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A SOBERING STORY: Support group integral to one addict's recovery

by on May 18, 2014 2:00 AM

For Brian, a support group with a specific focus made the difference between heading down a road of self-destruction and finding a pathway to hope.

A nearly lifelong battle with substance abuse brought Brian (his real name) to different programs, but none made the impact needed to turn his life around.

“I never thought I’d be here now,” he said of his struggle with addiction. “I figured it would kill me.”

He credits Celebrate Recovery, a Christianity-based support group, with having made the difference. The support group — there is a chapter in Homer City — is a recovery program that draws heavily from Alcoholics Anonymous.

But whereas AA emphasizes spirituality over any specific religion, Celebrate Recovery is decidedly Christian. So while AA recognizes a nonspecific “higher power,” Celebrate Recovery recognizes that higher power as Christ.

It was that particular aspect that made the difference for him, said Brian, now 43.

He said his problems date to his childhood — he started drinking when he was 7.

His family environment was abusive, he said, and he found escape in drugs and alcohol.

“A normal person for me was drinking and doing drugs. That was normal for me,” he said. “I never knew what you might say a ‘normal life’ was.”

He first went to rehab when he was about 18 and tried several other times over the years, only to meet with varying degrees of success.

It wasn’t until his wife suggested he look into Celebrate Recovery that he found something that worked.

“I go to church now. I got baptized, became a member of a church,” he said.

At the meetings, he shares his story and makes himself available to anyone who needs help with addiction. He also hopes to start a Celebrate Recovery chapter in the Black Lick area soon. There’s little chance that he would have thought doing such a thing was in the cards for him not too many years ago, he said.

“I live now in peace. I don’t have to hide anymore,” he said. “I’m living life free from drugs and alcohol. I never thought I would find God and become ‘one of those people,’ as I used to say.”

Julie E. Martin is a staff writer for the Indiana Gazette. Among her assignments are coverage of the Apollo-Ridge School and Penns Manor Area school districts and also White Township.
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