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

Your body is dangling, your heart racing, your stomach drops and then it hits – euphoria. You just plunged 30 plus feet, literally hanging by a thread – well actually a rope, but you get the idea. More than two dozen Cumberland Heights employees took part in The Big Swing Event April 15and sure, it was an amusing way to kick off the week, but we did it for much more than the thrill. It was a lesson in trust, peer support and letting go. “It’s your decision and yours alone,” said Recreation Therapist Jimmy Hudgens. He was talking about the cable you pull when you’re ready to take the plunge. But for those familiar with AA, we’re thinking, “This sounds a lot like Step 3.” Wait a second! This whole exercise … Continue reading Taking the Plunge

Mindfulness is a practice of mental awareness and has been previously used in meditation practices, as a person focuses on their breath and the present moment. All too often, we’re wrapped up in our thoughts or emotions, or we’re distracted – substances take us away from the present moment completely, as they alter our brain chemicals and bring about symptoms that leave us craving more. Mindfulness in and of itself is not particularly difficult, but it can be challenging to implement; it requires self-discipline, even when challenging thoughts or emotions arise. There are many benefits to mindfulness, such as: It slows your day down so that you’re not feeling rushed from one activity to another It provides you with a sense of calmness from all of the “mental chaos” that can occur … Continue reading How to Become More Mindfully Aware in Recovery

Cumberland Heights

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), around 37% of youth experienced a physical assault within a one-year period, and around 15% of children and youth experienced maltreatment by a caregiver. It’s unfortunate, but adolescents do experience traumatic events – through physical, sexual and emotional abuse, through terrorism, bullying, family violence and so much more. While youth are at an increased risk to partake in substance abuse related to peer pressure – primarily because they’re brain is still developing, and they aren’t able to think critically or rationalize the outcomes of a potential action – they may abuse substances for other reasons. For youth with little resources or support, substances may be seen as an outlet – a solution to numbing the pain they feel that’s come from … Continue reading Adolescence, Trauma and Substance Abuse: Connecting the Pieces

Cumberland Heights

Even while we’re in recovery, life around us continues to move, change and grow. We have control over what we’re doing regarding our nutrition, the way we participate in 12-Step meetings, the thoughts we attribute importance to and so much more, but we don’t have control over what happens around us. Sometimes we’re devastatingly shocked to find out that a loved one has passed – and that’s when grief settles in. According to the Mindfulness & Grief Training Institute, grief is defined as, “The uncontrollable and natural reaction to the death of someone to whom you feel connected or attached.” The relationship you had with this person could have been a secure attachment (healthy, loving, trustworthy, etc.) or an insecure attachment (unpredictable, rocky, etc.), but either way, it’s someone you loved – … Continue reading Your Ultimate Guide to Grieving in Recovery

Cumberland Heights

If you’re new to recovering or considering getting help, one of the first lessons you’ll learn is the lie we tend to tell ourselves while in active addiction. Alcohol, substances and other forms of addiction may seem like a “problem” to those on the outside looking in – but for us, it’s a solution. It’s a way for us to try and drown out the problems that we have or the mustering thoughts and feelings that seem to nag at our hearts. This tactic seems to work temporarily, until we realize that they don’t go away forever – and that’s when addiction develops, because we have to keep the cycle going in order to keep our pain at bay. Self-medication is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as, “The use of … Continue reading The Biggest Lie We Tell Ourselves: Addiction Is the Solution

Cumberland Heights

We all need a bit of inspiration now and then, and sometimes recovery can feel like a never ending, uphill battle. Whether you’ve been in recovery for 3 months or 3 years, you’re going to have bad days – as Forbes Magazine notes, self-doubt can creep in and cause us to put up unnecessary walls that hinder our growth in recovery. We may become more reserved, less participatory in recovery activities, more anxious and depressed and less impacted by the tools we learn in therapy. If we don’t stay motivated, we’re bound to slip back into old habits – and perseverance is the driving factor behind sobriety maintenance. If you’re ready to feel inspired today, check out these three incredibly wise sayings: “If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot … Continue reading 2 Wise Sayings That Will Inspire You to Keep Working Towards Recovery

Cumberland Heights

Cannabis (also known as marijuana) is a hot topic right now due to its legalization in many states for either medical, recreational or both uses. The adolescent period of development brings about a new set of challenges for parents, as their teens are most likely to start experimenting with different substances – including marijuana. The legalization of marijuana makes it not only more accessible for teens to use, but there’s also the common belief that marijuana isn’t harmful because it’s derived from plants. If your teen has been using marijuana for non-medical reasons, scientists are starting to explore the implications marijuana use linking to depression. Marijuana and Depression: Potential Linkages for Adolescents According to BBC News in 2019, adolescents who smoke marijuana during this time of development are at a 37% increased … Continue reading Decoding Teen Marijuana Use and Depression

Cumberland Heights

It’s not uncommon for a person in addiction recovery to still smoke cigarettes; a 2011 study found that between the years of 1987 and 2009, the lowest smoking prevalence of any single year for those in addiction recovery was 65% – and while we don’t talk much about cigarettes in recovery, it’s a topic worthy of discussion. In 2018, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) exclaimed that those who smoke cigarettes upon entering treatment and who were still smoking 3 years later were about 1.5 times more likely to use drugs and twice as likely to have a substance use disorder (SUD) after treatment follow-up than those who quit smoking. Heavier smokers are more likely to relapse, but with the latest technology of vape pens hitting the market, how does this … Continue reading Why Vaping Isn’t That Safe of an Alternative

Cumberland Heights

Addiction is often accompanied by shame in the public eye, as depictions shown in the media portray a less-than-optimal view of someone who is going through more than what is seen on the surface. For those who don’t understand, it’s easy to judge – to assume that people choose addiction. The reality is that addiction isn’t the problem in someone’s life, it’s the solution to other problems they face – and without the right tools, resources and support, many people just don’t know where to turn. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry noted that stereotypes about who people with addiction “really are” makes it only harder to move on, to recover, and to be part of society. The study’s participants provided several examples of this in their statements, … Continue reading How Stigma Makes It Hard for People to Seek Treatment for Addiction

Liz Stanislawski

Tara Conner looks a lot different than her beauty queen days. Her long blonde hair is now short and dark, she’s had a lot of ink done and unlike back in 2006, she doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. She walks into the women’s group here at Cumberland Heights and introduces herself. “Hey guys, I’m Tara. I was Miss USA 2006 but that means nothing.” She sets her 1-year old black Pomeranian, Gypsy on the ground and the women fawn over her, trying to get the puppy’s attention as it scampers around the room, sniffing different spots on the carpet. Gypsy is Tara’s emotional support dog. Because Tara suffers from depression, a panic disorder, and ADHD, her counselor suggested a furry companion might help. “My psychiatrist wrote me a prescription for … Continue reading Miss USA 2006 talks about addiction struggles

Cumberland Heights

Sleep is an important topic of discussion for those in addiction recovery, both in terms of the quality and quantity of sleep. Since substances can have such a major impact on the mind and body, it’s not uncommon for those in recovery to have difficulty sleeping at night, and this could be for several reasons: 1) for many people, nighttime is when they use substances the most, which means their body is going to be more awake the later it gets, 2) withdrawal symptoms can peak around this time, making it hard to sleep, 3) relapse dreams can cause a lot of tossing and turning at night. According to Tonic in 2017, about 85% of people who’ve been addicted to alcohol or other substances will have a “using” dream – otherwise known … Continue reading Everything You Need to Know About Relapse Dreams

Cumberland Heights

12-Step programs have been around for many, many years now as Bill W. and Dr. Bob started Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), the first 12-Step fellowship, back in 1935. Since then, the program has expanded to over 2 million participants worldwide – and for many people, 12-Step programs serve as a strong foundation for living a life of sobriety. A 2015 article published by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) emphasizes that 12-Step programs are much more than merely “advising a person to go to AA”, but rather encourages attendance and participation, explains the potential benefits of working with a sponsor, explores problems and psychological resistance to attending meetings, guides people in “working the steps”, opens the door to 12-Step related activities (such as social events, retreats and conventions) and more. 12-Step programs … Continue reading How to Make the Most of 12-Step Programs

Cumberland Heights

A topic that often doesn’t get discussed, sleep is an incredibly important part of recovery from addiction. When addiction is active, we often lose vital sleep because our mind and body are reacting to chemicals they’ve acquired from substance abuse. Late at night, for example, is a common period where substance abuse takes place – and as a person becomes accustomed to this, they may find that even in the nighttime hours of recovery, they’re wide awake. A 2018 study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors concluded that worse sleep quality predicts higher levels of drug cravings, with daily drug cravings also having a negative effect on the quality of a person’s sleep. They truly go hand-in-hand, and if we can get a good grip on cravings and sleep quality, we’ll be … Continue reading Your Ultimate Guide to Getting the Best Sleep in Recovery

12-Step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can not only provide structure and support to a person’s treatment program, but they can also strengthen a person’s sense of spirituality. This has a direct effect on a person’s sense of self-worth, their purpose in life, how they connect to others and so much more. A 2015 study published in the journal Religion & Addiction explained that 12-Step programs help build upon six different facets of spirituality: Release – for many people in addiction recovery, there’s an intense need to control the thoughts and emotions that we’re experiencing when everything seems out of place. We lean towards substances because we believe that is the only way we can drown out the pain – 12-Step programs emphasize the fact that we … Continue reading Six Facets of Spirituality That Come With 12-Step Programs

Cumberland Heights

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that by 12th grade, two-thirds of students have tried alcohol and close to two in ten 12th graders report using prescription medication without a prescription. Teen drug abuse is a valid concern amongst many parents, and for good reason – at this developmental stage, teens are likely to experiment, to be swayed by peer pressure and to want to “fit in” – and for those teens who are struggling with symptoms of depression, anxiety or another mental illness, proper resources may seem too far from grasp whereas substances are so easily to obtain. As a parent, you want to trust your child but at the same time, you want to protect them if they’re encountering situations that could place them in grave danger, … Continue reading How to Tell if Your Teen is Lying About Drug Abuse

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