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Frequently Asked Questions


What is CR?


Celebrate Recovery is a safe place, a refuge, a place of belonging, a place to care for others and be cared for, where respect is given to each member, where confidentiality is highly regarded, a place to learn, to grow and become strong again, where you can take off your mask, a place for healthy challenges and healthy risks, and a possible turning point in your life.


We are NOT: a place for selfish control, therapy, a place for secrets, a place to look for dating relationships, a place to rescue or be rescued by others, a place of perfection, a long-term commitment, a place to judge others, or a quick fix.


So how is AA (and other 12 step programs) different than Celebrate Recovery? The principal difference between AA (and other 12 Step programs) and Celebrate Recovery is that Celebrate Recovery focuses on Jesus Christ as the true Higher Power, uses God's Word as its guide, and there is a large group worship time to help connect with God and prepare for the message of Christ-Centered recovery.  Celebrate Recovery's 8 Principles written by Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Church, intersect perfectly with the 12 Steps by connecting the core principles of recovery to Jesus’  teachings from The Sermon on the Mount, found in the New Testament Gospel of Matthew, Chapters 5-7, the Beatitudes.


The 12 Steps were adopted from Alcoholics Anonymous and the biblical comparisons are used to support how each step connects directly with the scriptures. Although these are not the only verses which speak of recovery, they represent well the core principle of the corresponding  Step. AA pioneers Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob stated many times the basic ideas of the AA program came from the Bible itself, primarily from the Book of James, 1 Corinthians and the Sermon on the Mount.

Who is CR for?


CR is for anyone struggling with life.  If you have ever had a hurt, if you have ever had a hang-up in life, or perhaps you have struggled with an addiction, then this ministry is for you.  We all share one thing in common: hurt. Click here for a detailed list of hurts, habits, and hang-ups.


Have you ever felt:


  • Helpless and hopeless in your circumstances?

  • Overwhelmed and out of control—that your life was unmanageable?

  • Frustrated that you have failed again — for the “umpteenth” time?

  • So discouraged that it is hard to put one foot in front of the other one?

  • “I hate myself”?

  • Alone and crazy?

  • Embarrassed and ashamed that you can’t stop_______________? (you fill in the blank)

  • Faulty and that you are a failure?

  • Scared and paralyzed to do anything about “it”?

  • No one could possibly understand your situation?

  • You can’t tell anyone about _______? If they knew that they would not like me.

  • No one cares about the incredible pain I am in?


If you feel any of these things, you are not alone.

Who leads CR?


Celebrate Recovery is led by trained Christians in recovery who have worked through the 12 Steps themselves. We serve alongside many others on the road to recovery who volunteer in the ministry as part of their long term recovery. We understand. We come from a wide variety of recovery issues and backgrounds… All have a heart for CR. We have been trained at National and Regional and local CR training conferences and  through  the Celebrate Recovery Advanced Leadership training guide.  We are not perfect but have a wealth of experience to offer those in recovery.

What can I expect?


We like to think that CR is like a home....a place where there is real life happening.  A place where we can feel safe and loved by your “Forever Family”.  A place where we can relax and know that great things are getting ready to happen.  CR is one of the most loving and accepting groups you can be a part of.  Everyone here is on the same road and though our issues may be different, we all are seeking God's truth in the same way. This is a safe environment where we can take our masks off and be who we are.


A typical Wednesday night for Celebrate Recovery at Brookland DC looks like this:


  • 7-8 pm -  Large Group Meeting at Margot Hall, at St. Anthony Catholic School. Our large group meeting is a time of worship, teaching on the Recovery Principles or 12 Steps, or a testimony and other program related announcements and readings. The purpose of this time is to set aside the worries and stress of the day and allow music to help connect with God. The lessons are from the CR Participants guides (link to Official CR web site) and help you understand what the program is and how to work it in your life. We alternate each lesson with a live testimony showing how the program has worked in the lives of those who are struggling with life's issues or addictions and how they experienced Gods grace and healing in their lives. We also offer Recovery Coins for periods of recovery, take up an offering, and make announcements.


  • 8-9 pm  - Open Share Groups are offered each week following the large group meeting. (We encourage you to attend the Newcomers 101 group before attending Open Share Groups.) These issue and gender specific groups are designed to allow you an opportunity to share about your struggles and victories without interruptions or comments from others. Everything shared in the group stays in the group. Please check group guidelines for more information on confidentiality and anonymity. (Link to guidelines here)  The Life issue groups have a wide range of issues including anger, co-dependency, survivors of sexual abuse, food issues, grief and loss, etc.


  • Newcomers 101  - is a group for those new to CR that explains a little history about how CR got started, how our groups work, information on resources, and what to expect the next time at our open share groups. Newcomers 101 is for first time attendees only and is held in the auditorium right after the large Group Meeting.


  • 9-9:45 pm  - Cross Talk Cafe’ in the atrium. Light snacks and beverages are provided.This is a great time to fellowship and network with others in recovery to build your accountability and sponsorship team.



Do I have to come for both the large group and small group on Wednesday nights?


You are not required to attend all three components of Wednesday night worship service, open sharing, and "Cross Talk Cafe," but we do recommend that you make it a priority.  You will leave charged and refreshed through the fellowship and spiritual healing that come in the context of the Wednesday night experiences. That being said, we know that life happens and simply ask you to attend what is applicable and convenient for you.

Does it cost anything to attend?


Celebrate Recovery does not charge for this ministry.  We do take up an offering on Wednesday evenings. Our Celebrate Recovery is self-supporting. The Participant Guides are used in the Step Studies and are available for purchase at the Literature Table on Wednesday evenings or online. We have dinner on the last Wednesday of each month with a $3 donation. 

What are the chips, and why are they important?


CR Recovery Chips  are designed to give each person an opportunity to mark their individual recovery.  If you don’t have an addiction that can be marked by sobriety easily, then we suggest you mark your journey from the day you pick up the blue chip, which is the first chip marking surrender in your life.

Is Celebrate Recovery confidential?


Yes, Celebrate Recovery strives to maintain strict confidentiality. This promotes an atmosphere of trust and enables recovery. We have a saying that is repeated often in every Large Group meeting:


  • WHO you see here.

  • WHAT you hear here.

  • WHEN you leave here.



Hear! Hear! We are diligent about confidentiality and anonymity at CR. Like Open Meetings of AA, the large Group Meeting is open to the public in order to be of maximum help to those who are in need. Our Sharing and Step groups are strictly for those in the program of recovery. The CR Group guidelines ( Link to Guidelines here)  and trained group leaders protect all of us from judgment and being “fixed”. We place a high value on trust in our groups so you can be real and honest without fear. You are 100 percent in control of when and how much you participate.

Do I have to be a parishioner of St.Anthony of Padua?


No, Celebrate Recovery is a ministry for anyone who is interested in a Christ centered recovery program that will enable them to recover from life’s hurts, habits and hang-ups. There are attendees who are not members and/or do not attend church at St.Anthony of Padua. You are welcome to any of our weekend services- Saturday evening at 5:30 pm and Sundays at 10 am and 6:30 pm.

What is a Step Study?


Celebrate Recovery uses the 4 Participant Guides as the curriculum for working through the 12 Steps and 8 Recovery Principles. Our Step Study takes place on a night other than Wednesdays. The CR Step Study is a personal journey through each of these steps in a confidential group led by a facilitator who has completed the study themselves. When you finish the study you will have worked your hurts, habits, and hang-ups through each step. A Step Study is a long-term commitment to the members of the group. It will typically take 8 to12 months to complete the study. After completing the Step Study, we hope you will join with us as we minister to others dealing with their hurts, habits and hang-ups. We use the CR Group Guidelines for our Step Study groups. Click here to view the Group Guidelines.

Do I have to share?


In the Open Share Groups, absolutely not . . . until you are ready.

You can pass anytime you wish and for as long as it takes for you to become comfortable.

In the Step Studies, participation is required as the questions are answered.

What if I can't make it every week?


You are welcome to come when you can for, The Large Group meeting and Open Share groups. However if you join a Step Study, you are expected to come each week until you complete it. As with any endeavor, the more effort you put into Celebrate Recovery, the more benefit you will gain.

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