Ann Carico found help and support through Celebrate Recovery, and started a program for young adults at her church. Her son Eric, who struggled with PTSD, has found support at the group. Photo by David Grace.
Jane Ann Carico has seen first-hand what Celebrate Recovery can do for those struggling with addictions, co-dependency and other life struggles, hurts and hang-ups.
“We adopted a son about 14 years ago who had lots of struggles, one of the struggles being drug addiction. At the time I felt like this boy, who had been through so much, that all he needed was love and that would cure everything,” she said.
Through Celebrate Recovery, Carico said she learned that love is not enough. She and her son, who is now 30, went through the recovery program together.
“Something I found out is that before a recovering addict can get better, the family needs to get better. It truly is a family illness,” she said. “Even though there may just be one person who has the addiction, it affects the whole family in some way. He and I went on this journey together and, during the process, I learned a lot of my own struggles are depression and co-dependency.”
Carico felt so passionately about Celebrate Recovery that she decided she wanted to start a program at her own church, Christ Fellowship.
Celebrate Recovery is a biblically based approach to recovery that was a response to 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. It was founded in 1990 by Pastors John Baker and Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California. The program is aimed to help those who battle drug and alcohol addictions, sex addiction, eating disorders, anxiety disorders and those who have been sexually abused. Founders of Celebrate Recovery believe Alcoholics Anonymous was too vague in referring to God as a “higher power,” and wanted a more specifically Christ-based program.
Celebrate Recovery utilizes eight Recovery Principles that are based on the Sermon on the Mount.
Today, Carico is the Celebrate Recovery leader at Christ Fellowship, where she has created a program geared specifically toward young adults between 18 and mid-30s.
Carico says after speaking with Ron Davis, who leads the Celebrate Recovery program at First Baptist in Kingsport, she realized there was a great need for a program like this for that particular age group.
“(Ron) told me he sees a lot of young adults come through his door, but they don’t necessarily return. He knew that a lot of the reason for that is because, even though he had a very good, established Celebrate Recovery going, he mainly had a program geared toward those middle-aged. The younger adults like a different kind of music and style,” she said.
“So, what I’ve done is try to revamp ours where we offer rock-type worship music, the more current things they want to listen to. And once a month, we offer what is called a Fun Gathering, completely separate from our meetings. It’s a time for everybody to get together and do something fun together. It shows them that we can have this friendship and fellowship as we come together without the outside sources coming into play. I have found that the young adults really need this. Older adults can find more outlets with fellowship through the church, but, with the young adults, it’s harder for them to feel that they fit in.”
Christ Fellowship’s Celebrate Recovery program just celebrated its sixth-month anniversary this month.
“We average about 30 people each week and we are growing. We have a light dinner where everybody comes together from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Then the meeting actually starts at 6:30 p.m. This is a large group meeting. Here, we fellowship and worship and usually have a speaker. Then at 7:30 p.m., we break into small groups, which is a time of sharing that is gender- and struggle-specific. I think that small group is where you really get most of your healing from,” Carico said.
With the help of her other son, Carico hopes to begin a separate Celebrate Recovery just for veterans. Eric Carico was in the U.S. Army for eight years.
“This is our next big vision. Eric spent two and a half years in Iraq. As a result, he suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. When he came home, I saw so many highs and lows with him. He’d had some injuries in Iraq. He’s had spine surgery and the PTSD would just send him into bouts of depression. I really felt like he was going to be lost,” said Carico.
“The main thing with PTSD is to really talk about it and share. If a person with PTSD decides they want to talk, you just sit there and listen. I found that for my son, when, with my pushing, he started going to Celebrate Recovery, he became a changed person. You would not know he is the same boy he was just three months ago. He lives for Celebrate Recovery now. He feels comfortable going and sharing. He’s getting out what he has bottled up in his brain. In the short six months of our Celebrate Recovery program at Christ Fellowship, he’s kind of my success story.”
Christ Fellowship’s Celebrate Recovery program meets at 6 p.m. every Monday at the church at 260 Victory Lane in Kingsport. It is the large church located just off of Interstate 26 near the Rock Springs exit.
For more information, call Carico at (423) 276-3223 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.