THE BEST PLACE TO BE ON A MONDAY NIGHT
Join us at 5:30PM on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month for FREE meal nights for the entire family!
12 step recovery program Finding freedom from our hurts, habits, hang ups, addictions, and compulsive behaviors.
WHAT IS CELEBRATE RECOVERY?
Celebrate Recovery (CR) is a Christ Centered 12-step program. It is a safe place to address destructive or compulsive behaviors, unhealthy relationships, addictions, anger, shame, codependency, past abuse, and so much more. People can find freedom from any hurt, hang-up or habit that is making their life unmanageable.
Celebration Place is CR’s children’s program for children ages 3 months–5th Grade.
3 MONTHS–4 YEARS
We offer free childcare for children from 3 months to 4 years of age at our amazing Playland.
Children 5-12 years old will have a blast in the Playland, but they will also hear the approved children’s curriculum for Celebrate Recovery that mirrors lessons taught to adults in an age-appropriate way.
Students struggle on a daily basis with things like depression, anxiety, loneliness, isolation, bullying, peer pressure, family conflict, self-worth and so on. The Landing is a safe and confidential place where they can feel welcomed and supported just as they are. The Landing is not only meant to walk with teens through hurts, hang-ups and habits, it is also a resource that can be applied to preventing future struggles.
HOW DOES CR WORK?
Out of Saddleback Church, Celebrate Recovery was designed as a Christ-centered, bible-based, twelve-step recovery program to help men and women connect with God and others in a fresh new way and experience healing and freedom. The program is completely free and is being organized by leaders and volunteers in our own community. For more information or to become involved, send us an email at email@example.com
All recovery groups meet each week in large group to start. Large group is a chance to worship together as well as hear the story/teaching of another who has experienced freedom and new life in Christ. After large group we’ll move to open share groups.
OPEN SHARE GROUPS
Open share groups (separate for men and women) are small groups that intentionally work in community to build trust through honest sharing about struggles. This part of recovery will help establish and continue daily practices for healing, joy, and freedom.
Our step study groups are closed groups (separate for men and women) where you walk through the need for God’s grace and how respond to that – the only promise for lasting freedom. These small groups are biblically based step groups purposed to equip participants with an awareness of God, self and others from an internal shift of the heart to step into God’s plan for a life well lived.
CELEBRATE RECOVERY FOCUSES ON A 12-STEP PROCESS
We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.
I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Romans 7:18
We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:1
We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1
We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Lamentations 3:40
We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16
We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10
We humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31
We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24
We continue to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! 1 Corinthians 10:12
We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us, and power to carry that out.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. Colossians 3:16
Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and practice these principles in all our affairs.
Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore them gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Galatians 6:1
Please note even if we are not offering a group in your specific area of struggle, there is a place for you at Celebrate Recovery. Not all of the groups below will be available all of the time, but we will always have a group that will fit your needs. Send us an email if you have any questions, firstname.lastname@example.org
We are codependent because we allow the behavior of another person to impact our behavior so that we become consumed with that person and their problems. This obsession with the issues and problems of others becomes debilitating to us as we exhaust inordinate and inappropriate amounts of mental and emotional energy over them, leaving little if any, energy for ourselves. Often our childhood was so chaotic and our environments were so out of control, we learned ways to escape to try to find serenity. As we grew into adulthood, we worked hard at trying to control our external environment, believing it was the key to our happiness and inner peace. Our family of origin was frequently dysfunctional. Some times we even blamed ourselves for our parent’s problems. If we were terrorized by a volatile alcoholic parent, anger became an unacceptable and unwelcomed guest in our lives. Anger was to be avoided at all costs. As a result, we learned to appease; we learned to rescue. We learned to be aware of others’ feelings in order to protect ourselves and began to lose touch with our own feelings. We made ourselves responsible for the happiness of others, and when they weren’t happy, neither were we. We are extremely loyal but also extremely insecure. Self doubt is our constant companion, and often self hatred. Being unacceptable to ourselves, we hide our true selves, convinced that if anyone truly knew us, they would abandon us. This fear of abandonment often fuels our codependent behavior as we seek to do everything in our power to become so valuable that others would not want to leave us. By choice, our lives are not our own and our emotions are the property of whatever crisis the person(s) closest to us is having.
We don’t have to live this way! We do have a choice. We can live free of these obligatory compulsions. Through God’s help we can learn to take responsibility for our own lives and allow others to take responsibility for theirs. With Jesus Christ as our Higher Power we learn how to apply the 8 Recovery Principles and 12 Steps, designed to guide us through the journey we call “Recovery.” If we are diligent to provide willingness, integrity, consistency and rigorous honesty, God will supply us with courage, strength and the ability to take the necessary steps to gain freedom from our compulsive behaviors. In the context of caring and loving relationships, we learn to recognize our dependence upon God. We are then able to take a penetrating look at ourselves, and inventory both our own and other’s contributions to our lives which have brought us to where we are today. As our defects of character are unearthed, we are able to come clean to ourselves, to God and to safe people. When our secrets cease our freedom will increase. God provides us with tools and a will to do what we once thought impossible. We begin to see relationships restored, old animosities put to rest and lives pieced back together. We learn to take daily inventory that we might continue to walk in truth, light and freedom. Most importantly, we can draw closer to God than ever before. We are being used by Him to share our lives and God’s miracles with others that they might experience the hope and healing that we have experienced.
A DEFINITION OF CODEPENDENT SOBRIETY
Codependent sobriety is somewhat different in nature in that we do not have a substance from which to abstain. Our addiction is more relational in nature. The key is learning how to have healthy relationships and how to establish and enforce appropriate boundaries that we may accurately establish where we end and another person begins. Therefore, we define codependent sobriety as a faithful commitment to consistently work the program; which includes working or having worked through the CR Step Study Group; steady attendance at the Monday night meetings; and responsibility to a Sponsor and Accountability Partners. We advocate journaling, daily inventory, transparency and rigorous honesty.
If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit gambling entirely, or if you have little control over the amount you bet, you are probably a compulsive gambler. A compulsive gambler is described as a person whose gambling has caused growing and continuing problems in any department of his or her life. If that is the case, you may be suffering from a problem which only a spiritual solution will conquer. Most of us have been unwilling to admit that we were compulsive gamblers.
• My gambling makes me careless of the welfare of myself and/or my family.
• I have borrowed money, sold possessions, and/or committed an illegal act to finance gambling.
• After losing I felt the need to return as soon as possible and win back my losses or after a win had a strong urge to return and win more.
• I have lost time at work, school, home, and with friends to gamble.
• At times, I have been defensive about my gambling and justified my right to gambling, especially when trying to escape worry or stress.
• I was trapped in the illusion of “just one more time.” Or “this time it will be different.”
• When I did seek help I was only looking for the pain to go away.
• My track record shows that it is impossible for me to gamble successfully.
I will come to believe there is no only one solution to accept Jesus Christ as my Higher
Power and follow His plan for my life. By working through the 8 Recovery Principles
found in the Beatitudes. With Jesus Christ as your Higher Power, you can and will
We will learn how to:
• Live without gambling one day at a time with the help of the Higher Power, Jesus Christ. • Stay away from that first bet. If there isn’t a first one, there cannot be a tenth one. And when free of gambling, life becomes much more manageable. • Experience the true peace and serenity you have been seeking. • Restore and develop stronger relationships with God and with others. • Stop relying on dysfunctional, compulsive, and addictive behaviors as a temporary “fix” for pain. • Apply the biblical principles of conviction, conversion, surrender, confession, restitu tion, prayer, quiet time, witnessing, and helping one another.
We will learn how to:
• Form an Accountability TEAM: Sponsor, Accountability Partners. • Weekly attending the Open Share Group. • Commit to a daily quiet time in the Celebrate Recovery Bible. • Read about this area of recovery • Understanding the root of each core issue you identify with and become willing to experience grief, forgiveness, and acceptance.
A DEFINITION OF CODEPENDENT SOBRIETY
Sobriety for the compulsive gambler is defined as follows: Complete abstinence of any betting or wagering, for self or others, whether for money or not, no matter how slight or insignificant, where the outcome is uncertain or depends upon chance or 'skill' constitutes gambling.
• Guess what is normal.
• Have diffculty in following a project through to completion.
• Lie, when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.
• Judge themselves without mercy.
• Have difficulty having fun.
• Take themselves very seriously.
• Have difficulty with relationships.
• Over-react to changes over which they have no control.
• Constantly seek approval and affirmation.
• Either super responsible or super irresponsible.
• Extremely loyal even when there is evidence that the loyalty is undeserved.
• Look for immediate rather than deferred gratification.
• Lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternate behaviors or possible consequences.
• Seek tension and crisis and then complain about the results.
• Avoid conflict or aggravate it; rarely do they deal with it.
• Fear rejection and abandonment, yet are rejecting of others.
• Fear failure but sabotage their success.
• Fear criticism and judgment, yet criticize and judge others.
• Manage time poorly and do not set priorities in a way that works effectively for them.
The solution is to become your own loving parent.
• Find the freedom to express all the hurts and fears kept inside and gain freedom from the shame and blame carried over from the past.
• Become an adult who is no longer imprisoned by childhood reactions.
• Recover the child within you, learning to accept and love yourself.
• Move out of self-imposed isolation.
• Rediscover feelings and buried memories.
• Gradually release the burden of unexpressed grief; slowly move out of the past.
• Learn to re-parent ourselves with gentleness, humor, love and respect.
• Learn to see our biological parents as the instruments of our existence.
• Trust that your actual parent is the Higher Power, Jesus Christ. Although we had alcoholic parents, our Higher Power gave us the 8 Recovery Principles.
• Receive experience, strength and hope from others.
• Restructure unhealthy thinking one day at a time.
• Release our parents from the responsibility for our actions today.
• Become free to make healthy decisions that allow us to act, not react.
• Progress from hurting, to healing, to helping.
• Awaken to a sense of wholeness we never knew was possible.
• Come to see parental alcoholism for what it is and know how that affected you as a child and continues to affect you as an adult.
• Learn to keep the focus on yourself in the here and now.
• Take responsibility for your own life and supply your own parenting.
• See beautiful changes in all your relationships, especially with God, yourself and your parents.
If you find you cannot quit drinking or using entirely, or if you have little control over the
amount you consume, you are probably an alcoholic and/or an addict. If that is the case,
you may be suffering from a problem which only a spiritual solution will conquer.
1. Have you ever decided to stop drinking and/or using for a week or so, but it only lasted for a couple of days?
2. Do you wish people would mind their own business about your drinking and/or using, and stop telling you what to do?
3. Have you ever switched from one kind of drink or drug to another in the hope that this would keep you from losing control?
4. Have you had to have an “eye-opener” upon awakening during the past year? Do you need a drink or a drug to get started or to stop shaking?
5. Do you envy people who can drink or use drugs without getting into trouble?
6. Have you had problems connected with drinking or using during the past year?
7. Has your drinking or using caused trouble at home?
8. Do you ever try to get “extra” drinks or drugs at a party because you did not get enough?
9. Do you tell yourself you can stop drinking or using any time you want to, even though you keep getting inebriated when you don’t mean to?
10. Have you missed days of work or school because of drinking or using?
11. Do you have “blackouts”?
12. Have you ever felt that your life would be better if you did not drink or use?
Celebrate Recovery does not promise to solve your life’s problems. But it can show
you how to:
• Work through the 8 Recovery Principles found in the Beatitudes. With Jesus Christ as your Higher Power, you can and will change!
• Live without drinking or using one day at a time with the help of the Higher Power, Jesus Christ.
• Stay away from that first drink. If there isn’t a first one, there cannot be a tenth one. And when free of alcohol, life becomes much more manageable, with Christ’s power.
• Experience the true peace and serenity you have been seeking.
• Restore and develop stronger relationships with God and with others.
• Stop relying on dysfunctional, compulsive, and addictive behaviors as a temporary “fix” for pain.
• Apply the biblical principles of conviction, conversion, surrender, confession, restitution, prayer, quiet time, witnessing, and helping one another, which are found within the 8 Recovery Principles and the Christ-centered 12 Steps.
When life becomes impossible and passes into the region from which there is no return through human resources, there are but two alternatives:
• The first is to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation as best as we could.
• The second is to accept Jesus Christ as our Higher Power.
We chose to accept Jesus Christ!
Eating disorder sufferers use food and unhealthy behaviors like dieting, starving, bingeing and purging to cope with unpleasant and overwhelming emotions and stressful situations. At least in the short term, these behaviors relieve anxiety and stress. Long term, however, they actually increase anxiety and stress and create other serious complications. Following are explanations of 3 types of Disordered Eating.
Anorexia nervosa is characterized by an abnormally low body weight, intense fear of gaining weight, and a distorted perception of weight or shape. People with anorexia use extreme efforts to control their weight and shape, which often significantly interferes with their health and life activities. When you have anorexia, you excessively limit calories or use other methods to lose weight, such as excessive exercise, using laxatives or diet aids, or vomiting after eating. Efforts to reduce your weight, even when underweight, can cause severe health problems, sometimes to the point of deadly self-starvation.
When you have bulimia, you have episodes of bingeing and purging that involve feeling a lack of control over your eating. Many people with bulimia also restrict their eating during the day, which often leads to more binge eating and purging. During these episodes, you typically eat a large amount of food in a short time, and then try to rid yourself of the extra calories in an unhealthy way. Because of guilt, shame and an intense fear of weight gain from overeating, you may force vomiting (purging bulimia), exercise too much, or use other methods, such as laxatives, to get rid of the calories (nonpurging bulimia).
If you have bulimia, you're probably preoccupied with your weight and body shape, and may judge yourself severely and harshly for your self-perceived flaws. You may be at a normal weight or even a bit overweight.
Binge Disorder or Compulsive Over Eating
You regularly eat too much food (binge) and feel a lack of control over your eating. You may eat quickly or eat more food than intended, even when you're not hungry, and you may continue eating even long after you're uncomfortably full. After a binge, you may feel guilty, disgusted or ashamed by your behavior and the amount of food eaten. But you don't try to compensate for this behavior with excessive exercise or purging, as someone with bulimia or anorexia might. Embarrassment can lead to eating alone to hide your bingeing. Your physical body is typically in the obese range.
To determine if you suffer from an Eating Disorder, ask yourself these questions:
1. Do thoughts about food occupy much of your time?
2. Are you preoccupied with a desire to be thinner?
3. Do you starve to make up for eating binges?
4. Are you overweight despite concern by others for you to lose weight?
5. Do you binge and then vomit afterward?
6. Do you exercise excessively to burn off calories?
7. Do you overeat by bingeing or by grazing continuously?
8. Do you eat the same thing every day and feel annoyed when you eat something else?
9. Do you binge and then take enemas or laxatives to get rid of the food you have eaten?
10. Do you hide stashes of food for future eating or bingeing?
11. Do you avoid foods with sugar in them and feel uncomfortable after eating sweets?
12. Is food your friend?
13. Would you rather eat alone? Do you feel uncomfortable when you must eat with others?
14. Do you have specific ways you eat when are emotionally upset, sad, angry, afraid, anxious or ashamed?
15. Do you become depressed or feel guilty after an eating binge?
16. Do you feel fat even when people tell you otherwise?
17. Are you ever afraid that you won’t be able to stop eating when you are on binge?
18. Have you tried to diet repeatedly only to sabotage your weight loss?
19. Do you binge on high-calorie, sugary, forbidden foods?
20. Are you proud of your ability to control the food you eat and your weight?
21. Do you have weight changes of more than 10 pound after binges and fasts?
22. Do you feel your eating behavior is abnormal? Do you try to hide it from others?
23. Does feeling ashamed of your body weight result in more binging?
24. Do you make a lot of insulting jokes about your body weight or your eating?
25. Do you feel guilty after eating anything not allowed on your diet?
26. Do you follow unusual rituals while eating, such as counting bites or not allowing the fork or food to touch your lips?
If you checked five or more of the questions numbered 1, 4, 7, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24, you may be dealing with compulsive overeating.
If you checked five or more of the questions numbered 1, 2, 6, 8, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17, 20, 22, 25, 26, you have eating behaviors typical of anorexia nervosa.
If you checked five or more of the questions numbered 1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22, 26, you have eating behaviors common in bulimia nervosa.
Do you ignore or throw away your Bills and Over Due Notices OR do you
rush to the mailbox to grab the bills before anyone else can?
Do you lie, deny and make promises you cannot keep to get bill collectors off the phone? Do you make financial promises you cannot keep?
Is your self-esteem and self worth determined by the amount of money in your bank or the “available credit” extended to you on your credit cards. Does having money make you happy?
Is your attitude towards money one of “I made it, I earned, I get to spend it any way I want, on anything I want, when I want to?”
Do you use your distribution of money to control your spouse, children or others?
Do you have a budget or do you consistently hope you will have enough money at the end of the month?
When you get stressed do you want to spend money?
Do you shop to make yourself feel better?
Do you owe money to your family and friends and now avoid contact with them because you have not paid them back?
Are you afraid to ask for financial help because of the current financial mess you are in and how you got into the mess in the first place?
Do you gamble; frequent casinos, online gambling, play the lottery?
Is your closet full of clothes you don’t wear? Do some of your clothes still have the sale tags on them?
Did you grow up in a home where love was shown by giving money or gifts?
Are you trying to “keep up with the Jones” or do you see yourself as “the Jones?”
Do you tithe first and pay bills second or is it the other way around?
Admit that our feelings and emotions about money are driven by fears,
hurts, habits and hang-ups. That my lack of financial sanity is not
honoring to God and that my finances are out of control.
Recognize that God has a lot to say about money and how we should handle it. Realize that my spending/saving habits are a direct reflection of what is in my heart.
Apply the 8 Principles to my life and my finances to gain control over myself and my finances.
Trust God with all of my finances and put Him first by cheerfully giving 10% (tithing).
Save 10% which is honoring myself and family.
Stop creating new debt.
Make financial restitution to all of the people and institutions that I owe
• Throughout our lives many of us have turned to food to ease our pain or fear.
• We felt comfort in eating and found ourselves turning to food whenever we were hurt, angry or frustrated.
• Food became our comforter, our friend.
• Some of us may have a specific food that we have trouble eating in healthy amounts, and once we start eating it, we cannot stop.
• Some of us may have been emotionally, physically or sexually abused and use food to cope with the emotions of those events.
• Some of us may have had healthy eating habits as children or young adults, but at some point in our lives we chose to overeat and lost the ability to discern when we were physically hungry or when we were physically full.
• Some of us may have turned to food after obtaining sobriety in other areas.
• We thought food was “safe,” not realizing it could become our “drug of choice.”
• We have focused on our body image instead of our health.
• Many of us have tried various diet programs, exercising, medications or many other ways of trying to control our eating habits.
• We have failed over and over and are left feeling guilty, incapable and unlovable.
• We have given in to the idea that there is one perfect diet or pill out there that can save us, if only we could find it.
• Some of us believe that thin people do not struggle with food addiction. We have also failed to recognize food as our “drug of choice.”
• As a result of our food addiction we feel out of control and may struggle with many other areas of our lives.
• Some of us have low self esteem which may affect our motivation, and our relationship with God and others.
• We came to realize that we are powerless and could not control our addiction to
• We understand that our problems are emotional and spiritual.
• We are ready to face our denial and accept the truth about our lives and our food addiction.
• We are ready to accept responsibility for our actions and make Jesus the Lord of our lives.
• We are dedicated to learning about healthy eating.
• We are committed to learning the difference between physical and emotional hunger.
• We are willing to turn to God when we are not physically hungry.
• We will begin to view food as fuel for our body so that we will not eat unless we are physically hungry and stop when we are physically full.
• We are willing to begin the process of recovery and working through the 12 steps to heal ourselves, and start living the life God has planned for us.
• We are willing to find a Sponsor and Accountability Partners.
• We realize our group provides a safe place to share our fears, hurt or anger and is also a place to rejoice in victories.
• We are willing to face our character defects and work through these feelings in our group.
• We are willing to take the focus off of food and focus on God.
• We recognize that recovery from food addiction is not about our body image or what foods we eat, but it is about trusting God and having an intimate relationship with Him.
• We are willing to believe and trust in God’s love for us, and to see ourselves as He sees us.
• We are willing to seek a closer relationship with God.
• By facing our fears, we have realized that we need Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in our life to overcome those fears.
• As we surrender our food addiction to God, we will come to know that He is all we need.
• We will continue to seek a daily quiet time with God and will rely on the Holy Spirit as our source of comfort. We will be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
• We will use the tools of recovery: calling our accountability partners, journaling and reading the Bible..
How is your “person” doing? Are you all put together? The fact is that many of us are a
mess. We are scattered all over the living room floor, with no one to put us together and
no idea where to begin the process of healing. Each of our lives is tangled up with hurts
that haunt our hearts, hang ups that cause us pain, and habits that mess up our lives.
Hurts, hang ups, and habits: There is not a person in the world who doesn’t deal with at least one of these issues at some level and many of us struggle with all three.
The truth is, life is tough. We live in an imperfect world. We’ve been hurt by other people, we have hurt ourselves, and we have hurt other people. The bible says it plainly: “All have sinned”. That means none of us are perfect; we’ve all blown it; we’ve all made mistakes. We hurt, and we hurt others.
Ask yourself these questions:
• Are you living with shame or guilt from your past?
• Do you feel trapped in a habit or hang up that is messing up your life?
• Do you always feel afraid and worried of what may happen tomorrow?
• If you are hurt, God says, “I will heal you”.
• If you are confused, God says, “I will lead you”.
• If you feel helpless, God says, “I will help you”.
• If you feel alone, God says, “I will comfort you”.
• If you feel anxious and afraid, God says, “I will offer peace to you”.
The beginning of the healing process starts by admitting our need. “God blesses those
who realize their need for him” Matthew 5:3 NLT. When we reach the end of our rope
and give up our self sufficiency, God can move into our lives with healing and growth.
Through God’s grace and living the 8 Principles of Celebrate Recovery, we have found freedom from our hurts, hang ups and habits. Now that we have been changed by God, we yield ourselves to be used by Him as we share our stories and serve others.
Regardless of the problem, you are struggling with; whether it is emotional, financial, relational, spiritual or whatever, regardless of what you need recovery from, the principles that lead to happiness and into recovery are always the same, and the choice is always yours.
• Now I don’t have to live with that pain anymore
• Now I can be free from its hold on me
• Now I can face my future with peace and confidence
Instead of playing the “accuse and excuse” game of victimization, we will face up to our own poor choices and deal with things we can do something about.
• We accept personal responsibility.
• We can control how we choose to respond to what happens to us.
• We have more energy to fix the problem.
When we stop hiding our own faults and stop hurling accusations at others, the healing power of Christ can begin working in our hearts, our minds, our wills and our emotions.
PHYSICAL / EMOTIONAL AND SEXUAL ABUSE
Celebrate Recovery is a place for men and women in recovery from past physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse. Our common background is a history of abuse and our goal is to enter into or maintain recovery. Recovery for us is a two-fold issue. We need healing from the traumas done to us in our past; we also need healing from the influence these past experiences continue to have on our present lives. As with any other Christ-centered recovery group, we believe that, by our participation through active listening, sharing and application of the 12 Steps to our lives, the Holy Spirit will guide us to further understanding, healing, wholeness and freedom.
One of our objectives is to provide a supportive, yet safe environment. We are not here to lecture, preach, fix or provide therapy. We are here to tell our story. We come together to share in our weakness, for it is in our weakness that we gain strength. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" (NIV)
There are other advantages for coming together as a group. One is accountability. We can look to others to honestly let us know how we are doing in our recovery. Old-timers or sponsors can help us see where we may be stuck or provide us with a safe sounding board so that we can hear ourselves. Developing a support system is integral to this program. Another advantage is the sharing of encouragement. The center of the word encouragement is courage. Sometimes we need others around us who have been there to give us courage to be where we are or to take action. We reflect Christ's grace and love as we move through recovery. An important advantage is the prayer support that we find with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Also, when we come together we share spiritual gifts. God never intended for us to heal alone. His plan has always been for us to heal in community. Celebrate Recovery is that community of healing for all of us.
A history of abuse is a common background while the goal is to enter into or maintain recovery. Recovery is a two-fold process. The first step is healing from the traumas done to us in our past; and second step is healing from the influence these past experiences continue to have in our present lives.
(Most) Survivors of Physical / Sexual / Emotional Abuse . . .
1. Are hesitant to identify themselves as victims of abuse.
2. Feel isolated, depressed, worthless, and helpless to change.
3. Are struggling with feelings about God in relation to their life experiences of being abused.
4. Condemn themselves, denying that the past abuses affects their present circumstances.
5. Feel out of control and defeated in areas of compulsive behavior.
6. Feel angry, bitter, rebellious; have trouble with authority figures.
7. Feel a lack of self-worth.
8. Are preoccupied with thoughts of what it means to have a “normal” relationship with others; mates, friends, family.
9. Question their own sexual identity and may experience confusion regarding their own sexuality.
10. Desire to regain their sexuality and feel safe in intimate relationships.
11. Question self-reality; “Who am I?”
12. Question whether life has a purpose.
13. Feel “at home” in crisis situations.
14. Struggle with perfectionism or “all or nothing thinking.”
15. Desire to have victory through Christ over the life experience of abuse.
SURVIVORS OF PHYSICAL / SEXUAL / EMOTIONAL ABUSE CAN EXPERIENCE RECOVERY WHEN...
1. We recognize that we are powerless to heal the damaged emotions resulting from our abuse. We look to God for the power to make us whole.
2. We acknowledge that God’s plan for our lives includes victory over the experience of abuse.
3. We understand that the persons who abused us are responsible for the abusive acts committed against us. We will not accept the guilt and shame resulting from those abusive acts.
4. We look to God and His Word to find our identity as worthwhile and loved human beings.
5. We are honestly sharing our feelings with God and at least one other person to help us identify the areas that need cleansing and healing.
6. We accept the responsibility for our responses to abuse.
7. We are willing to accept God’s help in the decision and the process of forgiving ourselves and those who have perpetrated against us.
8. We are willing to mature in our relationships with God and others.
9. We are willing to be used by God as an instrument of healing and restoration in the lives of others
Self-injury can be defined as self-inflicted physical harm severe enough to cause tissue damage or leave visible marks that do not fade within a few hours, without suicidal intent.
If you self-injure, chances are you find it very hard (if not impossible) to admit your problem to anyone, for fear that they might have you locked up or will reject and abandon you, which will only worsen your already moot feelings of self-worth. It is important to know, however, that you are not alone and an estimated two million Americans struggle with self-injury. But, it doesn’t have to be this way! We can be freed from the chains of self-injury, with the help of our Higher Power Jesus Christ. Through working the 8 Recovery Principles, we will learn to rely on Jesus Christ to take care of us. We will realize that self-injury has served a purpose in our lives, as a coping mechanism for some underlying issues. We will become willing to face these issues and let the Lord heal us. We will learn how to express our emotions freely and unabashedly.
A DEFINITION OF CODEPENDENT SOBRIETY
Sobriety for the person struggling with SI is defined as follows: Complete abstinence from self mutilation that results in permanent disfigurement, head banging, eyeball pressing, biting, cutting, piercing, scratching, burning, hair pulling, bone-breaking, hitting, and interference with wound healing.
CELEBRATE RECOVERY SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES
Korner Connection Café - Monday Nights: Help with set up or take down, serve every week, or every other week.
Audio / Visual - Monday Nights: Visual Run PowerPoint® during Large Group or Newcomers 101, or to help develop various Power-Point presentations for special trainings, workshops, etc.
Monday Nights: Audio ~ Work with the worship team.
CR Worship Team - Monday Nights: Vocalists and musicians are needed to help lead worship during the Large Group meeting.
Greters - Monday Nights: This is a front line ministry! Come early and be the smiling face that welcomes newcomers. Help greet at Solid Rock or Newcomers 101.
Prayer Ministry - Monday Nights: Join in to pray for the teachers and Leaders, participants and all of the meetings. Or join the weekly team and pray for the prayer requests turned in each meeting via an email prayer chain.
Pizza Teams / Barbeque Cookout Team Monday Nights: Come and barbeque or serve pizza while you get to know people. It’s a great first step in service and fellowship. (Pizza season—November through April. Barbeque season April through October.)
Office Volunteers - Any day during the week: Help with various tasks that help make MONDAY nights happen!
Prison Ministry - Any time: Assist with distribution of The Purpose Driven Life® books. Send an encouraging note to inmates in jails and/or in prisons across the country. We need women to write to female inmates and men to write to male inmates. Write to one inmate or as many as you like.
CELEBRATE RECOVERY SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES
Prayerfully ask God to guide you in selecting the area where you will serve. Then, fill
out the Celebrate Recovery Response Card and return your card to the Monday Night
Information Table. It’s as simple as that!
A Celebrate Recovery Leader will contact you and give you the steps to take to begin serving. We want to thank you for taking another step in your recovery by serving others. With your help, we will be able to reach more people in our families and communities who are struggling with hurts, habits, and hang-ups.
Our lust begins as an overpowering desire for pleasurable relief from an inner pain, emptiness or insecurity that we are not able to cope with in any other way. At first, it provides the relief we seek. For a time, sex with ourselves or with others dissolves the tension, relieves the depression, resolves the conflict, and provides the means to deal with, or escape from life's seemingly unbearable situations.
Eventually, our quest for relief becomes an addiction and the addiction takes on a life of its own. Pleasure and relief are gradually replaced with tension, depression, rage, guilt, and even physical distress. To relieve this new pain, we resort to more sex and lust, losing more control in the process. We are driven to spend more time thinking about and carrying out our addiction. We live in denial to avoid recognizing just how much of our life is controlled by our addiction.
Finally, our addiction takes priority over everything: our ability to work, live in the real world, relate with others and be close to God. What began as the cure has become the sickness. The Answer has become the Problem. We are hopelessly addicted to lust.
OVERCOMING LUST AND TEMPTATION:
A new loneliness overwhelms us as we realize that, because of our addiction, we have become increasingly separated from God and our loved ones. We begin to seek sobriety, and as we stay sexually sober for some length of time, we discover that even though we may not be acting out our compulsion, our obsession is still with us.
We begin to recognize the many disguises the enemy uses to trick us into lusting. We learn not to rely on our failed and weakened selves, but rather, to turn to God's pure love and absolute power. With an increased reliance on God, we work on our recovery with altered attitudes, a changed heart and growing humility, and we gain a progressive victory over lust.
As we yield to God, temptation begins to lose its control over us. When we admit we are powerless and give our lives and our will over to God, He works in us, and we begin enjoying a healthy new balance in our lives. Leaning on and learning from others in the program, we continue to walk in His strength, gaining true freedom from lust and sin through obedience to Christ our Lord.
ARE YOU SEXUALLY ADDICTED?
1. Do you go from one relationship to another?
2. Do you feel the right relationship would fulfill all your needs?
3. Do you use sex as an escape?
4. Do you make excuses to leave your partner as soon as possible after the act?
5. After a sexual experience do you feel guilty?
6. Has your pursuit of sex interfered with your relationship with your spouse?
7. Do you find you are unable to resist a sexual overture?
8. Have you ever sought out help to change your sexual behavior or thinking? Have you ever wanted to?
9. Have you ever tried to limit or stop acting out, but have been unable to?
10. Do you put yourself, or others, in dangerous situations in pursuit of sex?
11. Have you found that you are unable to resist sex or sexual images?
12. Do you have trouble concentrating, or completing tasks at work, always thinking about sex?
13. Do you spend time on the internet viewing pornographic Web sites?
14. Do you take time away from work to pursue sexual activities?
15. Do you feel you have lost control of your actions to fulfill the need for sex?
16. Have you ever been arrested for a sexual offense?
There are many different elements that may have played a role in how we, as
females came to experience sexualized feelings for other women. Some of us
were emotionally, physically or sexually abused as young girls, and
subsequently became confused about our sexuality. Commonly, for women who
experience attraction to other women, there was an emotional disconnect or
absence of our mothers, fathers, or both parents as we grew up, inherently
rendering us unable to identify with femininity in our prepubescent and teenage
years. We most likely also experienced a lack of affirmation from either or both
parents which contributed to our flawed concept of what God intended for our
sexuality. We sought after sexualized and emotionally-dependent relationships
with other women in order to fill the hole we felt in our hearts as a result of the
emotional disconnect with our parents.
Many of us were more interested in masculine rather than feminine traits, and male-dominated sports, hobbies and careers, as a pleading effort to grab the attention of our fathers. For many of us, there was/is also a nagging and painful contusion in our spirit where we carry the burden of various family members causing us to believe that boys and men are more valuable than girls and women. This erroneous belief conveys another reason we’ve been more susceptible to embracing male traits over feminine traits.
For others of us, we viewed our mothers as weak because they were abused by our fathers or some other male figure and were unable to save themselves; or failed to save us from abusive male figures in our home, therefore, we refused to take on feminine traits or roles as a means of keeping ourselves safe from men, whom we saw as harmful. Many of us formed a hate for men as we ran after our fleshly desires for women, and somewhat formed a pack with other members of the lesbian community to shun most men from our lives as a way to “prove” we didn’t need them for anything. Being part of this close-knit society allowed us to finally feel special just for being female and now finally, we didn’t have to prove ourselves better than men.
Our unhealthy thought patterns attracted us to others who were just as unhealthy, which was a breeding ground for the dysfunctional, emotionally dependent and codependent, sexualized relationships with which we identified ourselves.
We struggled to replace the absence of healthy relationships with our female friends and family members with these unhealthy relationships. We nurtured and fueled each other’s addictions and dysfunction. Some of us were even believers in Christ while pursuing same-sex relationships.
We knew it was wrong but became trapped in the dirty bandages that held our two wounded hearts together. We were frozen with fear and stuck in these sinful relationships, not knowing how to get out of them and make things right with Christ. We tried to ignore God and claim happiness, knowing deep down we were lying to ourselves and everyone around us. We felt a void in our lives and prisoners to a wounded soul.
We admitted that, in our own strength, we were unable to change our thinking
or behavior. Acknowledging God’s design and desire for our sexuality, we
began to face the root causes of our same sex attractions.
• Commit to Jesus Christ and the 8 Recovery Principals.
• Form an Accountability Team: Sponsor, Accountability Partners.
• Attend Large Group, Open Share and Step Study Group.
• Commit to a daily quiet time in The Celebrate Recovery Bible.
• Learn about your addictions and compulsive behaviors!
• Identify triggers.
• Avoid people, places, and things that tempt your addiction.
• Understand the root of each core issue you identify with and become willing to experience grief, forgiveness, and acceptance.
• Accept God’s standards for sexuality
Same Sex Attraction
• Has trouble making, forming, and maintaining close healthy relationships with other men
• Has more opposite-sex friendships than same-sex friendships
• Feels uncomfortable and awkward around other men
• Feels inadequate compared to other men
• Secretly longs or desperately desires to fit in and be part of a group of men (band of brothers)
• Feels ostracized by other men
• Doesn’t see himself as a full and complete man
• Can be easily intimidated or persuaded by other men
• Doesn’t understand the give and take of healthy male friendships
• Is overly sensitive to criticisms
• Cannot take good-natured joking or kidding from other men
• Can only guess at what it means to be a “man”
• Feels more comfortable around women than men (may have chosen a female dominated profession)
• Has trouble starting or initiating romantic or sexual relationships with women
• May have fantasized about being like other men, admiring their qualities, looks, characteristics and these fantasies may have become sexual
• May have acted out sexually with other men
• May be overly focused on his appearance and that of other men
• Secretly craves healthy, affirming affection from other men but feels awkward accepting or expressing such affection
• Feels unsure of himself
• Plagued by self-doubt and regrets
• Can be indecisive (has trouble making decisions, second guesses himself, fearful of doing or saying the wrong thing)
• Doesn’t trust his own judgment
• Seeks the advice and approval of other men
• Often overcompensates for his perceived inadequacies by overachieving in school, career, profession, hobby, or wife’s interests
• Feels that no one understands him
• May often be very religious or have a highly developed sense of moral/ social consciousness
• Is very sensitive
• Has troubled or non-existent relationships with their fathers
• As a child experienced a significant betrayal (either real or perceived) by their father
• Has rejected the hurtful models of manhood in addition to the appropriate, healthy model
• Felt misunderstood as a child and as a man (especially by other boys or men)
• Looks to external factors (career, accomplishments, material possessions, physical beauty) to make him feel like a man
As children, many of us did not experience the secure love of our father or
another male role model. Many of us were abandoned, abused, or ignored by our
father or an older man. We were disconnected from other boys and were often
called upon to provide emotional support to our mothers. We desperately wanted
to fit in with other boys and longed for the attention of a loving father.
During puberty these legitimate unmet needs became sexualized. This was a
confusing time, as we felt alone and unsure of ourselves with no one to show us the
way to manhood. We may have experienced additional trauma or abuse during this
awkward time. We became more aware of how different we felt and we did not
develop emotionally as other boys did. We may have retreated into the world of
women or girls, or developed specialized talents, or used drugs or alcohol as a
desperate cry for our father’s attention. We began to fantasize about other boys or
men in a futile attempt to steal their manhood for ourselves. As we developed, our
unmet needs for a father’s love and guidance took over and hijacked our sexual
desires. Some of us acted out our desires with pornography, sex with ourselves, and
high-risk sex with other men in a desperate attempt to escape from the inner pain,
emptiness, and insecurity we felt.
Our misdirected sexual thoughts and actions kept us locked in a world of unreality and kept us from developing emotionally and spiritually as men. For some of us this sexual behavior became an addiction, but we felt inadequate, unworthy, alone, and powerless to change our thinking and behavior. Many of us lived in shame and secrecy always fearful that others would discover our pain. We were trapped in a seemingly hopeless state.
We admitted that, in our own strength, we were unable to change our thinking or
behavior. Acknowledging God’s design and desire for our sexuality, we began to
face the root causes of our same sex attractions. We realized that our sexual
thinking and behavior was an attempt to cope with the pain of our past and the
loss (whether real or perceived) of our earthly father’s love. We realized that our
painful childhood experiences were not God’s desire for us and our attempts to
meet those unmet needs only made the situation worse and started us in a cycle of
sexual confusion and bondage.
We sought God’s help for victory over our compulsive desires while examining and admitting our part in our sinful past. We began to reconnect with other men in a safe and healthy environment as God revealed our
Depression, isolation, lack of trust and an unhealthy use of love and relationships as a means of achieving worth, are characteristics of Romance and Relationship Addictions.
Addicted to "Love" characteristics are:
• Lack of nurturing and attention when young
• Feeling isolated, detached from parents and family
• Outer facade of “having it all together” to hide internal disintegration
• Mistake intensity for intimacy
• Hidden pain
• Seek to avoid rejection and abandonment at all cost
• Afraid to trust anyone in a relationship
• Inner rage over lack of nurturing, early abandonment
• Highly manipulative and controlling of others
• Perceive attraction, attachment, and sex as basic human needs, as with food and water
• Sense of worthlessness
• Escalating tolerance for high risk behavior
• Intense need to control self, others, and circumstances
• Presence of other addictive or compulsive problems
• Using others to alter mood or relieve pain
• Continual questioning of values and lifestyle
• Driven, desperate, frantic personality
• Existence of secret “double life”
• Refusal to acknowledge existence of problem
• Defining out-of-control behavior as normal
• Defining “wants” as “needs”
The goal of recovery is to achieve and maintain sobriety. In most addictions, sobriety
can be defined simply by ceasing the unhealthy behaviors. Stopping and staying
stopped are the goals. For most types of problems, the slogan “just say no” is
Staying sober is more complicated with people addictions. The aim of recovery cannot be the complete avoidance of all forms of romance and relationships. It is similar to the challenge faced by people addicted to overeating; they cannot simply give up food. Rather, they must learn the difference between healthy and unhealthy eating. They must eliminate the unhealthy while promoting the healthy behavior. In the same way, for those addicted to love, the goal of recovery is not to become a hermit living in the mountains. The goal is to foster healthy relationships and eliminate unhealthy ones.
Asking the following questions can help you determine if a particular behavior will contribute to a healthy relationship or lead to addictive behavior.
1. Will I later have to deny that I did it?
2. Is it self-centered?
3. Is it abusive to myself or to others?
4. Is it inconsistent with my values?
5. Would I refuse to do it if Christ were standing here with me?
6. Is it an action without an underlying commitment?
7. Will I feel better or worse about myself for having done it?
8. Will someone else feel worse for my having done it?
9. Is this a waste of my time or the time of others?
10. Am I doing this to escape painful feelings of reality?
A yes to any of these questions should be a ‘red flag’ that the behavior being considered may be unhealthy. When romance and relationships proceed with these types of dynamics, they are likely to be dysfunctional and addictive.
Sobriety means establishing and maintaining a balanced lifestyle. At the same time, staying sober is always more than the mere presence or absence of certain behaviors.
Sobriety is more than just “not doing” certain things. It involves personal growth. It is not what we avoid, but what we grow toward, that makes sobriety meaningful. As we have seen, growth must occur in several areas of our lives. We must look to our physical health. We must be concerned for our emotional, social, and mental welfare.
Spiritual growth must be the foundational block, upon which, all other growth is built and sustained. Balance is the key. Romance and relationships have been the dominant factors in the life of one addicted to love. Recovery is the time for these relationships to find their rightful and healthy place as a part of the whole person, not as tyrants which control and consume a person.
Recovery is meant to be far more than survival or another coping strategy. Recovery is to lead to an intimate relationship with Christ, and to a rebirth of the intended pleasure that God designed.
PREREQUISITES FOR SPONSORS
• Completed CR Step Study Group / Completed the 12 Steps.
• One continuous year of sobriety / abstinence.
• Actively attending Celebrate Recovery meetings.
• Have their own Sponsor and Accountability Team.
• Must be same sex as Sponsee.
S = Set a Good Example
• You exhibit the qualities and characteristics that your sponsee strives to achieve, such as honesty, integrity, willingness and compassion.
• You have the experience of keeping your own house in order—not your physical home, but your spiritual life. In order for you to be an effective and godly sponsor, you must have the experience of working through the Steps and Principles, as well as continuing to seek a greater knowledge of God’s Word.
• A great Sponsor leads using their weaknesses, in addition to their strengths. By leading with your strengths alone, you may appear prideful or arrogant, and this may repel people, rather than draw them to you as a Leader.
P = Prayer. As a sponsor, I must pray for my sponsees need for:
• Physical, emotional and spiritual healing.
• The lifting of the fog of denial.
• Their protection during times of temptation.
O= Oneness with Christ. Ways I can/will keep growing in Christ:
• Practicing daily prayer and meditation.
• Ongoing accountability.
• Attending recovery meetings.
• Practicing the 8 Recovery Principles.
• Being in a small group.
N= Never Condemns. Ways I can avoid being judgmental:
• Be a good listener.
• Respond with sensitivity.
• Prayerfully consider feedback.
S = Share Your Personal Experience. It is important to share my experience because it:
• Continues my personal healing.
• Offers hope.
• Demonstrates freedom from our hurts, habits, and hang ups.
O= Open and Honest Communication. Ways I can be open and honest are:
• Be compassionate. Be careful not to try to ‘fix’ people, the Lord will heal them in His time.
• Listen. Carefully consider situations before offering a suggestion.
• Confront denial and procrastination. Be strong to point out, in a loving manner, detrimental patterns of behavior in your sponsee.
R = Responsibility. I can be responsible in this role by:
• Being available, yet having boundaries.
• Protecting anonymity and confidentiality. The only exception is when someone threatens to injure themselves or others.
• Offering suggestions, not making demands.
• Rejoicing in victories.
PREREQUISITES FOR ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNERS
• Actively attending Celebrate Recovery meetings.
• Sharing a similar area of recovery.
• Must be same sex.
• Developing deeper relationship with Christ.
• Demonstrating growth in their recovery.
A = Accountability
• Identify with the same area of recovery in order to understand the specific struggles and have the same recovery goals.
• You must have ongoing accountability. Regardless of the length of our recovery, we all need accountability.
T = Teamwork
• Attend meetings and events together. The process of recovery is based on the “we” system, not the “I” system.
E = Encouragement
• Be an encourager. When you see positive behavior, even if it seems insignificant, remember that encouraging each other gives the feeling of accomplishment. And that positive reinforcement is a foundational step in building more positive behavior.
A = Ask for Help
• Be willing to be vulnerable. It is by exposing our weaknesses to each other that we are able to ask for what we need. If we don’t ask for help . . . we won’t get any!
Many of us blame ourselves for the addict’s behavior: We tell ourselves, “If only I
were more attractive, thinner, taller, shorter, etc.—if only I were more sexual.” We give
in to others’ behaviors, only to lose ourselves in the process. Sometimes, we have even
participated in their sexual fantasies, or joined in by buying pornography or renting
videos, leaving us feeling used and abused. Some of us ignored or did not recognize the
signs that the addict was living a secret life.
Many of us blame the addict and their behavior for every problem in our relationship. We believe that if they would only change then everything would be fine. In essence, codependents are addicted to their spouse’s behaviors. They either give in to the addict, try to control them or make them stop.
We have sometimes pretended to family, friends, and co-workers that everything is “wonderful.” We have been unforgiving and sometimes punishing toward the addict.
Codependent people in a relationship with a sexually addicted spouse may share the following experiences:
• Having a spouse who has continually called “900” sex numbers.
• Having a spouse who is currently having or has had an affair.
• You, yourself, are having an affair.
• Issues dealing with molestation and abuse from spouse.
• Their spouse is having homosexual affairs.
• Their spouse is watching adult sex videos and buying pornography (magazines).
• Their spouse is having sex with prostitutes.
The codependent person can achieve the following:
• Hear the struggles of other Codependents.
• Learn healthy, Christian values for family roles and rules.
• Gain information about healthy sexuality and relationships.
• Break through denial and other unhealthy family patterns.
• Encouragement from the group to find peace, strength and grace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
• Build healthy relationships by finding love and acceptance in a “safe” place to share.
• Realize that we could not control the addict or their behavior.
• Understand that our problems are emotional and spiritual.
• Face our denial and accept the truth about our lives, and our past issues.
• Realize that blaming ourselves, trying to control the addict and/or ignoring their behavior, refusing to set and uphold our own personal boundaries, are all signs of co-addiction.
• Accept responsibility for our own actions and make Jesus the Lord of our lives.
• Become dedicated to learning about sexual addiction and coaddiction and becoming partners with our spouse in recovery.
• Realize we are not responsible for their addiction or recovery. It is not our job to “cure” them.
• Find healthy ways to release our fears and anger and refuse to use anger inappropriately towards the addict.
• Have a safe place to share fears, hurt or anger and also to rejoice in victories.
• Face our own defects and work through these feelings.
• Take the focus off of the addict and focus on God and our own thoughts and feelings.
We may not recognize that our anger has foundations in other basic emotions—usually fear or pain. These basic emotions may have become damaged as adults or when we were children. Some of us may have been abused or neglected as children. Others may have lost a parent or a loved one by their death. Many of us may have been abused or cheated on by a spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend. We may have learned how to express anger inappropriately from our parents, other relatives, or friends. We did not realize that when we lashed out in anger, we were ignoring our fear, pain, or another deeper hurt, habit or hang-up. Others of us did not even realize we were struggling with anger because we did not express it, but rather, we stuffed it down and kept silent. As our lives and relationships progressed we may have become addicted to the physical symptoms of anger. Some of us may have felt a momentary euphoria as the anger was released. Some of us did not recognize we were actually hurting our loved ones and ourselves in the process. In the heat of the moment, releasing our anger was all that mattered. Some of us felt our anger was justified based on the object of anger’s actions, i.e., “If he hadn’t come home late from work, I wouldn’t have had to yell at him” or “If she had not talked back to me, I would not have had to slap her” or “My husband deserves me calling him names, yelling and fighting because he cheated on me.” Many of us feel intense shame and guilt over the actions that we have committed during our unhealthy expressions of anger. We have vowed to never act that way again, only to find ourselves back in the same situations, unable to change it under our own power. Anger has confused us and gotten the better of us time and time again. Some of us did not understand that anger is a God given emotion and that we could use it in healthy, productive ways. Being angry meant that we were bad, somehow faulty; even that we were not Christians. We have allowed our shame and guilt to create the false belief that we could not turn to God for his comfort, strength and guidance. We did not feel worthy of His help or love. We remained stuck in using anger as a coping mechanism and to get the desired results from others.
EVALUATE THE ANGER
Anger is one of my ten basic, God-given emotions. This emotion can be CONSTRUCTIVE or DESTRUCTIVE depending upon my response. The focus of this group is on giving Jesus a “NANO SECOND” (just one billionth of a second!), to help me use all of my emotions according to God’s design, for my life, and to appropriately change my pattern of relating to my responsibilities and to other people. It is both healthy and necessary to feel anger and to talk about my anger. I should recognize anger as my own emotion and avoid hurting the objects of my anger—keeping my anger as a feeling not an action. Looking at anger as a feeling may also reveal a larger hurt, habit or hang up that is hiding behind the anger. It is what I do with my feelings that will allow me to fall into sin. I need to check the motives for my behavior. Rudeness under the disguise of being honest is still rudeness.
There are two kinds of anger: healthy adaptive anger and unhealthy needless anger. Healthy anger is based on being protective of myself or others. Unhealthy needless anger is based on my resentment which leads to desiring revenge. Recognizing and accepting my responsibility for unhealthy needless anger is the first step towards true freedom from anger.
DAILY QUIET TIME WITH GOD: Anger causes me to live in conflict and not in peace. I will try to remember that God is in charge of my life and He loves me unconditionally. I will commit to having a daily quiet time with God.
TAKING A “TIME-OUT”: When I feel body arousal, I need to recognize that as a sign that I am getting angry. I will use a “time out” to isolate myself from the trigger for my anger and to prevent the anger from becoming too intense. I will ask myself, “What is making me angry? And “How is this trigger about me?” I will reappraise the situation to keep my behavior under control. I will do something physical to release the adrenaline rush and energy in a healthy way, such as going for a walk or cleaning a closet. I will avoid alcohol, caffeine, or other medicating substances during “timeout.” Looking at anger as a feeling may also reveal a larger hurt, habit or hang up that is hiding behind the anger.
CONFRONTING IN LOVE: After the time out, I will go back and deal with what made me angry. If I leave an issue unresolved, it is likely to return later. I will not use the confrontation as an opportunity to blame, shame, seek revenge, or to rationalize my anger. Examples of confronting in love while stating my feelings are: “I love you, here’s how this action makes me feel,” or “I feel devalued when this is said or done.”
WORK THE 12 STEPS AND CONNECT WITH OTHERS: I will commit to working the 12 Steps, to attend regularly the Celebrate Recovery meetings, and to getting an Accountability Partner for my anger management. (We strongly suggest each woman obtain a Life Recovery Bible and the Participant’s Guides, which are the tools we use in Celebrate Recovery.)
FORGIVE: I will become willing to forgive myself and others. The Lord forgave you, so you must be willing to forgive others (Colossians 3:13b NLT). Forgiveness is NOT forgetting what has happened. Forgiveness IS changing the way I think. Forgiveness IS my giving up my desire for revenge.
Self-control is a mark of spiritual maturity, while giving in to outward anger (raging), or giving the silent treatment (stuffing), denotes the exact opposite. I will ask myself before I speak:
• Is it true?
• Is it kind?
• Is it necessary?