Tag Archives: addiction recovery

Tag Archives: addiction recovery


Are you letting your thoughts hold you back in addiction recovery?Sometimes recovery can feel like a maze; you take these twists and turns, and winding roads, with no clear idea as to where you’re going. It’s normal for those in recovery to feel a bit “lost” along the way – in fact, it’s normal for anyone to feel that way. As humans, we don’t have the answer to everything – and there’s no way of knowing what lies ahead until we get there. While we can’t control the future, what we can control is how we think about it. The mind is a powerful tool that shapes our reality through perception, and the thoughts we place meaning to are the ones that guide that perception.

When it comes to addiction recovery, thoughts are what can make or break us if we let them. It’s so easy to become tempted by the negativity – by the thoughts that tell us we’re not going to succeed, or that we don’t know what we’re doing or that we’re only going to make it so far. A huge portion of what therapy teaches us, however, is that thoughts in and of themselves are not that important. In fact, we have very little control over our thoughts, but what we do have control over is whether or not we’d like to place meaning to them.

If you’ve been finding that you’re more cynical lately, it could be that you’re placing more emphasis on negative thoughts over positive ones. Without even realizing it, you could be sabotaging your own recovery – and all by assuming that the thoughts you’re experiencing actually deserve to hold weight in your life. From now on, whenever you have a negative thought, try combatting it with something positive. Even if it’s uncomfortable (because it may be, especially if your brain has become used to this pattern), purposefully choose to place emphasis on thoughts that boost your perception of recovery rather than thoughts that make you feel bad about your progress.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Woman working through depression and addiction recoveryWhen we’re struggling with depression, it can seem like nothing is going to get better. We can barely make it out of bed, we smile when we’re really feeling low and we can feel utterly hopeless. As the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH) states, depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. For those who don’t receive treatment for it, depression can make daily life nearly unbearable. Add that to addiction recovery, and it may feel like you’re living constantly in a whirlwind of emotions; the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) claims that of those with depression, 20% experience a substance use disorder (SUD) as well. If you’re going through both, you’re not alone – but you have to seek help in order to effectively work through it.

How Depression Affects Recovery

When we’re recovering from addiction, we’re already experiencing a plethora of thoughts and emotions. Many people, during the first year of recovery, go through periods where they feel excited and ready to embark on their sobriety journey – with other periods of time bringing them anxiety and grief over the major changes that have taken place in their lives. In 2013, researchers concluded that addiction recovery and depression brought about some similar symptoms, especially in areas of the brain that control stress responses.

The following are some other symptoms that can truly complicate addiction recovery:

  • Sleeplessness
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Loss of energy
  • And more

One person shared their story of depression via the National Institute on Mental Illness (NAMI). Here is an excerpt from their story:

“I have depression and my internal monologue still chastises myself for being lazy or just to snap out of it…I am not kind to myself…no matter what I am told.”

Thankfully, there are so many effective forms of treatment for both depression and SUDs. For many, the biggest step is simply seeking it out – and attending.

Treating Depression and Addiction at the Same Time

Co-occurring disorders occur when a person has both a mental illness and an addiction at the same time. It’s not uncommon for a person to have a co-occurring disorder, but it is important they seek help for both at once. In some cases, a person with depression may drink or use substances in an attempt to abate the symptoms of their mental illness; in others, a person with a SUD may develop symptoms of depression over time. For those that drink to reduce depressive symptoms, it can feel discomforting to change both thinking and behavioral patterns in recovery. Dr. Maclsaac, a psychologist in New York, told Everyday Health,

“They cling to drinking because they are terrified of losing that negativity.”

Both addiction and depression can become comforting over time, because our brain has come to crave what’s it’s been feeding into. In order to break these chains, however, formal treatment and support must be sought after. Douglas Bloch, M.A., is an author, teacher and counselor who talks about mental illness and addiction recovery on his website, HealingFromDepression.com. He explains that to him, depression can be treated in a similar fashion to the principles of 12-Step programs.

He explains that just as a person must admit they were powerless over alcohol (or another substance), a person cannot “snap out of” depression. By applying the steps that 12-Step programs emphasize, a person can work through what has previously held them back. In addition to mutual support groups, depression can be treated through therapy and support from a formal treatment program.

The following are some of the most effective approaches to those with depression in addiction recovery:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – an approach that helps those with depression, SUDs and more work through negative thought patterns so they can start changing them into newer, healthier patterns.
  • Holistic practices – just as with a SUD, depression can affect a person’s mind, body and spirit. Practices such as praying, meditating, yoga and more can alter brain activity for the better – previous studies have shown how powerful these practices can have on a person’s life.
  • Activity – releasing the stress hormone cortisol can not only help a person feel better, but can even help a person become stronger. Some activities in recovery – such as rock climbing and equine therapy (horse therapy) – can even help people connect with other people, other animals and themselves, better.

Seeking Support

Support is a crucial part of recovery. Those with depression tend to isolate themselves but being around others who care about them is truly the best thing for them. Supportive peers, group leaders, sponsors, therapists and more can all play a part in depression and SUD recovery. In many cases, even helping others through volunteer work can open a door full of opportunities for strength building, confidence and connection.

If you’ve been struggling with depression and addiction, don’t wait any longer to seek the help you need. Recovery is right around the corner – it’s time to get your life back on track.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Woman understanding the difference between guilt and shame in addiction recovery.One of the first major lessons of addiction recovery is learning what addiction is, how it affects the mind and body and why addiction is so difficult to defeat on our own. Amidst these lessons – and through participation in 12-Step programs – many people in recovery begin to understand the effect their addictive patterns of behavior have had on others. This realization comes with a lot of pain, as it’s hard to contemplate what our loved ones have felt as we’ve lied, stolen money, argued with them or abandoned our responsibilities in favor of using drugs or alcohol. When we think about the pain we’ve caused others – as well as the pain we’ve inflicted on ourselves – we’re bound to experience some guilt and shame; but what is the difference?

In 2016, the Huffington Post described guilt as a “quick pin prick”. They explained that guilt is often that voice in our head that says, “Hey there! Don’t do that again!”. With guilt, we tend to focus more on ourselves. Those in recovery may begin to feel guilt over the fact that it was themselves who enacted all of these behaviors. With guilt, we learn a lesson that we definitely shouldn’t ever do that, again. Shame, on the other hand, takes it all a step further. After those feelings of guilt have lingered for a while, those in recovery may begin to associate themselves as being bad people because of the pain they’ve caused others. Rather than simply taking it as a lesson learned, they begin to really focus on the actions they performed and what that did to the people they love. Dr. Brene Brown, a research professor, told the Huffington Post,

“Guilt is a feeling we have when we think we’ve done something bad and shame is a feeling we have when we think we ARE bad.”

Through 12-Step programs, those in recovery can explore the relationship between guilt and shame and how these can propel us (and prevent us from succeeding) in our recovery journey.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Sober livingIn 2015, yoga teacher and addiction recovery writer Tommy Rosen wrote an article for the Huffington Post on what a life of sobriety means to him. This is an excerpt from his article:

“My recovery mantra is: ‘Don’t just survive in addiction. Thrive in recovery.’ I believe people in recovery must work toward the great shift from staying sober out of fear and necessity to staying sober out of love for the life they get to live as the result of staying sober.”

Sobriety is an all-too-often feared subject of those starting out in recovery, as the concept itself seems so different from what they’re used to. The truth is, a lifestyle of sobriety is different from one of active addiction – but it’s for a good reason. The benefits of sobriety are insurmountable compared to anything else; they not only give you your life back, but they give you the tools, support and resources you need to enrich your life more than you ever thought possible.

A 2017 study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that even one year of sobriety can make a world of difference; participants who remained sober for one year already showed improvements in life satisfaction, executive functioning and improvements in psychological distress compared to those not living a lifestyle of sobriety. Of course, there are many other powerful transformations that result from sober living, such as:

  • The reversal of some of those aging effects that addiction can cause (not only will you feel better, you’ll look better, too!)
  • The ability to connect with people and form meaningful relationships that are deeper than you ever had before
  • Feelings of empowerment as you’re able to control your mindset rather than letting your thoughts and emotions get the best of you
  • A life that is centered on what really matters – family, friends, passion, hobbies, career, adventure, love, values, spirituality and so much more

Sober living is an entire mind, body and spirit transformation. We shift from living a self-indulgent, unhealthy lifestyle, to one filled with balance, strength and hope.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Using coping skills to manage anxiety during recoveryOne person shared her story of struggling with anxiety via the Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s (ADAA) main website. She stated,

“I recognized that I was the one letting my anxiety conquer me. Seeking help was not a sign of weakness, it was a sign of strength. I was courageous! This realization made it possible for me to pursue my dreams.”

It is not uncommon for those in addiction recovery to experience co-occurring disorders, such as anxiety and substance use disorder (SUD). Co-occurring disorders can make recovery a bit challenging, especially if a person doesn’t receive the right tools and resources. Thankfully, there are a number of tools that can enhance the mind, body and spirit during recovery – and they are truly transformative.

Through 12-Step programs, individual therapy, group sessions and holistic activities, you can push past your anxiety to find a place of more grounding and peace. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), for example, is a common therapy approach that teaches individuals to identify the thoughts that are triggering them. Through “take-home” exercises, discussion and exploration, clients are able to get a better handle on their thoughts by simply placing meaning to the thoughts that benefit their happiness, health and wellness. In 2016, a study published in the journal Behaviour Research and Therapy found that of participants who participated in CBT compared to those who engaged in their normal treatment, those with CBT experienced greater improvements in symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), negative affect (such as anxiety) and more.

Those with anxiety may also benefit from medication that helps to treat it; if clients would prefer a more holistic approach, they could greatly benefit from holistic practices such as meditation, yoga, art therapy, massage therapy and much more. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health states that these complementary approaches could be a wonderful addition to treatment for anxiety.

If you’ve been struggling with anxiety while in addiction recovery, know that you’re not alone. As you become stronger in recovery, you’ll find that those troubling thoughts and emotions are much easier to navigate. Don’t hesitate to seek help – recovery is possible.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Life circumstances that trigger relapseOne of the hardest challenges to face in recovery is relapse. Several years ago, researchers published a study in the journal Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry to understand the lived experiences of those with addiction and in recovery. They found that while most people are unable to recall physiological symptoms associated with relapse, most people can identify the context or stressors that triggered their relapse. Sometimes the situations that have happened in our past – or even our present – can spark thoughts and feelings that wind us leading down the road of relapse, even when we least expect it. The good news is that by taking these circumstances into consideration, we can better combat them with healthy coping mechanisms, support and other resources to prevent relapse next time.

You may be able to tell that you were feeling angry, depressed or anxious that day, but do you know why? Sometimes it’s hard to reach that wider circumstance that led us to troubling emotions in the first place but identifying the root cause can help us work through what’s been bothering us more effectively. The following are some life circumstances that may be triggering you without you even knowing it:

  1. Disappointment/lack of support from family members
  2. Trauma that you have not yet healed from
  3. Feeling disconnected, like you do not have a clear sense of purpose or direction yet
  4. Missing the life that you used to have because you’re not used to this life of recovery yet
  5. Self-loathing

When we look at the bigger picture of what’s been giving us that trickle effect of unhealthy thoughts and emotions, we can start healing. Therapy, support groups (such as 12-Step programs), and other recovery resources can help you find your way through these murky waters and into a path that brings you more balance and stability. It’s not uncommon for those in addiction recovery to struggle with some (or all) of these major life circumstances – in fact, it’s not uncommon for people in general to struggle with them.

Start taking the steps you need to heal from what’s been holding you back. By tackling the bigger picture, you’ll be more equipped to deal with thoughts or emotions that feed into those larger concerns.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Woman seeking trauma informed care during addiction recoveryAfter experiencing a dangerous or upsetting event, it’s natural to feel anxious, sad or in shock. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by nightmares, paranoia, anger, irritability, depression and so many other symptoms that can appear after traumatic events, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that women are twice as likely to develop PTSD as men to develop it in their lifetimes. The American Psychological Association (APA) notes that women who struggle with PTSD often experience troubles in their intimate relationships, sleeping disturbances, suicidal behaviors, loss of trust and more. Unfortunately, many survivors of trauma wait years to seek help – and that’s why trauma informed care is critical for women in addiction recovery.

When someone walks through the front doors for treatment, they come with a wide array of knowledge, experiences, thoughts, emotions and more. The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies reports that one-quarter to three-quarters of people who have survived abusive or violent traumatic events go on to report problematic alcohol use, and women exposed to traumatic events report a higher rate of increased risk for alcohol use disorder (AUD). Since PTSD may still be lingering when a person seeks treatment for a substance use disorder (SUD), it’s crucial for trained professionals to have a thorough understanding of trauma and what a client needs during these times. It can make a huge difference, such as:

  • The difference between what one client needs over another
  • Understanding when grief needs to take place
  • Helping a client identify some of the underlying beliefs that developed from their traumatic experiences
  • Coping mechanisms and ways of healing from traumatic events

For some women, substances have been the only way to seemingly “drown out” the pain experienced from PTSD. Symptoms of this disorder, along with stress and anxiety from other life situations, can make it hard to cope – especially when there are little resources to work with. Trauma informed care ensures that those in recovery are considered for all they’ve been through – through this, a person can receive the most personalized care possible.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Family education group: understanding addiction recoveryThose active in recovery aren’t the only ones experiencing pain. Mothers, brothers, sisters, fathers, aunts, uncles, cousins – the entire family, essentially – can be heavily impacted when a loved one struggles with addiction; this is often because the person they once knew – and the life they had come to rely on – changes. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reminds us that as the family structure changes, dynamics between children and adults may change. New roles may be adopted, such as a grandparent taking care of the parent’s responsibilities, or one parent having more control over finances when they previously didn’t. Families go through a lot, and it’s only fitting that they should receive support and education in order to heal and recover, too.

Family education groups provide a safe space for family members of loved ones with addiction to learn more about addiction and how it’s affecting their family. Some family members may feel hurt, confused, isolated or abandoned and family education groups bridge some of the gaps left behind from addiction by providing support and resources for family members to stay strong during this challenging time. There are many topics/activities that may be focused on in a family education group, such as:

  • Exploring addiction as a disease
  • Meditation
  • Learning to set boundaries
  • Inspiration for healing
  • And more

Mutual support groups greatly benefit family members because they provide them with a safe space to connect with other people going through similar struggles. Together, family members can build a healthy understanding for how they should move forward with their lives as well as some coping mechanisms to practice as well. For families in particular, mutual support groups may include Al-Anon, Codependents Anonymous, Adult Children of Alcoholics and, for teens, Al-Ateen.

A 2015 study published in the Journal of Groups in Addiction Recovery found that family members who are most prepared for change when entering recovery programs are most likely to benefit from hope, coping skills and overall readiness to change. If your family is ready to seek support, be sure to go into it with an open heart and mind – you won’t regret it.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Teen boy home from rehabParenting in and of itself can become really challenging during your child’s teenage years, but when our teens come back from rehabilitation, it can feel as though we’re stepping into an entirely new world. We may begin to question whether we’re saying or doing the right things that are beneficial for their recovery; we may become paranoid, worried that we’re going to miss signs of substance abuse and we may not know whether to trust our teens again or to watch their every move. It’s certainly a major change when teens come home from rehabilitation, because they’ve just spent between 1 and 6 months surrounded by structure, sobriety leaders and more. If your teen is about to come home, don’t be worried – there are steps you can take to make this as smooth of a transition as possible.

It’s All About Perception

First and foremost, you need to take a quick inventory of how you’re feeling about everything right now. Have you come to terms with the fact that your teen is recovering from addiction? How do you view relapse? Relapse is a normal part of recovery and, while we should try to reduce the risks of it as much as possible, you don’t want to view your teen’s success in recovery based on whether or not they relapse. In fact, you’ll want to view their recovery as an ongoing process with ups and downs. The sooner you can adopt this perspective, the better.

Secondly, how important do you make your child’s recovery? If you don’t place it as a high priority, your teen will be able to sense that – and it will make it more difficult for them to remain sober without your full support. Greg Williams, 26 years old, shared his story of struggling with marijuana and prescription drug addiction when he was 17 years old. Several years ago, he told Family Circle, a website that covers topics such as teens, health, family, holidays and more, about his experience with addiction recovery and support. He stated,

“…My parents – they did not cause nor could they cure my addiction. However, my success in overcoming it is very much because of them and the support they provided me. They continue to help me make healthy choices, and I owe everything in my life to them.”

Place Your Expectations to the Side

Many parents become ready to emphasize house rules when their teen comes home, but you may want to recognize that recovery maintenance is what’s most important right now. Respect your teen’s return home by encouraging them to practice gratitude, kindness and more – just like you would with a guest staying at your house. This type of encouragement will help ease your teen back at home without overwhelming them. Residential treatment requires a lot of work from teens, and it’s likely that your child may be feeling stressed and/or exhausted. As DrugFree.org notes, encourage your teen to return to work/school at a slower pace if it’s needed; promote healthy activities, such as adequate exercise, healthy food, water and good sleep.

Be Prepared, and Be Resilient

A 2015 study published in the journal Behavioral Science highlighted the many phases that families go through when their teen struggles with addiction: 1) confirming suspicions, 2) struggling to set limits, 3) dealing with consequences of drug use, 4) living with blame and shame, 5) keeping their child safe, 6) giving loss to the child they knew before, 7) living with guilt and 8) choosing self-preservation. Addiction causes a lot of heartache, but you have to remember who and what you’re here for.

Remind yourself of what addiction is capable of and note that your teen may still experience triggers and cravings to use substances. Teens can experience relapse just as quickly as they may recover, but it’s important to remember that they’re all steps taken in their journey to recovery. Discuss consequences with your teen, and make sure they are specific and clear. If your teen nears 18 years of age, be sure to seek additional help beforehand if possible; it can be harder to convince your teen to go back into treatment once they’ve considered themselves an “adult” by legal standards. Mutual boundaries are often a great way to ensure that both you and your teen know what’s expected of them – and if rules are broken, everyone is in agreeance on what will occur.

Don’t Give Up

Whether your teen likes to vocalize it or not, they need your support. They need your unconditional love and patience. They need you to stand up for them, to fight for them, to be a voice of reason. No matter how you’re feeling about what’s going on with your teen, there is rarely a logical reason to give up on them.

Adolescent Recovery of Cumberland Heights (ARCH) originally began in 1985 when there were few other adolescent programs like it in the country. In 2019, we’re expanding our continuum of services with ARCH Academy, a unique program that offers 60 days to 6 months of residential care to adolescent boys ages 14-18 who are struggling with alcohol and/or drug addiction. This new program stems from Cumberland Heights, which has been around since 1966, and is located in Kingston Springs, Tennessee. The adolescent age is a critical time for development, making this a crucial time of positive influence. For more information, call us today at 1-800-646-9998.

How you should respond to alcohol cues in addiction recoveryAlcohol advertisements are nearly pervasive in the United States today, which can make it all the more difficult for those in recovery. Commercials, depictions in movies, references to alcohol in songs and so much more only perpetuates the fact that alcohol is practically celebrated in today’s society. In fact, in 2015, Adweek reported that over the past 40 years, alcohol advertisements have increased by 400%! No matter how long you’ve been in recovery, it’s always important to have some pre-set plans for how you might handle alcohol cues should they arise. Of course, it’s not always going to be feasible – nor wise – to avoid anything and everything that could have alcohol cues. If you’re faced with it, though, how should you respond?

Know Yourself: Identify Patterns of Your Reactions

First, it’s best to have an understanding for how you think, feel and behave when alcohol cues are present. Keep a journal and mark down what it was that came up and how that affected you – over time, you’ll start to recognize not only what types of alcohol cues seem to have the biggest influence on you, but also what your most common reaction is. With this, you’ll be able to establish “tells” – or, in other words, signs – that you’ll immediately be able to pick up, which you’ll then be able to act on before things get too out of control.

Sometimes, understanding the power of addiction can help in recognizing that some of the automatic reactions you experience to alcohol cues aren’t just you – they’re the disease, too. In 2016, an article published by Science Daily and written by researchers from Concordia University emphasized that Pavlovian cues – reacting to alcohol cues based on previously learned behaviors (such as through addiction) – can cause us to react, even when we least expect it. One person shared their story of alcoholism via the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) main website. They stated:

“I’d tell myself I have two weeks off (of drinking), then start back with a couple beers…I’d never last the two weeks and I’d always drink way more than I’d told myself I would, and the pattern would begin again.”

If you’re able to understand that reacting to alcohol cues does not mean that you’re weak or that you’ve failed – and you’re able to recognize patterns in your mind and body’s automatic reaction to alcohol cues, then you’ll be better prepared to work through them.

Combat the Cues with What Works

At the very beginning of recovery, avoidance may very well be your best option. Finding places to go that don’t serve alcohol, changing the station when a commercial with alcohol shows up and only surrounding yourself with people who prioritize sobriety are excellent ways to begin navigating the world of alcohol cues and recovery. Over time, however, you’ll want to become well-versed in a number of cognitive strategies for being able to handle alcohol cues – even when they are present – so that you can continue to enjoy your life without being affected by them. Through formal treatment and support groups such as 12-Step programs, you’ll learn a lot about what works – and you’ll be able to find out for yourself, too.

CBT

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a highly effective tool that is learned in therapy and can help those in recovery combat alcohol cues by changing their thought patterns. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime lists some examples of this approach in action:

  • Reminding oneself of the negative consequences that alcoholism brings, and recalling strong motivations for sobriety
  • Taking inventory of oneself by recognizing what it is that may be influencing their sensitivity to alcohol cues that day and noticing how they’re thinking/feeling so they can take appropriate action
  • Planning “exit” strategies in case a person feels uncomfortable in a situation presented with alcohol cues
  • Practicing saying “no” to alcohol cues in various scenarios
  • Purposefully spending more time in places that uplift recovery rather than places of prior substance abuse
  • And more

Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention is a key component of both formalized treatment programs and mutual-support groups such as 12-Step programs. In addition to the CBT strategies listed above, those in recovery may learn from one another some additional effective coping skills for handling alcohol cues, such as:

  • Engaging in positive self-talk by telling oneself that they’re capable of working through these cues, that they know how to handle high-risk situations, etc.
  • Garnering support from others to practice problem-solving skills when cues are present
  • Practicing relaxation techniques, such as breathing, meditation, yoga, etc.
  • Recognizing key emotions that can make a person more susceptible to relapse, such as anger, depression and others.

Don’t Give Up

Recovery is a lifelong process, and you’re not going to get it “right” all of the time. It’s going to take some learning and growth – but as long as you continue using the support of those around you, and you continue building your skills through treatment, you’ll become stronger than you ever thought possible.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.


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