The Celebrate Recovery program is for anyone with a hurt, hang-up or habit affecting their lives.

The Celebrate Recovery program is for anyone with a hurt, hang-up or habit affecting their lives.

Celebrate Recovery can give you your life back

Recovery programs aren’t just for people with substance addictions.

Ray Nance of the Celebrate Recovery group in South Surrey says there’s a lot of people hurting themselves, and others, in many ways. The Celebrate Recovery program is for anyone with a hurt, hang-up or habit affecting their lives.

In short, just about anyone.

Celebrate Recovery is a 12-step program with Jesus Christ at its centre. The 12 steps are guided by eight principles, based on the Beatitudes – Christ’s famous blessings from the Sermon on the Mount.

Ray’s own story doesn’t involve alcohol or drugs – not as a user, anyway.

From early childhood Ray suffered physical, sexual and emotional abuse. This led to anger, defiance, violence, depression and unhealthy co-dependent relationships. He left home the first time at age 13, living on the streets in downtown Winnipeg.

“I survived by doing some awful things to people,” he said. “I found it was easier to survive and do quite well by dealing drugs. I was very good at it because I did not use them myself.”

Many hard years followed, with glimmers of hope that always ended up in failure. Ray was far from a model Christian – in fact, “I had denied God a part in my life,” he said. “I accused him and hated him for all that had happened. Why would he help me now?”

But eventually, at yet another low point, Ray allowed himself to be “nudged” toward Celebrate Recovery.

You don’t have to be a Christian to take advantage of the program, but it is a Christ-based program, and those who have accepted Jesus into their lives are more likely to succeed with it.

Weekly meetings begin with a shared meal. At Peace Portal Alliance Church, where Ray attends, this is often pizza and a salad. Participants meet first as a large group, singing songs of worship and studying one of 25 yearly lessons. The men and women then separate into smaller groups, where they can feel more comfortable discussing the lesson from their own perspective or talking about their own experience and recovery. The group reunites for “café time,” a period of informal discussion and fellowship.

Step Study groups, an eight-month course of lessons pertaining to the 12 steps, are held weekly on a different night.

Ray says anyone who is hurting is welcome to look into the program. You can reach the Peace Portal Alliance Church group at, or call Ray at 604-831-6704.

“Celebrate Recovery led me back to Christ through His grace,” Ray said. “I have begun to live again.”

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