Celebrate Recovery provides healing

Liberty University is the only university to offer the counseling program Celebrate Recovery, a program offered by 29,000 churches across the country. 

Celebrate Recovery is a weekly meeting led by Director of the Student Counseling Services Michael Trexler. The program offers guidance on issues ranging from codependency to trauma. Throughout this eight-week program, Trexler and other counselors meet to go through a book series The Journey Begins
by John Baker.

Celebrate Recovery is a support group for many kinds of struggles, and the department invites anyone to come and share.

Laura Adams, the intake coordinator for the Counseling Services, and her husband David are both counselors within the program and said that this is a program not to fix people but to change the attitudes of those who come with
hurts and needs.

“We adopt a different attitude as we go through the 12 steps,” David Adams said.  “By using these 12 steps we strive to have a more Christ-like outcome.”

“We adopt a different attitude as we go through the 12 steps … By using these 12 steps we strive to have a more Christ-like outcome.” – David Adams

In the Celebrate Recovery program counselors follow the 12 steps but also touch on beatitudes. The principles are simple to follow. By realizing that you have a problem and admitting it to yourself and those closest to you so that you
may open yourself up to God for healing.

“We adopt the Beatitudes and change our way of thinking from ‘I am God’ to ‘I need God,’” David Adams said.

The 12 steps that the program follows are comparing our situations with biblical outcomes, and how to reach those outcomes. According to the book “Stepping out of Denial into God’s Grace,” by John Baker, these 12 steps can be compared to as the Christian version of Alcohol Anonymous 12 steps. 

According to Baker’s 12 steps, change happens when we realize that we cannot overcome our struggles without the grace and strength of God.  

Laura Adams said that during the meetings sometimes the counselors just let the Holy Spirit do the work. Yes, they always meet for worship and announcements but sometimes if the counselors feel led by the Holy Spirit, they will do break-out sessions. 

When the program breaks out into small groups they are gender specific as well as issue specific.  Within each group are designated counselors ready to listen and pray with those who are struggling.

“The premise behind Celebrate Recovery is that the Holy Spirit comes in to these peoples’ lives,” Laura Adams said.

“The premise behind Celebrate Recovery is that the Holy Spirit comes in to these peoples’ lives,” – Laura Adams

David Adams said even he understands that for everyone it is extremely uncomfortable to share our struggles in front of others.  Sometimes though, it can be a good response for our emotions if we share with someone else what we are going through.  

David and Laura Adams said that most people who come worry about whether this support group is confidential. They noted that within each group counselors and members are informed that this is strictly a confidential group, and no one is permitted to speak of any issues outside of the group meetings.

David Adams describes the group as a “Crock-Pot” kind of healing.  He sees healing as a slow and steady process, and believes healing never fully comes this side of Heaven.

“Finally, when God gets a hold on our hearts, we can change the way we behave,” David Adams said.

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