Young, strong, tough guy, too. Had to be — and smart. He was a member of the U.S. Army, a “bird” colonel (wore an eagle emblem on his shoulder, one step away from general) and he was a tanker, just like Gen. George S. Patton.

Bob Reynolds served with honors in this nation’s military — “26 years, 22 days and 12 hours” — before being honorably discharged.

But he had a problem that plagued him — one of the many people in the U.S. face, whether it’s drug or alcohol addiction, an eating disorder, anxiety, depression or other forms of oppression in everyday life.

The help Reynolds needed came when he discovered Celebrate Recovery and enrolled in the faith-based program.

CR is a fellowship of believers, men and women, who are recovering from life’s hurts, habits and hang-ups. The program’s website stresses that it’s not just for those with alcohol or drug problems; in fact, only one-third of those who attend are dealing with chemical dependency.

The Rev. Adam Burns, senior pastor at Church of the Reconciler in Birmingham, writes that people from all walks of life struggle with the disease of addiction. ”They didn’t start out that way; there are lawyers, doctors, police officers and blue-collar workers who lost everything because of the disease,” he said.

He said there is so much shame associated with addiction. “Outside observers are wondering when these people will build some character, find Jesus, or ‘pull themselves up by their bootstraps,’” he said.

“This shame and these factless, unscientific opinions about addiction are not only preventing society from flourishing,” Burns said, “but they are limiting the power of the unconditional love of God in our local churches.”

Now a recovering person, Reynolds is director of Celebrate Recovery for the Mountain Lakes District of the United Methodist Church. “There are 25 lessons; it takes a year to go through them,” he said. “The program operates through specific guidelines called DNA.”

Reynolds gave me a pamphlet in which Celebrate Recovery tells “The Things We ARE”:

• A safe place to share;

• A refuge;

• A place of belonging;

• A place to care for others and be cared for;

• A place where respect is given to each other;

• A place where confidentially is fundamental;

• A place to learn;

• A place to grow and become strong again;

• A place where you can take off your mask;

• A place for healthy challenges;

• A possible turning point in your life.

Reynolds emphasized that he and other leaders had to complete the Celebrate Program before becoming leaders. “There are accountability counselors; they are given milestone chips for accomplishments; they are recognized and cheered for progress,” he said.

“Our Celebrate Recovery group meets each Tuesday evening at Skirum UMC, 2999 County Road 20, Crossville. Meal time is 5:30 p.m.; the group meets at 6:30,” Reynolds said. “The meeting is open to all who want to come.”

For more information, call 912-617-0118.

There are multiple Celebrate Recovery programs throughout Marshall, Cherokee and DeKalb Counties. In Etowah County, CR meets at the Church at Wills Creek, North Glencoe Baptist Church and East Gadsden Church of God, among others. Christians Against Substance Abuse meets at Rainbow Church of Christ.