A new group has started in Myrtle to help people facing difficult life issues.
Celebrate Recovery is not just for people with drug and alcohol problems, although people with addictions can attend the group.
Celebrate Recovery, which is a Christ-centered program, is for people facing any kind of life challenge, such as finances, divorce, grief, low self-esteem and so on.
“It’s a safe place for people who struggle with any hurts, habits or hang-ups,” said Chelcie Hancock, who started the new Myrtle Celebrate Recovery group.
The new Myrtle group meets at 1004 County Road 60 at Union Hill United Methodist Church every Thursday night, starting with a free meal at 5:30.
A Celebrate Recovery group has been in New Albany for about five years and serves the same purpose as the Myrtle group.
The New Albany group meets on Wednesday nights, starting at 5:30 at Bethlehem United Methodist Church, 1560 County Road 81.
Both groups offer childcare during the meetings.
Leo Stephens, who leads the New Albany group, said Celebrate Recovery is a 12-step program and that each step corresponds to a Biblical teaching. The program also has eight principles based on the beatitudes of Jesus Christ.
Males separate into one group and females in another group, and people share the issues they are facing.
There is also a large group component that is not divided on gender when people take part in praise and worship.
Stephens said Celebrate Recovery does not try to fix anyone but stands by people as they go through the recovery program. The hope is that people will gain the freedom Christ has to offer and find a better way to live, he added. Christ loves people no matter what and mends, not condemns, broken lives, he said.
The new Celebrate Recovery group in Myrtle started about a month ago and “doesn’t exclude anyone,” Hancock said. During the large group portion of the program someone may offer a teaching or testimony. For instance, there was recently a teaching on hope.
Hancock said healing occurs during the open share part of the program in which men separate into one group and women in another.
When Hancock first went to Celebrate Recovery, she thought there was nothing wrong with her since she did not struggle with any addictions. She thought she could handle everything on her own.
But then she vented her thoughts in an open share group in Tupelo, and no one interrupted her.
“You’re not judged,” she said, adding that a lot of people just need someone to listen to them. “Everybody’s community is full of people who are hurting and struggling.”
Things that are said in open share are kept confidential unless someone says they are going hurt themselves or someone else. Gossip and foul language are not allowed.
The Myrtle program has seven leaders, and one of them is the church pastor.
Hancock hopes that people who attend Celebrate Recovery will “come to Christ.” She also hopes that anyone facing challenges will find healing in some way. It is not good for people to be at home by themselves facing anxiety and depression, she noted.
“Life is hard, and you can’t do it alone,” Hancock said. “When you find that forever family then you’re like ‘wow they really do love me.’”
Hancock said everybody is special and has a purpose, but “a lot of people feel useless.”
Sometimes it helps to hear another person’s problems to take your mind of your own, she said.
She noted that the suicide rate has been on the rise and that people are killing themselves because they feel as though they don’t have anywhere to turn.
The goal is to leave Celebrate Recovery meetings as a different person.
“You don’t leave feeling lonely and lost and upset and broken,” she said. “Everybody needs help, and it is OK to not be OK.”