Sunday, August 17, 2014

Celebrate Hope at Hope by the Sea

 Christ-Centered Addiction Treatment


By Dick B.

© 2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved


A Few Words about Our Review of Christian Recovery Facilities


My son Ken and I formed the International Christian Recovery Coalition in July of 2009 (; and that same month, we held a conference on the grounds of Hope by the Sea in San Juan Capistrano, California, at the invitation of its staff member Bobby Nicholl. The Coalition is an informal fellowship of participating Christian recovery leaders, workers, newcomers, and members of the public who see the role that God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible played in the recovery movement and can play today for those afflicted alcoholics and addicts who have suffered long enough and want God’s help. The Coalition is Bible-friendly, recovery-friendly, and 12 Step-friendly; and it today has participants in all 50 states and more than 15 brother and sister countries.


But the story of healing by the power of God which played such a vital role in the origins of the recovery movement from about 1850 forward surged with Christian organizations and individuals who turned their attention to helping the down and outers recover from their misery and troubles. Those who labored the hardest and produced the most effective results included the Young Men’s Christian Association; Gospel Rescue Missions; great evangelists like Dwight Moody, Ira Sankey, and F. B. Meyer;  the Salvation Army; Congregationalism; and the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor. Beginning in the early 1920’s, A First Century Christian Fellowship (later to become known as “the Oxford Group”) made contributions to aspects of some recovery efforts.


Out of these efforts grew the successes of the Christian recovery people, based primarily on several simple principles: (1) Cessation of all use of liquor and abuse of drugs. (2) Belief in God and coming to Him by accepting His Son Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (which was known in early Akron A.A. as making a “full surrender”). (3) Obedience to God’s will. (4) Growth in understanding and service through Bible study, prayer meetings, “Quiet Times,” and the reading of Christian literature. (5) Helping other suffering alcoholics and addicts find a way out by the same method.


But the scene changed. Focus began to shift more and more toward battling liquor, eliminating saloons, Prohibition, and medical-psychological remedies. Then came A.A., with its focus on God and relying on Him for cure of alcoholism, and simple principles much like those of the First Century Christians as seen in the Book of Acts, such as Christian Fellowship, Bible study, prayer, Quiet Time, restitution, and helping others.


But the scene changed again not long after A.A. was founded. Medical models, counseling, dual addiction treatment, secular theories about how to prevent relapses and how to help patients recover, the funding of recovery with insurance backing, the erecting of huge treatment institutions, and focus on “evidence-based” recovery rather than “faith-centered” recovery began to dominate the recovery scene. And reliance on God began to slip through the cracks. Hostility toward religion, promotion of atheism, efforts to suppress talk of God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible appeared. And thousands upon thousands of suffering Christians were baffled by the new “believe in anything or nothing” attitude that was emerging.


Today, the Christian recovery movement is again charging ahead. We have spoken at many 12 Step and Christian recovery meetings; met their leaders; noted the degree of focus on the power and love of God, on God’s son Jesus Christ, and on the Bible; and found a number of fellowships, leaders, and facilities which are involved in helping Christians and potential Christians(!) seek healing and a new life through reliance on the Creator of the heavens and the earth.


Celebrate Hope at Hope by the Sea is Today’s Subject


Here is the description that Celebrate Hope at Hope by the Sea provides of its Christian treatment program:


Celebrate Hope is a Christian residential drug and alcohol treatment center located in the beautiful coastal community San Juan Capistrano, California. Our faith-focused mission is to minister the love of Jesus Christ to those who are in pain and are suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. Christ centered treatment is the core component of our program, along with Celebrate Recovery® which is a ministry of Saddleback Church.

[“Celebrate Hope at Hope by the Sea” pamphlet/brochure/folder--consulted 8/17/2014]


As I mentioned earlier, my son Ken and I have visited the main office of Hope by the Sea and have spoken at a conference held there. And our principal contact was and is Bobby Nicholl, Admissions and Intervention staff member of Celebrate Hope at Hope by the Sea. His address is PO Box 1480, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92693. His email address is He has a strong Christian background and long experience in treatment industry. And he is welcoming, congenial, and articulate in his conversations with those that call him for help at 800.631.7753. Bobby freely offers answers to all kinds of recovery-related questions and recommends alternative choices for treatment. And we will let him tell you the rest if you choose to call.


Important Features of Their Program


What has struck me about a number of Christian treatment or Christian recovery residences is how much of the early A.A. focus on the Bible, salvation, prayer, quiet time, and Christian literature is not present. Sometimes there is just a weekly Bible study. Sometimes a chaplain is on call.  But often there is little about the renewed mind, fellowship, witnessing, and healing.


In contrast, I believe the Celebrate Hope at Hope by the Sea Christian treatment program comes much closer to hitting the mark. Their pamphlet/brochure/folder I quoted earlier also states:


What We Offer: (1) Christ-centered treatment. (2) Residential treatment. (3) One on One Therapy. (4) Group Therapy. (5) Intervention Services. (6) Life Recovery Bible. (7) Boundaries Workshop. (8) Celebrate Recovery®. (9) Worship at Saddleback. (10) Daily Christian Devotionals. (11) Individual Christian Counseling.


The program is very strong, especially considering its similarities to the early A.A.’s “Christian fellowship” program in Akron which was focused on living in the homes, breaking bread together, Bible study, group prayer, optional worship at church, and use of Christian devotionals. Celebrate Hope at Hope by the Sea’s individual Christian counseling--which could allow for discussion of healing, Bible, sanctification, witnessing, and fellowship with like-minded believers—particularly caught our attention.


Gloria Deo

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