There are many options today for helping people in recovery. For those who want to integrate their faith into their recovery, there is a program called Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered twelve-step program that started 27 years ago at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California.

While working on his own sobriety through Alcoholics Anonymous, founder John Baker thought the idea of a faith-based program would benefit others like him. He presented a detailed proposal to his pastor, Rick Warren, for starting a twelve-step ministry to help people who struggle with life’s hurts, hang-ups and habits. Warren supported the idea and encouraged John to run with it.

Celebrate Recovery is now one of the seven largest addiction recovery support group programs. Over 3.5 million people have participated in a Celebrate Recovery step study which takes place in over 29,000 churches. Approximately two-thirds of these participants are in recovery for something other than drugs or alcohol. Unlike other twelve-step programs, Celebrate Recovery addresses various issues including, but not limited to, alcohol and drug addiction, codependency, sexual addiction, love and relationship addiction and dozens of other struggles.

No matter which Celebrate Recovery group a person attends, the format is the same consisting of three different types of meetings. The first meeting is an hour-long gathering which includes everyone and is referred to as the Big Meeting. This meeting has worship, reading of the 12 steps or eight principles of the program and either a lesson or a testimony. The second meeting has smaller Open Share Groups that are gender- and issue-specific. The five guidelines are read and adhered to, keeping these groups a safe and confidential place to share. In addition to the open share groups, there is a group for newcomers where a person can learn about how and why Celebrate Recovery works.

The third group is called Step Study and is held on a different night from the Big Meeting and Open Share Groups. It requires doing weekly homework from program curriculum which consists of four books. This group is also gender-based and lasts about nine months. During this time a person will find a sponsor and build their accountability team.

Celebrate Recovery is for the entire family. Celebration Place is for elementary age children where they learn how to put words to their feelings; The Landing is the teen program. If you are interested in Celebration Place or The Landing for your children, call the ministry leader and inquire if they offer these groups; there is no cost to attend.

There are currently six Celebrate Recovery programs in our valley which are listed below. Pat Layton from Our Saviors Church in Palm Springs is the state representative for the Coachella Valley. If you would like to start a Celebrate Recovery at your church or have questions, contact Pat Layton at (769) 327.5611, Ext. 103. You can learn more at

Following is a list of Celebrate Recovery programs in our Valley:


Champion Life Church
72745 Hwy. 111, Palm Desert 92260
7:00pm (760) 835.3700
Ray Martin
[email protected]


Our Savior’s Lutheran Church
1020 E. Ramon Rd., Palm Springs 92264
6:30pm(760) 327.5611, Ext 103
Pat Layton
[email protected]


Bilingual Baptist Church
(In the start-up phase)
85246 Valley Rd.,
Coachella 92236
(760) 567.0912
Corina Villagomez [email protected]


Hope Lutheran Church
45900 Portola Ave, Palm Desert 92211
7:00pm (760) 346.1273
Gesa Sharon
[email protected]


Destiny Church
82545 Showcase Pkwy, Ste A, Indio 92203
7:00pm (760) 863.0700
Randy Boyd
[email protected]


Southwest Church
44175 Washington, Indian Wells 92210
6:00pm Dinner  7:00pm Big Meeting
760-200-2000, X 2283
Bob Newby
[email protected]
Mary Finley
[email protected]

Bob Newby has been a pastor for 37 years and serves as the Pastor of Celebrate Recovery at Southwest Church in Indian Wells.  He is also the Celebrate Recovery regional director for the Western United States and can be reached at [email protected] or (760) 200.2000 ext. 2283.

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Comments (5)

  • I would like to enrolled in celebrate recovery. I haven’t have a way to get there. I just would like to know if I can do it thru the mail.

    • Lauren Del Sarto

      Thank you for reading Desert Health, Natalie. Please contact each organization to see if they offer that option.

      Best wishes to you ~
      Lauren Del Sarto

  • Are there any Step study zoom meetings available

    • Lauren Del Sarto

      That is a great question! I recommend emailing the group of your choice, or that is closest to you, from the list above and ask them that question. I am sure they can assist you!

      Thank you for reading ~

      Lauren Del Sarto

  • Hi I’m in recovery at MFi in Riverside but I’m coming home on Jun 6 2022 and I’m looking for a celebrate recovery near indio how do I get ahold of the southwest church or should I just go? Thank you in advance.


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