By Jessica Tuggle
VERO BEACH - Six years ago, Twain Rodgers had three dozen felony charges to his name, a 23-year addiction to crack cocaine and frequently found himself behind bars.
Today, Mr. Rodgers has been clean for five years, lives with his wife and two sons and is a ministry leader at Immanuel Church in Vero Beach.
"Today I'm not homeless. I own my own home, a new home with Habitat for Humanity and my family is back together," Mr. Rodgers said.
The change in his life was made possible because of Jesus Christ and a step program called Celebrate Recovery.
Celebrate Recovery is a recovery program based on principles found in the Bible to help people dealing with life's hurts, hang ups and habits, said the Rev. Roger Ball, lead pastor of Immanuel Church.
The church has had a Celebrate Recovery program for about seven years, the Rev. Ball said.
"It's not just for alcohol or drug addicts, it's for any hurt, habit or hang up. We approach it from a spiritual standpoint, not a physical standpoint," he said.
Sometimes when people have addictions to drugs or alcohol or other negative habits, they are symptoms of other issues, the Rev. Ball said.
Celebrate Recovery is for all sorts of struggles including co-dependency, eating disorders, pornography addictions and any other life issue you can think of, he said.
"If we are really honest, everyone has a hurt, habit or hang up. Everyone just medicates their hurt, habit or hang up in a different way," Mr. Rodgers said.
The program is two-fold. There is a weekly large group time that includes singing and sharing and often a teaching time, followed by gender-specific, issues-based small group discussions.
The weekly meeting is held Thursdays at 7 p.m. and is currently led by Mr. Rodgers. Dinner is served at 6 p.m.
The step study program is offered at different times during the year. The next one begins on Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. Each step takes about one month to complete, the Rev. Ball said.
During the first three steps, basically the first three months, the study class is open, but step four and the subsequent steps are more personal and intense, so once that point is reached, the group is closed, he said.
"The eight steps of recovery come from the Beatitudes and people work through their issues in a gender-specific group," the Rev. Ball said.
Having only men or women in a group makes more people comfortable sharing, he said.
Pre-registration is not necessary before the step studies begin.
Immanuel Church is located at 455 S.W. 58th Ave., Vero Beach. For more information, call (772) 562-3185 or visit www.verochurch.com.
For more information about Celebrate Recovery, visit www.celebraterecovery.com.