Celebrate Recovery ministers is Bible based program

Barbara Hootman

Everyone needs a supportive and confidential place to unburden at some time in their lives. For many people, that place has been Celebrate Recovery, celebrating its 11th anniversary with a cookout at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 31 at Mountain View Baptist Church, 2221 North Fork, Right Fork Road, Black Mountain. The community is invited to share a free meal and participate in special events and small groups. Child care is free.

“Celebrate Recovery is a Christian-based 12-step program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous and other support groups, but (it) is based on the biblical Sermon on the Mount,” ministry leader Connie Williams said. “The program doesn’t just deal with drug and alcohol abuse, but other hurts like sex addiction, eating disorders, anxiety and sexual abuse. (It) is for everyone.”

On Tuesdays each week, the nondenominational Celebrate Recovery at Mountain View Baptist Church has 70-90 participants working to free themselves of hang ups, hurts and destructive habits. The night begins with a 6 p.m. free dinner; group meetings follow. There is always free child care.

Williams has been one of eight Celebrate Recovery ministry leaders for the past four years.

“My daughter’s problems with alcohol and how I enabled her sent me to Celebrate Recovery, and I’ve never left,” she said. “I was codependent with an alcoholic daughter. I was almost insane from trying to rescue her. We have alcoholism on both sides of the family, so it was no surprise that the brain disease showed up in my daughter.

“Finally I went to Celebrate Recovery and learned to work through some of my own issues. (I also) learned to tell my daughter that she could no longer live with me and to figure it out for herself. Now she has a good sales job. She is doing well and just came for a Mother’s Day visit. She attends AA meetings and is in a Celebrate Recovery program.”

Janelle Flint attended her first meeting intending to sing for the participants. Eleven years later, she attends meetings, having “discovered help for my own problems,” she said.

Now the mother of five, she has made Celebrate Recovery a way of life. She sings with the Celebrate Recovery Worship Team and has led study groups in the past. She and her husband both participate in the Celebrate Recovery program.

“Celebrate Recovery saved my life and my marriage, and no one ever tried to fix me,” Flint said. “The eight recovery principles and the 12-step program work hand-in-hand. When I joined Celebrate Recovery I was angry, blamed everyone but myself for my problems, and had an emotional compulsive eating disorder. I didn’t want to deal with my problems. I knew I was overweight but I didn’t think I was addicted to food. The first 12-step program that I participated in was about releasing anger and depression.

“Someone took a picture of me when I weighed 285.6 pounds at 5’2” height trying to walk a lap around Lake Tomahawk. I didn’t recognize myself. Now I am preparing to run a marathon. Today I am half the woman in size that I was two years ago, and my goal is only 40 pounds away.”

Charlyne Boyette attended Celebrate Recovery meetings in prison to learn to survive without alcohol “and to claim Jesus as my savior,” she said. “I’ll never stop attending Celebrate Recovery meetings.”

Boyette leads an open share group at Mountain View Baptist Church. She has been in prison twice, once in Florida when she was 18 years old and once at the Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women. Both prison incarcerations were for drug abuse and driving under the influence.

“I grew up in a home with an alcoholic mother and father,” Boyette said. “I experienced a lot of trauma as a young child which included inappropriate touching and full-blown rape from a family member. I literally didn’t know anybody that didn’t drink when I was growing up. It was a way of life.

“I had an abortion and quit high school, although I was a good student. I started smoking crack. When I went to prison the first time, it worked for me because I got my GED (General Education Development diploma), started drug treatment and began college.

For more about Celebrate Recovery, contact Williams at