The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Jesse Sines
For The Sentinel 

Celebrate Recovery celebrates one year


The leaders and attendees of Celebrate Recovery at New Life Assembly of God Church are observing their one-year anniversary to celebrate a local place of healing “for all hurts, habits and hang-ups.”

Celebrate Recovery is over 20 years old and began with a man named John Baker after he had achieved sobriety from alcohol through an Alcoholics Anonymous program. After getting back together with his estranged family, he began attending Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. Baker wrote an elaborate 13-page letter sometime later to the pastor that provided the beginnings of Celebrate Recovery and was promptly given permission to pursue the idea. The first night 45 people attended, and since then, more than 8,500 people have gone through the program just at Saddleback Church. Many of those people are now assisting in the program itself.

As for the outreach of Celebrate Recovery in Goldendale, it is lead by Karen Austin along with three other adult leaders. Austin explains, “What’s unique about this program is that it’s not just for alcoholism or chemical addiction, it’s for anger, financial issues, overeating, co-dependency—any kind of thing like that.”

Celebrate recovery meets once a week every Tuesday night. They have a potluck from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and rotate a lesson and a testimony every two weeks. At 7:45 p.m. they break up into small groups, which are gender specific. “That’s where a lot of the real sharing takes place,” says Austin. “It becomes a place where you can have trust; confidentiality is a must [and] there’s no sharing with anybody else—we don’t share with spouses, pastor, or secretary. People have to find a place to trust to be real.”

This being the one-year anniversary of Celebrate Recovery, Austin is happy to announce that there has been success with the program. “We have seen people changed here for the better,” she says. “Addictions have been broken [and] lifestyles have changed. People have found healing and hope in Jesus.”

When asked for a summary of the program, Austin says simply, “It’s a Christ-centered, 12-step program for any hurt, habit, or hang-up. Everything we do is biblically based, but you don’t have to be a Christian to come to it. Every Tuesday [it is] here at this church,” meaning New Life Assembly of God at 1602 South Columbus Avenue. Austin continues, “Childcare is provided for free, and we also have a van that swings by the courthouse every Tuesday at 6:20 on the Allyn Street side. Anyone standing there we will pick up and bring here, so transportation and childcare aren’t a hindrance to get here. We’re also certified to sign off if you’re court-ordered to attend meetings.”

On the note of invitation, Austin ends with this, “We invite everybody. Everyone is welcome. Everyone has a story. Everyone has something in their life that they’re struggling with or that is a part of their life that they don’t really want to have there. This is a way to find hope and healing for whatever it is.”


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