“Celebrate Recovery” Celebrates Its Two Year Anniversary
By ERICA CHIPPERFIELD
“Celebrate Recovery”, a Christ centered 12 step recovery program, celebrated it’s two year anniversary on May 5, 2019. A barbecue was hosted, followed by a meeting at the Alliance Christian Church. Music was played by a local group of gentleman to start off the meeting, and then chips were awarded to members to celebrate the amount of time they have been sober. The leader of the group, Randy Farritor, then gave his testimonial about how he has struggled with alcohol and how much “Celebrate Recovery” has helped him to maintain his sobriety. He has been sober for over 37 years now.
The program is known for addressing alcoholism and substance abuse, however the focus is broader. A flyer advertising for Celebrate Recovery asks: Do you struggle with a hurt, habit or hang-up? It defines hurt: to experience physical pain caused by yourself or another; to feel emotional pain; undergo or experience difficulties or setbacks — abuse, abandonment, codependency, divorce, shame, etc. Habit: regular repeated behavior pattern. A habit is an addiction to someone or something, such as alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, sex, shopping, smoking, etc. Hang-up: a psychological or emotional problem or fixation about something; an issue that causes persistent impediment or source of delay. They are negative mental attitudes that are used to cope with people or adversity; for example, anger, depression, fear, un-forgiveness, guilt, etc.
Farritor had been involved with “Celebrate Recovery”, while living in Aurora, Colorado. When he moved back to Alliance, he had been missing it. “I was looking for the Lord to open a door.” He talked to Pastor Russell Saito at the Alliance Christian Church who knew about the program but was looking for someone to lead it. Farritor then spent a few weeks training at The Rock Chuch in Scottsbluff, which is the closest city to Alliance, to have a “Celebrate Recovery” chapter and then the local chapter was formed.
Celebrate Recovery itself started in1991, at the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. Literature for the program describes a letter written by John Baker to Pastor Rick outlining the vision God had given him for Celebrate Recovery. The first night 45 people attended with 8,500 people going through the program at the Saddleback Church by 2011. By that time there were thousands of Celebrate Recovery ministries worldwide. The history also points out the role of the program beyond churches in recovery houses, rescue missions and prisons.
The program is for people 19 years old and older, but if someone younger is in need they won’t be turned away.