On the Road to Recovery
About the Guest
Bob and Karrie Wood, leaders in the Celebrate Recovery Ministry, tell Dennis how they first put their faith in Christ and how God's power and love began to break the spell of their addictions to drugs, alcohol, pornography, and eating disorders. Hear how God continues to renew and restore their lives and their relationships with those they love most.
Bob and Karrie WoodBob Wood, Celebrate Recovery pastor at Fellowship Bible Church (FBC) in Little Rock and responsible for 22 other Celebrate Recovery churches in Arkansas, comments, “we’re not a hotel for saints, we’re a hospital for sinners.” Wood, a recovering drug and sex addict himself and a Saddleback alumnus, leads FBC’s Friday night meetings which attract 200 to 300 regular attendees, many of them not regular Sunday churchgoers. Wood’s wife, Karrie, who is recovering primarily from bulemi...more
Bob and Karrie tell Dennis how God’s power and love began to break the spell of their addictions.
On the Road to Recovery
Bob Lepine: Bob Wood’s life was a mess, and his friends knew it. They put together an intervention to try to get him some help, and that was Step One.
Bob Wood: After that intervention, it’s still a little bit fuzzy on exactly what happened, but at some point I walked into a recovery meeting. It was there I met a Christian man who brought me to Celebrate Recovery; and it’s at Celebrate Recovery that I realized that going to meetings alone was not enough, that I needed a relationship with Jesus Christ that would transform me from the inside out.
Bob Lepine: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, April 18th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. Meeting Jesus Christ didn’t just change Bob Wood’s behavior; it changed his whole life.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition. Have you ever thought about the relationship between the children’s nursery rhyme, Humpty Dumpty, and the Christian life?
Dennis: Yes, I actually have.
Bob Lepine: That’s kind of interesting, isn’t it? “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, had a great fall; and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.”
Dennis: I remember Ashley, our firstborn daughter, coming home from junior high one day talking about all of her teenage peers; and she described herself as standing on top of the wall with all of her peers pulling at her, trying to get her to fall off and to break. And, you know, if the peers aren’t successful, there are plenty of choices we make as individuals—
Bob Lepine: Right.
Dennis: —to add plenty of cracks in the fall.
Bob Lepine: And it’s true that it may be that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t put you back together again, but the King—
Dennis: —the King can.
Bob Lepine: —the King can put you back together.
Dennis: And the King has some methods of putting us back together. He uses other people to do that; and we have a couple of—well, a couple who are a King’s man and a King’s woman. Bob and Karrie Wood join us again on FamilyLife Today. Welcome back.
Karrie: Thank you. I’m glad to be here.
Bob Wood: Thank you. It’s good to be with you.
Dennis: You never thought of yourselves as being those who put Humpty Dumpty back together again—did you—through your ministry, Celebrate Recovery?
Karrie: I’ll never look at that nursery rhyme the same again.
Bob Wood: That may become our new standard.
Bob Lepine: There we go.
Dennis: Well, you know, someone described us in a poem—I forget the name of the poem—but what Jesus Christ does is He takes the broken pieces, and He uses gold. He uses gold to cement the pieces back together. And so when the sun shines you see the points where it’s been broken, but there is a reflection.
Dennis: There’s a brilliance there, and that’s what Christ does when He redeems our lives.
Bob Lepine: And you guys have experienced that in your own lives. In fact, it was through the ministry of Celebrate Recovery, which is a ministry that’s taking place in thousands of churches all across the country—but you were out at Saddleback Church in California in a Celebrate Recovery group when God started putting those pieces back together in your lives.
And today, you are helping to keep that going in other’s lives as you lead a Celebrate Recovery movement in a local church in Little Rock and in other churches around the state of Arkansas.
You both came from very broken backgrounds, and you met when you showed up together at Celebrate Recovery, didn’t you?
Karrie: Yes, we did.
Bob Lepine: Do you remember that first night when you looked across the room and there was Bob?
Karrie: Actually, it was looking across a picnic bench at our Celebrate Recovery barbecue.
Bob Lepine: Yes? Tell me about it.
Karrie: Well, both Bob and I had been in recovery for about a year and a half, almost two years; and both of us had grown quite a lot in our walk with Christ—I want to make sure everyone knows that. But before our meetings, we always have a mealtime to fellowship and get together; and there was this very handsome, long-haired gentleman with these bright blue eyes cooking hamburgers and hot dogs, and I thought—
Dennis: That, I assume, was Bob, not another guy.
Karrie: It definitely was Bob. (Laughter)
Dennis: His hair is not too long right now, though.
Karrie: And I saw those baby blues, and I knew he was the one for me. It just kind of took off from there.
Dennis: Now, Karrie, in case our listeners weren’t with us earlier, share with them why you were in Celebrate Recovery.
Karrie: I was in Celebrate Recovery—or am still in Celebrate Recovery—because of a background of physical, sexual, emotional abuse and an eating disorder; and came to a complete crash in my life, and God led me to this ministry to keep me together and make me whole again.
Bob Lepine: And, Bob, you were there because you’d had a background of sexual sin, of drug and alcohol use. You were using crystal meth pretty much every day at the time that things started crashing down for you. And you talk about having been in recovery for a year and a half, two years, at this point. What does that mean?
Does that mean you’re getting better? Does that mean you’re fine? Does that mean you’ve stopped sinful patterns but now you’re dealing with it—what’s going on when you’ve been in recovery for a year? What’s that mean?
Karrie: Well, for me, it meant that I was learning to now do it God’s way instead of my way. Joining a Celebrate Recovery that first day did not guarantee that everything was going to be completely well and 100%—go to one meeting and off you go and life is wonderful. I truly believe that God can remove things from my life and He can restore me, but He also wants me to deal with those defects of my character and to learn more about Him and to go through this process of what I call sanctification.
Dennis: And so, it was in the midst of that process of sanctification that old Mr. Blue Eyes here laid his peepers on you, and you said, “He’s the one for me.” What did you think, Bob?
Bob Wood: When I first saw her I thought, “There’s no way that she would go out with a guy like me.” I couldn’t imagine being with a woman so beautiful and so sweet and so kind.
Bob Lepine: Was it at that same barbecue that you noticed her?
Bob Wood: That’s when I kind of started getting an eye for her but not to the point where I would actually pursue her. Because I had made so many bad choices in the past, I didn’t want to allow my emotions to dictate the relationships I was going to have.
Bob Lepine: How long had you been in Celebrate Recovery at this point?
Bob Wood: It had been about a year and a half, two years. We both came in around the same time but didn’t notice each other when we first started.
Bob Lepine: And how did you get there? Because your parents had come to you with an intervention—they had tried to press the issue in your life and say, “You are headed down a path of destruction.” You had wadded up the paper that they had written down their intervention notes on, you’d thrown it in their face, and you’d walked out. What happened from that moment until you wound up at Saddleback Church learning about Jesus and recovery?
Bob Wood: After that intervention it’s still a little bit fuzzy on exactly what happened, but at some point several days later I walked into a recovery meeting. It was there I met a Christian man who brought me to Celebrate Recovery. And it’s at Celebrate Recovery that I realized that going to meetings alone was not enough, that I needed a relationship with Jesus Christ that would transform me from the inside out.
Bob Lepine: When you say it’s a little fuzzy, I’ve heard alcoholics talk about a lost weekend. Did that intervention experience with your parents, do you think that led you to some binging that just left you without memory for what happened over those days?
Bob Wood: I think it left me continuing in my addiction; but I think in the process those words sank in and the heart that they shared it with me sank in. I couldn’t deny anymore their love for me, and I finally realized that my life was out of control and I needed help.
Dennis: Was there a point when it literally broke your heart that you had broken their hearts?
Bob Wood: Yes.
Dennis: Did you break emotionally?
Bob Wood: I broke emotionally, and it was painful to think about all the harm and all the hurt that I had caused them for so many years because of my drug addiction. I couldn’t believe that I would allow myself to make so many bad choices to hurt them.
Dennis: Did you go back to them at that point and ask for their forgiveness?
Bob Wood: As I continued through the recovery process, I did, and I was able to make amends to them. It was quite some time into the recovery process because I wanted them to see that my “sorry” wasn’t just “I’m sorry” again; but my sorry was backed with action and that my life was truly changing and that they could see something different in me, so that I had a living amends, not just a verbal amends.
Dennis: And when you gave your life to Christ, describe that moment.
Bob Wood: I can still see it as if it was yesterday. I asked a gentleman in the recovery meeting that I was with if he would describe to me what it meant to have a relationship with this God that we were talking about.
And he took me, for about three hours, through the Scriptures and described “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”—I never heard that before—and then, brought me to the cross and what Jesus Christ did for me by dying on the cross for all the stuff that I had done to my family, all the stuff I had done to myself, all the stuff that I had done to others. And if I wanted a relationship with Him, all I had to do was ask Him into my life.
Dennis: And at that point, was your faith in Christ translated into an experience that marked you? Or was there just a confirmation of His peace, that you knew you’d been forgiven and that you were now a new creature in Christ?
Bob Wood: I felt that peace. I knew something different happened that day. Something in me was different that day, and I knew my life was changed.
Dennis: What was the big tipoff in the days that followed that Jesus Christ now resided in you?
Bob Wood: I think the first was having a hunger and thirst for God’s Word and having a desire to get to know Him better through His Word, the desire to continue on in the recovery process, the desire to go to church. I never wanted to go to church ever.
Dennis: And be around those people.
Bob Wood: And be around those people in church. I finally began seeing that a relationship with Christ was so different than anything I ever thought it was; and joining recovery and getting involved in the recovery groups I was at was a whole course correction in my life. One of the things that they told me when I got there was I had to change my people, places, and playthings. I had to begin doing things differently. Everything had to change in my life, not just some things.
Dennis: And you began with people.
Bob Wood: Exactly.
Dennis: That's what Celebrate Recovery is all about. It’s people being accountable and people telling their story with other people and getting honest about their struggles and their weaknesses and where they’re failing.
Bob Wood: I felt like, for the first time, that I belonged with a group of people. I didn’t need to impress them; I didn’t need to please them in any way. All I had to do was show up and be me, and they would love me and accept me exactly where I was at.
Bob Lepine: Did your meth use taper off? Did it just kind of wane over the next several weeks or months?
Bob Wood: My meth use stopped immediately after my experience with Jesus Christ. I still had an urge or a craving to use drugs even after that experience with Jesus Christ.
Dennis: Yes, because you'd been using drugs for how long?
Bob Wood: Ten years.
Dennis: Almost every day?
Bob Wood: Almost every day.
Bob Lepine: So, patterns were still there, desires, the physical urges were still there; but you now had the strength and the resources to be able to turn away from those things.
Bob Wood: Right. By getting connected with a group of people that could encourage me, that could support me, that understood what it was like to feel what I was feeling, gave me the strength that I needed to continue on and not turn back.
Bob Lepine: Karrie, when we last heard from you, you had just shown up at Celebrate Recovery and had come to faith in Christ. What did recovery look like for you in those first few months of the process?
Karrie: Those first few months were very scary for me because going to Celebrate Recovery was realizing that my life might change—and it did, praise God—but living life the same way scared me even more. So I joined Celebrate Recovery.
During those first few months, I started to realize what true unconditional love was all about, and I knew that stemmed from my relationship with Jesus Christ. But what was amazing is He used the people in my life to show me His love. He gave me a body of people that could support me and understand and who have been down that path with me and take me by the hand and walk through this path with me.
And I had mentioned earlier in my story that I had made a vow to myself that each time I was hurt so deeply, I would never allow myself to be hurt that deeply again. What is amazing was during those first couple of months, that vow started to crack because I had a Savior in my life that showed me that I could trust Him; and that it wasn’t as necessary to hold onto it so deeply. And through recovery that vow cracked completely, and I know only God could have done that for me.
So, it was a slow process of learning to trust, to be open, to disclose, and to allow others to love me and trust them.
Dennis: And one man you did allow to take your hand—
Dennis: —and let you in was old Blue Eyes down here. (Laughter)
Bob Lepine: I was thinking about old Blue Eyes. What—
Dennis: How did you finally ask her out, because you were thinking about how you could—she wouldn’t give you the time of day; but you finally risked it and asked her out?
Bob Wood: We actually had a mutual friend that gave me her phone number and told me that she was interested in me. I’ll never forget how I felt. I felt like I was in high school again and nervous and not sure what to do and finally called her and invited her to a party that we were going to go to, a Labor Day party with a bunch of recovery friends. So, we were in our safe environment in beginning this process of dating together.
Bob Lepine: But didn’t the process of dating scare both of you a little bit?
Karrie: It did for me because before I came into recovery, I vowed I was never going to get married again. I had actually, even as a little girl, seen divorce so much, I told myself I would never get divorced; and having had a divorce in my life, I felt very defeated. And I thought, “You know, I’m never going to get divorced again.” I became content with myself, me and God were one; and I wasn’t expecting this blue-eyed gentleman over here to come into my life.
And so, when he did, I was excited; but then, it dawned on me that he was in recovery for alcoholism; and recovery had taught me to look for patterns.
So, what I did was, I continued to pray about it. I went to all of my support. I went to my pastor. I told him the situation, and the last person I went to—her name was Lisa—and I had shared with her that I had feelings for this gentleman in recovery; but I really needed to know everything about him. Were there any ghosts in his closet? Was he a good man? I drilled her with many, many questions; and before I even had a chance to finish, she said, “Oh, my gosh, I wish I had thought of this before. You would be perfect for each other.”
And she ran off that next day and told him I liked him, and it went from there. But, yes, I was nervous; but I was excited because I knew that we both had recovery and God was leading it.
Dennis: So I want to know, how did you ask her to marry you?
Bob Wood: This is quite a story. There's a cross in La Jolla, California, that stands about 30 feet tall on top of a hill with a 360-degree view; and I found out about this place through a conversation I overhead somebody talking about. So, I went down there at three o’clock in the morning, so I could watch the sun rise and check out the view. I realized that was exactly where God wanted us to be engaged.
I woke her up, three o’clock in the morning, went over to her apartment, had her throw on some clothes. We went and picked up some doughnut holes and coffee and just drove. She had no idea where we were going or what we were going to do.
And as I was driving down there, we hit a fog bank—as is common in the San Diego area—and I thought that was going to ruin the moment. I started praying, and I just asked God, “Would you please give me a clearing so that we can take in Your incredible view?” Right as I said, “Amen,” the fog stopped; and we rose above it and had a perfect 360-degree view as the sunrise came up over the mountains in the distance and glistened with gold and purple, and I asked her to be my wife that day.
Karrie: Now, we have to understand, though, especially with ladies, is I must have loved him to have him wake me up that early in the morning …
Bob Lepine: Throw on some clothes.
Dennis: And to trust him.
Karrie: And to trust him—and keep in mind that when women are meant to be—or thinking they’re going to be engaged, they’re usually dressed up and looking their best; and, no, I had my hair pulled up in a ponytail and a raggedy old sweatshirt with stains and—
Bob Lepine: No makeup.
Karrie: No makeup. I was just a mess, and I was not prepared for that. So I was definitely a surprised woman.
Bob Lepine: You thought it was just going to be doughnut holes and coffee?
Karrie: Doughnut holes and coffee, and we were going somewhere. I didn't know where. But I saw him get very distressed as we were going along, and I was very concerned about why. But then when we passed the clouds, he seemed so happy.
And when we got there, we sat at the base of the cross; and he said, “You know, I just want to read some Scriptures to you.” I said, “Okay,” because we had prayed a lot together up to this point. So he started sharing some really amazing Scriptures about how God had changed us and we were new people and how God intended for man and woman to be together and all those romantic Scriptures.
Dennis: Were you thinking it was—here it’s coming?
Karrie: Well, at first I was thinking, “That’s awfully sweet.” Then when he asked me to move to the bench on this cliff, I thought, “Something must be up.” And he said, “Well, let’s pray some more.” I said, “Okay.” I’m thinking, “Wow, he’s very spiritual today.” He really wanted to do a lot of praying.
Well, during that prayer time, he went even further; and I sense, all of a sudden, he wasn’t sitting next to me. I looked down, and he was kneeling in this big, huge mud puddle just weeping with this ring in front of me. And I knew at that moment he was a man I had never, ever thought God would give me. He is an absolute blessing. And what was amazing about him for me is that he has taught me what a godly man is all about. God has used him in that way.
Dennis: You know, I think the great story we’ve heard from both of you is that God can indeed take Humpty Dumpty, who has fallen off the wall; and the King can put the pieces back together again and He can take two broken vessels and turn them into one—
Dennis: —and turn them into one for His glory; because that’s what you’re doing by using your failure, your weakness—drugs, alcohol, eating disorders—and you’ve turned that into, now, a ministry, Celebrate Recovery. And I think many of our listeners have gained hope and help and healing from listening to your story.
But I hope they’ll take it one step further. I really hope that there will be hundreds in churches all across the country who will join arms with Celebrate Recovery and start one of these accountability groups that fellowships around the living Lord Jesus Christ and around authentic relationships where people get real about their own lives and about their own mistakes, and they find that hope and that healing and that help that you all found.
Karrie: And what these churches need to know as well is there are thousands of women just like me when I first started 12 years ago, that are broken and lost and have no hope; and unless these churches open up their doors and make it a safe place for people like me to come to, they’re going to continue to live their life without purpose—because the man and the woman that you see here today, we’re not the same woman and man of 12 years ago.
Bob Lepine: And a lot of churches over the last decade have begun to make Celebrate Recovery a part of what they are doing as an outreach in the community, as a way to not just engage with people who are outside of the church, but to help people in the church who have struggled with besetting sin, with addictive behavior.
We’ve got a link on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com if folks want more information about Celebrate Recovery. You can go to our website, click on the “CELEBRATE RECOVERY” link, find out where there is a group meeting near you or how you can start a group in your church or in your community. Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information about the ministry of Celebrate Recovery.
And you might want to go this weekend to see the movie that’s coming out in theaters called Home Run because Celebrate Recovery plays a key role in that movie. It’s about a pro-athlete, a baseball player, who has a substance abuse issue and winds up in a recovery program, and it happens to be Celebrate Recovery. And he ultimately hears the Gospel and responds to his need for Christ in the movie.
It’s really a well-done film that I had a chance to see recently and would encourage our listeners to go this weekend to see the movie, Home Run, which is opening in local theaters all around the country.
And then, we want to commend to you a book by our friend, Dr. Ed Welch. He’s written a book called Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave that we have in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. It may be a book that you need to read or something you can pass on to a friend, but you can find out more about how to get a copy of the book when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com.
Or you can simply call 1-800-FL-TODAY, 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY”. Ask about the book Addictions by Ed Welch, and we can take care of getting a copy of that book sent to you.
Now, I mentioned our friend, Ed Welch. He was here not long ago. We talked about the whole subject of addictions and recorded the conversation. This month, we have been making that CD available to listeners who can help support this ministry.
I trust our listeners understand that the cost for producing and syndicating this daily program is not covered by advertisers—you don’t hear any commercials during FamilyLife Today. It’s covered by folks like you who pitch in from time to time or become Legacy Partners to help support us on a monthly basis. You are the folks who make this program possible.
And if you can help us with a donation today, we’d like to send you a copy of the CD with the conversation with Ed Welch as our way of saying thank you for your financial support. We appreciate your partnership with us and look forward to hearing from you.
You can go to FamilyLifeToday.com, click the button that says, “I CARE,” and make an online donation; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. Make a donation over the phone and just ask for the CD with Ed Welch or the CD on addictions when you make your donation.
And we hope you can be back with us again tomorrow. We’re going to talk with Jedd Medefind. Jedd is the head of the Christian Alliance for Orphans, and coming up in a couple of weeks in Nashville they’re going to be hosting an event called the Orphans Summit. Dennis and I are going to be there. We’re going to record some FamilyLife Today programs at the Summit. We’d love to have you attend as well, and we’ll talk all about that tomorrow. So, I hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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