Through the years, we’ve heard many tales of athletes who squandered their immense talents and riches on drugs and alcohol.
Some struggle to overcome their addictions, but never get over their self-destructive ways. Their careers — and their broken lives — sometimes come to a tragic end.
Other notable athletes find God, exorcise their personal demons and work their way out of their addictions to become success stories for the world to see.
While not about any particular athlete, a new film titled “Home Run” addresses the topic of alcoholism through the story of a baseball player who is addicted to booze.
“Home Run,” described as a faith-based movie, starts a three-day run from Friday, April 19, through Sunday, April 21, at the Hollywood 14 Theaters, 6200 S.W. 6th.
The lead character in the movie finds hope through the real-life, Bible-based group Celebrate Recovery, designed to help people with a wide-range of hangups and addictions such as alcohol, drugs, pornography, overeating and anger.
Celebrate Recovery originated in 1991 at the Saddleback Church in southern California.
The group came to Topeka in 2005 and has been going strong ever since at First Southern Baptist Church, 1912 S.W. Gage.
The Rev. John Zobel, a chaplain at the Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Center and retired Southern Baptist pastor, is leader of the Topeka group, which averages about 40 people for its meetings at 6 p.m. each Friday.
Zobel said he was excited about the way Celebrate Recovery was prominently included in “Home Run,” and that several of the actors in the movie reported dramatic turnarounds in their lives because of the group.
Zobel said the movie was ready to roll last fall, but directors opted to hold it until spring, when people’s minds move to baseball.
“The movie speaks to the nonbeliever, as well as the believer,” Zobel said. “It’s a message of hope, to put it simply.”
Zobel said Celebrate Recovery is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous but is Christ-centered and emphasizes personal responsibility for people to take ownership of their problems as they work 12 steps of recovery.
After First Southern Baptist started Celebrate Recovery in Topeka, several other local churches launched the program. But each of the other local groups has faded away, Zobel said, leaving First Southern as the only church in Shawnee County offering the program, which is active in about 40 countries and 24 language groups worldwide.
Zobel said he’d like to see Celebrate Recovery be offered one night a week at a different church in Shawnee County.
In the meantime, the local group is continuing to expand in counties near Topeka, with group offerings at First Baptist Church in Lyndon, University Christian Church in Manhattan and Life Church in Emporia.
For more information on Celebrate Recovery, call Zobel at First Southern Baptist Church at (785) 272-0443.