Celebrate Recovery

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A sign advertising a Celebrate Recovery meeting in Anchorage, Alaska

Celebrate Recovery is an American Christian twelve-step program designed to facilitate recovery from a wide variety of troubling behavior patterns.


Celebrate Recovery is a recovery program aimed at all "hurts, habits, and hang-ups", including but not exclusive to: high anxiety; co-dependency; compulsive behaviors; sex addiction; financial dysfunction; drug and alcohol addictions; and eating disorders.[1] Celebrate Recovery is one of the seven largest addiction recovery support group programs.[2] Promotional materials assert that over 5 million people have participated in a Celebrate Recovery step study[3][4][5] in over 35,000 churches[3][4][6][7][better source needed] Approximately two-thirds of these participants are in recovery for something other than drugs or alcohol.[8][1] Leaders seek to normalize substance abuse as similar to other personal problems common to all people.[1]


Celebrate Recovery uses both the 12 steps developed by Alcoholics Anonymous and a very similar set of eight sequential principles that are understood as a lesson of Jesus' Beatitudes.[9][10][11][12] In addition to issue non-specific large group gatherings and individual mentoring, Celebrate Recovery encourages participants to form a small group of "Accountability Partners" who all have the same problem and support one another closely.[9] Celebrate Recovery groups are held under the management of local church organizations.[9] A study of Celebrate Recovery participants found that levels of spirituality were associated with greater confidence to resist substance use.[13] Celebrate Recovery has not been significantly studied, so there is no empirical evidence regarding the impacts or efficacy of the Celebrate Recovery program.[14]


Driveway to Saddleback Church, Rancho Capistrano

John Baker was an alcoholic and staff member of Saddleback Church who began healing through Alcoholics Anonymous. He wanted a specifically Christian addiction recovery group, so with the support of Rick Warren, Celebrate Recovery began as a ministry of Saddleback Church under Baker's leadership[15][16] in 1991.[17][18] John Baker continues to be the primary author of The Celebrate Recovery curriculum and materials.[16]

Program fidelity constraints[edit]

The name Celebrate Recovery is a registered trademark of John Baker,[19] and the national Celebrate Recovery organization requires that groups using this name hold closely to a standardized format.[9][10] They may not use resources outside of the Bible and authorized Celebrate Recovery curriculum materials.[20] Group facilitators must be trained and agree to a list of expectations,[9] including standardized guidelines[21][22] at each meeting.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Lobdell 1999.
  2. ^ Kelly & White 2012, p. 2.
  3. ^ a b https://www.celebraterecovery.com/about/history-of-cr
  4. ^ a b "What is Celebrate Recovery?". Celebrate Recovery Jacksonville. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  5. ^ Cf. https://store.pastors.com/products/celebrate-recovery-updated-curriculum-kit. Note that this source doesn't specify participation beyond "discovered".
  6. ^ http://www.celebraterecovery.com/
  7. ^ "Celebrate Recovery Updated Curriculum Kit". Zondervan. 2016. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  8. ^ "Celebrate Recovery". San Diego, CA: Newbreak Church. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d e Kelly & White 2012, p. 9.
  10. ^ a b Headley, Olges & Sickinger 2010.
  11. ^ Brown et al. 2006.
  12. ^ Baker 2005.
  13. ^ Brown et al. 2011.
  14. ^ Kelly & White 2012, p. 10.
  15. ^ Destiny Christian Church (27 October 2012). "Frequently asked Questions about Celebrate Recovery" (PDF). Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  16. ^ a b "About John Baker". CelebrateRecovery.com. 2016.
  17. ^ "Celebrate Recovery". Concord, CA: Christ Community Church of the Nazarene. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  18. ^ "Celebrate Recovery Celebrates 25th Birthday". ChristianDrugRehab.com. 4 August 2016. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  19. ^ U.S. trademark record for "Celebrate Recovery"
  20. ^ a b "The Trademark Statement — DNA of CR". CelebrateRecovery.com. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  21. ^ "5 Guidelines for Celebrate Recovery Small Groups". Celebrate Recovery: New Orleans. 3 February 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  22. ^ "Celebrate Recovery: Five Small Group Guidelines". Washington, DC: National Community Church. Retrieved 22 April 2017.


  • Baker, John. Stepping out of Denial into God's Grace: Participant's Guide, 1. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998. Print.
  • Baker, John, and Richard Warren. Taking an Honest and Spiritual Inventory: Participant's Guide 2: A Recovery Program Based on Eight Principles from the Beatitudes. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1998. Print.
  • Baker, John, and Richard Warren. Celebrate Recovery: Getting Right with God, Yourself, and Others: Participant Guide, 3. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1998. Print.
  • Baker, John, and Richard Warren. Celebrate Recovery: Growing in Christ While Helping Others: Participant Guide 4. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1998. Print.
  • Baker, John (2005). Celebrate Recovery Leader's Guide: A Recovery Program Based on Eight Principles from the Beatitudes. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
  • Baker, John. Your First Step to Celebrate Recovery: How God Can Heal Your Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012. Print.
  • Brown, Anthony E.; Tonigan, J. Scott; Pavlik, Valory N.; Kosten, Thomas R.; Volk, Robert J. (19 January 2011). "Spirituality and Confidence to Resist Substance Use Among Celebrate Recovery Participants". Journal of Religion and Health. Springer Nature. 52 (1): 107–113. doi:10.1007/s10943-011-9456-x. ISSN 0022-4197.
  • Brown, Anthony E.; Whitney, Simon N.; Schneider, Max A.; Vega, Charles P. (June 2006). "Alcohol Recovery and Spirituality: Strangers, Friends, or Partners?". Southern Medical Journal. 99 (6): 654–657. doi:10.1097/01.smj.0000198271.72795.ab.
  • Headley, K.; Olges, D.; Sickinger, P. (6 November 2010), Twelve-step referrals: A group counselor's guide to utilizing Alcoholics Anonymous and celebrate recovery (PDF), Regent University, retrieved 20 August 2017
  • Kelly, John F.; White, William L. (2012). "Broadening the base of addiction mutual-help organizations" (PDF). Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery. 7 (2–4): 82–101. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  • Lobdell, William (24 April 1999). "12 Steps, Christian Style; Lake Forest Ministry Has Helped Thousands, in a Concept That's Spread". Los Angeles Times. p. B3. Retrieved 20 August 2017.

Further reading[edit]

  • Spriggs, J. David, and Eric Sloter. "Counselor-Clergy Collaboration in a Church-based Counseling Ministry." Journal of Psychology & Christianity 22.4 (2003).

External links[edit]