SPRING HILL — For those seeking help in recovering from addiction — either their own or someone else's — two local churches stand ready to help.
Using a program called Celebrate Recovery, Northcliffe Baptist Church and Christian Church in the Wildwood offer adults a safe, confidential place to talk about their habits and the emotional pain they cause.
Home Run, a film released to theaters in April, showcases Celebrate Recovery by chronicling one man's story of alcoholism. The film demonstrates how life's circumstances led him to addiction and how wrong choices affected not only him but his loved ones.
The story centers around Cory Brand, played by Scott Elrod, a professional baseball player whose celebrity lifestyle and cocky attitude camouflage the reason behind his binges and temper tantrums: he was once a little boy crushed by an abusive, alcoholic father. Stuck in his hometown, coaching a youth league team during a suspension from baseball for driving drunk, Brand confronts his past and his demons.
With the help of the Celebrate Recovery Program, which he is required to attend, and the care of his former girlfriend and her son, he finds his own road to recovery. It's a story that offers hope to those who feel alone and condemned — hope that, with God's help, they can change.
Steve Celinski, director of Northcliffe's recovery program and minister of outreach for the church, took a group to see the film in Tampa last month.
"It touched my soul," Celinski said. "It's a story of God's grace and how much God loves the family. It shows us what is important in life — our relationship with Christ and our love for others."
Celinski, 61, said he thinks the film will speak to not only addicts but everyone who sees it.
"(Addiction) is a spiritual cancer that affects everyone," he said. "The movie dealt with abuse, anger issues, alcohol, abandonment, family, grief, victory in Christ, hope, coping with life, reconciliation in Christ and reconciliation with the family. All of that was in the film ... (It) brings a message of hope, that God can heal you if you seek him."
Celebrate Recovery provides the means to do that, he said.
The curriculum for the program originated at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., about 20 years ago when one of its members, John Baker, wanted to find a men's group to share his experiences in overcoming an alcoholism. Unable to find one that was Christ-centered and that would welcome in-depth personal testimonies, he started his own group with the encouragement of his pastor.
Baker's program not only ministers to those with alcohol addiction but can help people with eating disorders, sex addictions, abuse or anger issues, depression and even debt.
The Bible-based program proved to be a success and has since been adopted by more than 19,000 churches worldwide.
Celinski, a recovering alcoholic who has been sober since 1985, said the program has separate groups for men and women. These are led by trained counselors who have themselves experienced addiction. It offers something more than other recovery programs, he said:
"We're a Christ-centered program. We point people to the Lord. All addictions are a symptom of a bigger problem. To have any meaningful recovery, I believe that we need to turn our life and our will over to the care of Jesus Christ."