James D'Amato, a Prison Fellowship® chaplain resource liaison, shares how the prison extension of the program, Celebrate Recovery Inside, has been changing lives behind bars, especially through the Prison Fellowship Academy®, an intensive, biblically based program that takes incarcerated men and women through a holistic life-transformation process.
Prison Fellowship: What is Celebrate Recovery Inside?
James D'Amato: Prison Fellowship partners with Celebrate Recovery to bring Celebrate Recovery programs to incarcerated adults as part of the Prison Fellowship Academy. The addiction recovery program addresses alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling, overeating, and more by dealing thoughtfully with life’s hurts, hang-ups, and habits, as they put it. Through these programs, men and women behind bars can grow spiritually and overcome their addictions.
What’s the difference between Alcoholics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery?
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women that support each other in their fight against alcoholism. Alcoholics Anonymous acknowledges a higher power but is not Christ-centered.
Here are three other differences between Alcoholics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery:
- Some have the experience that Alcoholics Anonymous encourages identity in one’s addiction, while Celebrate Recovery encourages one’s identity in Christ.
- Alcoholics Anonymous meetings usually mix men and women together but Celebrate Recovery meetings require men and women to meet in separate groups.
- Celebrate Recovery facilitators are thoroughly trained before they can lead groups.
What is included in Celebrate Recovery Inside curriculum at the Academy?
As part of the curriculum, every other week there is a lesson or a testimony developed around the Christ-centered 12 steps. After the lesson or testimony, every program participant gets into open-share groups where they discuss what they heard. During this time, they talk about their addiction and personal takeaways.
Who benefits from Celebrate Recovery Inside?
Everyone can benefit from Celebrate Recovery. Celebrate Recovery Inside gives its participants a new path to make amends with those they have hurt and with themselves.
Participating in the program allows them to create stronger personal relationships with their families and grow more faith-based bonds in every area of their lives.
What happens after Celebrate Recovery Inside?
After completing the program, we hope that the participants will give back to the community and become leaders. More than 600,000 prisoners are released every year, and Celebrate Recovery Inside helps give them tools for success on the outside. A strong sense of community, spiritual guidance, and knowing that they are not alone can make all the difference.
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