Celebrate Recovery

Celebrate Recovery is using videoconferencing, other tools to help its members.

Recovery is tough, and the COVID-19 shutdown hasn’t made it any easier – but the leadership team behind Celebrate Recovery is finding innovative ways to help its members make it through to better days.

Bob Buros – with Märta Lindberg Lein – helps run Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered, 12-step program out of Journey North Church (840 Main St S ).

“We don’t deal with just people with alcohol or drugs; we try to support anybody with any kind of issue, drugs, alcohol, food issues, pornography, depression – just life in general,” Buros said. “We all can use somebody to come alongside of us and giving us support. So that’s what we are. We all have hurts, habits and hangups, and we just try to help people deal with them. We’re here for anybody who has ever said, ‘I wish I didn’t do that,’ or ‘I wish that had never happened to me.’”

Waiting for a miracle

Buros has had his own struggles that led him to Celebrate Recovery.

“There was a point in my life almost 20 years ago ... I was addicted to cocaine and I would be in bars every night. It put me in a bad spot – it actually put me in jail. One day I opened up a Bible while I was in a jail cell and opened it

Recovery is tough, and the COVID-19 shutdown hasn’t made it any easier – but the leadership team behind Celebrate Recovery is finding innovative ways to help its members make it through to better days.

Bob Buros – with Märta Lindberg Lein – helps run Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered, 12-step program out of Journey North Church (840 Main St S ).

“We don’t deal with just people with alcohol or drugs; we try to support anybody with any kind of issue, drugs, alcohol, food issues, pornography, depression – just life in general,” Buros said. “We all can use somebody to come alongside of us and giving us support. So that’s what we are. We all have hurts, habits and hangups, and we just try to help people deal with them. We’re here for anybody who has ever said, ‘I wish I didn’t do that,’ or ‘I wish that had never happened to me.’”

Waiting for a miracle

Buros has had his own struggles that led him to Celebrate Recovery. “There was a point in my life almost 20 years ago ... I was addicted to cocaine and I would be in bars every night. It put me in a bad spot – it actually put me in jail. One day I opened up a Bible while I was in a jail cell and opened it to a verse in Romans that said, ‘I don’t understand myself and why I do the things I do. I don’t want to do these things, but I do them anyway.’ And I’m like, ‘Man, that sounds like me.’ So I checked into a life recovery program in 2002. That got me off the drugs. But ... I still drank, and that escalated into full-blown alcoholism.”

His last sip of alcohol was on Jan. 1, 2018.

“I had been involved in Celebrate Recovery about two years prior to that,” Buros said. “I was the guy who sat in the chairs waiting for a miracle. I got involved in the music. And then eventually I checked myself into treatment and ... here I am. Now two years later, I’m the ministry leader.

“I know it works,” he said. “I’ve seen miracles happen every Monday for the last four years I’ve been going there.”

One step at a time

On a normal Monday night the Celebrate Recovery group would meet at the church for dinner from 6-6:30 p.m., and then play or listen to live music for about 15 minutes. Then they would take time to celebrate the steps they had made in their recovery so far, passing out coins and chips to represent those milestones. Buros said it helps them all of them come together as they cheer each other on.

“As someone who’s got over two years [sobriety], I still need to see people get their 30 day coins,” he said. “ It helps me to remember – and it also helps me to come alongside them and help them celebrate their milestones. It’s almost like a little tight-knit family.”

Those gathered then split up small groups. Buros noted that they do not turn people away even if they are still struggling with using drugs or drinking.

“That’s when they need us the most,” he said.

COVID-19 challenges

COVID-19 and the subsequent “Stay at Home” order have been hard for everyone, but it is particularly difficult for those in recovery.

“I think the biggest thing is the isolation,” Buros said. “For any kind of addiction, isolation is probably the worst thing. But now we’re forced into it, pretty much.

“I took over as ministry leader just prior to the COVID quarantine taking place,” he explained. “It has definitely been a challenge, and it is going to be a challenge. Everything is changing ... it’s fluid, and we have to be ready to do whatever is necessary. There’s a saying, ‘God doesn’t call the equipped; he equips the called.’

“The leaders are calling the people in their small groups. We’re reaching out by telephone and text and we’re trying to be supportive of each other as much as we can.”

And now, the internet has offered another solution – holding Celebrate Recovery meetings using the videoconferencing Zoom app.

“These Zoom meetings offer a more tangible break from isolation than just the phone call,” Buros said. “Seeing someone’s face adds another dimension.”

He said that protecting the identity and anonymity of their members is key, but urged all those interested to contact them through their Celebrate Recovery Facebook page, or go to 320-629-6111 to learn how to join in.

“It has actually been pretty successful,” Buros said. “The numbers are not what they were. We’re taking every step we can to outreach. But ... it’s a great platform to use. And it’s helpful. It’s good to actually sit and see someone’s face.”

Finding freedom

Buros said he’s grateful to Rosie Seaburg, who mentored him into his current role. He hopes to help others just as he was helped by her and other leaders in the program.

“The biggest thing is the person out there struggling,” he said. “That’s what we’re focusing on, the ones who are hurting. There’s a saying: ‘We find freedom here. Not the freedom to do anything you want, it’s the freedom to not have to do the things that you don’t want to do.’ We just want to help people find that freedom.”

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