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By Erin Smith

If you are struggling with such issues as depression, anger, chemical dependency, gambling addiction, or other “hurts, habits and hang ups,” Celebrate Recovery is a place for you to safely recover. Celebrate Recovery is a 12-Step, Christ-centered ministry for those who are in recovery.

The ministry meets each Sunday from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at Windsor United Methodist Church in Ammon. Dinner is served at 6 p.m. followed by a large group meeting and then small group meetings with a closing service at 8:30 p.m. The program is open to all age groups.

Pastor Brock Meyer said the church had conducted a Celebrate Recovery program before but it had faded away until recently.

“The current Celebrate Recovery program is completely different,” said Pastor Meyer.

He said what really spurred the congregation to re-establish the program was the death and funeral of Brandon Owen. He battled addiction for ten years before dying of an overdose at the age of 26.

“Brandon’s dad, Doyle Owen, had it on his heart to do something about Brandon’s life. I think that is what kicked it off in our hearts,” said Pastor Meyer.

He said, about two weeks after Brandon Owen’s funeral, Amy Munn approached him and said the Lord laid it on her heart to do something. Pastor Meyer said the church then entered into a period of discussion and prayer, which led to the re-establishment of Celebrate Recovery at the church.

Amy Munn, Celebrate Recovery

Munn, who is the Ministry Leader for Celebrate Recovery, has fought her own battle to overcome addiction. She said the program is not only important for people in the community, but it is also important to her.

“I didn’t want to become stagnant in my own recovery,” said Munn.

Munn said she learned about the Celebrate Recovery program at Windsor United Methodist Church while she was attending Albemarle Teen Challenge in Elizabeth City.

She said, “When I came home for a visit, I saw a sign announcing Windsor was doing a Celebrate Recovery program. It (the sign) wasn’t there when I came home to stay.”

Munn said when she began attending services on a regular basis at Windsor, she learned the program was no longer being offered. She said, after learning of the program’s demise, she began to think about it and pray about it, than made a decision to learn what had to be done to re-establish the program.

“It went from a little idea to what it is now,” said Munn.

Pastor Meyer said that both Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous are each great programs, but Celebrate Recovery differs from them in that it is a Christ-centered program. The program is not just for those suffering from chemical addiction or alcohol addiction.

“It can be for someone with anxiety or depression or other things,” said Pastor Meyer.

Munn said the program focuses on eight principals that are based on the Beatitudes in the Bible. The third step in the program is to turn your life over to God. She said the lessons are designed to ask probing questions of the participants to provoke thought as well as discussion.

Participants also have opportunities to receive a chip for small victories. Munn said, for example, if someone has stopped smoking or stopped over-indulging in a favorite food, they can receive a chip.

During the large group meeting, there is a time of worship before the small groups meet. Munn said Celebrate Recovery Step Study groups will be added to curriculum soon.

Both Pastor Meyer and Munn said in addition to the 12 steps, the program also offers participants new words to use. Often, people will have negative thoughts or use negative words when describing themselves or their situations. Celebrate Recovery gives the participants positive words to use in the place of the negative ones. Munn said the idea is to change your life through changing your thoughts and behavior patterns.

“We are there to support one another, not fix each other,” said Munn.

She added Celebrate Recovery tackles a broad range of issues, not just substance abuse issues.

“If you have been hurt or lost someone, Celebrate Recovery can help you,” said Munn.

Celebrate Recovery is preparing to expand and add a Jail Ministry at the Bladen County Detention Center. The purpose of the jail ministry is to offer the program to those who are in the detention center and want help. The Celebrate Recovery Jail Ministry will allow them to begin the process of recovery while at the detention center.

Munn said volunteers are needed for the Celebrate Recovery ministries. You do not have to have special skills or attend Windsor United Methodist Church to volunteer.

Celebrate Recovery meets each Sunday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Windsor United Methodist Church. Dinner is served at 6 p.m. and the meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. The church is located at 12863 NC Highway 242 North, Elizabethtown.

For more information or questions about Celebrate Recovery, contact Munn at 910-990-7661.