Those in recovery use meetings such as 12 step programs (ie: Alcoholics Anonymous) or celebrate recovery to maintain their sobriety.  12 step programs, such as AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), NA (Narcotics Anonymous), GA (Gamblers  Anonymous) have been clinically found to be effective for millions of individuals with an addiction.  Studies conducted on 12 step programs have been international and all have found effectiveness in the program.   12 step program was developed by 2 men who identified themselves as alcoholics, each having a desire to help each other remain sober.   The first 12 step program was AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith.  The goal of the 12 step program is “to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.  This is a peer run group, meaning, former addicts lead the group and have no credentialing.  The theory is that a person who has experienced addiction and is in recovery can help those achieve and maintain sobriety.  12 step programs are designed to help those with an addiction by others who are in recovery from addiction.

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Celebrate Recovery, also referred to as CR, is a Christian based approach to recovery.  It was founded in 1990 by Pastors John Baker and Rick Warren of Saddleback Church.  Celebrate Recovery is known to address the following at their meetings, “hurts, habits, and hang-ups”, including but not limited to drug and alcohol addictions, sex addiction, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and people who have been sexually abused.  Celebrate recovery manages all mental health, addiction or dual diagnosis in the same meetings, instead of having separate meetings for each addiction.   It has been stated, “The founders felt that Alcoholics Anonymous was too vague in referring to God as a “higher power,” and wanted a more specifically Christ-based program. Celebrate Recovery utilizes eight Recovery Principles that are based on the Sermon on the Mount.”

.While they focus on recovery is solid in both 12 step programs and celebrate recovery, there are a few other differences.  The following are a few examples of the differences:

AA developed the 12 steps and 12 traditions.  They are the originators of this concept and practice.  Celebrate Recovery revised the original 12 Steps based on the bible, the Beatitudes.

AA uses the big book, Alcoholics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery has created their own Bible-based curriculum.

AA and the other 12 step programs focus on specific addictions. Celebrate Recovery is designed to handle mental health and addiction issues in the same meetings.  They have a broader scope of issues they manage.  Celebrate recovery focuses on “hurts, habits, and hang-ups.”

AA believes in a higher power and uses the word “GOD”, however they are not affiliated with a religion, where Celebrate recovery has evangelical based beliefs.

Both groups have proven to be effective in helping those seeking recovery.