Race shows hope in recovery

By KATIE HURST/ Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA — Those who have struggled with drug and alcohol addiction will gather at the Shelby County Courthouse this month, not to face repercussion, but to celebrate their recovery.

On Sept. 18 Christian Life Fellowship church of Calera will host a Celebrate Recovery 5K beginning at the courthouse at 8:30 a.m.

“A lot of people that have gone through Celebrate Recovery, they started out at the courthouse,” said Cindy Hildebrand, director of the church’s Celebrate Recovery program. “Now they can be back there in recovery and not in chains.”

Celebrate Recovery is a Christian-based program that ministers to people with hurts, habits and hang ups, Hildebrand said.

The program at Christian Life Fellowship has ministered to more than a thousand people locally struggling with life-controlling issues, she said.

“The program is designed around God’s healing power. It uses Christ-centered 12 steps,” she said. “The 12 steps are all Biblically based anyway, this is blending the two instead of separating them.”

Hildebrand said she knows first-hand the healing power of the program. She came to Celebrate Recovery while on work release in Shelby County and has now been sober for six and a half years.

“Without Celebrate Recovery and Christian Life Fellowship I wouldn’t be where I am today,” she said.

The Celebrate Recovery 5K will raise awareness for the hope the program provides, Hildebrand said.

Money raised through registration prices will help fund the program at Christian Life Fellowship, providing Bibles and workbooks to program participants.

The church also distributes these materials once a week to the Shelby County Jail, Hildebrand said.

September is National Recovery Month and this year’s theme is “Now more than ever.”

Hildebrand said the theme is appropriate because of the rising addiction problem in Shelby County due to the economy.

“With the recession, many people are turning toward other methods of coping,” she said. “People don’t have to struggle, there is a way out.”

Many Celebrate Recovery participants will participate in the race along with family members, court members and community members who support the cause, Hildebrand said.

She hopes the race will show people struggling with addiction that they don’t have to face recovery alone.

“We want people to know it’s not a life sentence,” she said. ”Jesus can set us all free if we just let him.”

Race registration will begin at 7 a.m. Sept. 18, or participants can register now by sending in the registration form at Shelbycountyreporter.com/5K.