Celebrate Recovery, a place to find help and healing for your hurts, habits and hang-ups.

On a recent Friday, I attended Celebrate Recovery. Dorothy introduced me to her friends. I was greeted with friendly smiles, handshakes and hugs. The meal looked great and smiles seemed to reflect the enjoyment of fellowship. It was a feeling of being amongst caring friends.

After the meal, enchantment came from the prolific guitar accompanist and the fabulous singer. The songs were easy to follow with the projection of the words on a big screen above the stage. A drum set could be seen in the background.

Being there, the event itself becomes a personal positive and moving experience. Listening to the beautiful singer's voice and hearing her testimony about recovery allowed you to feel her pain and strength.

Next, the leaders started award recognition. Coins were awarded to represent the achievements during Celebrate Recovery. First, participants received the 12 months sobriety or free from the sting of addiction acknowledgement. Then those with nine, six and three months also received supportive thunderous applause from their peers and leaders alike. I noticed and accepted the major importance of the participation and recognition. We all need it.

Each recipient received a hug from his or her presenter. It was liken to a family reunion of strength, connected not necessarily by blood, but by suffering "pain that can get out of control due to hurts, habits or hang-ups."

Attendees also received the 30 days or 24 hours recognition of achievement. That is a beginning. Their message: "We all need approval from someone. Blood relatives are not always available to you."

This event readily provides the rekindled hope that church family or other extended family can help you! The pastor delivered his message. It was clear: "God is in our hearts by God's doing, his choice to allow us to love him and each other." Let us be the Good Samaritan is the implication. We all have the love in our hearts but sometimes we are not aware. I believe that we need to be told that we can have control of our lives.

Then, men's and women's meetings were held in the conference rooms upstairs. I was privileged to sit in and participate in a men's meeting. Each individual was encouraged to speak by name, followed by a supportive group "Thank you." Some shared a prayer request for specific persons in need. The question to answer this Friday was: "What things are you ready to change in your life?"

Celebrate Recovery also ministers to the inmates at the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility on Wednesdays. If allowed to attend the service on Fridays, they are welcome. Remember: Friday nights at 7 p.m. at Asbury Church at 7501 S. Staples. I would recommend you to take a friend who can benefit from Celebrate Recovery. They have experience and are willing and able to help. I learned this is the place to go for help if you suffer from hurts, habits and hang-ups.