A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Celebrate Recovery – a commendation by a survivor of domestic abuse

[November 21, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

One of our readers, Lynette D, has very kindly sent us this piece about Celebrate Recovery.


Celebrate Recovery [Internet Archive link]1 is a group similar the AA program and others who use the Twelve Steps for recovery. We also use eight biblical principles [Internet Archive link]1 that correspond. We deal with all sorts of issues, such as co-dependency, drugs and alcohol, anger, food addiction, even spousal abuse. We call them our hurts, habits and hang-ups. We learn that we are responsible for ourselves, our choices, and our recovery. We learn about forgiveness, that God can heal our issues, and about boundaries. We believe in consequences for our actions and it is good to have consequences for the actions of others. We learn that it is our job to keep our side of the street clean, and whatever someone chooses to do with that is up to them. For example, I had to forgive people for some hurts they caused. I did forgive them, but what they chose to do with it is on them, not me. So in the case of an abusive spouse, we encourage boundaries and safety, and consequences for the abuser. We don’t place blame on the victim.

Just for info, if people attend a CR program and these things are not encouraged, it is not truly a CR program.

1[November21, 2022: We added the link to the Celebrate Recovery page, as well as the link to Celebrate Recovery’s page describing their 8 Recovery Principles. The Internet Archive links are copies of those pages. We’ve quoted Celebrate Recovery’s 8 Recovery Principles below:

Celebrate Recovery’s Eight Recovery Principles
The Road to Recovery Based on the Beatitudes

Realize I’m not God; I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable.  (Step 1.)
“Happy are those who know that they are spiritually poor.”
[Paraphrase of Matthew 5:3.]

Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and that He has the power to help me recover.  (Step 2.)
“Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
[Paraphrase of Matthew 5:4.]

Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.  (Step 3.)
“Happy are the meek.”
[Paraphrase of Matthew 5:5.]

Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.  (Steps 4 and 5.)
“Happy are the pure in heart.”
[Paraphrase of Matthew 5:8.]

Voluntarily submit to any and all changes God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects. (Steps 6 and 7.)
“Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires.”
[Paraphrase of Matthew 5:6.]

Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others when possible, except when to do so would harm them or others.  (Steps 8 and 9.)
“Happy are the merciful.”  “Happy are the peacemakers”
[Paraphrases of Matthew 5:7 and Matthew 5:9.]

Reserve a time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will.  (Steps 10 and 11.)

Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and my words.  (Step 12.)
“Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires.”
[Paraphrase of Matthew 5:11.]


[November 21, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to November 21, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to November 21, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to November 21, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (November 21, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]


  1. Martin

    We use “Celebrate Recovery” in jail ministry, at the work-release center, and at the “Mission”. I am glad Lynette D brought it up — it is a praiseworthy program.

    • John

      I’d like to learn more about your “Mission” and “CR PRISON MINISTRY”.

      • Martin

        You can find more information regarding our ministry, including my contact information, at Mission of Hope [Internet Archive link]1.

        1[November 21, 2022: We added the link to Martin’s Mission of Hope ministry page. The Internet Archive link is a copy of that page. Editors.]

  2. Lynette D

    Just for the record, I have not been a victim of abuse, however, I know MANY who have, including my mom. But I have seen the damage abuse does to some friends, and how the church has failed to address it correctly. I apologize for any misunderstanding.

    • Martin

      Lynette D,

      I am glad you shared this. I have seen many people gain victory over addiction using this program. I have also seen many abusers go through this program and gain victory over anger and control issues.

      Did you read the book? Participate in group? Or both?

      • Lynette D

        My main area of recovery is alcoholism, 12 years sober by God’s grace. I have participated in both, going through the “Step” books and reading “Life’s Healing Choices”. I am a small group leader for women.

      • Martin

        Praise God! I think the groups are awesome!

  3. Anonymous

    I bought the book when I was searching for answers. I even recommended it to my counselor. Now looking back, I realize that the book gave me hope that the marriage could change because there were many testimonies in the book, and also I believed from reading the book that I was part of the problem. I thought that I had to take responsibility for co-dependency, but in fact, I have discovered I am not co-dependent. All the symptoms were symptoms of being abused, e.g. not being able to speak up.

    I’ll have to dig it up and re-read it from a perspective of where I am now. I think different approaches suit different people at different times of their lives. Therapy best suited to an abusive person looks very different to what would be effective for the victim. A preacher or author who gives ONE solution or approach may be doing an injustice.

    • Lynette D

      I agree with you. Both people in the marriage need to be on the same page. We do not frown upon outside help either, there are many in our group who get outside counseling also.

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