Celebrate Recovery is a program for “people who are struggling”, not necessarily just with drug or alcohol addiction, and they program is christian based. Instead of using 12 steps as the program of AA does, celebrate recovery uses 8 principles, but these principles seem to borrow liberally from the 12 steps, and really appear to be a simple rephrasing of them. So the 2 big differences in this program would seem to be:
1) Open to a broader audience, not just trying to help addicts and alcoholics, but everyone.
2) Uses Christ as the higher power instead of leaving it open ended, as is done in AA.
So what are the advantages and disadvantages of these two main differences? Let’s take a look.
First of all, opening up to try to help everyone is really taking this from being a program to really being a ministry. This is more of a church movement than a recovery program at this point. For the struggling addict and alcoholic, there is an argument that would state that the more narrow the singleness of purpose, the better their chances at staying clean and sober is going to be. What does this mean? It means that if, for example, Alcoholics Anonymous opened up their doors to try to help people with anger management issues–people who do not necessarily have an alcohol problem, then this would dilute their singleness of purpose. Could they help more people? Sure. They could reach out and help people with anger management problems, and the 12 steps would probably benefit them greatly. But this would also hinder their ability to help alcoholics in a small way. It would dilute the message.
To some extent, this is the danger of an alcoholic going to a program that is not ultra-specific: they are not going to get the laser focus on the alcohol problem like they would get in AA. The singleness of purpose is really, really important to the newcomer.
Now let’s say you have 10 years in sobriety. Do you still need this intense singleness of purpose in order to remain sober? Not so much. Now you could easily work a program like Celebrate Recovery, and it would serve you just fine in your life. But for the newcomer who is trying to not take a drink, the singleness of purpose and the common purpose of Alcoholics Anonymous is going to be a powerful factor that may make or break their recovery.