History of Celebrate Recovery

The story of Celebrate Recovery starts with a gentleman by the name of John Baker. John grew up in a Christian home located in the small town of Collinsville, Illinois, population of 10,000. He gave his life to God at the age of 13 and was convicted to enter the life of ministry when he was 16. But there was a problem. John never felt like he was good enough for anyone else and therefore how could he be good enough to serve God?

During his college years at the University of Missouri he joined a fraternity and discovered what he believed to be the answer to all his life’s hurts – alcohol. After his first drink, he finally felt like he fit in and was good enough. John met and married his wife Cheryl in his senior year. During the Vietnam war, John join the Air Force and learned to act like an officer and drink like a gentleman. After the war, he joined the Scott Paper Company, had two children, Laura and Johnny. With 8 promotions in the first 11 years of his business career, John, from the outside, seemed to be on top of the world.

With all the business success came several relocations of his family. Attending church became less and less important. John was also becoming uncomfortable with his lifestyle, business practices and priorities. John was making unhealthy choices that were hurting the people he loved. His drinking further increased and John turned his back completely on God.

Proverbs 14:12 says, “Before every man there lies a wide and pleasant road that seems right but ends in death.”

With mounting frustrations, Cheryl asked John to go to counseling or to leave. Much to her surprise, he left and started a 13 month separation. John’s life was out of control and he didn’t have the power to stop it on his own.

While on a business trip that October, John woke up and knew the he couldn’t take another drink. But he also knew he couldn’t live without one. Finally, he had hit bottom. John went to 90 AA meetings in 90 days and started straightening his life back out.

During a visit with his children, they asked him to attend a church service with them at Saddleback. He agreed to attend even though he hadn’t step foot in a church for over 5 years. There he knew he was home. Cheryl and John earnestly worked on their issues and 5 months later they renewed their wedding vows.

Here is where most would say the “feel good” story ends. But, in this case, it is where Celebrate Recovery starts.

John had joined a small group at church and continued to attend his AA meetings. In the church small group he felt like he couldn’t share about his struggles with alcohol because they didn’t want to go that deep and in the AA meeting, he was mocked when he shared that his Higher Power was the only true Higher Power, Jesus Christ.

John could not find a safe place to share the victories and freedoms over his past sin of alcohol that Christ was giving him. So in 1991, John wrote the senior Pastor of Saddleback church, Rick Warren, a short, concise 13 page single spaced letter outlining the vision God have given him of Celebrate Recovery. The recovery program would be Christ-centered and based on the Bible. He knew surely he wasn’t the only one dealing with pain in their church. The vision God gave him was to create a safe place that not only alcoholics could go for support, but a place for codependents, people with eating disorders, those struggling with sexual addictions, anger, those dealing with past or current physical or sexual abuse, those in need financial recovery and many more. In short, anyone dealing with any kind of hurt, hang-up or habit. After Pastor Rick Warren had read the letter, he called John into his office and said “Great John, you do it.”

Since Celebrate Recovery started in 1991, over 10,000 people at Saddleback have completed the program. The program has expanded to over 10,000 churches and over 500,000 individuals have completed the program.

Pratt Celebrate Recovery

The history of Pratt Celebrate Recovery started with many in the community feeling the leading and prayerfully asking God to bring Celebrate Recovery to our community. In February 2012, over 12 individuals from the different churches in the Pratt community attended a one day seminar in Oklahoma City where the processes of starting a Celebrate Recovery was presented. The miracle of this day was the fact that many did not know each other was interested in Celebrate Recovery. Afterwards, meetings were held and the decision was made to start a Celebrate Recovery ministry. From the beginning it was felt this would a community ministry and not of any one church. Our focus is on our one and only higher power, Jesus Christ and not any one denomination. The Pratt Celebrate Recovery leaders have met for 10 months to prepare and train. Each leader is going through the 12-step program to prepare ourselves to lead those who hurt, have hang-ups or habits that have made their life unmanageable.

January 14,2013 was the official launch of Pratt Celebrate Recovery to the community.

It has been said many times that anyone and everyone could use Celebrate Recovery. How many times we all have stuffed our hurts and tell everyone everything is okay, when it really isn’t?

Pratt Celebrate recovery meets every Monday, 7:00 pm at the Pratt Friends Church.

If you need more information, please use our contact page.