Celebrate Recovery (CR) is a church-based, 12-step group support program developed in the USA that has been adapted for Mongolian communities. The program has helped hundreds of people and their families escape the grip of alcoholism and live again  just like it did for Jargal and his family. (Read another story from Celebrate Recovery, about Hishgee and her family's process of healing and reconciliation here.)

Male drinkers outnumber females 5 to 1 in Mongolia and problems with alcoholism are much more common among men. Photo courtesy of www.david baxendale.com.

Male drinkers outnumber females 5 to 1 in Mongolia and problems with alcoholism are much more common among men. Photo courtesy of www.david baxendale.com.

W
hen I first started going to Celebrate Recovery’s (CR) meetings, the hardest thing was talking about myself. I was the executive director of a company then, and I was prideful. I was used to hiding behind a facade. Interestingly, each time I shared, my inner struggles and hurts became less intense. I was also comforted that there were other people struggling with the same issues. I was ashamed because I thought I was the only person with these problems.

My father was a good man, but he drank a lot. I grew up hating alcohol but when I took my first drink at 18 years old I continued to drink for 22 years. I brought a lot of misery to my wife and two sons in those years. During the last three years of that time, I started to have suicidal thoughts. In 2005, I owed 15,000,000 Tugrik (equivalent to USD 7,500 in today's money). If I didn’t pay it, I would be put in prison. In April of that year, I decided to end it all. After writing my will and putting a knife beside me, I took my last drink to boost my courage to commit suicide. But that drink knocked me out completely, and I did not manage to carry out my plan. When my wife found me lying there, she broke down and cried terribly.

I used to depend on my own strength to get things done. Coming to terms with CR’s first principle, “I am powerless,” brought great relief. I truly understood that I am nothing apart from God. God is my Father and more – he is everything. The day I accepted Christ, I felt peace and joy that I’ve never felt before. I know God created me and restored my health. God is also helping me persevere during my recovery.

Whenever I look back at the past, I can hardly believe where I have been, and I am grateful to God for turning my life around. Today, I live in freedom, joy, hope, and peace.

A month after my suicide attempt, my younger sister persuaded me to go to church with her, and that was when I made a commitment to Christ. As I started going to church, I began thinking about getting out of debt and quitting alcohol. A church leader suggested I go to a CR meeting, and that’s how I started. That first year after accepting Christ, I still drank now and then. But after I was baptized in July 2006, I made a resolution never to drink or smoke again.

God has really given me strength to stand firmly on my resolution. It has been ten years now, and I have not relapsed. I am learning to set aside my ego and ask my wife and children for forgiveness. We are able to have open conversations, even disagreements, and still love each other.

Staying sober requires accountability. So it is important for me to continue with CR. Every day, I remind myself of the tenth step taken from 1 Cor 10:12: “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.” It is also important for me to be in a support group and share openly, because that is the example I want to be to the people I now sponsor and mentor. It is a great pleasure to bring good news of hope and recovery to the incarcerated and those addicted to alcohol. When I share with them that I was once like them, I often see they desire to change as well. It has been wonderful to see people’s lives being transformed. I am doing all I can to maintain my recovery and stay right with God, because I want to be an example to others. Because of this, it is important for me to live out the 12 steps daily, be part of a support group and share openly. I say the same thing to the people under my leadership, and those who I sponsor.

After receiving healing for my hang-ups and emotional wounds, I became peaceful, joyful, and content. Whenever I look back at the past, I can hardly believe where I have been, and I am grateful to God for turning my life around. I know where I am heading, and whose child I am. I choose to follow God and doing his will has guided me every day in every matter.

Today, I live in freedom, joy, hope, and peace.

Jargal's recovery from alcoholism has allowed him and his family to seek forgiveness with each other. Here, he plays with his granddaughters.

Jargal's recovery from alcoholism has allowed him and his family to seek forgiveness with each other. Here, he plays with his granddaughters.

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