A local church is bringing its devotion to service and compassion to a new endeavor that it hopes will provide a different path for those looking to fight their own hurts, habits and hang-ups.

Second Baptist Church in Cedartown is officially launching Celebrate Recovery Cedartown on Thursday, April 22, at its campus at 152 Evergreen Lane.

Developed as a nationwide Christ-centered recovery program, Celebrate Recovery covers a broad spectrum of addictions and problems, from drugs, alcohol and anger to gambling, grief and anxiety.

Second Baptist Senior Pastor Justin Carter had known about the program for some time, helping the Celebrate Recovery Rockmart program in the past, but was compelled to start a Cedartown ministry by church member David Wright.

“David Wright really has been the one that felt led to do this here. Since we’ve been over here, he’s kind of spearheaded the effort,” Carter said. “We talked about it, we prayed about it, and we threw the idea around actually going on two years ago now, because we’ve been talking about it for a good bit, just the need in the community.”

Second Baptist will host Celebrate Recovery nights each Thursday, with dinner from 6:15 to 7 p.m. followed by a large group meeting and then small groups. The program is free and features testimonies, speakers and singing. Childcare is provided as well.

During a community introduction dinner on April 1, Wright said Polk County is one of the hardest hit areas in Northwest Georgia for drug overdoses and addiction, with twice the number of overdoses of Floyd County and Chattooga County combined in 2020.

“Once we got into COVID, we really felt the need to kind of double down our efforts to get it going,” Carter said.

“This isn’t a program that you know could just be thrown together overnight, we’ve had to really pray and organize and work. And since it’s a weekly program, we’ve got people on schedule on rotations to feed every week, to provide childcare, to do music, and then also to lead small groups.”

Leaders and sponsors go through a six-month in-depth study of the program’s 12 steps of recovery, based on the Beatitudes in the Bible. Wright said a total of 15 church members will be graduating from the Celebrate Recovery step study in mid-May.

“They’re not only going to be here on Thursday nights. That is 15 leaders going out into the community to help fight these diseases, addiction and everything else people struggle with,” Wright said. “So we think it’s gonna be a very strong organization as far as helping this community.

Second Baptist is also working with Mosaic Place, a local recovery community resource, to provide more help and direct participants where they can go for further assistance.

Like Wright, Mosaic Place Program Director Lydia Goodson is a success story and participant of the Celebrate Recovery program. She was surprised during the April 1 dinner to receive her six-year chip after defeating substance abuse in 2015.

“This program saved my life,” Goodson said as she was overcome with emotion. “What you are doing is nothing short of miraculous.

“Our community has to have this program, because you are going to see people’s lives completely change.”

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