Chapter 2 of The Screwtape Letters adapted for Celebrate Recovery

The book The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (Collier Books: Macmillan Publishing, New York, 1982) is described in one review in the following way: “This profound and striking narrative takes the form of a series of letters from Screwtape, a devil high in the Infernal Civil Service, to his nephew Wormwood, a junior colleague (devil in training) engaged in his first mission on earth, trying to secure the damnation of a young man who has just become a Christian”.

Judy S. has adapted chapter 2 for those who attend Celebrate Recovery to help participants understand the dynamics of temptation and the spiritual warfare they are engaged in when they participate in the CR program.


My Dear Wormwood,

I note with great displeasure that your charge has just started attending Celebrate Recovery.

You can expect there will be consequences for you, but in the meantime we need not despair.  Hundreds of these people who pursue recovery quickly give up and return to our camp.  In fact, every habit, whether physical, mental or emotional still favors our side.  Really, Celebrate Recovery itself could turn out to be an ally.  Don’t misunderstand, I don’t mean the content of the program which poses the biggest threat if it is to be believed and followed.  I mean the participants themselves.  Those are the folks you want especially to lean on.

Cause your charge to question the sincerity of the other attendees.  Have him wonder about their program instead of his own.  Protect him from seeing the progress being made by others and distract him with those minute details in others which still need work, especially the ones that irritate him the most, because he shares them himself.  Others will give him many opportunities because they are broken themselves.   Discourage any thoughts that those who have some recovery are at all humble about it.

In the beginning, his expectations about recovery will be somewhat unrealistic.  He will have a plan to one day “arrive” at sobriety.  This, we know will never happen, but if we can keep his expectations unreachable, he is likely to give up sooner.  Work hard on the disappointment which is coming when his recovery requires work and does not happen on his time table.

Because our Enemy loves these creatures, he wants them to be free to choose to be his “sons.”  Can you imagine?!  So He refuses to do the work for them.  That is our opportunity.  But beware of the real danger: He wants to do it WITH them.  Once they get through this initial phase and submit to the Enemy’s will, they become less dependent on their own emotions and become much more difficult to tempt.

Do not be discouraged however, even if he progresses in his recovery there will be places when he begins to become over confident and forgets to seek help from the Enemy and the other participants.  Be sure to watch for these episodes and strike swiftly.

I will be following up on your progress in this case,


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