If you’ve ever attended a Celebrate Recovery (CR) meeting, you know that testimonies play a prominent role in the program. Nearly half of our 52 weekly meetings each year feature a person sharing his or her personal testimony. But what’s the big deal anyway? Why would anyone want to listen to someone else’s testimony?
First of all, let’s get rid of any preconceived images or prejudices you may have in your mind when you hear the word ‘testimony’. It isn’t a story of how someone came to accept Christ as their Savior, as may be commonly assumed. And a CR testimony is not a gimmicky testimonial used to promote Celebrate Recovery either (like you might see on a website).
What is a Celebrate Recovery testimony? It is a story of personal struggle and victory over an area of life’s hurts, habits or hang-ups written by someone who has completed the CR 12 Step program. It is not all that dissimilar to hearing a speaker at an Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) Speaker’s meeting. The main difference is that we recognize our Higher Power as Jesus Christ.
Why is a testimony important and what role does that play in someone’s recovery? At CR we share our testimonies as a way to tell how our lives were transformed by Jesus’ healing power and by applying the CR Recovery Principles and the 12 Steps into all aspects of our lives. It is a powerful and moving presentation. I personally find nights when we have a live testimony very uplifting, challenging and encouraging.
Someone who gives their testimony is not a trained or professional speaker. They are frequently very nervous, and perhaps even scared at being so bold as to share their struggles, their stumbles, but, more importantly, the way in which their path of healing has been promoted by CR. They are reading their own story, sharing small pieces of themselves, in the hopes that others will resonate with their story and see how God has transformed them.
Often-times it is the first time attendees at a meeting have ever heard someone speak so candidly in public about addictions, compulsive behaviors, mistakes from the past, or situations that happened to them through no fault of their own. Whatever the challenge, those giving their testimonies share how they overcame (or are overcoming) it through their connection to God and others in the program.
People who attend CR come from all socio and economic backgrounds. What we have in common is a desire to lead an emotionally and spiritually healthy life. When we hear someone else’s testimony, we start to see that we are not alone in our struggles. We start to identity with what others have been through. We get hope in knowing that there is an answer to our problems.
Unlike the AA Speaker’s meeting, a CR testimony is followed by small group sharing in gender specific groups. It is a safe place to share, if we wish, how the testimony moved us or brought something to the light about our own journeys. The small groups provide another opportunity to process and apply the teachings from the testimony into our lives. It gives us momentum to move forward with our own recovery.
We give our testimonies to turn our own healing into hope for others. In so doing, we are following Principle 8 which reads: “Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and by my words.”
Don’t miss your chance to see how someone else’s testimony can make a difference in your life. Please join us for our special 6th anniversary event on Monday, January 13th with a powerful live testimony from a long time participant. Or attend a CR meeting near you. Chances are you’ll hear a testimony in one of your first meetings. And you’ll be glad you did!
Contributed by a leader at Celebrate Recovery on the Plateau.