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

Cumberland Heights

Dealing with Coronavirus Anxiety These days everyone is feeling a little (or a lot) anxious. For those of us who are also managing our daily recovery from another life-threatening disease — addiction – the anxiety can feel like a double whammy. Add to that the isolation some of us feel at having to stay at home and having our in-person meetings interrupted – well, it can feel overwhelming. Luckily for us, we have a Twelve Step program. The same tools that we practice every day can also help us walk through our current pandemic crisis. One of these tools is something that most of us heard early on in the rooms of AA or NA.  “Never get too Hungry, too Angry (or Anxious), too Lonely, or too Tired.” In other words, you … Continue reading Novel Coronavirus Anxiety? It Might be Time to H.A.L.T.

Cumberland Heights

As news of coronavirus dominates headlines worldwide, Americans have begun to stock up on necessities in anticipation of long periods of social distancing. Everyone is at risk, especially those who are immunocompromised or elderly, and gathering in groups has been discouraged. But what about those who attend regular 12-Step meetings while in recovery? How 12-Step Meetings Will Change Millions of Americans rely on 12-Step meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous to maintain their recovery. These gatherings serve myriad functions; they provide accountability, support and a space to feel understood for many who have overcome addiction. However, new guidelines from the CDC and WHO recommend avoiding groups. They also encourage citizens to practice social distancing. Social distancing involves the creation of physical distance between people who do not live together. For … Continue reading Coronavirus and Addiction: How to Protect Your Recovery During a Pandemic

Cumberland Heights

Over the past several decades, groundbreaking research has completely revolutionized the field of addiction treatment. While those addicted to drugs and alcohol were once looked down upon or institutionalized, they are now able to access a wide variety of life-changing therapies. Chief among these is adventure therapy, also referred to as experiential therapy. But what is involved in this modality, and how effective is it? Today, we’ll walk you through the definition and benefits of adventure therapy. Definition of Adventure Therapy Adventure therapy originated in the 1960s as a combination of mental health care and challenging physical activity. It differs from two similar activities: wilderness therapy and outdoor experiential therapy. According to key researchers, adventure therapy consists of outdoor activities involving risk, along with physical and emotional challenge; wilderness therapy is based … Continue reading Adventure Therapy Explained

Cumberland Heights

It’s no wonder that many Americans ask themselves, “Am I an alcoholic?” Alcohol use disorder is the most common substance addiction. In the United States, nearly twice as many people suffer from alcoholism than all other substance use disorders combined. According to a 2017 national survey, nearly 14.5 million Americans struggle with an alcohol use disorder, compared to 7.8 million who battle addictions to illicit drugs. A variety of factors place individuals at risk of alcoholism. Genetic predispositions, the environment in which you were raised, history of mental illness and spending time with those who drink heavily can all impact a person’s likelihood of misusing alcohol. Because this substance is legal for adults over the age of 21, it is perceived to be less dangerous; in reality, this could not be further … Continue reading Am I an Alcoholic? | Alcoholism: Symptoms and Self-Test

Michelle Morris, M.Div, M.A.

Sunday Sermon: “What you focus on determines what you miss…” March 1, 2020 “What you focus on determines what you miss—and what you become.”  Eric Allenbaugh.  In this Sunday message, we look at the essence of this quote and how it speaks to recovery.  We delve into the meaning of spiritual experience, and how spiritual experiences became more readily available to us when we are able to shift our focus.  We look at the effect of focusing on pain, resentment, despair, selfish and self-centered thoughts and desires determining what we become: sick, suffering, and addicted.  In shifting our focus to spiritual principles like gratitude, service, honesty, and courage, we watch ourselves become something new in recovery.

Cumberland Heights

We’ve previously discussed the devastating effects that the opioid epidemic has had on the state of Tennessee. In Appalachia, overdose mortality rates are 70% higher than in other parts of the country. Today, legislators aim to address one of the root causes of the opioid crisis by enacting a new law that requires doctors to e-submit prescriptions. Safer Opioid Prescribing Practices For better or worse, medical professionals have played a significant role in America’s opioid crisis. Overprescription was one of the factors that transformed problematic use of these medicines into a national disaster – in 2014, Americans filled more than 245 million prescriptions for opioid pain relievers, making them the most prescribed medication in the country. This pattern continues despite proof that other approaches to pain treatment may be more effective and carry … Continue reading New Law Requires TN Doctors to E-Submit Opioid Prescriptions

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

Michelle Morris, M.Div, M.A.

Sunday Sermon: Spiritual Lessons from a Feral Cat February 16, 2020 Have you ever tried to domesticate a stray and wild animal?  This message shares the journey of trying to domesticate a feral cat and the lessons learned in the process, including: accepting life on life’s terms, patience, and gratitude for small steps of progress.  In active addiction, we can see ourselves reflected in the fear and isolation of “survival mode” in the feral cat.  God functions as the patient caregiver, accepting us as we are and rejoicing in our each step of our journey.  

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

Michelle Morris, M.Div, M.A.

Sunday Sermon:One Sheep’s Journey February 2, 2020 Shrek the sheep was found hiding out in a cave in New Zealand six years after he escape his community.  Having avoiding being shorn (having his fleece shaved off) all that time, Shrek was carrying more than 60lbs of fleece, enough for 20 large men’s suits!  This week’s message looks at the power of community to help us carry our burdens and keep us spirituality fit; we also highlight the need for a power greater than ourselves, a shepherd, to shear us of the extra weight we are carrying.

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

Michelle Morris, M.Div, M.A.

Sunday Sermon: What’s in Your Hands? January 19, 2020 In his video “Shells,” contemporary theologian Rob Bell tells the story of his son failing to grab onto a starfish he really wants because his hands are full of shells he has been picking up off of the beach.  Rob asks us to question, “what is getting in the way of the one thing we really want?”  If recovery is the life we really want to grab hold of, we must first empty our hands of old ways of thinking, past wounds and hurts, and the meaningless things that keep us “busy” in life.

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?

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