CR vs. AA. How Celebrate Recovery Works?

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What is Celebrate Recovery?

Celebrate Recovery Crisis Response (CRCR) is an American Christian twelve-step program designed to facilitate recovery from a wide variety of troubling behavior patterns. Celebrate Recovery started in 1991 at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. It is a Christ-centered ministry that gives people the resources and relationships to help them find a new way of living. This ministry is for anyone struggling with past or current hurts, habits, or hang-ups, whether they are affecting their own life or the lives of those around them.

The first 10 years were the birth stage of Celebrate Recovery. There are now 35,000 Celebrate Recovery churches around the world, and that number continues to grow. In addition, Celebrate Recovery is not just growing in churches but in recovery houses, rescue missions, universities, and prisons around the world. New Mexico was the first state to adopt Celebrate Recovery into its state prison system and now has Celebrate Recovery pods in all its state prisons [1].

Celebrate Recovery
Recovery is about progression, not perfection.

Celebrate Recovery has a Trademark Statement in which they describe the desires of the group. The goal is to grow a network of Christ-centered recovery ministries that are based on the Bible. They desire to reach across cultural and denominational barriers to bring hope and recovery to all people. While being a Christian is not a requirement to join Celebrate Recovery, it is an explicitly faith-based program.

CR vs. AA


  • Both Celebrate Recovery (CR) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) are “12 Step Programs”. This means both groups follow a 12-step approach to sobriety and recovery.
  • Both acknowledge that a person has no power over their alcohol use.
    Celebrate Recovery and Alcoholics Anonymous meets in group settings. Both provide open discussions about struggles and successes through the recovery process.
  • Meetings for both groups happen often. It means some weekly and others daily. The groups follow a loose format but are generally unstructured.
  • Both Celebrate Recovery and AA use “sponsors” through the program. These sponsors are generally people who have been sober for a while, though there are no specific rules. Sponsors are in place to offer accountability and support for newcomers.
  • Both programs are strict when it comes to being anonymous. Privacy is important in both Alcoholics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery.
  • AA and CR both utilize the Serenity Prayer in their meetings and throughout their programs.


  • While both groups do use a 12-Step approach to recovery, they differ in the intent behind the steps. AA is the original, while Celebrate Recovery has modified the 12 Steps to be accompanied by Bible verses using Christ’s words as a guideline.

  • Both AA and Celebrate Recovery turn to a power greater than themselves to guide members through recovery from addiction. In AA, this “higher power” can be anything the member decides, whereas, in Celebrate Recovery, the higher power is Christ.

  • AA is a program solely for support, accountability, and guidance through alcohol addiction. Other “Anonymous” groups have grown from this model, and each is unique in its purpose. Celebrate Recovery is a place to find freedom from “hurts, hang-ups, and habits”.
Storms don’t last forever.

How Celebrate Recovery Works

The eight statements form the spiritual foundation for someone who uses this program to support their sobriety. They correspond with CR’s 12-Steps for daily living.

Here they are, verbatim, along with the original Beatitudes:

  • (Step 1) Realize I’m not God; I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable. “Happy are those who know that they are spiritually poor.” Matthew 5:3 Today’s English Version (TEV)
  • (Step 2) Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and that He has the power to help me recover. “Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4 TEV, NIV
  • (Step 3) Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control. “Happy are the meek.” Matthew 5:5 TEV
  • (Steps 4 and 5) Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust. “Happy are the pure in heart.” Matthew 5:8a TEV
  • (Steps 6 and 7) Voluntarily submit to any and all changes God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects. “Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires” Matthew 5:6 TEV
  • (Steps 8 and 9) Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others when possible, except when to do so would harm them or others. “Happy are the merciful.” Matthew 5:7 TEV; “Happy are the peacemakers” Matthew 5:9 TEV
  • (Steps 10 and 11) Reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will.
  • (Step 12) Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and my words. “Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires.” Matthew 5:10 TEV

We Level Up Florida Will Help Find the Right Behaviroal Group for You

Celebrate Recovery
Celebrate your recovery!

Primary behavioral disorders are often linked to underlying secondary chemical dependence problems. These co-occuring complications appear in efforts by those suffering to dampen their severe emotional pain.

We know that for many mental health clients the co-occuring urge to drink can still persist even after multiple completions of the Celebrate Recovery 12 steps. In cases like this, it’s highly recommended to seek additional stand-alone alcohol addiction treatment. Facilities like Level Up can discuss 12-step group meetings. You may be able to find it easier to get additional treatment in a single location [2]. Our dedicated team will be there every step as you overcome primary mental health disorders along with any secondary alcoholism. Contact us to learn more about how you can enroll in our behavioral program today.

Inpatient medical detox and residential primary addiction treatment may be available at our affiliated facility at Level Up Rehab Center West Palm Beach. For some primary behavioral health treatment clients, medical detox may be required first.  If you have a co-occurring severe substance abuse diagnosis, please contact us prior to beginning inpatient mental health therapy. Treatment services may vary. Please call us to learn which treatment options are most suited for your individual needs.


[1] Celebrate Recovery –

[2] Celebrate Recovery – We level Up

[2] Celebrate Recovery Program » Drug Alcohol We Level Up