Celebrate Recovery to share stories of success

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Barton: ‘I decided we needed something positive’

Addiction isn’t an issue of social class or location, instead, it finds its way into the hearts and homes of every region, culture and tax bracket.

Locally, the leaders of Celebrate Recovery have been working for more than 11 years to help community members celebrate some of the hardest things they will ever overcome — addiction.

Addiction isn’t always clear on the outside. It isn’t solely an issue with drugs or alcohol, it can be anything from shopping to eating habits. The Cassville Celebrate Recovery program acknowledges every addiction and every habit an individual wishes to change.

In a series beginning in January 2021, the community will get an inside look at the lives, struggles and successes of local individuals who overcame their addictions following the 12 steps to recovery and their Biblical comparisons.

The intention of this series is for those who need help to understand the process and begin their journey, as well as to shine light on the successes behind the failures.

Mark Barton, co-ministry leader of Celebrate Recovery, said often times, people look in the paper or on the jail roster and see someone who was on the right path, but so many times they don’t see the successes of recovery being celebrated.

January will feature the first step, which is someone admitting when there is a problem and realizing that their lives may have become unmanageable because of their addiction. The Biblical comparison for step one is found in Romans 7:18.

The second step in the 12 step program is to believe that a greater power can restore one to their sanity. This inspiration is found in Philippians 2:13.

The following 10 steps and their Biblical comparisons include:

3. Make the decision to turn one’s life and wills over to the care of God — Romans 12:1

4. Make a fearless moral inventory of oneself — Lamentations 3:40

5. Admit to God, oneself and another human being the exact nature of one’s wrongs — James 5:16

6. Be entirely ready to have God remove all one’s defects of character — James 4:10

7. Ask God to remove one from their shortcomings — 1 John 1:9

8. Make a list of all persons one has harmed and be willing to make amends to them all — Luke 6:31

9. Make direct amends to such people when possible, unless if to do so would injure them or others — Matthew 5:23-24

10. Continue to take personal inventory and when one is wrong, promptly admit it — 1 Corinthians 10:12

11. Through prayer and meditation improve one’s conscious contact with God — Colossians 3:16

12. Carry out this message to others and practice the principles in all one’s affairs — Galatians 6:1

Barton said he began thinking of different ways to begin reaching people back in March.

“Churches began to shut down, along with support groups,” he said. “On top of that, the only things that were being shared was negativity on TV — everything from politics to COVID-19.

“I am 16 years clean, and I even found myself struggling.”

Barton began to worry about people who may not have the same tools as he has to stay clean.

“In isolation, like what we are experiencing, things can get difficult,” he said. “I was getting phone calls from people saying, ‘I need a meeting.’”

Barton saw that people were getting triggered, but he couldn’t send them anywhere for a meeting.

“I decided we needed something positive,” Barton said. “I started thinking of all the people I know who found recovery. I thought, wouldn’t it be great to share those stories of success.”

When the Cassville Celebrate Recovery celebrated its 11th anniversary this year, Barton approached the Cassville Democrat to start telling those stories.

“Because of the isolation of this year, I have sensed many people relapsing,” he said. “I want to help reach those people who are struggling and let them read testimonies and stories of others in the community with multiple years of recovery.

“We want to share these testimonies and help give people good news and hope.”

Barton said there are two things he hears from people who come to a meeting for the first time.

First, they wish they had come to a meeting sooner, and second, they thought recovery was only for drug addicts.

“Half of our group struggle with other things that don’t include drugs and alcohol,” he said. “Recovery is about overcoming the past, rebuilding the present and embracing the future. I read that a long time ago, and it just makes sense.”

Barton would like the public to know that recovery is for anyone with any hurt, habit or hangup.

“That can be grieving, or going through a divorce,” he said. “People have come to a meeting to support someone else and found out that it helps them too.”

Each month over the next 12 months, there will be a story featuring the story of a person in recovery. Each story will focus on one of the 12 steps in the program and its Biblical comparison.

In 2019, there were 304 felony and misdemeanor drug related charges in Cassville, and as of the first week of December there were 293 for 2020.

Barton and others at Celebrate Recovery want to share the success stories in the community as well.

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