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Celebrate Recovery

Testimony: Breaking the Generational Cycle of Pain

By Sylvia and Stan

Sylvia – I’m a grateful believer in Jesus who struggles with co-dependency, pride, and food issues. I grew up in church but didn’t understand what it meant to have a personal relationship with Christ. My biological father left when I was young, and I used things like food and men to fill a void left by his absence. My mom always said, “Release, let go, and let God,” and while that helped me keep a strong faith in Him, it also kept me from feeling like I needed to do any work on who I was in Him.

Stan – I’m a grateful believer in Jesus, recovered from 25 years of tobacco use, and am in recovery for my trust, anger, and control issues. My dad was a deacon at our church, so we were known as a Christian family; however, having this label came with pressure to live up to certain expectations. As a young adult, I worked in a profession that expected me to move often, and I filled my time with drinking, anger outbursts, and no meaningful relationships. My relationships revolved around others doing what I wanted so I would not attack them in a rage of anger or hurtful comments. I never took responsibility for my actions and dismissed them as me being moody. I always attended church but did not understand what a relationship with Jesus was. I was a poser, not a Christian.

Sylvia – When our church started Celebrate Recovery in 2003, I made sure the kids were learning about Jesus but had little idea what was going on with the adults. When the Celebration Place curriculum for CR came out in 2009, we were excited to see how it could help families grow together. Soon after that, I was able to attend a CR Summit and realized that I needed CR. I joined a step study and recognized how feelings of abandonment by my biological father and the struggles it caused my mother had led to me trying to manipulate and fix things because of my parents’ multiple failed marriages. I also recognized that some of my actions as an adult stemmed from those hurts from the past but are my responsibility to control.

Stan – I was still having mood swings and anger outbursts. I thought the answer was working harder, and working too much became a way of not addressing the issues I could not control at home. Our daughters began attending The Landing, a recovery ministry for teens, and we started fostering our two youngest children while their mother, my niece, was battling drug addiction. Eventually, my niece lost her parental rights, which led to us adopting her children. The next couple of years were very difficult for me watching my niece struggle with her addictions and handling the tough behaviors of my new children. There were times I would say, “I don’t know if I can handle the emotional roller coaster involved with this process.”

Sylvia – Adding children from tough circumstances brought a lot of chaos into our home. I started recognizing my pride struggles when I was embarrassed by them and worried about what people would think of my parenting. Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that” (MSG). Things got easier as I started giving our situation to God and stopped trying to control what people thought. The kids started attending CP, and we saw bits of change begin as they learned their value in Christ. Our son had been physically abused and told by his stepfather that he was a bad kid. Through the CP curriculum, he learned how much God loves him and wants him to be happy, and he has worked through many of his feelings of low self-worth, anger, and frustration. We truly believe Christ has broken the generational cycle for him and his sister through the lessons they learned in CP and The Landing. Our older girls also had a safe place in The Landing to share how hard and chaotic our home had become with new siblings.

Stan – About that time, I invited a friend going through a divorce to CR. That night I realized this process could help me with my anger issues. I began to recognize some of the root causes of my anger issues and the hurt I had caused others in my life. Over the next couple of years, I worked through a step study—peeling away more layers of my issues. The step study helped me truly understand the importance of self-examination and daily inventory in recognizing and reacting to my issues and equipped me with tools to work through my anger outbursts. Before I knew it, I was living out Principle 8, yielding myself to God to be used to bring this good news to others both by my example and words. Leading multiple step studies and open share groups, walking employees through Life’s Healing Choices, serving with The Landing teens, and listening to those in my life became my new life.

Sylvia – As we started seeing the changes in our family, I became passionate about sharing CP and CR. In 2014, I joined the national CP team and have been blessed to share this ministry with leaders worldwide. What started as my job has turned into a mission to help families and was a lifesaver for our own family. I pray that every child can learn the tools we teach in CP to equip them for the challenges of this world. We like to say that Celebration Place is in the business of putting Celebrate Recovery out of business!

Stan – A few years ago, I was challenged as I became unemployed from my job. The emotional and spiritual freedom I had found was put to the test. I am thankful for the self-evaluation tools and the community of CR, allowing me to work through the uncertain future, anger, and bitterness I was experiencing. As I look back at the changes God has made in me over the years and my ability to continue to work on my anger, trust, and control issues, this Scripture sums it up: “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD” (Lamentations 3:40 NIV).


If you would like to learn how to start your own Celebrate Recovery ministry, to contact your Celebrate Recovery Rep, please visit: To get involved in an already existing Celebrate Recovery ministry near you, please visit:

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