Family Celebrates Recovery through ‘Celebrate Recovery’

Apr 29, 2019 | by Kristal Knudtson

Growing up, alcohol was part of the family routine for Jeff.  It was something his family had at every family event, stopping at the tavern every Sunday after church was a common theme, beer bottle collections were fun and choosing to do his world history report in High School on beer was his first choice. His father was an alcoholic and his mother was co-dependent. This cycle continued with Jeff. Jeff knew he didn’t drink like everyone else, so he surrounded himself with people that did so he didn’t feel like he was doing something wrong. Until years later, his fourth DWI put him in jail without a family or a job.

Jeff married Jane in 1989.  When they first met, they partied all the time together.  Identifying there was an alcohol problem came quickly.  Jeff says, “When we got married and had our daughter two years later, Jane settled down and I didn’t.”  He continues, “Jane told me that I should no longer drink, but that didn’t stop me.  I kept going as the wrecking ball I was, getting drunk at the wrong times, embarrassing people and embarrassing myself.”  Jane handled this situation quit similar to what she learned growing up. She tells us, “My dad was an alcoholic and my mom was codependent.  I was going to fix my husband. Every time he got drunk, I would do the silent treatment and would go shopping.  I would minimize it.  I questioned if it was really that bad.”

Year over year, Jane realized that she was not able to fix her husband, and that her daughter was growing up in this environment.  If her daughter, Alli, caught on to these learned behaviors, the cycle would have continued for three generations.  Alli, now 27, didn’t realize there was a problem when she was young until she experienced it happening from friend’s parents.  Alli was exposed to a lot. She was 2 years old when her dad got his first DWI.  Alli also remembered her dad crashing his bicycle into the tree.  His blood alcohol was at a .47 when that happened. Alli reflects, “I was convinced that I would never drink.  In my High School health class, my teacher had us take a quiz to detect the percentage likelihood to becoming an alcoholic; I had a 90% chance.  I was afraid of it.  It was not a healthy fear.”

Jeff’s desire to continue drinking, regardless of what it was doing to the family, was evident.  When asked what his response was when someone questioned him on why he could not quit, his response was, “Can you just quit eating, or breathing?  My need for it was as strong for food or air.”

Rock bottom hit.  Early July, he went “fishing” and found himself in jail with his fourth DWI. This lost him his stable job and his family. Jane and Alli, age 14 at the time, would not talk to him. The only communication he got in jail was an envelope with separation papers in it. Jeff’s heart sank, the only thing he had left were the clothes he checked into jail with. He knew something needed to change. It was at his time in jail when he was introduced to Celebrate Recovery. This program not only saved his life, but his marriage and his relationship with his daughter. He is 13 years sober this July and an advocate for those who were in his place years ago.

Celebrate Recovery is for 18+ men and women.  It uses the same 12 steps as any other anonymous group does.  In addition, it practices the eight principles, which comes from the beatitudes.  Those two together map out the road to recovery – hence “Celebrate Recovery”.

What does Celebrate Recovery look like?

It is a weekly 1 ½ class.  Besides the 12 steps and 8 principles mentioned above, there is a step study curriculum.  This curriculum takes 12-15 months to get through it (meeting once a week). It walks everyone through his or her hurts, habits, and hang-ups. Jeff explained, “That is where the real change comes in.  The questions takes you on a journey from when you were young, how your ideas were formed, and how it manifested you into your life today.”  He continues, “Until you answer these deep rooted questions, the addiction won’t stop, or the reason you started drinking won’t be clear.  You will find another addiction.”

Celebrate Recovery is for any kind of addiction: codependency, food, alcohol, any kind of drugs, etc., and for children of addicts. Alli describes, “It’s a place for us too. It helped me with my anger, and how to trust again.”

Jane concludes with, “It takes more than one time going. You need to be willing to change.”

Jeff proudly wants everyone to know, “Keep coming back until your miracle happens. If nothing changes, nothing changes.”


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