The Road to Recovery



So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you do’t fall! ~ 1 Corinthians 10:12


Step 10: We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.


Principle 7 (Celebrate Recovery): Reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will. 

In Step 10 and Principle 7 we will begin to put into practice all the steps and principles we have learned thus far. We are beginning to live in reality vs. denial, we have made our amends and now we desire to grow in our relationships with God and others.
Principle 7 nicely complements Step 10. Taking our daily time with God for self-examination helps us prepare for our personal inventory. 
Something I learned about a couple of years ago was The Examen. The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that helps us see God’s hand at work in our whole life experience. It is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day where we can detect God’s presence and discern his direction for our life. 

Here is how I like to work The Daily Examen:

1: Ask God to bring to your awareness the moment today for which you are most grateful.

  • If you could relive one moment, which one would it be?
  • When were you most able to give and receive love today?
  • Ask yourself what was said and done in that moment that made it so good.
  • Breathe in the gratitude you felt and receive life again from that moment.

2: Ask God to bring to your awareness the moment today for which you are least grateful.

  • When were you least able to give and receive love?
  •  Ask yourself what was said and done in that moment that made it so difficult.
  • Relive the feelings without trying to change or fix it in any way.
  • Take deep breaths and let God’s love fill you just as you are.

3: Give thanks for what you have experienced. If possible, share these two moments with a friend. 


The Examen is a different way of taking daily inventory, but I like how it combines my prayer time with God and a daily reflection. There are many ways to work The Examen I hope you will look into it further and consider trying it. I think you’ll find it a sweet time with God as you look back over your day.

Enjoy this brief video that will walk us through The Examen. If you can’t see the video screen below click here .



The Road to Recovery :: STEP 9


STEP 9: We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar ad there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” ~ Matthew 5:23-23

PRINCIPLE 6 (Celebrate Recovery): Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others.

“Happy are the merciful.” ~ Matthew 5:7
“Happy are the peacemakers.” ~ Matthew 5:9

Last month in Step 8 we worked on listing the people we need to make amends to. This month we take the next, maybe the most freeing step, and actually make the amends. This is a difficult step but a critical point in our recovery. Without this step we will continue to beat ourselves up and continuing to carry more shame and guilt which could be the driving force to possible relapse.

The *Celebrate Recovery program is full of beautiful acrostics that help flesh out the work of each step. Each letter in the acrostic helps us make the next important step in the process of making our amends. Take some time to sit with the acrostic. Read it. Meditate on it. Journal how you can apply each letter’s step to your life as you prepare to make your amends.

A — Admit the hurt and the harm ~ Holding on to old resentments blocks our recovery and God’s forgiveness in our lives.
M — Make a list ~ Not worrying about how we will make the amends we simple list the people we have hurt.
E —  Encourage one another ~ It’s important to meet with our sponsor or accountability partner beforehand to practice making our amends.
N —  NOT for them ~ Without excuses or justifying our actions we make our amends humbly, honestly, sincerely and willingly. We focus on our part only.
D — Do it at the right time ~ Before making our amends we should pray for God’s guidance, direction and perfect timing.
S  —  Start living the promises of recovery ~ Embracing true freedom from our past we are now ready to receive God’s plan and purpose for our lives.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace!
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console.
To be understood as to understand.
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

~ Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Remember, the recovery process is not meant to be worked alone! Reach out to your sponsor or accountability partners to assist you. If you’re not in a 12 Step program please click here to find a CR group near you.

If you can’t see the video screen below CLICK HERE to watch our Road to Recovery theme song.

Celebrate Recovery Bible 
*Celebrate Recovery Leadership Guide

Photo Courtesy

Originally published September 4, 2013

The 12 Principles of Recovery :: OPENNESS


Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of or wrongs.


How do I trust?

Addicts have a sordid history with trust issues. We’ve trusted people we shouldn’t have. We didn’t trust people we should have. We violated our own values. We invaded other people’s space. We didn’t do what we said we would. We weren’t faithful to our partner. We kept secrets. We didn’t trust ourselves. We weren’t trustworthy. 

Most of us were deprived of bonding with our parents as young children causing us to feel unworthy. The ability to trust is closely linked to feeling wanted and having a sense of belonging. 

Even after nine years in recovery I still struggle. Maybe not every day or even every week, but when the struggles come they sometimes hit hard. One thing that has made the biggest difference over these years is having a trusted friend with whom I can share my challenges. 

It’s most important to find a friend or mentor with whom we can share our pain. We must seek out a fellowship community or recovery group where we can make trusted friends. There we can begin to bond, open up and heal. 

Learning how to trust others isn’t a quick process. We’ve had bad examples most of our lives so we will need to walk this path slowly. When sharing our story we must not over share but yet not hide things God is trying to bring into the light where the healing can start.

When we honestly ask ourselves which [people] in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness that is a friend who cares. ~ Henri Nouwen **


A Gentle Path through the Twelve Principles: Living the Values Behind the Steps by Patrick Carnes **

Copyright: pinkstudio / 123RF Stock Photo

The Road to Recovery :: STEP 5

In The Road to Recovery column we’re working the Eight Principles of Celebrate Recovery that are based on Beatitudes and the traditional 12 Steps of Recovery as they align with the monthly calendar.

STEP FIVE: We admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. ~ James 5:16

PRINCIPLE FOUR (Celebrate Recovery): Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God and to someone I trust. 

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” ~ Matthew 5:8

We’ve lived a life of secrets and lies, denying the truth of the pain we were causing to ourselves and to those we love. It’s time for the lies to stop and for truth to prevail. And often times the truth hurts.

In Step Four we began the process of coming clean by writing our spiritual and moral inventory. Now it’s time for the rubber to meet the road. All our baggage, the good, the bad and the ugly, is going to come off the page and into real life as we share inventory aloud with another person.
Step Five consists of three parts: admitting to God, to ourselves and to another human being. Each part adds a new dimension, a deeper level of intensity to our confession; one reverential, the next personal and finally the painful reality. Let’s look at each level.
ADMITTING WRONGS TO GOD allows us some distance from our wrongs, a sense of objectivity that keeps us from feeling too much pain. However, there may be a time during our confession when words can’t express our feelings. We may need to allow the Holy Spirit to take our prayer of confession from the sounds and groans of our pain. 
ADMITTING WRONGS TO OURSELVES seems redundant after having just written them down in Step Four.  But repeating the inventory, this time out loud to ourselves, helps cement our confession. This brings home the truth of what we’ve done and what we are capable of doing to our prideful ego. 
ADMITTING WRONGS TO ANOTHER HUMAN BEING is probably the most painful and even embarrassing part of Step Five. While there is no perfect way to work this step the most important thing is the trustworthiness of our confessor. Whomever we choose, we must make certain this person will never use what we tell them against us. We can’t make our confession unless and until we feel safe.
During this painful process we can look forward to the freedom we will feel after unloading our long carried burdens. We can rest assured the Biblical promise of healing will come after confessing our sins. And having shared our personal inventory with another person we will gain the support which frees us from our sense of isolation, our false pride, and denial. 

Lord, my inventory has shown me who I am, yet I ask for your help in admitting my wrongs to another person and to you. Assure me, and be with me in this step, for without this step I cannot progress in my recovery. With Your help, I can do this and I will. 

Show me who can hear my confession and not hurt me.
Show me who can stand my story and not condemn.
Show me who can listen and honestly care.
Show me who can be a human being and still show mercy.**

Click here for The Road to Recovery theme song.


**Prayers for the Twelve Steps: A Spiritual Journey
Celebrate Recovery Bible
Recovery: The Twelve Steps as Spiritual Practice by Rami Shapiro
The Twelve Steps for Christians

The Road to Recovery :: STEP FOUR


We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Let us examine our ways, test them, and return to the Lord. ~ Lamentations 3:40


PRINCIPLE FOUR of Celebrate Recovery:

Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God and to someone I trust.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. ~ Matthew 5:8

Step Four begins the growth steps of our recovery journey. We are now ready to come clean, to dig into the areas of our life where we have been blinded by denial.  For our moral inventory it’s very important that we stay balanced. We should make a list of our not only our weaknesses but also our strengths.

Grab a pen and paper as we follow Celebrate Recovery’s suggestions for processing our Spiritual Inventory. Let’s start examining areas of our life:

  • Relationships:

Who has hurt you? Who have you hurt? Are you seeking revenge / holding grudges?

  • Priorities 

What are your priorities? What is good / bad about them? Who do they affect and how?

  • Attitudes 

Are you grateful, complaining, sarcastic, anxious, fearful? Do you blow up easily?

  • Integrity

Are there times you have been dishonest? Pretended to be something you aren’t?

  • Mind

How do your guard your mind? Do you fill it with unhealthy movies, books or magazines?

  • Body

How have you treated your body? What habits or physical activities do you have?

  • Family

How do you treat family members? What family secret are you denying?

  • Church

Have you been faithful to church in the past? Are you discouraging your family from church?

There is much more that we can talk about when it comes to our inventory.  It’s my desire here to provide a jump start for your recovery. Please know this column isn’t designed to take the place of a 12 Step program. If you aren’t already attending a group I encourage you to go to the Celebrate Recovery website:  to find a group in your area.

Also, if you don’t have an accountability partner yet, attending a CR group will help you to find someone to help you work through your inventory list.  Remember, the road to recovery is not designed to be traveled alone!

I pray God will reveal just what you need to see as your courageously take this step. Blessings… Tamara

Click here to watch / listen to our Road to Recovery theme song: The Serenity Prayer.

Celebrate Recovery Leader’s Guide
Celebrate Recovery Bible
The Twelve Steps for Christians
Life Recovery Bible

The Road to Recovery :: STEP THREE

We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. ~ Romans 12:1

PRINCIPLE THREE: (Celebrate Recovery)
Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. ~ Matthew 5:5

There comes a time in our recovery journey when we need to look for help. We no longer can do this work on our own. And like a surgeon, who must go to another doctor for treatment, we can’t operate on ourselves. We need the Great Healer, the only Higher Power ~ Jesus Christ!

In Step Three we’re working through a big decision. We prepare for this decision process by thoroughly working Steps One and Two.

  • Look at the unmanageability of our lives.
  • Consider our needs, God’s abilities and our future with or without God. 
  • We contemplate the required changes.
  • Decide God is the only one able to manage our lives.

Let’s look at the Celebrate Recovery acrostic that can help us turn our lives over to God:


We put blind trust in many things daily. We trust the chair we’re sitting in to hold us. We trust our car will make it home. We trust the electric switch for light. Why is it so difficult to trust God to take care of us? 

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ~ Romans 10:9


Relying on our own understanding gets us into many messes. That’s why we need Jesus. After we ask Jesus into our life, we must look to him in all our decisions. As we grow in our relationship with Jesus, he will show us how he wants us to live. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6 


Repentance is making an about face with your life; a complete 180, turning from the life of sin we’ve been leading to living a life with and for God. When we have repented we see the world from God’s perspective instead of our own. 

“The time has come,” [Jesus] said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” ~ Mark 1:15


As we take the above three actions; trusting, understanding and repenting our lives are made new in Christ! 

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

Some old thought patterns have recently resurfaced in my life. So you aren’t alone, I’m working these steps right along with you. It is my prayer that this column has been of some help for you today.

Please click here to watch / listen to the Road to Recovery theme song for this year.

Blessings… Tamara


Celebrate Recovery Bible
Life Recovery Bible
The Twelve Steps for Chirstians

My Name is Tamara… I’m a Believer and I’m Celebrating Recovery from Pornography, Homosexuality, Sex Addiction, Drug & Alcohol abuse and tobacco…

I’m no one special, except in the eyes of God, a few friends and even fewer family members. The story I tell is about a life lived then a life fallen into the darkest of places, where there is only one hope — the saving grace and redemption through Jesus Christ.

I’m an average baby boomer from a lower middle class family, a born again Christian, faithful wife, former home school mom, Sunday school teacher and choir member; who experienced loss of faith and a fall from grace resulting from disappointment in the church and betrayal by fellow Christians.

I’m a victim of first generation pornography. Hugh Hefner and the early influences the “Playboy” organization developed were pivotal in the destruction of my childhood innocence. It had an unbelievable affect on how I saw myself and how I believed others saw me. It changed who I became. Combined with the prevailing media onslaught and their definition of what is beautiful, sexy, smart and acceptable; a young girl in today’s society doesn’t have a chance to grow up with any sense of her true self without a firm spiritual foundation.

I’m a product of modern evangelism which preaches primarily prosperity and the grace of God; rather than using the Law to reveal God’s absolutes and bring a reverent fear of God that leads to true repentance. In 1980 the seed of God’s word fell on the rocky soil of my heart that had not yet been plowed to conviction by the Law; therefore it grew only between the cracks.

When the winds of disappointment in the Christian church challenged my faith it crumbled into nothing. Dormant anger rose and opened unresolved childhood issues I was unaware of. My father had unknowingly programmed me to be a sex addict and the invisible addiction began to surface. A desire to keep my husband sexually satisfied and the encroaching lie “We can do anything as long as we are together” encouraged us to experiment outside our 16 year monogamous marriage. Impending empty nest, mid-life crisis, peri-menopause, drugs and alcohol and eventually sexual identity crisis all took their toll on our family. The abused then becomes the abuser.

I’ve been sober now for 3 and 1/2 years. Reliving my story is a painful process. It’s very surreal looking back from the other side darkness…the life of a complete stranger… sad and disturbing. One of the saddest things about “the walking dead” is they have no clue that they are “the walking dead”.

My purpose for writing is that I might spare some woman future pain and suffering if she can see herself in me. I’ve come full circle now. It’s the true culmination of my 12 Step journey…actually putting The Steps into action. I will talk of the extremes in which I lived and how Satan begins his deception in small unnoticeable doses that then grow into large unmanageable addictions until a life and a family is in total ruins.

The Good News is God has graciously delivered me out of my various addictions and is now preparing me for women’s ministry. I hope to use this venue to deal with my past addictions in a way that others can relate to and find hope for themselves.

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far out weighs them all. So we fix out eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. — II Corinithians 4:15-18