MASON — A local recovery program is set to relaunch this month after a hiatus for reorganization and additional training.
Celebrate Recovery (C.R.), under the auspices of Northbend Church, will begin meetings on March 16 at 6 p.m. They will take place at The Center, the former Mason Elementary School on Adams Street.
According to Buddy Shiltz, who will serve as a ministry leader along with Melissa Carlyon, C.R. is a national 12-step, Christ-centered recovery program for “all hurts, habits and hang-ups.”
Shiltz said a misconception of the program is that it is only for substance abuse. He stated the fact is, only one in three who attend meetings come for substance abuse. The other two come for such issues as anxiety, depression, overeating, abuse, self-esteem, and others.
“No one is perfect, only Jesus Christ,” Shiltz said. “He is the one to do the healing.”
Shiltz said this particular C.R. program began in 2013 and met in Middleport. It was later moved to Mason, and was involved with three different churches. Participation began dwindling last spring, and after talking to Northbend Church Pastor Jason Simpkins, the church agreed to sponsor the program as it is intended, under one church.
It was decided to step back from the program in order to reorganize over the summer. Volunteers began a six-month leadership training last September, and now the local program has 14 new leaders to join the four who were already trained.
“We know there is a need here,” Shiltz said. “That’s why instead of giving up, we decided to relaunch.”
He added while there were formerly programs in Point Pleasant and Syracuse, now the nearest ones are located in Ripley, Huntington and Charleston. Those locations are where people were referred to while the local C.R. was on hiatus.
Shiltz said the C.R. meetings will be held each Monday. They will begin with a praise and worship time, followed by “large groups.”
During the large group sessions, the meetings will alternate between testimonies and lessons. The first week will be a testimony by Carlyon, and a few weeks later, by Shiltz.
Shiltz said he struggled with alcoholism during his stint in the Navy. He said he knew it was getting bad, but thought he could cut back on his own. Now sober for over five years, he got involved with C.R. two years ago after moving back to the area. While attending C.R. meetings, he found he was also dealing with anxiety, anger and self-esteem issues.
“We want to show we’ve been there,” Shiltz said. “One of the biggest parts of C.R. is sharing our stories, knowing you have common ground and are not being judged. We all have defects.”
He said the large groups sessions often bring issues to light and provide the ability to face them, while seeking Christ to give participants freedom. Many feel they are less than others, or don’t deserve God’s healing, Shiltz added.
Following the large group sessions, those attending will break into smaller groups, separating males and females. Here, they will focus on more intense issues. Shiltz said in the future, the groups might separate even more into ones for mental health, substance, or others depending on the needs.
Shiltz said while the meetings will discuss the 12 steps of the program, they will not necessarily “work” the steps. He said most people attend meetings for a while prior to actually beginning the step program, which usually takes eight to 12 months to complete. He said that process will begin once two or more people decide they are ready to start.
The program is anonymous, Shiltz said, unless someone decides to break their own anonymity. Anyone interested in attending is invited to the relaunch session on March 16.
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Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.