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Celebrate Recovery marks three years of helping people in Massena


MASSENA — A support group that began in 2011 hasn’t lost any steam over its three-year existence.

The Celebrate Recovery program, which meets Wednesday evenings at Cross Current Youth Ministries, 56-58 Main St., averages 15 to 20 people and sometimes draws as many as 30 people each week.

“We’ve never had a decline in numbers,” said Christine J. Atcheson, pastor at New Testament Church, who started the program.

Celebrate Recovery is designed as a Christ-centered program to help people of any age struggling with past or current dysfunctions or compulsions.

“It’s not just drugs and alcohol. It’s for anyone who might be struggling,” Ms. Atcheson said, noting it also could be anything from smoking and eating to gambling and sex.

The group plans an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. May 5 for anyone who might be interested in joining. “They can come and see if it’s a right fit for them,” Ms. Atcheson said.

She said those who attend are a close-knit group. They meet from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, and can stay until 8 p.m. to mingle. “We work very hard to make it a family, a community,” Ms. Atcheson said. “We exchange phone numbers. We hang out together. We have barbecues. ... Our highest power is God. He creates a warm, welcoming environment.”

“Anonymity is the biggest thing,” said a member who identifies herself as Sarah and helps lead the group. “It’s a very safe group.”

She said she welcomed the support of others because of her battle with alcohol and drugs. She said she had a professional career, a husband and children, but the addictions threatened to ruin all of them. Sarah said Ms. Atcheson entered her life and suggested she needed help. Following a month in rehab, Sarah said, she was “immediately plugged into Celebrate Recovery,” and today she’s been in recovery for two and a half years.

More information is available at or by calling Ms. Atcheson at 769-9951.

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