For years, Josh Toro knew he wanted to find a vocation that would let him make a difference, but he was also convinced he’d stay away from addiction therapy.
“I’ve always asked what I’m supposed to do with life,” Toro said. “I got to a point where I thought, Man, there has to be a cause for living each day.”
To him, that cause is Celebrate Recovery, despite his initial reluctance to involve himself in recovery work.
“I thought, I don’t want to minister to addicts; I want to minister to youth,” Toro said. “But now I know (Celebrate Recovery) is about empowering the hearts of those who think they can’t do anything.”
Toro is working with Elaine Rhoades and Lifecoast Church to open a branch of Celebrate Recovery in Palm Coast, which is a fellowship- and support-driven resource for people struggling with dependency. The program is not limited to those struggling with chemical or alcohol dependency, and it is the only faith-based recovery service in the community.
“Everywhere I go in Flagler County, I see people struggling,” Toro said. “Life right now is hard. Everything is just going badly. The economy is bad; foreclosures are up; divorces are up. I’ve seen so many young adults gain momentum and then fizzle out because they can’t handle what’s going on.”
Often, people turn to something else when life becomes hard, Toro said, whether it’s alcohol, a codependent relationship or anything else. Celebrate Recovery aims to help people deal with their lives in a healthier way.
The program starts Nov. 30, and will be held 6-10 p.m. every Friday, at Lifecoast’s new Life Center building at 4482 Palm Coast Parkway N.W.
Meetings will include a meal, fellowship and support groups. Celebrate Recovery also uses a chip system similar to that used in Alcoholics Anonymous, which help people see how far they’ve come in dealing with whatever issue brought them to the program.
“It’s a celebration, really,” Toro said. “We’re celebrating peoples’ lives, and maybe this is the first time anyone’s ever done that.”
Celebrate Recovery also includes a course series that people can take, which will be offered during the week. Toro plans to offer the course at no charge.
To fund this, Toro is relying largely on fundraising and private donations.
The organization hosted its first fundraiser, a golf tournament, Nov. 10, at the Palm Harbor Golf Course.
More than $6,000 was raised for Celebrate Recovery, which will be used for staffing, course materials, food and the cost of its building. Toro plans to do three such events per year to help with operating expenses.
Now, Toro and Rhoades are looking forward to opening their doors to the community and are working to raise awareness about what Celebrate Recovery is about.
“It’s not just about addiction; it’s about any hurt, hang-up or habit,” Rhoades said. “We’re trying to set people free from their prisons.”