What is "Celebrate Recovery?" This is a weekly event held at Asbury United Methodist Church on South Staples Street Fridays at 7 p.m. Be aware that I am a devout Catholic. I attended this experience with an open mind to learn.

I met with Cheryl and Stacy at the Bottomless Bar-B-Q Pit on Leopard Street about five weeks ago. Dorothy had arranged this meeting because of my interest in learning about what was going on at "Celebrate Recovery. "

They spoke of the stability and family structure available for participants. Cheryl said: "We strive to direct struggles and sufferings into a purpose driven life." They interact and deal with different types of hurting people who are given an opportunity to relate and give testimony. Stacy added: "We teach you to forgive yourself and those who hurt you to complete the healing process."

Participants are usually encouraged to have a sponsor who is a successful participant. Cheryl is Stacy's sponsor. Stacy's experience is intense but more common than we care to admit. Stacy was a cutter by the age of 10. She frankly shared her cutting experience in order to help others. During this phase you "experience anger feelings like you are in a bottomless pit." Fortunately, Stacy's story is a success.

Stacy whispered: "I did not think I had a problem. I went to 'Celebrate Recovery' to support my husband whose addictions were out of control." She added: "I had been through several therapists and psychiatrists who had tried different medications. Eventually I realized that maybe I needed to get off medication and try 'Celebrate Recovery.'"

Stacy said: "People do not realize that some problems also keep you in debt. We are still paying on medical bills. There is counseling on spending problems or debt relief."

Stacy claims and accepts her ultimate success at age 32 with two successful years in recovery. She wants to share it with others who suffer the same types of hurts no matter the age.

Cheryl's business card reads: "Celebrate Recovery - 'A place where you can find help and healing for your hurts, habits and hang-ups!'"

The music portion after the meal really moved my soul and participation was apparent. At the end of the singing, I asked for the words to one particular song that moved me the most, "I Will Rise Up." The guitarist was generous enough to give me the chords to accompany the words.

The leaders read the purpose of this ministry: "To fellowship and celebrate God's healing power in our lives through the 12 steps and recovery principles. 'Be changed.'

We open the door by sharing our experiences, strengths and hope with one another. We become free from our addictive, compulsive, and dysfunctional behaviors. This freedom creates peace, serenity, joy, and most importantly, a stronger relationship with God and others."

They also read the whole Serenity Prayer. Briefly: "Accept things you cannot change, courage to change things I can and wisdom to know the difference."

Joe-Santos Medina is a resident of Robstown. Readers may contact him via email at joesantosm@hotmail.com.