The Road to Recovery :: STEP 8


STEP 8: We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

 “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”  ~ Luke 6:31

PRINCIPLE 6 (Celebrate Recovery): Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others.

“Happy are the merciful.” ~ Matthew 5:7
“Happy are the peacemakers.” ~ Matthew 5:9 

After all the searching and confessing it’s now time to take responsibility for our actions.  Similar to the moral inventory of Step 4 we will list all the persons we harmed when acting out in our addiction or dependency. In fact, using our inventory list can help us determine who belongs on our amends list.
Reliving how we have harmed others is difficult. But with God’s help we can recall the names and faces, making notes as thoroughly as possible we prayerfully examine each person and our relationship with them. 
Remembering the faces of those we have hurt, can be a very painful process. But we must write their names down, carefully considering our relationships and how we harmed them.

Total honesty with ourselves is vital so we can go forward with peace of mind. With the pain of remembering the damage we have done, comes a welcome relief that we’ll no longer cause these injuries to our self and others.

Step 8 prepares us to continue the work of making amends. After making our list we are ready to ask God to give us the willingness to make those amends. As God helps us work these steps we will have the strength and the tools to heal our broken relationships. 
If you can’t see the video screen below click here for our Road to Recovery theme song.


Celebrate Recovery Bible
Celebrate Recovery Leader’s Guide
Life Recovery Bible
Life Recovery Devotional
The Twelve Steps for Christians
Prayers for the Twelve Steps-A Spiritual Journey
Serenity: A Companion for Twelve Step Recovery
Recovery: The Twelve Steps as Spiritual Practice

Image Credit: alexmillos

Originally published Aug. 7, 2013

The Road to Recovery :: STEP 7

In THE ROAD TO RECOVERY column along with working the traditional 12 Steps of Recovery we are working the Eight Principles of Celebrate Recovery that are based on The Beatitudes of Jesus. Our steps align with the monthly calendar.

STEP 7: We humbly asked God to remove all our shortcomings.

“If we confess or sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” ~ 1 John 1:9 


PRINCIPLE FIVE (Celebrate Recovery): Voluntarily submit to every change 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

This leg of our recovery journey continues to be challenging. In Step Four we examined ourself through our moral and spiritual inventory. Step Five required the discipline of confession to a trusted friend or mentor. With Step Six came a time of repentance followed now by Step Seven and the purification of our character.  

Having become willing to yield our defects to God we now must bow humbly before our creator in the hopes that He will see fit to remove them. It’s important not to confuse humility with the humiliation that we may be very familiar with as recovering addicts. God doesn’t want to shame us, He only wants us to submit ourselves to His way for our life.

Three reasons we need humility:

  1. We need humility to recognize the severity of our character defects. Without it we may minimize the pain they cause to ourselves and others.
  2. We need humility to acknowledge the limits of our humanity. We can’t remove these character defects with our intellect or willpower.
  3. We need humility to appreciate that it’s only God’s mighty power that can transform our life.

Our goal at the end of this step is to find peace with ourselves.

When we go to God we must bring our inventory list and be specific in our prayer. It can be painful and difficult going through this list of wrongs again. Our stinking thinking may tell us we’re not worthy of the growth and progress we’re making. But if we come with the right attitude God will honor our efforts.

Father God, thank you for helping me become willing to be molded into who you want me to be. I pray that you would remove every defect of character that stands in the way of my being useful to your work. Give me the strength I need to go on from here. I pray this in the precious name of Jesus Christ. Amen

If you can’t see the video screen below CLICK HERE for our Road to Recovery theme song.

Celebrate Recovery Bible
Celebrate Recovery Leader’s Guide
Life Recovery Bible
Life Recovery Devotional
The Twelve Steps for Christians
Prayers for the Twelve Steps-A Spiritual Journey
Serenity: A Companion for Twelve Step Recovery
Recovery: The Twelve Steps as Spiritual Practice


In the addiction community RECOVERY is related to our ability to obtain or maintain sobriety from our drug of choice.  Today I want to talk about recovery as a human being not just about struggles with substance addiction.


1. the regaining of something lost or taken away.

2. return to any former and better state or condition.


Let’s begin by stating that everyone is addicted to something. Whether or not we are aware of it or are willing to admit it, we all have something on which we lean in times of loneliness, stress or crisis. 

Socially acceptable addictions: TV, Internet, work, shopping, games…

Not socially acceptable addictions: drugs, alcohol, sex, porn, gambling, food…

No matter which category we fall in we are all seeking a pain killer, something that will take us out of this painful reality in which we live day to day.
When we’re born our spirit comes to this human form where God allows us to learn the lessons that will prepare us for our eternal life with Him. I believe our spirit is on a continual search for that heavenly realm away from this painful earthly life. Because we are in this human form with its physical desires, that so often get us in trouble, when we do find our pleasure centers we often decide to live there.
Looking at the definition for recovery above, I believe when we are seeking various pain relievers, our personal pleasures or “drugs of choice” we are in essence trying to return to our former and better state of life: heaven.
It’s not so much about removing the negative as it is about putting in more of the positive. When we focus on the negative it sometimes draws us there. It’s important that we not focus on pushing out the bad but rather focus on filling in with positive things; keeping the good front and center. 
The filling and refilling starts the process of recovery. Notice I said the process of recovery. RECOVERY isn’t a state that we will attain on this earth. It will only come when we are freed of this human form and in the heavenly realm with our Holy Father. 

Who will rescue me from this body that is taking me to death? Thanks be to God, who does this through our Lord Jesus Christ! ~ Romans 7:24-25

Image credit: alexmillos / 123RF Stock Photo

The 12 Principles :: RESPONSIVENESS



Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. 


What is integrity?

“As our recovery deepens, responsibility grows into responsiveness. Spiritual intelligence unfolds into spiritual integrity.  Making amends expands into mending the world.” ~Patrick Carnes

Most addicts have a history of being reactive rather than responsive especially to situations of change. Thankfully at this stage of our recovery we are aware of the effects our decisions and actions have on those around us. We have taken the focus off ourselves and are more interested in helping others.

The one thing in life we can be certain of is change. When we are responsive we adjust quickly, and easily to changing external conditions. Being responsive prevents regret and that starts by doing today what we will be happy with tomorrow.

No matter how bad things may look the outcome may end up being for our good. In the reverse, circumstances may be seemingly be great then the winds of change sweep through with a dramatic change that spins our head around.

The challenge here is to not hold on too tight, being adaptive and spiritually flexible while staying true to our greater life purpose. Rather than leaning in to the situation with an emotional reaction, we can lean back, watch and wait; checking for any positive action needed on our part. If none is necessary we surrender to the moment and wait for change to come again. And it certainly will. 

KEY QUESTION: What is integrity?

in-te-gri-ty:  an undivided or unbroken completeness; moral soundness

When walking in our addictions our moral soundness was severely lacking. This is one thing that is most important to me as I continue the recovery journey. I don’t ever want to hurt the ones I love again. 

A life that exhibits integrity is crucial. There’s no turning back now!

A Gentle Path through the Twelve Principles: Living the Values Behind the Steps by Patrick Carnes ** 

The Road to Recovery :: STEP 5

In The Road to Recovery column we’re working the Eight Principles of Celebrate Recovery that are based on Beatitudes and the traditional 12 Steps of Recovery as they align with the monthly calendar.

STEP FIVE: We admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. ~ James 5:16

PRINCIPLE FOUR (Celebrate Recovery): Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God and to someone I trust. 

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” ~ Matthew 5:8

We’ve lived a life of secrets and lies, denying the truth of the pain we were causing to ourselves and to those we love. It’s time for the lies to stop and for truth to prevail. And often times the truth hurts.

In Step Four we began the process of coming clean by writing our spiritual and moral inventory. Now it’s time for the rubber to meet the road. All our baggage, the good, the bad and the ugly, is going to come off the page and into real life as we share inventory aloud with another person.
Step Five consists of three parts: admitting to God, to ourselves and to another human being. Each part adds a new dimension, a deeper level of intensity to our confession; one reverential, the next personal and finally the painful reality. Let’s look at each level.
ADMITTING WRONGS TO GOD allows us some distance from our wrongs, a sense of objectivity that keeps us from feeling too much pain. However, there may be a time during our confession when words can’t express our feelings. We may need to allow the Holy Spirit to take our prayer of confession from the sounds and groans of our pain. 
ADMITTING WRONGS TO OURSELVES seems redundant after having just written them down in Step Four.  But repeating the inventory, this time out loud to ourselves, helps cement our confession. This brings home the truth of what we’ve done and what we are capable of doing to our prideful ego. 
ADMITTING WRONGS TO ANOTHER HUMAN BEING is probably the most painful and even embarrassing part of Step Five. While there is no perfect way to work this step the most important thing is the trustworthiness of our confessor. Whomever we choose, we must make certain this person will never use what we tell them against us. We can’t make our confession unless and until we feel safe.
During this painful process we can look forward to the freedom we will feel after unloading our long carried burdens. We can rest assured the Biblical promise of healing will come after confessing our sins. And having shared our personal inventory with another person we will gain the support which frees us from our sense of isolation, our false pride, and denial. 

Lord, my inventory has shown me who I am, yet I ask for your help in admitting my wrongs to another person and to you. Assure me, and be with me in this step, for without this step I cannot progress in my recovery. With Your help, I can do this and I will. 

Show me who can hear my confession and not hurt me.
Show me who can stand my story and not condemn.
Show me who can listen and honestly care.
Show me who can be a human being and still show mercy.**

Click here for The Road to Recovery theme song.


**Prayers for the Twelve Steps: A Spiritual Journey
Celebrate Recovery Bible
Recovery: The Twelve Steps as Spiritual Practice by Rami Shapiro
The Twelve Steps for Christians

The Road to Recovery :: STEP FOUR


We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Let us examine our ways, test them, and return to the Lord. ~ Lamentations 3:40


PRINCIPLE FOUR of Celebrate Recovery:

Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God and to someone I trust.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. ~ Matthew 5:8

Step Four begins the growth steps of our recovery journey. We are now ready to come clean, to dig into the areas of our life where we have been blinded by denial.  For our moral inventory it’s very important that we stay balanced. We should make a list of our not only our weaknesses but also our strengths.

Grab a pen and paper as we follow Celebrate Recovery’s suggestions for processing our Spiritual Inventory. Let’s start examining areas of our life:

  • Relationships:

Who has hurt you? Who have you hurt? Are you seeking revenge / holding grudges?

  • Priorities 

What are your priorities? What is good / bad about them? Who do they affect and how?

  • Attitudes 

Are you grateful, complaining, sarcastic, anxious, fearful? Do you blow up easily?

  • Integrity

Are there times you have been dishonest? Pretended to be something you aren’t?

  • Mind

How do your guard your mind? Do you fill it with unhealthy movies, books or magazines?

  • Body

How have you treated your body? What habits or physical activities do you have?

  • Family

How do you treat family members? What family secret are you denying?

  • Church

Have you been faithful to church in the past? Are you discouraging your family from church?

There is much more that we can talk about when it comes to our inventory.  It’s my desire here to provide a jump start for your recovery. Please know this column isn’t designed to take the place of a 12 Step program. If you aren’t already attending a group I encourage you to go to the Celebrate Recovery website:  to find a group in your area.

Also, if you don’t have an accountability partner yet, attending a CR group will help you to find someone to help you work through your inventory list.  Remember, the road to recovery is not designed to be traveled alone!

I pray God will reveal just what you need to see as your courageously take this step. Blessings… Tamara

Click here to watch / listen to our Road to Recovery theme song: The Serenity Prayer.

Celebrate Recovery Leader’s Guide
Celebrate Recovery Bible
The Twelve Steps for Christians
Life Recovery Bible

The Road to Recovery :: STEP THREE

We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. ~ Romans 12:1

PRINCIPLE THREE: (Celebrate Recovery)
Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. ~ Matthew 5:5

There comes a time in our recovery journey when we need to look for help. We no longer can do this work on our own. And like a surgeon, who must go to another doctor for treatment, we can’t operate on ourselves. We need the Great Healer, the only Higher Power ~ Jesus Christ!

In Step Three we’re working through a big decision. We prepare for this decision process by thoroughly working Steps One and Two.

  • Look at the unmanageability of our lives.
  • Consider our needs, God’s abilities and our future with or without God. 
  • We contemplate the required changes.
  • Decide God is the only one able to manage our lives.

Let’s look at the Celebrate Recovery acrostic that can help us turn our lives over to God:


We put blind trust in many things daily. We trust the chair we’re sitting in to hold us. We trust our car will make it home. We trust the electric switch for light. Why is it so difficult to trust God to take care of us? 

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ~ Romans 10:9


Relying on our own understanding gets us into many messes. That’s why we need Jesus. After we ask Jesus into our life, we must look to him in all our decisions. As we grow in our relationship with Jesus, he will show us how he wants us to live. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6 


Repentance is making an about face with your life; a complete 180, turning from the life of sin we’ve been leading to living a life with and for God. When we have repented we see the world from God’s perspective instead of our own. 

“The time has come,” [Jesus] said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” ~ Mark 1:15


As we take the above three actions; trusting, understanding and repenting our lives are made new in Christ! 

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

Some old thought patterns have recently resurfaced in my life. So you aren’t alone, I’m working these steps right along with you. It is my prayer that this column has been of some help for you today.

Please click here to watch / listen to the Road to Recovery theme song for this year.

Blessings… Tamara


Celebrate Recovery Bible
Life Recovery Bible
The Twelve Steps for Chirstians

The Road to Recovery :: STEP TWO


Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. ~ Philippians 2:13

PRINCIPLE TWO: (Celebrate Recovery)

Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to him and that he has the power to help me recover.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. ~ Matthew 5:4

At this stage of our recovery journey we are beginning to find peace with God; faith is birthing within our heart and soul. Our spirit has been pricked by the Holy One, nudging us back home to a safe place ruled by Love.

When we humble ourselves by recognizing God’s power it brings us to a place where we can believe for more, we become able to receive the strength we desparately need to recover. Only through honest transparency about our weaknesses, our hurts, habits and hang-ups, can we truly find healing. We will never be totally free until we yield ourselves to God.

God knows all our dirty little secrets but he needs us to know that He knows. Not to rub our nose in them, but when we can feel ashamed for the right reason, when we have a true sense of regret for our past actions, maybe, just maybe, we can learn from them.

Principle Two is the Hope principle. Here is the acrostic from Celebrate Recovery:

H – Higher Power  

For everything comes from him; everything exists by his power and is intended for his glory. To him be glory evermore. ~ Romans 11:36

O – Openness to change 

Throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.  ~ Ephesians 4:22-23

P – Power to change 

Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. ~ Psalm 25:5

E – Expectation to change  

I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again. ~ Philippians 1:6

By admitting our powerlessness in Step One we moved from a life filled with pain and suffering to one with hope. Our hope grows when we believe that a power greater than ourselves, Jesus Christ, can and will restore us to sanity.

Are you struggling today? Is your life one of insanity and despair?

Don’t delay. Call out to Jesus. He alone has the power to change your life.

He is your Hope for a better tomorrow!

Reflect on hope in Christ as you listen to our Road to Recovery theme song by David Zasloff:

Celebrate Recovery Bible
Life Recovery Bible
The Twelve Steps for Christians

The Road to Recovery :: STEP ONE

Step One:

We admitted we were powerless over the effects of our separation from God–that our lives had become unmanageable. 

I know nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. ~ Romans 7:18

Principle One (Celebrate Recovery):

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. 

Blessed are the poor in spirit. ~ Matthew 5:3

The pain of remaining the same has finally become greater than the fear of change. After spending a lifetime hiding from or numbing our pain, it’s time to surrender and face our pain head on. 

This first step requires that we recognize our brokenness so our healing process can begin. We can’t heal a wound unless we admit it exists; we must face and admit our denial. 

The Celebrate Recovery Bible has a wonderful acrostic for DENIAL:

D – disables our feelings.

E – energy drain.

N – negates our growth.

I  –  isolates us from God.

A – alienates us from other human relationships.

L –  lengthens our pain. 

We should now ask ourselves:

In what way have I isolated myself from God and others? 

How do I disable my feelings?

What areas of my life are out of control?

Don’t allow the fear of change to rule your life. Healing is possible!

If you are struggling with hurts, habits or hang-ups and aren’t participating in a 12 Step support group, I encourage you to seek one out. Celebrate Recovery groups are available in most cities.  

I hope you enjoy our Road to Recovery Theme song for this year:


Celebrate Recovery Bible
The Twelve Steps for Christians