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Celebrate Recovery

It’s All About the Newcomer

First Time at Celebrate Recovery

By Mac Owen, National Director, Celebrate Recovery

I’ll never forget the big, 6-foot-4 shell of a man who walked into Celebrate Recovery one cold winter night. He had a bodyguard on either side of him. Actually, they were two friends who brought him to a place where he could find help, and they weren’t going to let him escape. He had an expression of pain and sadness on his face. There was no mistaking that much of his life’s plans had gone badly.

They brought him to Newcomers 101 that night so he could hear about the program. About halfway through my explaining what Celebrate Recovery was all about, he raised his hand said, “Can I ask a question?” “Sure, go ahead” I replied. “Why are you smiling so much? I don’t have anything to smile about.” I responded, “Well, hopefully, that will change. Please keep coming back for at least six weeks. See if things might just start to get better. We always have a misery-back guarantee.”

He liked that and said, “You’re on; I will be back for six weeks. But really I don’t see how anything can get better in that short amount of time.” After six weeks he came up to me at the meal and said, “You know things aren’t all better in my life, but I can see there is hope. The people I’ve met here are becoming like family. I don’t have to try to do this alone anymore, and that’s something to smile about.”

Smiles send a message to those around us that we are accepted, welcomed, and that all is well. Smiles convey feelings of happiness and hope to those around us. When we first came into recovery, most of us did not have much to smile about. Today, our Higher Power, Jesus Christ, instills the hope and love we are all seeking in recovery. There is so much to smile about—so try it! Smile!

Then, never underestimate how just a simple smile can affect someone who walks through the doors of your Celebrate Recovery ministry.

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