Chemical Recovery (CR) is a structured group.  This structure is important and is vital for maintaining the security and integrity of the group.  This particular post will be focused on Chemical Recovery Groups that meet with both men and women then separate into male and female groups.

CR Groups are conducted at a place pre-determined by the CR Leader.  This place should provide uninterrupted privacy and remain the same from week to week.  This will provide stability to the group.

CR Groups begin at a predetermined time.  The group lasts 90 minutes and is to end on time.  All participants are required to be present at the time designated to start group.  Once the time to start the group has arrived, the CR Leader is to lock the door to the meeting area and proceed with the group.  There are many reasons for this level of structure surrounding group start time.

  • This teaches participants to be on time
  • This teaches participants to keep their word
  • This protects the group from being interrupted
  • This motivates participants to make their recovery a priority

Once the door has been locked, the CR Group sings a discretionary number of songs and then prays to God to intervene in the group.  The CR Leader facilitates good news sharing.  This promotes godly thinking.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.

– Philippians 4:8

After sharing, the CR Leader will take a brief break while men and women go to separate rooms.  The separation promotes openness.  Relatability is one of the most effective tools we have in assisting one another in breaking down walls of defense.

Another way we preserve this openness is through confidentiality. A major tenet of the CR group is that what is said in CR stays in CR.  We do not discuss the details of what happens in CR with anyone outside of the group.

Once men and women split, the CR Leader facilitates sharing about major temptations and “pick ups”, which are episodes of using that have occurred over the previous week.  All participants and their discipling partners are required to remain abstinent from alcohol and substance use throughout their commitment to the group.

After participants share about their temptations, the CR Leader may choose to preach a brief charge from the scriptures about a recovery related topic.  He may also ask another participant to preach a brief charge keeping the lesson to roughly 5 minutes.

After the recovery related lesson is preached, the CR Leader will explain to first time visitors to the group that some participants will be reading journals (More on journal content in the article titled How to Write a Journal.) First time visitors are instructed to sit back and listen without providing feedback after the journal is read.

The CR Leader will then ask if every participant has their journal completely rewritten based on the feedback they received the last time they read.  Possession of the journal is required for participation in CR.  Each participant must have taken the feedback presented to them and have the journal ready to read at each CR group session.  If a participant does not have their journal, the group will give them feedback and discipling from the scriptures to help them have it next time.  Then the CR Leader may ask the participant to leave group and come prepared next time.  This decision is based on the CR Leader’s discretion and may involve the group’s input.

Then the CR Leader asks a participant to read their journal.  There should be no note taking, talking, or flipping through Bibles during the reading of a journal.  The participant reading is to have the groups undivided attention until they have completed the journal.

The group then gives the reader feedback.  (More on giving feedback in the article How to Give Feedback.) The participant that read their journal is to listen intently until all feedback has been given.  Then the participant will be asked to share how they feel about the feedback they received.  This promotes patience and humility.

If time permits, another journal may be read following the aforementioned guidelines.

After all journals have been read, and all feedback has been given, the CR Leader facilitates will then ask any first time visitors if they are going to commit to the group.  If the first time participant agrees to commit to the group, they are:

  • Given instructions on how to complete the journal
  • Reminded to be on time with their discipling partner to the next group
  • Informed that they are only allowed to miss a total of three CR groups throughout their commitment to participate in the group
  • Informed that their journal is due upon the start of the next CR Group meeting

The CR Leader then conducts a feelings check.  The CR Leader presents 5 feeling words: glad, mad, sad, afraid, or embarrassed.  Participants are to choose one feeling word with no explanation.  Then the group closes in prayer.  (It is suggested that a participant who read their journal during group be the one who prays at the end.  This, however, is also up to the discretion of the CR Leader.)

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