September is National Recovery Month
Recovery is for Everyone
National Recovery Month increases awareness and understanding of mental health and substance use disorders and encourages individuals in need of treatment and recovery services to seek help. Recovery Month celebrates individuals living lives in recovery and recognizes the dedicated workers who provide the prevention, treatment, and recovery support services that help make recovery possible. The 2021 National Recovery Month theme, “Recovery is for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community” reminds people in recovery and those who support them, that recovery belongs to all of us.
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Chad's Recovery Story
Once a convicted felon, Chad now celebrates his accomplishments in recovery including opening up a local art business and being a kidney donor for his mother.
We love sharing real stories of recovery from people who lived through active addiction. Read on for inspiration, hope and healing!
I’m a kid from Akron, OH. I did all my drinking and using in the place where AA was born. I had no idea at the time and in high school, I believed everyone drank and used drugs and I was fitting in just fine. My upbringing was normal, other than my parents’ divorce at age four. I had to meet a whole new family when my mom remarried and although they treated me with kindness and love, I still felt like an outsider and that nobody REALLY cared how I felt. Over the years I masked my feelings with alcohol and drugs, progressing from using on the weekends, to weeknights and eventually needing to use before, during and after school. I began with alcohol and marijuana and advanced to smoking and daily IV crack and heroin. I was under the influence for most of the time from age 16-24.
Towards the end of my drug use I was alone, stranded in the desert of California, sleeping behind Walmart, and sharing needles with homeless men. My best “friends” were characters by the names of Joker, Shotgun and Ray-Ray. We spent our waking hours scheming for money, breaking into homes and selling/robbing drugs off of innocent people. When asked for help from my family my father responded, “pretend like we’re dead and figure it out”. By the grace of God, I was given one last chance, begging on my knees for help and willing to do everything someone suggested to me. Today, I don’t question if people care about me, I KNOW they do. I have a sense of self-worth, humility, grace and connection with myself, others and God. Only by the Grace of God am I alive today and for that I am GRATEFUL!
I grew up in a small rural Middle Tennessee town where it seemed that you fit into one of a couple slots — jock, country boy or pothead. I didn’t make a conscious choice but before I knew it around age 14, I was enjoying the comradery of fellow potheads. By age 15 I would drink, smoke or use anything that came along which made for a foggy and reckless next few years. By age 18 I couldn’t bring my high school GPA up to graduate, friends’ parents were warning them to not associate with me and I was very depressed. My using friends were checking in and out of psych hospitals and one went to a treatment center. Out of curiosity and concern, I contacted the mutual friend who helped him get into treatment. I think they were waiting on me because when I showed up at their house I was (what I know now) being 12-stepped. I was introduced to AA at a time when I would have done anything to change how I felt. They took advantage of my desperation and laid the program out for me. They even took me to my first meeting. I heard them say that alcoholism was a disease and I was a sick person, not a bad person. They all seemed to enjoy their life. I learned that I could recover like them. After that first meeting I felt hope and faith that I could get better. I had not felt that way in years. I would like to say I was clean and sober continuously until now, but I did things my way for a year while in and out of the program. Each time I became more willing to follow simple suggestions. My relationship with my Higher Power went from fear and shame to a belief that my HP doesn’t penalize people for having a disease. In fact, my HP was waiting for me to reach out and accept the help in front of me. Every day is not a bowl of cherries but every day sober is better than any day I was in active addiction. Thank you for my sobriety.
It was 11 years ago on the Friday before Labor day that I first came in contact with Cumberland Heights for the first time. An intervention made up of my sister and roommate brought me to Cumberland Heights because I had lost my way in living life as a normal person should. I was highly addicted to crystal methamphetamine. It was late in the day on a holiday weekend and my insurance could not be verified and I did not want my sister to put any money up until the next Tuesday, so I ran. I made it five miles from campus on foot down River Road toward Highway 70 falling in the ditch many times crossing the hill through all the curves. Little did I know that my Higher Power was already at work in my life keeping me safe. A Metro police officer found me and carried me to safety. I returned to Cumberland Heights on Tuesday morning ready, willing and able to try and do something about the insanity. I wish I could say that was the last time I fell, but it took some additional research because I thought I could do it myself. But, the seeds of recovery had been planted that month in September of 2010 and I now have cultivated a garden of acceptance, willingness, and understanding and will be celebrating five years of sobriety soon.
I was so broken. Physically, I was a mess and hadn’t taken care of myself for so long, it was almost as if I had forgotten how. I spent the majority of my days high, but even when I wasn’t actively using, my mental health was plagued by depression, anxiety and drug induced psychosis. I had lost all connection with any sort of Higher Power and truly believed I was not worthy of anyone’s love, especially any sort of “God” that may be out there. Every orifice of my body and soul was empty. I was a shell of a human being who spent every second of every day trying to find ways and means to get more drugs at ANY cost.
I will never forget the last day I was arrested in active addiction. I called my parents to come bail me out, again. But something had changed. They were no longer willing to bail me out and let me go run the streets anymore. They agreed to bail me out if I would willingly go to treatment at Cumberland Heights. After initially saying no, but having no one else to call, I hesitantly agreed to their terms. This is when the change began in my life. I wish I could tell you I immediately took every suggestion and did this recovery thing perfectly, but I didn’t. In fact, I spent many more moons in active addiction after I completed treatment. But the seed was planted, and I no longer had the ability to live in my delusional world. I had been educated and knew there was a better way to live and that I had choices.
In 2008 I made the best choice I ever have. I went to a 12-step meeting. like the one’s CH had taken me to while I was in treatment. I listened to the other addicts share and watched them intently. That day I told myself, if they could smile and enjoy life, I could try it and see if it would work for me too. Slowly, smiles, laughter, hope and freedom took over my life. I no longer had to use any substances to feel normal. I developed a relationship with God. I got professional help for my mental illness. And for the first time in a long time, I felt like a real person. I found a new way to live. Now, with 12½ years clean and sober, I apply the spiritual principles to every area of my life daily. I do not work a perfect program, nor do I have a perfect life. But what CH taught me so many years ago still holds true today – I never have to use again, no matter what!
My name is Stacy and I am an Alcoholic. I have been free from the grips of alcohol and drugs since October 12, 2010, but that does not mean that my life has been completely manageable since then. It has taken quite some time for me to feel as though I may be dealing with life on life’s terms a little better. I made the decision, initially, for all of the wrong reasons – loss of trust, loss of material items, loss of custody of my daughter. When I entered treatment, I had no plans of doing any work or much less, staying sober for any collective period. The longer I stuck around and the clearer my thoughts became, I was finally faced with the fact that no matter where I went, no matter who I surrounded myself with, I was always going to be the common denominator. I was afraid of living life without the use of alcohol and drugs. How could I possibly enjoy life without my two best friends? Somehow, I did.
As the months and years passed and I continued to work a program of recovery, life began to become more manageable and my relationship with God was growing. I made genuine friends, rebuilt relationships, regained custody of my daughter, met the man of my dreams, gave birth to another child, buried my mom, developed a career path, moved to another state, and got back every single material thing I lost and then some. It was not because I was running, but because I made the decision to make a change and eventually turn my will and my life over to the care of God. Some of these events were incredibly hard to walk through, but because of my recovery, I was there for my family and myself for every single moment. Every day brings a new adventure and today, I show up and face it all, most of the time with a smile on my face.
Review our Annual Outcomes Report (2020)
Each September, Recovery Month works to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the emergence of a strong and proud recovery community, and the dedication of service providers and community members across the nation who make recovery in all its forms possible.
Cumberland Heights is a data-driven addiction treatment facility that believes in outcome-oriented care. We develop a specialized treatment plan for our patients, both residential and outpatient, based on their specific needs and the data collected by our Research Institute. We believe these data represent the positive impact treatment can have on patients, their families, and our communities.