to put my finger on it and so you know in working with a professional they they were like look you do realize you can just try this right like if it doesn’t work you cannot do it and uh and so i’m not trying to you know make a big deal about antidepressants but i know that there’s always this piece of me as a member of a 12-step program that for whatever reason even if nobody else says it feels a little less than if i have to take an antidepressant right there’s like oh you can’t do it with just the steps you know you gotta you need this other extra thing or you’re you’re cheating or i don’t know what the [ __ ] it is and so i just thought it was important to mention that uh you know hopefully somebody else doesn’t have to feel as awkward because i say i do it yeah well and thank you for sharing that you know we do have that as much as we act like we don’t there’s always that stigma around just in general mental health stuff and and you know counseling and i was thinking the same thing why when you you know when we first talked about it it’s like nothing is forever you know it’s it’s a thing you try it you see how it works if it helps great if it doesn’t then you tried you know i like it if nothing else i learned that it didn’t work right and that i need to move on to some other idea like i thought about it for three and a half months like should i do this again is this going to be helpful and so i i spent three and a half months where i could have tried it and now already know if it worked or not and be moving on to the next idea i spent that just considering whether i should start that’s right and so i and now here comes my sarcasm and i’ll say maybe you just need jesus

i mean honestly listen i went to leave my house today and it took me two minutes of standing there looking at the wall to decide whether i should bring my sunglasses from the house for the ride here and home when i have a pair of sunglasses in the car as a backup anyway and i couldn’t decide whether i really wanted to carry them or how much i would use them two minutes of this dude if jesus could fix me of that i would like take it already like he did it’s cloudy out and he didn’t even need sunglasses but it might not have been later right yeah god damn anything to help no but i i do i talk about stigma and i say we need to get rid of it and then here i am still a guy who believes that and still like you said still feels a little of that stigma and you know in my internship last year as a practicing therapist recommending to clients like hey no there’s nothing wrong with this go ahead and do it and then here i am struggling to make the the decision right um and one of the principles we talk about in in recovery is open-mindedness you know and it we get into beliefs or or things that work for us for a while and then they don’t you know and and i can stay rigid and close-minded and stuck in old ideas or i can open my mind to new things or maybe the possibility of something besides the thoughts that i think are right you know and that’s that’s an important premise of my recovery throughout my you know journey has been being open-minded to when what i believe or what i think or what i’m doing right now isn’t working anymore and then what am i willing to do differently right and so with all that out of the way as we say uh in certain places i guess we’re done for this week and we look forward to seeing you again next week if you enjoyed this podcast please feel free to share it with people you think might benefit from the conversation look us up on facebook twitter and instagram to join the conversation also and share your ideas with us we’d love to hear it


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