Tag Archives: addiction recovery

Tag Archives: addiction recovery


What Role Does Forgiveness Play in Addiction Recovery?

Addiction is considered a disease because it practically ‘hijacks” the brain – when we’re addicted to something, the cravings can get so intense that we’ll say or do anything that’s needed to fulfill that desire. Unfortunately, this could mean hurting close friends or family members by:

  • Lying about using or seeking help
  • Stealing medications or items to sell in order to buy more alcohol/drugs
  • Saying something we later regret
  • Getting into legal implications
  • And more

Even if this isn’t how we’d normally act sober, it doesn’t make it hurt any less. The truth is, addiction causes us and those we love, pain. In our quest for meeting the ever-increasing demands of addiction, we walk all over others and ourselves, because we truly believe that we can’t live without the substance. Once recovery becomes a critical turning point for us, we find forgiveness – from others and from ourselves – to be a hard, sobering step. Russell Brand described this exact turning point in his book titled, Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions“Part of that change is forgiveness and the willingness to look at our lives and the world differently. Ask yourself, ‘Do I really want to change, or do I just want to justify staying the way that I am?”

For many, navigating forgiveness is heartbreaking because it requires that we acknowledge and take responsibility for our wrongdoings – and that’s a painful reality to face. The things we’ve said and done can be downright devastating to really come to grips with, but it’s one of the most important steps we can take in recovery because it’s when we start to make things right. A lot of recovery programs highlight forgiveness since it’s such a critical component for healing and moving forward.

Back in 2015, researchers wanted to see if forgiveness therapy really made a difference on individuals in drug rehabilitation compared to traditional therapy that didn’t go into depth with this topic. They found that not only were the participants who engaged in forgiveness therapy more grateful for their journey to recovery, they also experience lower relapse rates compared to the other group – is this a coincidence?

Probably not, because we all need to practice and receive forgiveness in order to continue to value ourselves and contributions to the world. It’s partly a spiritual factor; if we’re able to “right” our “wrongs” in a sense, or at least apologize to those we’ve hurt, we can feel better about ourselves in moving forward with recovery. We can feel stronger, wiser and more capable. For many, forgiveness is freeing.

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.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.

Managing Your Recovery in an Intensive Outpatient Program While Continuing to Work

You’ve been working hard in recovery, and perhaps you’ve even completed a residential treatment program. Recovery is such a courageous journey, and you are ready to continue taking steps towards your happiness and health – but you also have responsibilities to uphold. A family, a job, bills to pay – you now have to introduce these components back into your life as you find your balance. Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are an excellent step towards acquiring that independence while also maintaining the support and structure you’ve been used to receiving.

Who This Program Is For

If you’re considering participating in an IOP, there are a few key criteria that you most likely want to meet first:

  •    Do you live in the region close to where you’d like to attend treatment?
  •    Is detoxification not something that you need?
  •    Do you have a stable, supportive home environment to return to after each day of the program?
  •    Are you self-motivated and determined to utilize the tools you pick up in treatment?

This program provides a similar intensity to a residential treatment program, except it does not providing food and housing. What it does provide, however, is the stability of knowing that you are still working towards your recovery every single day – and you have somewhere near you that can give you all of the support that you need during this transition.

Why IOP?

IOPs are more than just providing you structure and guidance. Research has shown us time and time again that IOPs are actually incredibly effective for treating substance use disorders (SUDs). In 2015, researchers from Portland, Oregon, examined the evidence of IOPs thus far throughout research history. They analyzed 12 studies and in terms of the quality of trials used for IOPs, the diversity of settings that these programs were in, and the consistency of outcomes that these programs provided time and time again. Overall, it was concluded that IOPs are very effective – all of the studies showed significant reductions in alcohol and drug use, and it’s clear that this type of program can be beneficial in helping individuals maintain their recovery while also carrying out day-to-day responsibilities.

Changes

The transition into independent living can be a scary one. You don’t know what to expect, and you may have some fears about relapse, support, and the ability to use the resources you’ve learned so far. Much like a young child learning to walk, you’re taking your first steps towards a life of sobriety – and it’s okay to need someone to hold your hand, even if for a brief moment. This is where your tools from recovery really need to come into play. Breathe. Gain some perspective. Take everything step by step, day by day. You’ve probably been establishing goals in your treatment program thus far, and it can get overwhelming if you look too far ahead – so strictly focus on the now.

Your Next Steps

It’s always helpful to know what you can expect before you go into a program. If you enter a reputable IOP, you’ll receive a lot of the same benefits that you did in your residential treatment program – individual therapy, group therapy, assessments, private counseling and family counseling all contribute towards building up your success in recovery. You’ll be able to work closely with your healthcare team to build a schedule that works for you – because the times you attend treatment shouldn’t add more stress to your day.

You can expect to have people by your side, but you’ll have to take more responsibility over your days. It’s time for you to implement that schedule you’ve been shown from Day 1 – and it’s up to you to practice the tools you’ve learned when you’re at home and work. Make sure you have a strong support system at home, because studies have shown that social support is a vital component to recovery success. Have numbers of recovery leaders and peers you can call if you need to – you never know when you may need some words of encouragement.

No matter how you’re feeling about this new phase of your life, try not to hold any expectations. Life is a series of ups and downs, and there’s no way to tell what’s going to happen in the future. All you can do is take everything one step at a time – and be confident in knowing that you’re doing the best you can. One of the most commonly feared components of recovery is relapse but fearing this in and of itself could add more pressure than you need.

Tips to Manage Recovery While Working

Returning to work can be a challenging, unpredictable process, and you don’t want to throw yourself into a high-responsibility position right away. Give yourself time to slowly adjust, even if that means sharing part of your role in the workplace. The following are some other helpful tips for you to use as you navigate this return:

  •    Take breaks throughout your day so that you can breathe
  •    Say ‘no’ to business outings if you don’t feel comfortable with it
  •    Practice organizing your day so that you have little down time
  •    Go for walks each day if you can
  •    Eat healthy, balanced, nutritious meals to keep your mind and body functioning the best they can
  •    Spend quality time with your loved ones and strengthen those connections
  •    Get good sleep each night by going to bed at a decent time

These tips may seem “self-explanatory”, but they’re much harder to implement when life happens. Most of all, be patient with yourself. You’re working hard, and you should be proud of that.

Cumberland Heights in Chattanooga is a 12-step based outpatient alcohol and drug addiction program. Our Intensive Outpatient Program is designed for individuals 18 and above who may be in the early stages of addiction and alcoholism, or who are experiencing issues with drugs or alcohol. We offer both personalized assessments and flexible treatment hours to suit your needs. If you’re ready to take that first step towards your recovery journey, call us today for more information at 423-308-0689.

Adolescents, Recovery, and School: What Leads Them to Addiction

As parents, relatives, educators and community members, we can’t always know what’s going on in our teens’ lives. They don’t always tell us everything – and when we discover that our child has an addiction, it can feel devastating. We may ask ourselves, “What did I do wrong?” or “How didn’t I see this coming?” The truth is, even the most supportive and loving parents can find that their children are abusing substances. Teens go through phases of experimentation, and sometimes they find their way to substances on their own. Understanding some of the pressures that adolescents go through, however, can help us better understand what type of support that they need – both in preventing addiction and in treating it.

What We Know: The Causes of Addiction

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) highlights what we currently know about how addiction develops, and that does include the fact that some people are more vulnerable to addiction than others. It could be a genetic predisposition, especially if a close family member struggles with addiction; it is a family disease, and the vulnerability can get passed down between generations. Lack of parental supervision could be a factor, as teens require a healthy amount of supervision in order to help them make the right choices for their health. Teens who have experience early traumatic incidents may also find themselves leaning towards substances because it seems to take away their physical and/or emotional pain. Unfortunately, the effects are only temporary, and that’s when they may find themselves abusing substances in order to match that continuum of relaxation, euphoria and/or other pleasurable effects.

We also know that a teen’s environment can have great effects on the way they think and act. Our life experiences play a major role in who we become – and since adolescents are still growing, their brains are highly sensitive to the world around them.

Other Reasons Adolescents Abuse Substances

In the Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, researchers asked 31 adolescents in recovery for prescription opioid abuse to complete questionnaires about themselves. They mainly wanted to learn about how their drug abuse started, and this is what they found:

  •    Curiosity
  •    Peers/friends were doing it and seemed to be having fun, so they did it
  •    Bored with one drug, so they wanted to try something new/experience a new high
  •    Stress from difficult life situations
  •    Abused/became addicted to opioids after being prescribed medication for legitimate pain

Some of the adolescents emphasized that prescription opioid drugs were what led them to use heroin next, and many youth participants noted that they were high on marijuana when they abused prescription opioids for the first time. We’ve heard about “gateway” drugs before, and it’s obvious that curious teens may find themselves trying new substances as they become “used to” one high over another.  

Unique Needs for Treatment

Adolescents have different needs than adults do, and this is because their brain is still forming and they’re still in school. Many teens don’t want to be held back several years in high school, which makes it much easier when they’re able to attend both a private educational setting and receive treatment accordingly. Parents unfortunately run the risk of underestimating the needs of their teen, which could cause them to look over some very obvious/concerning cues. Drug exposure places a teen at higher risk for abusing drugs later on in life, which means that treatment needs to be sought immediately.

The NIDA stated, “Recovery high schools…allow adolescents newly in recovery to be surrounded by a peer group supportive of recovery efforts and attitudes. Recovery schools can serve as an adjunct to formal substance abuse treatment, with students often referred by treatment providers and enrolled in concurrent treatment treatment for other mental health problems.”

Adolescents can progress more rapidly into addictive behaviors, and being in a setting that reinforces abstinence, sobriety and recovery overall could greatly influence the way they handle substances from then on. School counselors and teachers can keep an eye on those students who may be struggling with recovery, and close communication quarters can be kept between school personnel, the student’s healthcare team and their family.

Twelve Step Programs

Many adolescents find 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) to be effective, because they’re able to relate to others’ stories and learn from people who’ve been in their shoes before. Recovery leaders can guide teens into finding their own way through recovery while also forming a stronger spiritual base with God or another Higher Power. A lot of youth is struggling with emotional turmoil due to the experiences they’ve had at home and school, and spirituality can help provide them with some grounding.

In addition to this, teens may find that the service component of 12 step programs – helping others – sets a tone that their lives are meaningful and that they do have major contributions to bring to this world. Through volunteer work and other service-learning components, teens can build their self-confidence in being a part of something larger than themselves.

If you have a teen who has been struggling with substance abuse, guide them to seek the help they need, today. The first step of recovery is the most important one, and your teen will be thankful they developed some lifelong tools to make them stronger while also ensuring they receive the education that they need.

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. 

Research Reveals Just How Important Support and Service is to Teens in Addiction Recovery

Many would say that our teenage years are some of our most selfish years. As our brains are developing, we’re learning more about what we want and less about what others want. We make decisions, whether or not they’re supported by parents or guardians, and then we experience the consequences of those decisions. It’s a natural part of adolescence to go through these phases, but addiction recovery really places emphasis on the ego – which only further separates a teen from developing close relationships and building a fulfilling, well-balanced life. Despite the fact that many teens aren’t thrilled to volunteer, research is showing that both support and service is incredibly beneficial to teens – especially if they’re in the process of recovering from an addiction.

Last year, researchers from around the U.S. highlighted the fact that there isn’t a lot of national data tracking adolescents with addiction in the correctional system. They wanted to uncover some of the components that help teens maintain sobriety, reduce arrests, and reduce the likelihood of reverting to these behaviors overall. After reviewing a number of other studies, they came up with some key recommendations that have seemed to work time and time again:

  • Support services such as mentoring, therapy and life skills courses have greatly helped adolescents become more confident in their recovery capabilities
  • Faith-based programs (such as AA) do seem to foster a sense of spirituality, and have been shown to lead to greater personal change in teens
  • Volunteer work provides youth with an opportunity to explore how they fit into society and how helping others can affect them in positive ways

There are two main themes that run throughout these examples: focus on the self and focus on others. Personal growth is found when a person is able to really build up a healthy sense of esteem and faith in their own personal capabilities. Teens are at a vulnerable time where peer pressure, traumatic events and more can weigh heavily on their hearts – by strengthening their own coping mechanisms and gaining a better understanding of who they are, they can further help others. Studies have shown that volunteering can bring about a sense of personal fulfillment and can decrease stress.

The more one-on-one attention we can provide for our teens, along with the opportunity to help them help others, the greater their chance of recognizing just how valuable they are – and they’ll have higher chances of staying in recovery.

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.

 

Adolescents and Addiction Recovery: Why Love and Service Are ImportantIt is often during adolescence that substance use is first introduced; young teens discover it via friends, parties, and even through family members and accessibility is the first step to use. Whether it’s from peer pressure, impulsivity, socialization or all of the above, teens are at high risk for abusing – and becoming addicted to – substances. Genetic vulnerability, lack of supervision, and even the stage of development an adolescent is in can greatly influence their risk of addiction. Once in recovery, support is crucial to help a teen find their grounding again. If you’re a friend, parent, guardian or loved one, knowing some of the factors that can really stand out for your teen in terms of recovery can be a great benefit.

Adolescents learn, think, and behave differently than someone who is more developed, which is why this stage of life is such a vulnerable time. In 2016, researchers from Ohio sought to find out how love and service impacted adolescents who were in recovery from addiction. A total of 195 teens were who were referred to a residential treatment center by court were assessed throughout their stay. The researchers found some information that is truly remarkable:

As adolescents are building their sense of identity, they may engage in more trouble-making behavior if they’re missing the support they need either emotionally or materially. Social trends can cause some teens to feel as though they don’t “fit in”, and so they turn to substances to try and bridge that gap. Adolescence is also a time where a lot of physiological changes are taking place, and this can cause low self-esteem. During recovery, love and service exercises – such as helping other through volunteer work – can increase a teen’s sense of leadership and humility. The researchers found that teens who engaged in service showed reduced rates of returning to their old behaviors.

Our teens often need to feel heard, and by giving them a chance to help others during their time in treatment, we give them a purpose. A voice. Recovery is a lifelong process, but the skills that teens can gain from their recovery program are ones that can last a lifetime. The structure and support provided can offer teens the time and space needed to work through their problems and overcome their addiction. If you have a teen who needs help, stay supportive of their recovery, and guide them every step of the way. Their entire life could change.

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-campus, we are made up of 2 twelve-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.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.

8 Signs Your Teen May Be at Risk for Developing An Addiction

Teenage years present a certain period of vulnerability, especially as youth are navigating their way into adulthood. Peer pressure is high during this time, and many teens want to experiment – even if you’ve already had “the talk” with your teen about abusing substances, how do you know what is most likely to put them at risk for using anyways? The reality is that having a conversation with your teen is a huge plus, but there may be other areas of their life that are turning them towards drinking and drugs. By knowing some of the warning signs beforehand, you may be able to take some additional steps as a parent – to better lessen risk and point them on a path towards happiness and health.

Earlier this year, researchers wanted to explore what factors could make adolescents most at risk for alcoholism later on – and they found that these risks are very early, indeed. The way a child is raised can have a significant impact on the way they view themselves, others and the world around them at large. A number of family-related issues could actually lend themselves to a teens’ substance abuse later on:

  • Growing up in a family where the parents do not get along well
  • Father-son conflicts
  • Poor quality between parent and child interactions
  • Having a parent(s) with alcoholism or drug dependence of some sort

Of course, parenting is only one aspect of it all – your teen’s personality/behavioral tendencies, on the other hand, could cause them to be more vulnerable to substance use:

  • Their genetics (does alcoholism/addiction run in the family?)
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Angry or anxious temperament
  • Depression

Teens who abuse substances early on in life are more likely than others to develop a dependence and addiction later on. Even at this phase of life, healthy coping skills don’t always come naturally – in fact, teens may even replicate what they’ve seen their parents or friends do when they’re upset or ready to relax. If you believe your adolescent may be abusing substances, it’s time to seek help. For a period of time, your teen can gain invaluable access to support, tools and resources which could give them the stability and structure they need to overcome their addiction.

The earlier your teen seeks help, the better. Don’t wait any longer to ensure they get on the road to recovery.

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. 

For Many People, 12-Step Programs Provide Hope, Emotional Support, and GuidanceTwelve step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), have become a core part of American recovery as we’ve discovered just how powerful these steps can truly be. These types of program certainly have a more religious/spiritual component to them, and while this type of approach doesn’t work for everyone, others have found immense success with it. Having been around for almost 84 years now, over 2 million people attend AA and other 12-step programs in order to add structure, meaning and support to their recovery journey. These types of programs really focus on giving up our control to a Higher Power and taking responsibility for our faults. Ultimately, 12-step programs can guide individuals to a path of stronger faith and purpose – but it’s all based on a person’s individual experience.

A few years ago, a doctoral student and colleagues from Dickinson College explored young adults’ views on 12-step programs. Adolescent research has been a main focus of addiction recovery, but young adults (between the ages of 18 and 28) hold a significant percentage of people in need of help, too.

Despite saying that they were often the youngest in the room, participants noted several benefits they’ve found in 12-step programs:

  • Being able to relate to stories of other members
  • Finding inspiration and support from people in the group who have been abstinent for long periods of time
  • The program gives people hope that sobriety is possible
  • Hearing specific examples of how their lives would improve if they maintained sobriety was helpful in visualizing a brighter future
  • Being reminded of the consequences of substance abuse through group discussions
  • Sharing personal experiences and learning from others, too
  • And more

Personal experiences certainly give a lot of testimony to the efficacy of a program, and there are a lot of people who have benefitted from 12-step programs in particular. Being around others you can relate to is uplifting, especially since a common belief is that we’re the “only ones” going through a particular issue. In general, 12-step programs can give you the chance to find your away amongst others, with guidance from people who have gone through the same steps you’re about to go through. Ultimately, the right path for recovery is one that sits well with you – and by immersing yourself in the program, you can discover for yourself if this is something that could really transform your life.


Cumberland Heights in Chattanooga is a 12-step based outpatient alcohol and drug addiction program. Our Intensive Outpatient Program is designed for individuals 18 and above who may be in the early stages of addiction and alcoholism, or who are experiencing issues with drugs or alcohol. We offer both personalized assessments and flexible treatment hours to suit your needs. If you’re ready to take that first step towards your recovery journey, call us today for more information at 423-308-0689.

Recent Study: Your Teen May Benefit from Exercise in Addiction Rehabilitation

If you have a teen who is currently in rehabilitation for an addiction, you’re going to want to provide them with the best support possible. At this stage, your adolescent’s brain is still developing – which is why it’s important that they’re in recovery, to help mitigate the effects of addiction as much as possible. Rehab for adolescents typically involves therapy so that your teen is able to work through some of their emotional concerns and to get a better understanding of what they’ve been going through. Recovery is much more than therapy, however; it’s about creating a lifestyle that’s centered around recovery. What else might this include?

  • Healthy eating habits
  • Getting good amount of sleep
  • Forming close relationships and building a support network
  • Establishing academic and professional goals
  • Taking part in fun, healthy activities
  • Exercising
  • And more

Just last year, researchers published a study in the journal Frontier Psychology that centered on exercise for youth in substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. Ultimately, they found that exercise can help lessen the stress of other factors that many adolescents experience, such as boredom, lack of social support, poor mental health and more. Exercise plays more into a holistic perspective, which can contribute to your teen’s overall lifestyle. If exercise is incorporated more into your teen’s program, they will likely build more of a routine – something they can depend on engaging in each and every day, and that will help them reduce depression and anxiety while improving their overall health.

The beauty about exercise is that there are so many different kinds of it – depending on your adolescent’s unique needs and interests, they could partake in activities that matter to them. Some examples of exercise could include walking, biking or running, or they could get involved in more experiential forms of exercise such as hiking, canoeing, rock climbing etc.

For many teens, substance abuse stems from a lack of emotional support. They may feel depressed, angry or anxious, and this may cause them to want to use something that will take those uncomfortable feelings away. Exercise has been proven to actually release stress and promote a better mood, which could in fact counteract the desire to use substances over time. Talk with your teen today about opportunities for them to get involved in daily exercise. It could be as simple as going for a small walk each day – but this could greatly improve their chances of success in recovery.

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. 


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