Facilitator Shares His Own Past Brokenness to Help Clients Heal

August 27, 2021

Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered twelve-step recovery program for anyone struggling with hurts, habits or hangups. At Raleigh Rescue Mission, trained Celebrate Recovery leaders facilitate weekly small group meetings, offering a confidential, safe place for clients to share their struggles, hear testimonies, and grow in relationship with God. It’s making a big difference for participants as they progress through the Mission’s New Life Plan.

Gary Braswell began facilitating the weekly meetings at the Mission three years ago. Gary’s past includes his own addiction issues, with cocaine being, as he describes, his “drug of choice.” Now sober for many years, he’s been attending and leading Celebrate Recovery meetings at Crossroads Church for 19 years. When he heard about Raleigh Rescue, he knew immediately that God was calling him to help in whatever way he could.

“I’ve learned so much,” reflects Gary about his time working with clients on their journey to stability. “I’ve learned how important it is to be real, to be patient and loving, to listen and develop a relationship as best I can. It’s important that the clients see how broken I was, who I was in the past. The most rewarding part for me has been to be able to establish a sense of trust as the clients start to open up and really do the work to make positive changes.”

The pandemic brought about format challenges, including meeting via Zoom rather than in the classroom. While not ideal, clients became quite comfortable opening up from the comfort of their own rooms. And with vaccination progress, Gary has recently been able to meet with some clients in a small group setting, while another facilitator continues the online meetings.

Gary points out that it’s vitally important to encourage clients to anticipate and plan for what life will be like when they are living outside the walls of the Mission. They may need to change the people, places and things that brought them to their brokenness.  “I tell them, life is not going to be perfect even when it is not ruled by your addiction or hurt. I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ and my recovery and growth is forever.”

We celebrate the work that is going on in Celebrate Recovery meetings at Raleigh Rescue Mission and thank God for individuals like Gary who give so freely of their time and talent. To learn more about Celebrate Recovery, visit celebraterecovery.com.