‘Help me Rhonda’ aims to heal at Celebrate Recovery’s second anniversary event

Published 7:23 pm Saturday, November 12, 2016

With the New Year approaching quickly, many have begun to reflect on the vices that haunt them on a daily basis, and search for a solution to overcome them.

Celebrate Recovery Brookhaven hopes to help in that endeavor by inviting residents to its second anniversary celebration Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Lincoln County Baptist Association.

Rhonda Jacobs

Rhonda Jacobs

The 12-step program, established in Brookhaven by Rhonda Jacobs, is similar to Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous, but is Christian-based and for people seeking recovery from any kind of addiction, not just alcohol or drugs.

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“God worked through all of the ugliness in my life to make something beautiful,” Jacobs said. “Then he put a burning in my heart for the Brookhaven area after I visited numerous times and didn’t find Celebrate Recovery available. Instead of ‘Relapse Rhonda,’ they now call me ‘Help me Rhonda.’”

Jacobs has spoken these words to many dealing with “hurts, habits and hang-ups,” during Celebrate Recovery program meetings.

Overeating, gambling, pornography, control issues, anger, depression, obsessive-compulsive tendencies and other addictive behaviors fall under the umbrella of the “hurts, habits and hang-ups” people work through in Celebrate Recovery, she said. There are also those who are dealing with hurts not dealt with from the past, or current pain that is causing them grief.

“We work with people who are lonely or depressed and cannot work past it,” Jacobs said. “We work with all people, not just recovering drug addicts. We teach our visitors to take control and work through their problems using the help of the Bible.”

Celebrate Recovery is non-denominational and for any individual over the age of 18. The leadership is made of volunteers dealing with their own issues who act as sponsors and accountability partners to help guide each other. The program exists to give people tools to aid in individual recoveries, Jacobs said.

It meets at the Lincoln County Baptist Association Tuesday and Thursday at 7 p.m. where there is time for praise music, token ceremonies, a lesson or testimony, discussion tables and step studies. Jacobs also travels to the Lincoln County Jail once a week to minister the program to the female inmates. 

“It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done or where you’ve been, each ‘hurt, habit and hang-up’ are equally the same in recovery,” Jacobs said. “No one is better or worse than each other here.”

The Celebrate Recovery program once existed in the area, but disolved. It was revived in November 2014 when Jacobs started visiting the female inmates at the jail.

“They didn’t really want to listen to me. They ignored me,” Jacobs said about the inmates. “When I gave them my testimony, and they heard some of the nitty gritty because I’m a recovering drug addict myself — it’s been 31 years Aug. 18 — then they started listening. They heard some of the hardships I had also been through, and they could relate. They spoke. And by the next week, they were telling others to listen. It’s been really good.”

Two years later, regular meetings serve those who need it. The second anniversary celebration will serve as a special occasion to mark success and growth in the program.

“It’s hard to say how many people we’ve helped in numbers,” she said. “Sometimes when people visit it’s a temporary thing. Sometimes they come back. We work with the courts and justice system to offer them other options. We’ve seen a lot of different people.”

The biggest growth indicator for the program is the additional meeting day, Jacobs said.

“Last year, we were only meeting one day a week,” she said. “We are now up to two, plus the day I visit jail. We use scripture and tools in the Bible to change our path not just get rid of one thing, because once you get rid of drugs and alcohol, then you find all the other issues in your life.

Based on the Beatitudes in Matthew and their comparisons to the 12 steps, Celebrate Recovery is a balanced and Biblical approach to recovery and Christ-like maturity. Jacobs said the Christian-based aspect of the program is what sets it apart and makes it especially helpful to transform lives to be simpler, more honest, meaningful, productive and easier.

“I’ve seen certain alcoholics or drug addicts quit drinking or quit drugging and not change another aspect of their life. They continue to sell drugs, they continue to strong-arm people, continue to be thieves and liars and cheats and prostitutes and everything else, and they do it clean and sober. It’s a miserable life, and they know there’s a hole, and it’s usually a God-sized hole.”

Pastor Ronnie Henderson from Abundant Life Church of Brookhaven will speak at the anniversary.

“He has a personal recovery story that he will share with our visitors,” Jacobs said.

In addition to the testimony, Jacobs said door prizes will be given away at the program.

“Door prizes will be the materials that we use,” she said. “Celebrate Recovery step study books, devotionals and Bibles.”

Refreshments will also be served throughout the celebration, and everyone is welcome to attend the free program.

Jacobs is available to speak to groups, organizations and churches. To request a booking or for more information, visit the Celebrate Recovery Brookhaven Facebook page, call Jacobs at 601-934-3280 or email celebrate@showmenow.net.