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Missional Community Spotlight: Celebrate Recovery

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Nearly three years ago, Christ Presbyterian member Mary Linda Hardman walked into a Celebrate Recovery meeting when she realized her life had spiraled out of control.

She’d recently sent her youngest child off to college. Then her father died. Their relationship had been complicated—he’d been verbally abusive to her for years, yet driving him to appointments and errands had given her a sense of purpose.

She was hurting not only from the broken relationship she’d endured with her dad, but also from years of dysfunction she’d experienced with her mother.

“I’d lost a lot of connections,” she remembers. “And I harbored pain from wounds that had never healed. I was alone, living in isolation.”

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She turned to food and drinking to cope. Her life began to feel more and more out of control. And she began to suffer from deep depression as her weight ballooned and she became addicted to alcohol.

“When I initially went to Celebrate Recovery, I thought I was going to get help so I could stop drinking long enough to heal from my depression,” she says. “I didn’t realize I was spiritually sick.”

Celebrate Recovery, one of our missional communities, is held at Christ Presbyterian Church weekly on Thursdays year-round, emphasizing that spiritual restoration is the root of all true healing and flourishing. The group is a 12-step, Christ-centered recovery program for anyone struggling with hurt, pain or addiction of any kind and is comprised of people from throughout Nashville (non-church goers are always welcome.)

The group offers support to those who’ve faced issues with abandonment, abuse, adultery, anger, anxiety, depression, divorce, perfectionism, porn, rage, substance abuse, or workaholism, just to name a few.

“It’s for anyone who wants to grow in Christ and recover from any form of brokenness,” Hardman says.

Hardman’s journey through Celebrate Recovery’s program began with acknowledging she had no power to change herself. “I started practicing surrender, confession and extending forgiveness,” she says. “I chose to trust that God could restore me to sanity.

“Before I got sober, I questioned why being a Christian wasn’t enough to cure me from my alcoholism,” Hardman continues. “Through Celebrate Recovery, I learned a difference exists between merely believing in God and believing that God can work in my life and transform my soul.”

Hardman now has been sober for two and a half years and has lost 60 pounds. She currently helps lead Celebrate Recovery at CPC, welcoming and mentoring new participants.

For those considering whether to join Celebrate Recovery, Hardman poses these questions to consider: Are there things in your life that you do to hurt others? Is there something you wish you could live without? Is it time to face your denial and admit you’re not in control of your life? Do you seek freedom from a painful habit or hang-up?

She welcomes prospective attendees to preview Celebrate Recovery’s weekly group meetings, which take place at 6:30pm on Thursday evenings at the Hope House (adjacent to our Old Hickory Blvd location).

Hardman says she’s grateful for the community she’s discovered through her participation in Celebrate Recovery. “The people there have become like family to me,” she explains. “We need each other to realize that everyone struggles, and we’re not alone.”

Beyond her sobriety, the most significant aspect of her experience is the intimacy she’s discovered with Christ. “Instead of numbing myself to cope, I’ve learned to go God for comfort and peace,” she says. “Experiencing the comfort of God has changed my life.”

To learn more, visit christpres.org/care/celebrate-recovery/