Every Tuesday, a celebration takes place at a brick chapel on Argonne Road.
The people who meet at the New Hope Christian Center have learned to appreciate the weekly gatherings as a source of support and encouragement – all under the umbrella of a program called Celebrate Recovery.
Launched in 1991 by Pastor John Baker of Saddleback Church in California, Celebrate Recovery incorporates biblical principles, specifically the Beatitudes of Jesus from the books of Matthew and Luke in the New Testament, with the kind of 12-step rehabilitation program utilized in treatment for drug and alcohol problems. In addition to substance abuse, the approach is intended for a range of issues, from sex disorders to anger management to grief support.
|Donella Hunt and Chris Duffy help facilitate the Celebrate Recovery support group at New Hope Christian Center on Argonne Road in Spokane Valley every Tuesday. The 12-step program utilizes bible teachings to help people overcome substance abuse and other problems.
Photo by: Craig Howard
Celebrate Recovery has been part of the agenda at New Hope since 2004. Donella Hunt, wife of Pastor Lee Hunt, helps teach the women’s group while Chris Duffy, a parishioner at the church, oversees the men’s side.
Hunt said people who invest time in the program have seen the power of real change.
“They begin to understand how God views them,” she said. “So many people go through life believing lies that people have told them. They’re dealing with ridicule, rejection and abandonment. Here, they start to realize that God sees them as valuable and they can correct the perceptions that are not accurate.”
Each Tuesday begins with a group meeting at 7 p.m., followed by smaller support group sessions. Duffy, who battled a drug addiction of his own and has now been clean for 25 years, said the environment promotes “hope and peace.”
“The biggest problem is that people feel like they’re the only one in the place they are,” Duffy said. “We talk about recognizing denial, realizing there is a problem and moving forward. People can lean on each other here.”
Pastor Danny Green started a Celebrate Recovery program at Community Bible Church in north Spokane 10 years ago. He said the approach – which includes consistent follow-up from sponsors – provides the sort of support that helps people stay accountable.
“We have to get the word out that there is hope,” Green said. “These are people we don’t want to give up on – we want to help them. We hear so much about the problem. I want to be part of the solution.”
Each September for the past four years, Green has collaborated with the Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council to host an awareness walk as part of an annual event called the Art of Recovery. Last year, hundreds of people – many of whom participate in the Celebrate Recovery – took part in the walk through Mission Park near downtown Spokane.
Linda Thompson, executive director of GSSAC, said Celebrate Recovery continues to be a valuable resource in the local treatment community.
“It’s a wonderful program,” she said. “Having the faith community involved means there is that much more support.”
Hunt said that while Celebrate Recovery does draw on religious themes, those who participate each week are under no obligation to join New Hope or another church.
“We’re just celebrating the fact that they walked through the door,” Hunt said.
Nationwide, there are over 10,000 branches of Celebrate Recovery with around half a million participants.
Duffy said the principles taught in the group “give people a solid definition of faith,” moving beyond many of the unhealthy messages in modern society.
“You learn not to look to culture for answers,” he said.
For Duffy, witnessing people taking control of their lives is the best reward.
“My greatest victories are seeing the victories of others,” he said.
Hunt said the program has been successful because people begin to understand that a higher power can help them overcome any problem
“For us as believers, we know there is hope and help and healing,” she said. “I don’t feel like I’m better than these people, I’m just helping them walk forward in the process of recovery. It’s a joy and I feel very humbled by that.”
Want to find out more?
To learn more about the Celebrate Recovery program at New Hope Christian Center, 1108 N. Argonne Road, call 926-5536 or visit www.newhopespokane.org. To find out more about Celebrate Recovery, visit www.celebraterecovery.com.