Find Redemption in Recovery (Book Review)

Daugherty, Jonathan. Grace-Based Recovery: A Safe Place to Heal and Grow. New Growth Press, Greensboro, NC. 2018. 144 pages.

One of the ministries my church supports is the Grace House Ministry, which serves as a half-way house for those who are in need of recovery and rehabilitation. I have had the opportunity to teach a Bible study there before and my senior pastor has been a big part of the work there. One of the most sobering realities of this ministry, though, is to witness the hurt that addiction has caused and the need for healing and hope. For some who come to the Grace House, this is not their first stop in recovery programs either. However, it may be the first stop in a different type of recovery program. This different type of recovery program is the type, founder of Be Broken Ministries and the Gateway to Freedom Workshop for men, Jonathan Daugherty lays out in his new book Grace-Based Recovery: A Safe Place to Heal and Grow.

A Recovery Workbook

In eight interactive lessons, Jonathan Daugherty takes leaders and participants through what grace-based recovery looks like. He starts with a word to group leaders in setting goals and ground rules and then gives the participants a preview of what to expect, first inviting them to receive God’s gift of grace. From there he shows the difference between grace-based and performance-based recovery while walking participants through confession, repentance, discipline, forgiveness, and love. The epilogue concludes the study by encouraging participants to spend time with the Lord and to get to know Him through His Word. The leader’s guide will help those leading the group to facilitate the lessons as the main idea, Bible passage, and article are presented and the discussion questions and group exercises are shared.

A Gospel-Driven Workbook

Grace-Based Recovery is a gospel-driven workbook for those found in addictions and held by strongholds. Too often recovery programs focus on a performance-based model where the mark of success is a mere change in behavior. Yet, the problem resides deeper than behavior. True recovery involves a change of the heart and transformation of belief, and that is what this workbook by Jonathan Daugherty delivers in a robust and relatable manner.

The book addresses the whole person, puts forth a grace-based model of recovery, and notes how grace-based recovery is more about to pursue than what to avoid. It does not shy away from the complexities that come with facing addictions. While certain types of addiction such as alcohol abuse are mentioned on pages 89–90, most of the material Daugherty presents can cover a broad range of addictions, making it both robust in content and relatable in context.

The relatable nature of the book highlights the uniqueness of grace-based recovery as it claims the mark of success is not found in merely behaving well but on loving well. This is because the grace-based recovery model is a relational model on building a healthy relationship with the Lord and with others (Daugherty 145). As a result, the best use for this workbook is in the context of groups. The discussion questions and group exercises are specially designed for this purpose. The leader’s guide in the back half of the book includes additional notes to help guide a group struggling with addiction toward a place of healing and growth.

Points of Clarification

These commendations for a new vision of recovery do not come without a few needs for clarification, three in particular. First, while a necessary word on confidentiality (Daugherty x) is wise, a qualifier on illegal matters and violations of the law might need to be included. Second, the robust manner of the workbook addresses the whole person, but Daugherty seems to describe the whole person as “body, soul, spirit” (Daugherty 139). For those who may hold to a view of dichotomy or duplexity of body and soul (like me) instead of the trichotomy of body, soul and spirit, this may require a need for clarification or disagreement. A third and final critique is due to the current culture’s emphasis to speak about addiction in terms of disease. While addictions can lead to diseases, the current suggestion from the culture to equate addiction with disease removes the addict from responsibility. To be sure it does not appear Daugherty holds this view and, to be fair, he does mention addiction as sin during a brief discussion that includes disease. The need to further distinguish between addiction and disease is where the content is found wanting.

These minor critiques aside, my choice of resource for recovery groups is Jonathan Daugherty’s Grace-Based Recovery: A Safe Place to Heal and Grow. The workbook points addicts to the grace of God in Jesus Christ and moves beyond behavior to the heart. Grace-Based Recovery: A Safe Place to Heal and Grow by Jonathan Daugherty is a robust and relatable resource for those looking for redemption in their recoveries. By faithfulness and persistence in experiencing God’s grace, addicts can find healing and hope. If you are struggling with addiction or have a heart for reaching those who do, then get this resource and walk through it with others. Let recovery groups know about this resource. By reading and living it out, you or someone you know can find redemption in recovery!

I received this book from New Growth Press in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

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