Testimonies have been a part of Celebrate Recovery since the very first meeting in November 1991. The purpose of these “Testimonies to Go” videos are twofold: To help new Celebrate Recovery ministries get started by providing testimonies as a regular part of their weekly large and small group time, and to offer encouragement to courageous individuals as they grow in their own recovery. These testimonies of actual participants demonstrate how God uses Celebrate Recovery to change the lives of believers with hurts, hang-ups, and habits.
DANNY: In his early teens, Danny’s parents were arrested in Mexico for transporting cocaine. He turned to drugs to cope with his emotional pain. After committing serious crimes, he was arrested and received a double life-sentence. In prison, Danny became a Christian and began Celebrate Recovery at Jamestown Prison in California. In 2014, Pastor Rick Warren wrote a letter to the Governor of California supporting Danny’s early release from prison. After serving 32 years for his sentence, Danny was released from prison. Danny now serves under Pastor John Baker as the Pastor of Celebrate Recovery Inside at Saddleback Church.
BILL: A victim of sexual abuse, Bill’s alcoholism and sexual addiction started at an early age. This led him down dangerous paths in his life— and eventually he was diagnosed with HIV. When his church started Celebrate Recovery, Bill found the piece that had been missing—deep intensive work with Jesus Christ and the recovery principles based on the Beatitudes.
SHARON: Sexual abuse caused Sharon to develop unhealthy coping mechanisms that led to her drug addiction and an eating disorder. Today she is not only free from her addictions, she is also giving back to the program that saved her life.
HOLMSTROM FAMILY: Rodney, Carol, Jason, and Taylor are a testament to how Celebrate Recovery is for the whole family. When Rodney and Carol got married 25 years ago, they both brought baggage from their families of origin—drugs, alcohol, food issues, control issues, codependency, and depression. Through Celebrate Recovery, they’re able to maintain a healthy marriage and be godly examples to their children.
BONNIE: Bonnie was sexually abused by her step-father for 8 years. At the age of 17 she told her mom, they left her stepdad, and two months later her step-dad murdered her mother. She turned to self-harm as a way to cope. Today, Bonnie is finding freedom from the effects of sexual abuse by working the Celebrate Recovery program.
MARY: From an early age, Mary experienced the impact of her mother’s mental illness in a time when mental health issues were often undiagnosed. While praying for a breakthrough in her marriage and in her own life, she discovered hope, strength, and healing through a relationship with Jesus Christ and Celebrate Recovery.
HARMONY: Abandoned by her mother, she landed in a relationship that became abusive and eventually, exploitative when it led to her working in the sex-industry. After giving her life to Christ, she broke away from this lifestyle and started a non-profit called Treasures, which helps other victims who are exploited and trafficked. But as a Christian, she continued to have relationships with sexually addicted men. She started attending Celebrate Recovery and in her recovery, God has redeemed her dreams and hopes for a family and a future.
NATE: At the age of 10, mental health became very real to Nate. Falling into depression, he suffered from suicidal thoughts and even attempted to take his own life. After hitting rock bottom, he gave his life to Christ and got involved in Celebrate Recovery.
JOHNNY AND JENI: When they first got married, Johnny was in denial of his drinking problem, hiding that part of his life from his wife. Jeni, a child of divorce, equated arguing and confrontation to divorce. They both started their own journey through Celebrate Recovery. Today, Johnny serves as the Celebrate Recovery National Director of the program, and Jeni serves as the National Encourager Coach while also being the Celebrate Recovery National Director to Pastors’ Wives.