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Giving the church a chance to play a role in recovery

Prevention better than cure: Rickeesha Binns is hoping churches utilise training offered by Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centred programme (File photograph)

In times of crisis, many of us lean on the church.

It’s with that in mind that Rickeesha Binns decided to share Celebrate Recovery with Bermuda. She went through the Christ-centred programme as she battled her own addictions and, for the past 13 years, has worked to offer it here.

Richard and Dara Cobb of Saddleback Church, an evangelical Baptist megachurch in California, will “teach and equip churches [with] a proven method to host a faith-based 12-step recovery group” as part of the two-day event.

Ms Binns, who is now an employee of the non-profit addiction treatment centre Pathways Bermuda, will give a presentation, Prevention is Better than Cure.

Leaning on her own experience she said: “Nine times out of ten, when we want to deal with something on the inside of us, a lot of us go to church.

“What do you think the church is? It is a place where people come to heal and grow. It is a journey. This is such a beautiful way to serve people on that journey.”

Ms Binns hopes that churches will come and utilise the training on offer so they are able to better serve their congregations.

“Doing the research I found out that this programme is all over the US and the UK; we need to have it here in Bermuda,” she said.

“If the secular world can come together for recovery, why can’t we give this opportunity to our churches? This is the church’s opportunity to take part in recovery.”

Ms Binns was seven years sober but relapsed on moving back to Bermuda in 2010. She believes the island’s lack of a faith-centred recovery programme contributed to her backslide and became determined to return to sobriety and bring Celebrate Recovery to her home.

“I wanted to learn how to live my life of recovery in my own country,” she said.

Groups such as Alcohol Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous discuss a “higher power” in their programmes. Ms Binns says that Celebrate Recovery “is very similar”.

“They do the 12 steps [but] it is Christ-centred. For the 12 steps, each step is accompanied by scripture. For AA and NA they have what they call the 12 principles; in Celebrate Recovery the principles are derived from what they call ‘the beatitudes’ in the Bible.

“[Also], you get to personalise your relationship with the higher power, we get to label him Jesus Christ.”

The approach by Celebrate Recovery is also broader than AA, which strictly deals with alcohol, and NA, which focuses on narcotics, she added. The group’s “hurts, habits and hang-ups” titles cover trauma such as “abandonment, anything that has you stuck and anything that is holding you back”.

“It [also] deals with [topics such as] domestic violence, grief, and loss,” Ms Binns said. “You have all of these hurts, hang-ups and habits that can all be addressed within one small group.”

One of her objectives is to get people to have conversations about the disease aspect of addiction and to address the narrative associated with that journey without shame.

“My main reason for doing the presentation is to attack the stigma around alcoholism, substance abuse, and addictions,” she said.

Her goal is to share her presentation in churches, schools, and businesses over the next year.

“If Celebrate Recovery is launched, I could have in that packet AA groups, NA groups, and Celebrate Recovery groups. It's another option for you to get your recovery.

“My goal for Celebrate Recovery is to have one [chapter] in each parish, or at least two in each denomination, or one meeting every day of the week.”

• Celebrate Recovery’s two-day event will take place on September 22 and 23 at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute. For more information, e-mail overcomebda@gmail.com or visit crecovery.org

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Published September 16, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated September 18, 2023 at 8:13 am)

Giving the church a chance to play a role in recovery

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