Principle Four, what the heck is that? For anyone who has ever participated in a 12 step recovery program, principle four is the place in the process where many end up stuck and either fake it or quit, missing our on moving past their addictions, hurts habits and hang ups. It’s where we have to really look deep into ourselves and answer some difficult questions. Questions that are critical in the recovery process but often painful to process and without being truthful, a place where we can fail to experience the full recovery and transformation in our lives that God wants for us.
I’m no bible scholar or educated professional specializing in recovery. I’m just someone who has completed the CR (Celebrate Recovery, a nationally known 12 step recovery program focusing on a Christ centered recovery) 12 Step program and Step Study, as well as worked together with others leading a Christ Centered Recovery program based mostly upon the CR program.
A product of two devoted Catholics who sought to teach their children the Good News and raise them with a backbone of a good moral upbringing. Although I didn’t always follow that path, and frankly would not be alive if it were not for my Mom’s dedicated pray life, I did eventually find my way to the cross. A sinner in need of a savior. I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ for good works (Ephesians 2:10) and yet I am flawed and broken, falling short on most days.
A husband to a wonderful wife, father to a Son, grandfather of three, and great-grandfather to one amazing bright little girl. A Brother and a Son. Born into a family with a heritage of Italian and English linage. As well as a history of cancer that has touched nearly all those before me. Myself having had colon cancer twice, I see the future through the lens of my experiences and my faith.
Having experienced abuse at a young age, I turned to recreational drug use during elementary school. Became a regular user and continued into adult years and managed to prevent it from effecting my career. Drank beer as a young boy and into my teen years but had to give it up at 18 because it impacted my ability to work in construction. In my early thirties I gave it up when I found God.
Later I took up casual cocktails as a business socialization tool, which lead to regular use. Although I rarely drank to the point of being drunk, I often drank to drown my depression. Depression was a normal part of my life. So was anger.
Anger was often the by product of my inner agony and struggle. For years I carried the scars of childhood abuse that I had never really dealt with. Anger was something that would sometimes consume me, making me difficult to work with. Eventually this lead to conflicts at work and a realization that I could not do this on my own. I first looked to a counselor for help and although he was helpful and helped me to make progress, I know something important was missing.
Later that year my church offered a new program based upon the Celebrate Recovery program created by John Baker from Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in CA. I went into the program with no idea what it was about as I had never heard of CR. I first thought I was in the wrong place as “these” people were drug/alcohol addicts and a was not. I sat through that first night’s share session thinking I was in the wrong place and was not coming back. My wife who had also came, felt the same way. The ride home that night started with “wow that was not what I expected” and eventually we both felt like God has us there for a reason and we chose to come back again.
It wasn’t long before we were both sharing and realizing that we all have issues and we can all benefit from learning God’s way for dealing with our hurts, habits and hang ups. Furthermore we realized how we often go through life thinking some people really have it together and the reality is that we all have struggles and God’s Word has the answers for how we can move past them and have the life, the abundant life God wants for us all. After attending the first year and then completing the full Step Study, we both felt lead to give and join the team helping others experience the restoration that God wants us to experience.
more to come….