Program aids recovery from addictions

More than one year ago, Celebrate Recovery was established in Hillsboro, thanks to the help of Parkview Mennonite Brethren Church, Main Street Ministries and Josh Gill, 30, who saw the need for this Christian-based program.

?If you have ever been hurt or broken then Celebrate Recovery can help,? Gill said.

Based on a 12-step program, Gill said, the group is different from Alcoholics Anonymous or other substance addiction meetings.

?A lot of times, people come to Celebrate Recovery to support a friend or spouse,? Gill said. ?They come to provide moral support, but after a couple of weeks, they realize they need it for themselves.?

Gill, who also manages Main Street Ministries, said Celebrate Recovery is the only program of its kind in Hillsboro.

?I wanted to see the group start (in Hillsboro) for myself as well as for others,? he said.

Gill is a recovering alcoholic and struggles with other types of addictions.


?I have also had anger issues all my life, and Celebrate Recovery has been huge in helping me process my anger and deal with it as things happen instead of letting it build up,? he said.

Getting started

Celebrate Recovery was developed by John Baker in the early 1990s at Saddleback Church in Southern California. The program now is coast-to-coast and international.

Launching the program in Hillsboro began with discussions between Gill and Stephen Humber, a Parkview pastor.

?I took the idea to Stephen and we talked back and forth about it,? he said. ?I also had gotten to know Lillian Bookless at Main Street Ministries, and through that, we set up informational meetings to discuss options.?

Parkview had a building at 105 N. Main St. that church officials were willing to donate.

?They were asking people for ministry ideas to use the building,? Gill said.

All parties agreed that Celebrate Recovery was the best choice. Beyond the building, Main Street Ministries helped with Bibles, books and materials.

How it works

Celebrate Recovery meets each Sunday from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. for snacks and conversation.

?This is a time to talk, joke and have fun getting to know one another,? Gill said.

From 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., participants meet as a group. During that hour, the group worships sings songs and goes through the 12 steps and eight principles.

?The steps are a lot like Alcoholics Anonymous, but some wording is different,? Gill said.

A key difference is that while AA refers to a ?higher power,? Celebrate Recovery?s focus is on Jesus.

?Every step also has a biblical comparison and the eight principles come straight off the Sermon on the Mount,? Gill said.

For the last hour, from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., men meet and women meet in separate rooms for small-group studies based on a set of four books.

?There is a leader in these smaller group settings, and it gives everyone a chance to have open sharing about what is in their hearts and minds,? Gill said. ?Right now I have three leaders, four counting myself.?

People often talk about their struggles from the past week as well as their victories.

Once someone has completed the 12 steps and eight principles, he or she can serve as a group leader.


Celebrate Recovery first met in October 2009. In the year that followed, more than 100 people were welcomed through the doors.

?Some people came to check it out and decided it wasn?t for them, but a lot times those people have come back,? Gill said. ?Even if they don?t come back right away, I get to plant a seed, and they know I am going to be here if and when they come back.?

The number attenders vary each week, but typically it is between 10 to 15.

Whoever walks through the Celebrate Recovery doors are assured of confidentiality.

?What is said here, stays here,? Gill said. ?If people need a ride or want to carpool, we try to help out in order to protect anonymity.?

The program is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

?A lot of cravings are at midnight,? Gill said. ?Right now the majority of people attending are recovering from drugs and alcohol, and that?s the coping skills, but there are deeper issues then that.?

Some people come with anger issues, too.

Community support

Gill said the Hillsboro Police Department and other businesses and individuals support the program.

?The probation officers who mandate some individuals to go to Narcotics Anonymous or AA will let these people use this as a recovery meeting,? he said.

Gill said he knows of similar meetings only in Marion and Moundridge.

Celebrate Recovery is attractive to people is because it helps to change their thinking, and process emotions and feelings, he said.

?If someone feels like they are having a hard time, I tell them not to worry about the things they cannot change, but instead ask them to think about what they can change, which is themselves,? he said.

From his own experience, Gill said his stress level goes way down, and it?s easier to turn things over to God when he works the steps and principles.

Potential for expansion

Now that Celebrate Recovery is on solid ground locally, Gill is looking at Station Celebration, a program that involves children.

?We do try to provide child care, but right now most of those attending are 18 and older,? he said.

The Celebration Station program would be for children ages 5 to 12. The only thing holding the program back is finances.

?We haven?t had money to buy the materials, but we do have volunteers that would help,? he added.

The teacher?s books and books for the children would cost about $100 to $120, he said.

Gill would like to see a program begin for youth ages 13 through 17. The cost to start the program would be about $100 for materials.

Learn more

Gill said brochures about the program can be found at area churches and the police station.

?My telephone number is listed on cards attached to the brochure,? he said. ?Normally, the police are the first people to talk to someone after hitting rock bottom. If they are ready for change, then they can give me a call.?

Gill has been in Hillsboro for six years. In addition to his role at Main Street Ministries, he is a student at Tabor College majoring in Christian ministry.

He and wife Sarah have two children: Gracie, 2, and Brendan, 8 months.

For more information about Celebrate Recovery, Gill can be reached at 620-353-9270.

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