By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer
They're addicts - and they're committed Christians.
They're the people of Celebrate Recovery, a faith-based 12-step recovery program that meets at Temple Bible Church.
At least 150 people participate each week. They acknowledge their weaknesses and the need to heal through small group sessions and one-on-one counseling.
'We've been at it for a year now,' said Charlie Turnbo, the director. 'God's done a lot of good this year. We're looking forward to another.'
He said at least 800 people have successfully completed the program.
The success of the Temple CR program has inspired Fort Hood to start one of its own. Chester Egert, installation chaplain, said it will be operational by March.
'With increased stress levels, the soldiers coming home need more help and support than we've been able to give. Our other resources have been tapped,' Egert explained. 'I've seen Celebrate Recovery work. It worked in Temple, and I've seen it work for a friend and family member. It will be a good addition at Fort Hood.'
Turnbo and his wife, Beverly, launched the program in Temple after starting successful ones in Salado and Gatesville.
'The highlight of our work here has been watching God change people's lives,' Turnbo said. 'We've seen them come in, do the program and leave a better, stronger person, ready for the responsibilities of daily life.'
Come February, CR leadership will go from the Turnbos to Tim and Kellie Chaplin, two TBC members familiar with the challenges of drug addiction.
'I am a recovered addict,' Chaplin said. 'I felt led to share the healing I found through Jesus Christ. That's why I'm taking this on. My goal is to reach out to the community and help as many people as I can.'
Knowing the life of an addict, Chaplin said, is what makes CR successful.
'You can't recover on your own,' Chaplin said. 'It's easier when you've got someone else beside you, someone who's been where you've been, where you are and where you're going.'
The departing Turnbos will still be involved with CR.
'Our main focus will be on prison ministry,' Turnbo said. 'But we'll still be around.'
The Chaplins' first task was to implement a set of step-study groups within the CR program.
'It'll start the first Friday in March,' Chaplin said. 'Each step-study group will meet for 26 weeks, accepting new participants up to the third week. At the end of the 26 weeks, it will start over with a different group of people.'
The goal of each step-study group, Chaplin explained, will be to examine the 12 steps of recovery particular to a specific addiction or emotional hurt. They'll be groups for substance and alcohol abuse, sexual addiction, codependency, relationship struggles, depression, self-esteem, eating disorders and grief.
'Everything is anonymous,' Chaplin said. 'Men will meet with men, and women with women. It's all confidential.'
A retired veteran and former addict, Ed Leach said that without CR, he'd be lost spiritually and physically.
'I'd be stuck in my addiction. I know it,' Leach said. 'It's the fellowship and the strong relationships you build with your accountability partners that make Celebrate Recovery work.'