The holidays can be a wonderfully joyous time of year. We see our families, exchange gifts, offer help to those less fortunate, and made a serious effort to be better people than we were the year before. There is, also, an aspect to the holidays that can be less positive. Our inner demons, for whatever reason, seem to rear their heads in the holiday season. Sometimes we feel a bit more lonely, or wrestle a little harder with making a healthy decision when it comes to drinking, or fall back into other old habits. That is where Celebrate Recovery comes in. With regular Monday meetings, the group is focused on overcoming challenges that are more than just struggles with substance abuse.

The group has been meeting since early October, and is looking to grow. At a meeting at Noroton Presbyterian Church on Monday night, attendees introduced themselves with a first name, and a brief word about what they struggled with. The issues people spoke of were things like anger, self esteem, perfectionism, trust, and co-dependency. For some attendees, these issues pushed them into a problem with drugs or alcohol. But really, the substance issue was something that felt like a symptom of another internal struggle, rather than the root of the problem.

This particular meeting featured a testimony, where one attendee shared their particular journey that had led them Celebrate Recovery. Confidentiality is paramount, but the story did start and end locally in Darien, and seemed like a story that could be all too common in lower Fairfield County. A young, well to do teenager struggles with the pressures to be perfect, internalizes damaging feelings, and ultimately turns to alcohol to fill the hole that could never be filled.

Again, Celebrate Recovery looks to help an individual with any struggle that might be what is used to fill that hole. Things like eating disorders, abuse, and anger are other issues that Celebrate Recovery looks to address.

The conversation around struggles with substance abuse and addiction is getting louder and louder in Darien. School administrators are implementing a revamped policy that aims to seriously scale up the level of education and awareness about substance abuse in the schools. The Thriving Youth Task Force with the Community Fund is in its second phase of a media campaign centered around stopping binge drinking by teens in Darien, after the first phase received national recognition. Celebrate Recovery is another important part of that growing conversation

Celebrate Recovery meets on Monday nights at 8pm at Noroton Presbyterian Church. Although the group is faith based, all are welcome. Celebrate Recovery seeks to set the person aside from the struggle, so as not to define a person by what their issue might be, as compared to something like Alcoholics Anonymous, where attendees are identified directly as alcoholics. The focus for this group is identifying the individual as a "grateful follower of Christ,", and then looks to address the struggle from there.

Those looking to get involved or attend are encouraged to contact Stacy Arevalo at