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Read through our recovery blog posts, articles and inspirational shared stories

Cumberland Heights

Addiction is a disease of isolation. When you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, the connection between you and your substance of choice eclipses relationships with friends and family members. After treatment, you may realize that the early stages of recovery feel a bit isolating themselves; while everyone else is going through their same routines, you’re living life in a completely new way. Read on to learn how to overcome that loneliness and build your own sober support network in early recovery. Thriving in Early Recovery While in treatment, you benefited from a highly structured, scheduled approach to each day. Between group meetings and the communal living environment, you probably interacted with many more people than you do on a regular basis. It can be easy to assume this level of social … Continue reading Beating Loneliness in Addiction Recovery

Cumberland Heights

For the first time, methamphetamine exceeded marijuana as the drug most submitted to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). Last year, massive drug busts like those in Hawkins County have led to more meth coming into Tennessee state custody than in any years past. About the TBI The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is a government agency created in the wake of a 1949 murder in Greene County. Since its founding, the TBI states that it has striven to “provide up-to-date investigative, forensic science and support to Tennessee’s criminal justice system.” Its efforts are allocated into several key divisions: criminal investigation, drug investigation, forensic services, information services, Medicaid fraud control, technology and innovation, administration and training. Perhaps most interesting of these divisions are the efforts of the TBI’s crime labs. With locations in … Continue reading Meth on the Rise | TBI Crime Lab Uncovers New Drug Trend

Cumberland Heights

It’s no secret that addiction is a disease that does not discriminate. It has the ability to affect anyone, old or young, male or female. However, women experience addiction completely differently than men: their disease progresses faster, and they face distinctive barriers to treatment. Issues faced by women are influenced by their sex (biological dissimilarities) and gender (disparities caused by social roles). Understanding these gender differences in addiction and recovery can be vital to those seeking answers about their substance use (or that of a female family member). Research Bias: Men vs. Women For decades, health research was conducted on men; the results were assumed to apply to the female half of the population. Today, we know that differences in hormone levels and physiology mean that women require their own representation in … Continue reading How Women Experience Addiction and Recovery

Liz Stanislawski

When the wind dies down and the smoke begins to clear, I can see the damage done, facing my worst fears.” Those are the first few lyrics of John McAndrew’s title track “Walkin Back” and truer words have never been sung, at least when it comes to John’s struggles with drugs and alcohol. “I’ve been in recovery from mental illness and substance abuse issues for a long time. The music is just a journey I think a lot of us go on. We kind of start in one place and we try to get better and better and then these things happen. A lot of the songs on the album are little instances and things that have happened on my journey,” said John. I’m sitting down with John in my office at … Continue reading Cumberland Heights Music Therapist Releases Album in Hopes to Help Others Struggling

Cumberland Heights

The Facts of the Epidemic The nexus of America’s opioid epidemic isn’t where most people would expect. It’s not in New York, New York or Los Angeles, California – instead, the hub is in the rural Appalachian region: a mountainous area extending from northern Alabama through Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Sky-high rates of substance use and overdoses in this region can be attributed to a multitude of factors, including economic depression, high unemployment rates and low access to care. As researchers learn more about these factors and events, disturbing trends emerge: Overdose mortality rates for people aged 25-44 (those in their prime working years) are 70% higher than the rest of the country. Overdose mortality rates for people for aged 15-64 are 65% higher in Appalachia than … Continue reading Drugs in The Tennessee Hills: The Appalachian Opioid Crisis

Cumberland Heights

Addiction is a chronic, progressive disease, and it isn’t beaten overnight. For this reason, recovery is an ongoing process requiring support that extends long past your initial 30-day inpatient program. Research shows that the longer an individual spends in treatment, the more likely that person is to maintain their abstinence from drugs and alcohol for years to come. In the words of Randal Lea, Cumberland Heights’ Executive Director for Community-Based Services: “Long-term recovery requires vigilance, support and spiritual growth attained through the 12 Steps. I believe recovery care advocacy is the best and most effective tool to anyone who needs additional support beyond the foundation of recovery started in primary treatment.” But what is recovery care advocacy, and who could benefit from it? Read on to learn more. Ongoing Support and Proven … Continue reading Who Needs Recovery Care Advocacy?

From the earliest days of mankind, spirituality has served as a search for meaning and understanding. It helped our ancestors to explain natural disasters, motivate communities and overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. It shouldn’t be surprising that spirituality remains integral to our daily lives, especially for those in recovery – mindfulness, self-care and the acknowledgement of a higher power are all referenced in almost all popular approaches to addiction treatment. Today, we’ll explain the key differences between spirituality and religion, while providing some tips about how to integrate a spiritual approach into your recovery. The Difference Between Spirituality and Religion While these terms are often considered synonymous, key differences exist between spirituality and religion. Religion, by definition, is an institutional system of religious attitudes, practices and beliefs that exists to explain the service … Continue reading How Spirituality Informs Addiction Treatment

It’s hard to believe some of us were alive during a time when addiction was still considered a moral failing. Doctors didn’t recognize addiction as a disease until 1956, and even then, many people were skeptical. The addiction treatment field has come a long way since, and we continue to make strides every year. Even in the last decade, the people we treat, how we treat them and the language we use has evolved. I sat down with many Cumberland Heights employees, including our CEO Jay Crosson to talk about how treatment in the field of substance abuse has changed over the last 10 years, as well as the expectations and hopes for the 2020s. One battle we seem to have been fighting for years is erasing the stigma. Yes, we’ve made … Continue reading How Addiction Treatment Has Changed in the Last Decade

Pursuing Sobriety The new year is always a time of promise and change – it’s when we reflect on the past several months and how we feel about them. It’s also an opportunity to look ahead and seize the chance for growth. If you’ve conducted a personal inventory, you may have realized that your substance use has spiraled out of control. Beginning the new year with the goal of finding recovery is a very brave decision. To help you, we’ve created a guide for pursuing sobriety in 2020. Create Accountability The first step to getting sober is to enlist your friends and family members into the recovery process. Tell them about your intentions to stop drinking or using drugs – odds are that they’ve been looking forward to this news and will be … Continue reading New Year, New You | Finding Sobriety in 2020

Michelle Morris, M.Div, M.A.

Sunday Sermon: Meaning-making through Perseverance December 29, 2019 Why do we suffer and struggle? Why do bad things happen? We all go through things in our lives that force us to ask these questions of ourselves, others, and our God. In this message, we talking about the process of making meaning out of our losses, suffering, pain and trauma. We talk about how the spiritual principle of perseverance taught through the steps helps us to make meaning out of our experience even when we cannot see the reason behind our suffering.

“Am I an addict?” is an extremely common question for those who find themselves behaving differently or making uncharacteristic choices in the name of drugs and alcohol. Individuals who prioritized academic success above all else may find themselves struggling to perform at school. Supportive parents may begin missing recitals, football games and family dinners. There is no way to predict how substance use will affect your life until it has spiraled out of control. Addiction to drugs and alcohol is a nationwide epidemic. This disease affects your brain and behavior – those who are addicted modify their lives to center around substance use. While the ways that people begin using or drinking may vary, it is universally accepted that no one starts using with the goal of becoming an addict. Today, we … Continue reading Am I An Addict?

Michelle Morris, M.Div, M.A.

Sunday Sermon: Finding Joy in What is to Come December 15, 2019 As we mark the halfway point of the Christmas/advent season, we light a special pink candle to emphasis the spiritual principle of joy. In this message, we share about how difficult it is for us to feel joy as humans, because it means accepting our vulnerability in the possibility of loss. We also learn about joy that comes not from the moment, but from the anticipation of the moment. This talk closes with a reading of the promises of recovery from the AA Big Book, pages 83-84 as the anticipation of “what is to come” in our recovery.

The Challenges of the Holidays For some, the holidays are a carefree time spent celebrating and relaxing with loved ones. For those in early recovery, the pressures of seemingly endless parties and dinners present an obstacle to sustained sobriety. Catalysts for cravings can appear anywhere – reunions with old drinking buddies, difficult family members, busy travel schedules, financial stress, holiday gatherings fueled by alcohol or even the stress brought on by being back in your hometown. To aid you in preparing for these challenges, Cumberland Heights has compiled a list of tips that will help you to protect your sobriety this holiday season. Make a Plan for the Holidays Before leaving home or participating in any potentially triggering events, be sure that you have developed a plan. This may include asking a sponsor … Continue reading 5 Ways to Safeguard Your Sobriety During the Holidays

What is Experiential Therapy? Rooted in Rogerian empathy (“person-centered” psychotherapy), this therapeutic technique utilizes tools and activities to allow participants to re-experience and re-enact emotional situations. Experiential therapy is different from traditional talk therapy in that it involves the exploration of complex feelings through external media, not necessarily direct conversation. This method can be especially effective for those who have blocked past feelings and traumas, making them difficult to speak about. It can be thought of as a “hands-on” approach to treatment for addiction. When is It Used? Experiential therapy is considered especially effective in the treatment of complex issues like substance use disorders, trauma, eating disorders, anger management, grief and compulsive behaviors like gambling. It is also helpful for those who wish to work through past issues and experience, breaking free … Continue reading The Value of Experiential Therapy

Sunday Sermon: Advent: A Season for Anticipating Change December 1, 2019 On this first Sunday of the Christian season of Advent, we discuss the spiritual concept of hope, and talk about the hope that comes from inviting God/Higher Power into our lives. As God turned the world upside down with the birth of a baby on Christmas, our Higher Power has the ability to turn us inside out in our recovery, turning our despair into hope, our grief into joy, and our suffering into service.

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