MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

August 21, 2011

Local churches offer faith-based addiction rehab

Meetings offer freedom from days of substance abuse



Danita Masterson said she knew she had reached rock bottom when she was told she was facing prison time.

Masterson said she had once broken free of drug addiction for eight years when was raising her children. Then, a painful divorce caused a relapse. And that led to her trouble with the law.

Her description of District Attorney Larry Moore and Special District Judge Robin Adair isn’t what you might expect from the typical drug addict.

“I see them as angels now,” Masterson said. “They allowed me to enter into drug court. If not for them, I never would have begun on my road to recovery. I’ll be forever thankful.”

Masterson now spends her Friday nights with a group called Celebrate Recovery at New Hope Assembly of God.

The program begins with a 6 p.m. dinner for $4. At 7 p.m., the “large group” meets in the sanctuary for music and worship. At 8 p.m., everyone breaks into small groups. Men and women meet in gender-separated groups called “Hurts, Habits and Hang-ups.” The evening ends at 9 p.m. with a free dessert called “Café Recovery.”

“It’s the best way to end my week and the best way to start my weekend,” Masterson said.

Celebrate Recovery uses a 12-step process similar to groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. Masterson found this faith-based version while still entangled in the legal system.

“When I was put in Muskogee County jail, I went to a work release rehab in Tulsa,” she said. “One of the requirements was joining Celebrate Recovery.”

Now that she goes to the meetings without being required to, Masterson said she’s happy to be free from the dark days of her life.

“I’m celebrating recovery over 20 years of addiction to drugs,” she said. “It started when I was married to the lead guitarist in a band. It led to fear, anger and confusion. It was like being stuck in a whirlpool and not being able to get out.”

Masterson said the principals behind Celebrate Recovery are why she hasn’t gone to a better-known 12-step program like Narcotics Anonymous.

“It’s because they put Jesus in the center of recovery,” she said.

However, Masterson said the sharing in the small groups is about relationships and recovery.

“It doesn’t have anything to do with religion,” she said. “We have people from all backgrounds who come here. Some people come here from having suffered child abuse, some are codependent, and some have trust issues. But we’re not here to fix one another, just support one another.”

Mike DeLozier, who is ministry leader for Celebrate Recovery with his wife Sherryl, started the program April 15. Their average meetings already attract about 30 people each Friday.

“We started training for it about a year ago,” DeLozier said. “Saddleback Church (in California) first set this up, and they recommend that leaders attend a 12-step program. All of our leaders have gone through it. I’m a recovered alcoholic.”

DeLozier said he has been touched to see people change their lives through Celebrate Recovery.

“I am so thrilled with the people who have come in,” he said. “We have had a new visitor every Friday night except the July 4 weekend. Last weekend we had nine visitors. We’re having a tremendous success rate.”

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