Celebrate Recovery: A Christ-Centered Recovery Program

An addiction imposes a heartbreaking toll on a person’s life and physical, mental, and emotional stability. What may often be overlooked is that addiction can disrupt a person’s spiritual state as fully as any of the prior factors. For this reason, a person who is striving to heal and achieve freedom from their addiction needs to choose a program that can reach them on all these levels.

There is a vast discrepancy between the number of people who need treatment for addiction in their lives and those who receive it. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported on the findings of the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), telling us that “In 2013, an estimated 22.7 million Americans (8.6 percent) needed treatment for a problem related to drugs or alcohol, but only about 2.5 million people (0.9 percent) received treatment at a specialty facility.”

Unlike other programs that may utilize a broader and unspecified definition of spirituality or faith, Celebrate Recovery adheres to the belief that, as quoted from their site, “Jesus Christ is the one and only Higher Power.” If your faith and relationship with Jesus are important, and you find that you’re struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, this might be a recovery program that is good for you.

virtual care

Get treatment when
and how you need it.

Why Does This Make A Difference?

When a person is struggling with an addiction they may commonly feel lost, misunderstood, lonely, or isolated. Engaging in a faith-filled program that follows the ways of Jesus gives you the direction that you need to remain centered, by means of your faith, on your recovery. This program grants you the fellowship and support of your fellow believers who can edify you and lift you up in your times of struggle. Your faith becomes your axis and your center, providing you with the strength and insight that you need while you traverse the at-times difficult and overwhelming journey towards sobriety.

How Did This Program Originate?

Rick Warren, head pastor and founder of Saddleback Church had grown weary with the traditional 12-step methods that he saw commonly employed within recovery groups and their relatively ambiguous definition of a higher power. Though he acknowledged their success, he sought to create something different, something that clearly defined the higher power as Jesus Christ. To do this, he turned to the Bible, looking within for concepts that could be applied to this Christ-centered recovery, what would then become Celebrate Recovery.

As quoted within a message from him on the Celebrate Recovery website, Warren wrote: “To my amazement, I found the principles of recovery, and even their logical order, given by Christ in his most famous message, the Sermon on the Mount.” He turned what he found into a message, and with the help of his Associate Pastor John Baker (also a Celebrate Recovery founder), who penned the program’s workbooks, Celebrate Recovery was born.

How Is This Program Different From Other Programs?

Not all rehab facilities and treatment protocol are the same. Choosing a program is an intensely personal choice, one that can make the difference between your success and a continuing addiction. That’s why Celebrate Recovery has long existed—this year they celebrate their 25th Anniversary—to provide you with tools and skills to beat your addiction while being edified and encouraged by a program that is centered on Christ.

Within his message, Warren sums up the theory and practice behind the program, stating that it is “Based on the actual words of Jesus rather than psychological theory.” He also stated that there are “seven features that make it unique.” You might ask yourself how this works. Here, we sum them up. Celebrate Recovery:

  1. Is based on the Bible, specifically structured off the Beatitudes. Warren speaks of this, noting that these “eight principles are God’s road to recovery, wholeness, growth, and spiritual maturity.”
  2. Encourages people not to indulge in the past or let it bring them down; instead it directs them to rely on Christ to make good decisions for what’s to come.
  3. Encourages people to step away from self-blame and blaming others, while embracing proactive ways to change things, by supporting people in learning more healthful and helpful ways of reacting to situations.
  4. Stresses that in order for a person to be truly successful within their recovery, they must accept the Lord as their Savior.
  5. Is built off small groups that foster fellowship
  6. Has a large scope, that according to Warren, “addresses all types of habits, hurts and hang-ups.”
  7. Continues to prepare and fuel people for ministry.

There is another facet of Celebrate Recovery that makes it stand apart from other programs—it is not a recovery program that is solely devoted to addiction. According to their site, it “is a large umbrella” program under which a limitless number of issues can be dealt with.” Warren continues to say that within Saddleback Church, the church where this program began, “only one out of three who attend Celebrate Recovery are dealing with alcohol or drugs.”

This approach makes the program multi-dynamic in the respect that it can meet any person, anywhere within their journey and life experience. It brings together people of all perspectives, experiences, and walks of life so that they may help lift each other up. It helps a person to look at the root of the problem and tackle it by their faith and their love for the Lord.

How The 12-Steps Are Different

Celebrate Recovery asserts their spiritual focus, stating that they are “a Christ-centered program with foundations firmly established in Biblical truth.” Contrary to other 12-step programs, they clearly define Jesus Christ as the higher power that the steps are based on. Each of the traditional 12-steps is paired with a bible verse that further exemplifies the goal and purpose of each step, with a direct reference as to how Christ’s teachings may lead and direct you in your pursuit, thus, as noted by their website, their teachings succeed at “tying historical recovery to timeless Biblical teaching.”

Utilizing Their 8 Principles To Support And Enhance The 12-Steps Through Biblical Teachings

The 12-steps are further enhanced by the support and teachings of the 8 Principles. The eight principles encompass the teachings and direction of the twelve steps. The 8 Principles are based upon the Beatitudes, and like the 12-steps, they help to not only offer a person insight and guidance towards their recovery, but direction within their faith.

The Beatitudes are teachings derived from the bible and found in Matthew. They are teachings that Jesus spoke during his Sermon on the Mount. They declare how to follow the Lord so that you may find salvation and also peace while you contend with the adversities that you might face during your time on earth. Some people may struggle with finding their meaning and equating it to recovery, Warren acknowledges this, stating that “From a conventional viewpoint, most of these statements didn’t make sense. They sounded like contradictions.”

His passion for a faith-filled recovery led him to resolve this and bridge this gap, ensuring that people could instead make not only sense, but purpose from these verses. For Christians, the Beatitudes are a unique tool and gift that the Bible offers—with the correct teaching and spiritual direction, they can very clearly and effectively help direct a person in stewardship towards God, something that in turn helps to further direct and guide them within their recovery.

Celebrate Recovery is offered throughout the United States. A person can choose to go to Saddleback Church to experience this program or they can choose to encounter it within another church that employs and follows the teachings. Celebrate Recovery provides resources to churches or other organizations that want to share its blessings.

Let Hope Guide You Towards Recovery

If you have any questions about how you can integrate your faith or any important values or lifestyle choices into your recovery, please give us a call today. We can help you to find the hope and tools that can carry you towards sobriety and protect you during your recovery. Contact us at RehabCenter.net for information on specified treatment to meet your unique needs.

Want to get help, but not ready to talk?

You can receive 24/7 text support right away and at your convenience. There is no obligation to enter treatment and you can opt out at any time.

Sign up for text support to receive:

✅ Resources about addiction and recovery

✅ Info about our treatment process

"*" indicates required fields


Let Regard Healthcare walk you through the treatment process. We're here to help.
For 24/7 Treatment Help
100% Free and Confidential. Call 888-341-4325

For 24/7 Treatment Help Call:


For Immediate Treatment Help Call:
(888) 979-9592