Connection life church holds Celebrate Recovery meetings

Published 10:53 am Thursday, September 7, 2023

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PELHAM – For the past three years, Connection Life Church has been guiding people through life’s hurts, habits and hang-ups with its Celebrate Recovery program.

“The best way to describe Celebrate Recovery is that it’s AA with Jesus,” Connection Life’s Tech Director Billy Sisk said. “A lot of other Alcoholics Anonymous programs teach to put something above yourself no matter what it is, but Celebrate Recovery is derived around eight principles that Jesus taught.”

Connection Life started hosting a Celebrate Recovery program around three years ago, right before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The church was inspired to start the program after previously holding a series of monthly meetings for local rehab centers.

“We used to do a deal called Impact 58 and it was one Sunday night per month,” Sisko said. “It was open to all the rehab centers, and they would meet over here and basically do a full night of worship. Then we knew that there was a gap between when people got out of rehab, and they still needed some support. And there’s so many rehab centers that are like ‘Okay, you graduated, go do life,’ but they’re not really prepared for life. So we’re trying to fill that gap.”

Connection Life Church has only been hosting a Celebrate Recovery program for the past three years, but the twelve-step program itself has existed since 1991 when it was founded by recovering alcoholic John Baker in California. The program addresses “personal hang-ups” like alcoholism and drug abuse but also issues such as anger management and living with an addict. 

“We’ve gotten out to where our church is a little bit different than a typical church,” Sisk said. “We have a female pastor, we do contemporary worship, and a lot of our members are out of this program.”

Connection Life’s Celebrate Recovery meetings start off with with worship and occasionally even a band.

“Then we’ll either do a lesson or testimony,” Sisk said. “After that’s done, we do a chip ceremony for how long people have been going to meetings. Then after that, we’ll go in and do a breakdown into groups male and female because they have different issues.”

Much like in other 12-step programs, Celebrate Recovery also employs a sponsor system that encourages members to support each other and to help hold each other accountable for meeting attendance.

“So many people just relapse because they don’t have a support system,” Sisko said.

Connection Life Church holds Celebrate Recovery meetings every Friday starting at 6 p.m. The meetings are open to both congregation members and the public at large. For more information be sure to visit