Tecumseh-based Celebrate Recovery is ‘a great way to live’
By CRISTINA TRAPANI-SCOTT
For three years now, people in the Tecumseh area struggling with recovery from all kinds of things have found a home through Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered 12-step program that meets each Friday at 7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Tecumseh. Last Friday, the group turned their regular meeting into a special event celebrating the program’s three years.
While Celebrate Recovery has been helping people all over the world since 1991, it was a little over three years ago when NewSong Church Pastor Tom Hawkins approached Jim and Donna Yearsin to lead a Celebrate Recovery group in Tecumseh.
“We thought about it and prayed about it and 20 minutes later we said yes we would,” said Jim. “The vision for Celebrate Recovery is for the church to provide a safe place where moms, dads and kids of all ages can work on hurts, habits and hang-ups. We went to the summit in August of 2007. We thought it was going to be training. It turned out to be an impactful spiritual experience.”
The group has since established a program for children 7 to 13 called Celebration Station and Friday, they introduced the middle school and high school program, The Landing.
Each meeting runs two hours and follows the 12-step program established by Pastor John Baker of Saddleback Church. Groups are divided by age and gender. There is a time of worship. There is a teaching and a testimony as well as time for fellowship and a meal. Jim said there are as many as 30-50 who participate each week.
Celebrate Recovery member Greg Kinney started attending the group pretty much from its inception. He now attends with his wife, Michelle, and their two daughters. Greg, who is recovering from alcohol addiction, said he tried all kinds of things before Celebrate Recovery. “I tried a lot of other alternatives, secular groups, inpatient therapy,” said Kinney. “This runs solely through Jesus’ transformative power.”
He said Celebrate Recovery has indeed transformed his life. “What it’s done for me is it saved my marriage. It saved my job. It saved my family,” he said.
For Greg, the craving for alcohol disappeared almost as soon as he started attending Celebrate Recovery meetings. He said what he needed to work on was the deep wounds left by a lifetime of drinking, including depression and anger.
After a while, Michelle also began attending. Their daughter started with the Celebration Station program directed toward children ages 7 to 13. His eldest daughter will begin with The Landing, a new program Celebrate Recovery is sponsoring for middle school and high school children.
“They were all affected by the addiction, so there needs to be healing as a family,” said Greg, adding that his family is now healing and growing together.
He admits that had Celebrate Recovery not come to his aid he would likely have not survived his addiction. “I would not be married. I probably would not have a job. I would probably be dead,” he said.
He’s been so impacted in a positive way by the program that he will begin teaching.
Jim also struggled with addiction, although, he had been sober several years before he started the Celebrate Recovery group.
“For me, eight years ago I gave my life to Jesus. There were a lot of changes as a result of that. I do have to give Celebrate Recovery credit for strengthening my relationships with my family. I’ve been on good path since Jesus got a hold of me. I’ve been provided a wonderful opportunity. For my wife and I to serve the Kingdom, I can’t count the number of wonderful relationships that have been built in the last three years.”
Donna, who works with the Celebration Station group, said the program has helped her recover from self-esteem issues. She has also seen remarkable changes in the children she works with.
“It’s a great way to live. For me it’s not a program, it’s a way of life,” she said.
The First Presbyterian Church of Tecumseh is located at 211 West Chicago Boulevard. For more information on Celebrate Recovery, call Jim at 424.4345 or send an email to HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com.