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Faith Life, March 2018

Celebrate Recovery – Overcoming hurts, hang-ups and habits

Celebrate Recovery

Overcoming hurts, hang-ups and habits

by James Haase

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” — 2 Corinthians 5:17

With a foundation firmly established in the Bible, Celebrate Recovery is a 12-step program that offers participants a clear path to salvation — bringing hope, freedom, sobriety, and healing from whatever addictions or behaviors are controlling their lives.

Now in more than 30,000 churches, CR has changed the lives of thousands of people and reconciled them to God. James “Jimmy” Haase is one of them and he gladly shares his testimony:

“I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ. By following Him, I’ve been able to overcome a past of alcoholism, depression and drug abuse. I am

currently struggling with perfectionism, self-worth and control. I was born to a teenage girl and never met my biological father. I grew up in a blended family where I never really felt accepted. I had a stepfather, stepbrother, stepsister and other step-relatives, but I felt like an outsider.

When I was a teenager, I hung out with my friends smoking pot and drinking alcohol nearly every day. What started off as a good time eventually became more than a daily habit. It was what I lived for. Every moment was spent either using or looking for something to use.

I started being careless with other areas of my life, too. By 1999, I had been arrested several times on drug and/or alcohol-related charges, and was ultimately sentenced to six months in the EBR Parish Prison. Over the next decade, I had periods of highs and lows. By 2009, my whole world was spiraling out of control and I had no idea what to do.

The DNA of the CR Ministry

  • Christ is the one and only Higher Power. The program is a Christ-centered ministry.
  • The Bible* and CR curriculum consists of specific publications, including The Leader’s Guide, The Journey Begins, CR In a Box, Testimonies to Go, Life’s Healing Choices, and several others.
  • The ministry is “group based.” All groups are gender-specific and “The Five Small Group Guidelines” are implemented and followed every time.
  • There are no online groups; face-to-face meetings only. No lessons may be posted to Facebook, Youtube, Vimeo or any other public forum.
  • Groups are expected to be accountable to Christ, the local church, and the CR model.
  • CR is a ministry of the local church, so it does not try to dictate any doctrine or policy.

I was majorly depressed, and found my “god” 12 ounces at a time or through various narcotics. Things never got better, but seemingly worse. After two DUIs in less than two years, I lost my driver’s license, then my job, then my home. Shattered and broken, I fell further into alcoholism, substance abuse and depression.

A friend was attending First Baptist Church at Addis, so I began to tag along. It wasn’t too long that I walked down the aisle and accepted Christ as my Savior and was baptized. I continued to struggle with alcohol and drugs, but I was attending every church activity and event possible throughout the week. From a men’s group,

I learned the importance of accountability and allowing others to speak truth into my life. I was ultimately convinced by the Holy Spirit to lay down all my self-will and turn it over to Christ, who freed me from my addictions. Christ is my Lord!

For over 20 years, I struggled with alcoholism, drug abuse and depression. Today, only by His grace, can I now, celebrate recovery!

BRCLM Image James Hasse and Family
James Haase, right, with his wife Jennifer and their children Wesley, Olivia and Sophia

I have gained an education in the field of addiction recovery and worked for two years as an addiction counselor. I have learned that the key to life in recovery is balancing emotional, physical, mental, relational and spiritual health.

Today, I am blessed with a beautiful family that includes my wife and three wonderful kids. I am a locksmith by profession and I volunteer as a minister, serving at the Church at Addis as a deacon, Sunday school teacher, Director of Growth Group, and Director of Men’s Recovery Support.

To God be the glory!”

There are many Celebrate Recovery programs at local churches. For details, call Haase at (225) 218-5630 or email him at You can also learn more at

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