For 16 years, Lisa has been in recovery. “Codependency,” “perfectionism” and “religiosity” were her “hang ups,” she said.
“Instead of having religion take me to God, it was my means of appeasing him, like I had to prove myself to him,” she said. “I just tried harder and harder to be perfect in hopes that I would be accepted. That got me into a performance trap with religion and everything in my life, trying to perfect in every way to make up for that lack of feeling OK inside.”
The last two years, Lisa joined the Celebrate Recovery faith-based recovery program, which meets every Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Midnight Son Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Kenai. Lisa’s last name is being withheld in accordance with the group’s practice of sharing anonymously.
Today the recovery program is celebrating its first year anniversary of serving those in need on the Kenai Peninsula, starting with a special dinner at 5:30 p.m.
Celebrate Recovery follows a Christ-centered 12 Step Recovery program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous and other faith-centric recovery programs, “but the higher power is not vague,” Ministry Leader Renee’ King said.
“The recovery is Jesus Christ,” she said. “It’s not forced down anyone’s throat; we’re not embarrassed to say that higher power is Jesus Christ, and we use his word quite a bit.”
The recovery program was born more than 20 years ago from John Baker, a pastor of the Saddle Back Church in California, she said. She said he felt other recovery programs were vague about the higher power, and he wanted Jesus Christ featured more prominently in his program.
“There’s so much power in the scriptures and so much healing and restoration in the scriptures that he wrote a program with (scripture as the focus),” she said.
The recovery program — popular in the Lower 48 — serves anyone with a “hurt, habit or hang up.”
“That could be anger, it could be codependency, it could be an eating disorder or it could be an addiction — a behavior addiction or a chemical addiction,” she said.
Although the program meets in a Seventh-Day Adventist church, it is non-denominational, King said.
After a 30 minute supper at the beginning of the program, they host their large group meeting, she said. Those present meet in the sanctuary and sing worship songs for 10 to 15 minutes, she said.
Then they divide the groups by gender to share — anonymously — each others problems. King said it is rewarding.
“And that’s where a lot of the work is done,” she said. “You share what’s hurting you. We’re not there to fix anyone. It’s a recovery group; you just share from your own experience, strength and hope that other people learn from one another.”
King said the program alternates between live or DVD-based testimonies and the ministry leaders lecturing on recovery principles.
The recovery program has helped Lisa overcome her “hang ups,” she said.
She described her addictive process as “the insanity of I’m never good enough,” but now, she said she can accept her worth without needing to prove it to God or others.
“I’m continuing to grow, as well,” she said. “I’m not perfect, in not being perfect. I still struggle with it and still get caught up sometimes in trying too hard and comparing myself with — whatever.”
Dan Schwartz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.