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How God Used My Alcoholism for Ministry

How God Used My Alcoholism for Ministry

Since the beginning of time, men and women have searched for happiness — usually in all the wrong places, trying all the wrong things. But there’s only one place where we can find tested-and-proven, absolutely-gonna-work principles that will lead to healing and happiness. These principles come in the form of eight statements from the truest of all books — the Bible — and from the most revered Teacher of all time — Jesus Christ. Jesus laid out these principles for happiness in the Sermon on the Mount in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 5 (the Beatitudes).

Change, Jesus says, can be ours, but the pathway to change and happiness may not be exactly what we’re expecting. From a conventional viewpoint, most of the following eight statements don’t make sense. At first they even sound like contradictions. But when you fully understand what Jesus is saying, you’ll realize these eight statements are God’s pathway to wholeness, growth, and spiritual maturity.

How I Know These Eight Principles Work

I have not always been a pastor. Prior to being called into the ministry, I was a successful businessman. I was also a “functional alcoholic.” I struggled with my sin addiction to alcohol for nineteen years.

Eventually I came to a point where I was losing everything. I cried out to God for help, and He led me to Alcoholics Anonymous. Even then I knew that my Higher Power had a name — Jesus Christ! I started attending Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. After a year of sobriety, God gave me the vision for Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered recovery program. I answered God’s call to start Celebrate Recovery. Since 1991, over a million courageous individuals have found the same freedom from their life’s hurts, hang-ups, and habits that I did. If these eight principles worked for someone like me, I promise they can work for you too!

Pastor Rick’s R-E-C-O-V-E-R-Y acrostic below identifies the eight principles. As you read them and the corresponding beatitudes, you’ll begin to understand the choices before you.

8 Principles That Will Change Your Life

The Road to Recovery
Based on the Beatitudes
by Pastor Rick Warren

  1. Realize I’m not God. I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable (Step 1). “Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor” (Matthew 5:3).
  1. Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, and that He has the power to help me recover (Step 2). “Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
  1. Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control (Step 3). “Happy are the meek” (Matthew 5:5).
  1. Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust (Steps 4 and 5). “Happy are the pure in heart” (Matthew 5:8).
  1. Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects (Steps 6 and 7). “Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires” (Matthew 5:6).
  1. Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others (Steps 8 and 9). “Happy are the merciful” (Matthew 5:7). “Happy are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9).
  1. Reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will (Steps 10 and 11).
  1. Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and by my words (Step 12). “Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires” (Matthew 5:10).

We can’t keep quiet about what the Lord has done in our lives and in the lives of our Celebrate Recovery Forever Family! If there is restoration for us, there is hope for you too! Don’t give up; put your faith in action by making life’s healing choices.

Celebrate Recovery has helped us reach more hurting people to find healing than we could’ve ever imagined. How can we repay the Lord for His goodness? We share the hope we’ve found in Jesus!

Today we are making life’s healing choices and that’s Celebrate Recovery!

— by John Baker, adapted from his book Your First Step to Celebrate Recovery, newly available as a 6-book outreach pack.

How to Use This Book

If you are going through any type of hurt, hang-up, or habit, Celebrate Recovery is for you. The remainder of the book will remove any fears, doubts, or questions you might have about attending a Celebrate Recovery meeting for the first time. God can give you the same victory He has given the author and his family. For best value, get the 6-copy Outreach Pack.