“When my husband, Rob, and I moved to the Sunshine Coast, we found out that there was no Christian recovery program here,” says Jennifer Henson. “Living on the Coast, people are separated from Vancouver by a ferry and they can’t access resources. So to have a recovery program here was something that was really needed.”
Jennifer and Rob Henson are the facilitators of Celebrate Recovery, a program of the Gibsons – Sunshine Coast Community Church in Gibsons, B.C. The program, which has been running since February 2010, recognized its new graduates at a special ceremony on March 27.
Fifteen individuals completed the program this year. Three of the graduates attend the corps, while the rest are from the broader community.
Though the Celebrate Recovery program is relatively new on the Sunshine Coast, it started in 1991 at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. The program is based on the 12-step program, but the whole approach is Christ-centred, and participants acknowledge Jesus as their “higher power.”
Celebrate Recovery has three components: large group meetings, open share meetings and step groups. The large group meeting is a time for worship and teaching, while the open share meeting is a time for participants to break into small groups and have discussions. These two meetings, which take place every Tuesday night, have a “drop-in” format. The step groups are for people who want to commit to working through the 12 steps over the course of a year.
While recovery programs are usually associated with substance abuse, Rob and Jennifer are quick to dispel this notion.
“Celebrate Recovery is for everyone,” says Jennifer. “Its purpose is to help people overcome their ‘hurts, habits and hang-ups.’” In addition to chemical addictions, the program helps people who struggle with issues such as eating disorders, sexual abuse, pride and lust.
Having been through the program themselves, Rob and Jennifer have both experienced the power of Celebrate Recovery. But ultimately, says Jennifer, that power does not come from the program itself: “It’s Jesus, transforming our lives and working through it.”
For more information about the Sunshine Coast Celebrate Recovery program, visit www.coastcelebraterecovery.com.