faqInterested in Celebrate Recovery?  The FAQs* below were developed by John Baker, founder of Celebrate Recovery, to help make your first Celebrate Recovery meeting free of any doubts or fears as you start the recovery process.  If you still have questions, about Celebrate Recovery, please don’t hesitate to attend a meeting with your questions, or fill out the contact form and a member of our leader team will be happy to get you an answer.



Q: What is Celebrate Recovery?

A: The following is a list of things we ARE:

  • A safe place to share
  • A refuge
  • A place of belonging
  • A place to care for others and be cared for
  • Where respect is given to each member where confidentiality is nonnegotiable
  • A place to learn
  • A place to grow and become strong again
  • Where you can take off your mask
  • A place for healthy challenges and healthy risks
  • A possible turning point in your life

The following are things we are NOT:

  • A place for selfish control
  • Therapy
  • A place for secrets
  • A place to look for dating relationships
  • A place to rescue or be rescued by others
  • A place for perfection
  • A long-term commitment
  • A place to judge others
  • A quick fix

Q: How can I find a Celebrate Recovery near me?
A: Celebrate Recovery has a national website telling where groups meet all over the United States: www.celebraterecovery.com.

Q: Do I have to belong to the same denomination to go to Celebrate Recovery at the church where it is held?
A: No, everyone is welcome at Celebrate Recovery, no matter your denomination. You do not have to belong to a church to come to Celebrate Recovery.

Q: Do I have to be a Christian to attend?
A:  No, all you have to do to qualify is to have a hurt, hang-up, or habit and a desire to get well.

Q: I am not an addict. Why should I attend Celebrate Recovery?
A: Celebrate Recovery is for any kind of struggle in our lives. Less than a third of the people who attend Celebrate Recovery struggle with substance abuse—the rest may come for anger, marriage struggles, adult children on drugs, overeating, you name it! Many of us come because someone in our family is struggling. If a family member is struggling, it is affecting the whole family—and we need support too! Everybody needs recovery!

Q: Do I have to sign up to come to Celebrate Recovery?
A: No, just show up. You are welcome to arrive early if you would like to ask some questions before the group time starts. If not, we have a group that is offered for all first-time attendees. It tells a little about who we are and gives the participants a chance to ask questions.

Q: Are your leaders trained counselors or psychiatrists?
A: No. The group leaders are those who know what it is like to be lost, broken, or hurting. Your leaders have overcome the same issues that you are going through. They now are committed to helping you and others find hope and healing as well.

Q: How long will I need to attend Celebrate Recovery to find healing?
A: Healing from our hurts, hang-ups, and habits is a journey. If we surrender our lives to Christ, He saves us (Principle 3). The twelve steps and the eight principles help us work through the issues we face. For some, the journey lasts a year. For others, the journey can last a lifetime. The length of time depends on the depth of your hurts, hang-ups, and habits. Remember, that your hurts, hang-ups, and habits occurred over a long period of time. They will not go away overnight!

Q: I’ve heard people introduce themselves in a very different way at Celebrate Recovery than at most secular programs. Why is that?
A: In Celebrate Recovery, you will hear folks introduce them-selves like this: “My name is _______ and I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ and I struggle with ___________________.”

We do this in order to emphasize that though we do still struggle with hurts, hang-ups, and habits; our identity is in our relationship with Jesus Christ. He is the one and only true Higher Power.

Q: How do I know which group to go to?
A: Upon your first visit to Celebrate Recovery, it is highly recom­mended that you attend the ministry’s Newcomer 101 group in order to get an overview of the program and an orientation to what groups are available.

Q:  Is it okay for me to be in the same small group as a family member?
A: No, we feel that it is easier to be in a separate group so that you can feel safe to share more deeply. Sometimes we hold back when our family members are with us.

Q: Is it okay for me to take notes?
A: It is okay to take notes during the large group portion. We do, however, ask that during open share group you refrain from bringing out any note-taking materials, because it is distract­ing to others.

Q: Why do I have to go to the large group? Can’t we just go to an open share meeting and eliminate all of the singing and lessons and testimonies? What’s the point of all that stuff?
A: The Celebrate Recovery large group time is structured to pro­vide a starting place for the night. This time allows us to start the process of clearing our minds and preparing our hearts for the message or testimony that will be delivered that evening. It also gives us a time to connect with others before going into the small groups.

Q: What if I want to leave after the large group?
A: You are certainly welcome to do so—we will not hold you captive! However, it is important for you to know that this recovery process is much like baking a cake. If you leave one of the ingredients out of the recipe, it just won’t taste the same. In the same way, in recovery there is a reason we have the three ongoing groups to the Celebrate Recovery process. We encourage everyone to jump in with both feet. Many people will say that they just don’t have time to do all three components—the large group, the open share group, and the step study group. As a wise accountability partner once told me, “We need to spend as much time on our recovery as we have on our junk.” Those who work the process by doing the proven three groups really see much more significant and longstanding growth. It truly does work if you work it and won’t if you don’t.

Q: What is the purpose for separate men’s and women’s groups? Why can’t we have co-ed groups?
A: The purpose for Celebrate Recovery having gender-specific groups is that it provides another opportunity to have a safe place to share. Separate groups allow men to be open in their groups and speak freely about their issues, and the same for women. It also protects the groups from being a place for people who are looking to impress the opposite gender dur­ing their sharing by embellishing their story. And there are some people who are not comfortable talking in front of the opposite gender and will shut down and not share at all. It also eliminates a “dating” scene from developing within the groups.

Q: Why don’t you have a group for  __________ ?
A: Celebrate Recovery takes the role of leadership very seriously. Newcomers to recovery can be very vulnerable, and it is important that those leading the groups have walked through the process and found healing for themselves first. Therefore, the open share groups that are offered at an individual church will reflect the recovery journeys of the local leadership. All programs will offer a men’s and women’s group. The principles of recovery are the same for all issues, and participants can find support and help for their issue in any group. As the leadership of the program grows, more groups covering more specific recovery issues can be offered.

Q: How do I keep my attendance a secret from the rest of my family? I don’t want them to know I have a problem.
A: Celebrate Recovery is a safe place to share your hurts, hang-ups, and habits because we follow five simple small group guidelines. They make the ministry safe. We honor confidentiality and anonymity. We don’t tell others who attends Celebrate Recovery or who is in our groups. Everything that is shared in the groups stays there. Celebrate Recovery is a safe place to share our struggles.

Q: Can I still go to my other secular recovery meeting if I attend Celebrate Recovery?
A: This is completely up to you. Attendance at Celebrate Recovery is a personal choice, just like attendance at any other program.

Q: Is Celebrate Recovery court-mandated approved?
A: We have found nationwide that many local courts recognize Celebrate Recovery as a proven and effective 12 Step program for alcohol- and drug-related mandates. However, we strongly suggest that you confirm with your local court to ensure that they approve Celebrate Recovery.

Q: What exactly does “codependency” mean?
A: Generally speaking, being “codependent” means that I value someone else’s happiness and situation over my own. If I constantly make excuses for a loved one’s behavior and not allow them to experience the consequences of their actions, I am operating in a state of “codependency.” This term can some-times be confused with “acting Christian,” but in Celebrate Recovery we learn how to love others as Christ loves us and allow others to live their lives with their own choices. We learn what it means to have boundary lines that foster healthy relationships.

Q: What do I do if my spouse or someone close to me relapses?
A: The great thing about Celebrate Recovery is that we are taught that we must first work on our own recovery. The hard thing to realize is that we are no good to anyone who is struggling if our recovery is not solid. We need to be supportive of our spouses and encourage them through their recovery, but we cannot fix them. Only as their relationship with God gets stronger will they be able to avoid relapse. When you come and learn all of the necessary tools of Celebrate Recovery, then you can be an example to your spouse that the program works. It can work for them too.


Q: Why are the Celebrate Recovery step studies so important and why do they take about a year to complete?
A: We learn about recovery and celebrate our victories in the large group. Then we share our struggles and victories in the open share groups. However, the “meat and potatoes” of recovery happens when we join a step study and answer the questions found in the four Celebrate Recovery participant’s guides. Given the number of participants in a step study group, the process of moving through the guides can take from nine to twelve months of meeting weekly. The process of asking our-selves deep questions and finding healing does not happen overnight—but it does happen if we are willing to take this Christ-centered journey.

Q: Do I have to buy the Celebrate Recovery Bible for the step study?
A: Although it is not required, it is highly recommended. The Celebrate Recovery Bible is a seamless tool for navigating the timeless recovery principles found in your step study and in Scripture. You will need a Bible.


Q: What is the difference between a sponsor and an account­ability partner?
A: First of all, an accountability partner and sponsor should be the same gender as you. A sponsor is like a coach and an accountability partner is like a teammate. When you are out on the field and do something that goes the wrong way, your teammates are there to encourage you. When you return to the bench where your coach awaits, he/she is there to correct your methods and suggest a better way to try to prevent errors.

Q: How soon do I need to get a sponsor/accountability partner?
A: The sooner the better! The benefit of walking with a sponsor and/or accountability partner is that you will have support for every step along the road to recovery. The Bible tells us that we cannot do life alone, and therefore, we cannot do recovery alone. There will be times when temptation is overwhelming and you will need to contact someone to discuss the tempta­tion and work out a solution to prevent a possible relapse.

Q: Can I have a sponsor from a secular program?
A: Celebrate Recovery encourages participants to find their own sponsors, but we do have suggestions for things to consider before asking someone to fill this role. A sponsor should be the same gender, have at least one year of sobriety (preferably more), in the same area of recovery as you.  A sponsor should also demonstrate a mature and growing relationship with Jesus Christ. With these characteristics, a good sponsor from a secular program will also honor the Celebrate Recovery process. Hopefully, they will attend Celebrate Recovery meetings with you as well.


Q: Do you have any groups to help my teenage son or daughter?
A: Yes, we have a group called “The Landing.” It is based on the same principles as Celebrate Recovery, but it presents them in a way that students will connect with. The lessons deliver hope-filled truths and real-life strategies for giving young people the tools for making wise choices and developing healthy patterns for living. The curriculum is experiential and includes small groups.

NOTE:  Celebrate Recovery at PLCC has not yet implemented this program, but may do so when sufficient interest / need are expressed.

Q: Do you have groups for grade-school children?
A: Yes, we have a group called “Celebration Place.” It is a pre-recovery program based on the same principles as Celebrate Recovery, but it presents them in a way that grade-school-aged children will understand. The age-appropriate lessons deliver hope-filled truths and real-life strategies for giving young children the tools on how to start making wise choices and developing healthy patterns for living. The curriculum is experiential and includes small groups.

NOTE:  Celebrate Recovery at PLCC has not yet implemented this program, but may do so when sufficient interest / need are expressed.

Q: Are there Celebrate Recovery groups available in other countries? Is the curriculum available in other languages besides English?
A: Yes, there are groups in many countries around the world and they are making a big difference in people’s lives. The curriculum is currently available in twenty-eight languages. For more information on which countries have Celebrate Recovery groups you can send an email to janao@saddleback.com.

 *Reprinted from "Your First Step to Celebrate Recovery" by John Baker, ©2012 Zondervan Publishing.