Tag Archives: Addiction Treatment

Tag Archives: Addiction Treatment


A guide to recognizing spirituality and self care while in addiction recovery

12-Step programs – such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) – serve as a strong foundation for many in recovery. They provide clear steps and spiritual guidance that have helped thousands find their place in the world – alongside building a network of supportive people and a life that’s more fulfilling. Self-care is essential in daily life, but those in addiction recovery have often neglected self-care for quite a long time. Whether you’ve just begun your journey to recovery or you’re considered taking that courageous step towards treatment, it’s important to explore self-care and how it connects to 12-Step programs; because although it’s not talked about as often, there are many links there.

What is Self-Care?

There are many definitions of well-being; Yoga International defines self-care as,

“…what happens when you meet yourself as you are, and where you are”.

When we practice self-care, we’re recognizing that we’re human – and that as human beings, we don’t always have the ability to control what happens to or around us. Instead, we can acknowledge that we’re going to make mistakes – and by doing this, we can start taking steps towards making our lives more fulfilling as we can direct our focus up (to God or another Higher Power) and out (to our community).

In 2018, The Fix, a website that publishes relevant information on addiction and recovery, noted that when addiction is active, we’re more likely to neglect our personal mental, physical and spiritual health. Addiction is a disease that progresses and reels us in as we go – and with it, we may lose parts of ourselves even for a brief moment, along with relationships, jobs, money and more. They recommend the following exercises to implement self-care in recovery:

  1. Writing about how you’re feeling. Get a journal and start keeping track of your thoughts, moods and overall feelings about yourself, your life and your recovery. These brief moments of writing will help you release any pent-up anger, sadness or stress you may be feeling – and, over time, they can also serve as a way to observe patterns in your behavior so that you can take steps to ease your journey.
  2. Taking time to be alone. Addiction often brings people who abuse substances together – but all that substance use does is take us away from the present moment. Spend some time in recovery sitting alone and just breathing. Mindfulness is a beautiful practice that can truly change your life if you embrace slowing down and simply being.
  3. Taking breaks from technology. It’s easy to get caught up in other people’s lives – especially if it feels like there’s more time to relax in recovery. At Cumberland Heights, however, you’ll be involved in a schedule with a lot of activities to keep you focused on your recovery goals – and you’ll find that it’s a nice break from technology.
  4. Move your body. Nutrition and exercise are vital components of wellbeing. As you work towards your physical health, you’ll want to get moving – even if it’s just a walk – so that you can start embracing how wonderful it feels to participate in life at a steady pace.
  5. Connect with others. Previous research has shown just how important it is to build a strong support system, and Cumberland Heights can provide you with many opportunities to do this.

12-Step Programs and Self-Care: What You Need to Know

12-Step programs are made to integrate self-care through weekly meetings and updates. By talking about the problems we’re experiencing and connecting with others, we’re doing a number of self-care acts:

  • We’re relating to others, which builds our sense of community
  • We’re opening up about our problems, which relieves stress
  • We’re problem-solving, which enhances our lives
  • We’re adopting new perspectives which shape the way we lead our lives
  • And more

Several years ago, a study was published in the Textbook of Substance Abuse Treatment which assessed 12-Step program effectiveness alongside treatment programs. Researchers found that individuals who participated in 12-Step programs with regular treatment were more likely to remain active participants in their recovery; the 12-Step philosophy encourages people to look beyond themselves and into something much greater. From here, it becomes not only an act of self-care – but acts of care towards a Higher Power and one’s community, too.

Accountability is a highlighted component of 12-Step programs, and they remind us that not only are we not alone but that our actions do have an effect on others. Self-care then becomes part of relapse prevention and daily maintenance, as we attend 12-Step meetings, eat healthily, maintain contact with our sponsor, and participate in other recovery programs to feel continuously uplifted.

Seek Help Today


If you’re ready to push past addiction and build a life that’s fulfilling, speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights today.

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 two 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. For more information, call 1-800-646-9998 today.

Transitioning from residential treatment to outpatient treatment recovery

Outpatient treatment is explained by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) as a program that can be quite comparable to residential treatment – but those recovering from substance abuse will find there’s more independence, and the nature of the program may vary depending on a person’s individual needs. Outpatient treatment is a beautiful stepping stone for many who want to transition from residential treatment to something that provides them with less supervision – because they want to be able to return home and to start picking up responsibilities in a “normal life”. If you’re ready to begin an intensive outpatient treatment program, you’ll find there are many components that can make you stronger in recovery:

  • Ongoing 12-Step programs
  • Weekly individual and group meetings
  • Case management
  • And more

In addition to this, you’ll be able to return home each day while being able to actively participate in recovery processes that reinforce your goals. There are some major hurdles you’ll experience along the way, though – because with every major transition, there are going to be aspects that take some time to adjust to.

Common Hurdles of The Outpatient Treatment Transition

A publication by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) explains that engagement can be challenging for those in outpatient treatment programs, and in several ways not unique to the program itself:

Personal issues – such as health problems, psychological concerns, motivational status, etc.

Issues with others – problems at home with a significant relationship, family dynamic, support system and others

Societal concerns – cultural differences, fear of stigma and more

Structural implications – treatment policies and procedures may be different from what a person is used to

These particular issues can challenge a person’s ability to attend treatment programs, engage in them or otherwise maintain them over time. In addition to these broad, sweeping concerns that can weigh heavily on a person trying to succeed in outpatient treatment, there are other, more natural hurdles to consider upon entering this type of program:

Home environment – a person needs to ensure that upon their return home, they will have no triggers (such as living in a hostile environment, coming home to other friends or family members who are using drugs, etc.) so they can succeed in meeting their recovery goals

Social support – for optimal recovery, a person truly needs a strong support system at home; people who will be there for them through the good and bad times, and individuals who will not bring them backwards in their goal of sobriety is incredibly important

Discipline – outpatient treatment programs are different from residential programs because there’s much less monitoring and supervision. A person must feel ready to implement the lifestyle they’ve developed in treatment at home, too.

Transportation – with greater independence comes greater responsibilities, and part of outpatient treatment is ensuring that you have a car or other mode of transportation to get you to your recovery activities on time

Responsibilities – work hours, child support and other responsibilities need to be arranged beforehand so a person can carry out their treatment program with as minimal of issues as possible

Overcoming Barriers to Treatment

Despite all of these issues that can arise throughout treatment, there are just as many ways for a person to succeed and overcome these obstacles. First and foremost, communication is essential – if you speak with your support network at Cumberland Heights, you’ll be able to identify these barriers and find ways to work through them alongside people who care. A 2017 study published in The American Journal on Addictions found that motivational interviewing – an approach used in therapy to help a person identify the benefits/negatives of seeking and maintaining help – was greatly beneficial in increasing a person’s engagement in outpatient treatment. Rely on your support team – they’re there to help you push through these barriers and find ways of motivating yourself in recovery.

In addition to communication, organization is essential to ensuring all details are checked off the list for your entrance to the treatment program. Speak with friends, family and managers at your job well before you begin your outpatient treatment program so you can have these responsibilities handled (such as who is picking up the kids, what days you will go into work and what days you will need off, how you’re going to get to treatment and back each week, etc.). Lastly, and most importantly – don’t give up.

Everyone has issues they’re dealing with, but you’ll find that you’re more confident and stable than you’ve ever been once you’re at a good pace in outpatient treatment. This type of program is intensive, but it still provides you with everything you need to continue following the path towards the life you’ve always wanted.

Cumberland Heights in Crossville Tennessee is a 12-Step based outpatient alcohol and drug rehab program. Cumberland Heights’ Intensive Outpatient Program is designed for individuals age 18 and above who may be in the early stages of dependency or are experiencing problems with alcohol or drug use. If you’re ready to seek help today, call us at 931-250-5200.

The importance of evidence based treatment

There are so many types of treatment available in recovery – and with so many options, it may be hard to decide which one is going to be the most beneficial for you. Over time, researchers have tested various methods to see which ones are most effective, and that’s the premise for evidence-based treatment.

Defining Evidence-Based Treatment

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains that each approach to addiction treatment is meant to serve a particular aspect of recovery, depending on an individual’s needs. The Academy of Medical-Surgery Nurses (AMSN) defines evidence based practice as,

The conscientious use of current best evidence in making decisions about patient care”.

There are two primary types of evidence-based treatment: pharmacological and behavioral. Pharmacological treatment focuses on using certain medicines to ease withdrawal symptoms, help prevent relapse or to lessen the intensity of specific symptoms related to mental illness. Behavioral practices, however, are much more vast and could include any of the following:

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

CBT is a highly effective form of treatment that’s been used to help many people struggling with not only addiction recovery, but also for those battling depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and more. CBT provides a hands-on approach, and has been shown to help those in recovery apply healthier coping mechanisms to intense emotions or situations by identifying which thoughts are helping them versus which thoughts are hurting them.

Contingency management

While not used everywhere, contingency management utilizes certain incentives to encourage a person to participate in treatment. For example, a person may receive movie tickets in treatment for passing a drug test; they may receive a small gift or gift card to serve as a positive reinforcement for pursuing sobriety.

Community reinforcement

This approach involves the entire community – in which community members come together, often through community-wide projects, to support those around them who may be struggling with addiction. This is often when volunteerism comes into play, and community members may even host “give back” days where they educate their community on the dangerous effects of not seeking help.

Motivational enhancement

For those who are a bit unsure about whether or not they need treatment, motivational enhancement therapy can help a person become more committed to seeking help. Many people in recovery find themselves in denial or unsure if they even have a problem that needs addressed; motivational enhancement therapy helps a person find out for themselves which route would be most beneficial, and relies on the premise that a person who is most committed to their own decision to seek treatment are going to reap the most benefits.

12-Step programs

Programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) have been shown to boost participation and engagement in addiction treatment programs; for many, it’s a space where they can get to know others who can relate to certain experiences and emotions while also building a social support group. Accountability is a core part of 12-Step programs, and through both sponsorship and peer support, a person is more likely to remain abstinent – especially the greater they become involved in 12-Step program activities.

Family behavior therapy

Families also tend to experience much backlash when addiction is involved, and therapy for all family members – both individually and as a collective system – are important. Family members may experience resentment, guilt, anger, depression and anxiety over their future and recovery, and family behavioral therapy can assist family members in developing healthy coping mechanisms, along with more productive communication strategies, to enhance their lives at home.

Adolescent therapy

Various populations have different needs, and adolescent therapy can help young teens identify how they’re truly feeling. In this type of approach, adolescents will build rapport with a therapy and explore various aspects of their lives – so that with the right help, they can develop better coping mechanisms to succeed.

Why Evidence-Based Treatment is Important

A study published in the journal Health Policy emphasized that evidence-based practices are crucial because they dictate which methods prove to be beneficial to those in recovery versus those who don’t; assessments can be made and, over time, researchers can obtain trends for specific treatment modalities and how they’ve influenced those in recovery. There are certainly other therapies that fall under evidence-based practices, and those deemed under this category tend to be assessed under a rigid review, such as:

  • Identifying barriers to treatment
  • Making suggestions for improvement certain practices
  • Highlighting key results that prove an approach’s efficacy
  • Exploring it’s practical use in treatment
  • Noting which programs are easy to use
  • And more

If you’re ready to apply an evidence-based approach to your recovery, speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights today.

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.

5 stages of recovery you are likely to experienceAll types of recovery tend to undergo certain phases, because change truly doesn’t happen overnight. Recovery is a gradual process that involves highs and lows, with instances of taking a few steps back – as well as a few steps forward – from time to time. Whether you’re reading to get started on recovery from substances or you’re a friend or family member who wants to be more supportive, understanding the gradual changes of recovery can help ease your mind as far as what you can expect. Of course, recovery is experienced differently by everyone, because we all have different genetic makeups, addiction intensities, mental health statuses and more. However, the steps are typically experienced by everyone – even if they come in a different order.

Stage 1: Pre-Contemplation – this is where everyone begins, and it starts with not even recognizing that a problem exists. Friends and family may tell a person they have a problem, but to that person, nothing is wrong.

Stage 2: Contemplation – by this time, a person has started to become weary of the symptoms they’re experiencing. They’re tired of feeling “stuck” in whatever loop they’re in, and they want to potentially do something about it – they just aren’t quite sure yet what that “something” is.

Stage 3: Preparation – individuals are now ready to make a change, and they’re making small, final adjustments to ensure that they’re ready for this. They may still be a little hesitant – but they’re much more “on board” than before.

Stage 4: Action – a person is changing their surroundings and their behavior. For many people in addiction recovery, this means they’ve sought out help. This stage requires the most commitment and energy, and it’s a wonderful feeling for those in recovery to hear others comment on their progress.

Stage 5: Maintenance – the cycle of “change” never ends, so it’s important for a person to maintain their recovery even long after formal treatment has ended. If maintenance isn’t kept, a person may fall back into Stage 1 or 2 of the cycles.

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.

How adolescent substance abuse affects the familyWatching a loved one head down the path of addiction is devastating and if they’re an adolescent, the pain sears even deeper as we worry how this will affect their health, their future and their life as a whole. Adolescents are typically considered between the ages of 10 and 19 years of age, when many physical, mental and spiritual changes take place.

Addiction certainly disrupts these processes by causing our youth to think and act on cravings to use substances – and if you’re a parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, guardian or other family member, there’s no doubt that it’s taking a toll on your health.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published a piece of literature that identifies several key themes that many families experience when someone in the family is abusing substances:


  1. Negativity – the family’s mood often drops, with family members complaining more or being more critical. Positivity often becomes ignored as some family members may feel guilty, angry, sad or hopeless.
  2. Parental inconsistency – as the family’s structure becomes less stable, both parents and teens may become confused on boundaries and the difference between “right” and “wrong”.
  3. Parental denial – some family members may fail to recognize that their teen is struggling. Unfortunately, this only perpetuates the addiction and neglect support for their teen.
  4. Miscarried expression of anger – family members who are stressed may find themselves repressing their anger, which may take forms in other ways.
  5. Self-medication – teens may be abusing substances to deal with a physical or psychological concern, or they may be experimenting.
  6. Unrealistic parental expectations – if teens are not given loving and supportive messages throughout their recovery, they may feel that they’ll never meet parents’ expectations.

In recognizing the many ways that teen addiction can affect the entire family, individuals can take preventative and proactive measures towards their family’s health and wellness. If you have a teen who is abusing substances, speak with someone from Cumberland Heights today – it’s time they seek help.


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.

Bringing Pet Assisted Therapy to Cumberland Heights was not an entirely new concept. For years, CH has taken in strays and made them a part of the healing family. This time however, the introduction of Karisma was more intentional.

We know that empathy is essential to the treatment of addiction and alcoholism. Empathy is a powerful tool in building trust, and in developing a good relationship between human beings, therapists and addicts, families and addicts and also between addicts themselves. Empathy is especially important in addiction because addicts and alcoholics are used to being judged and criticized. They normally feel like no one understands them. Many times addicts and alcoholics have lost the trust of others or suffer from wounds where others have harmed them. In addiction treatment there is a saying that our secrets keep us sick. Having an animal to tell their secrets to for the first time, knowing the animal will not tell their secrets or judge them is many times their first experience with empathy.

Pet Assisted Therapy helps to teach this powerful concept. Maybe for the first time in years the addict is asking themselves what they can do for another. It also works by helping those who have been battling demons of substance abuse to find a way to step outside of themselves and discover deeper meaning and purpose by providing vital assistance to other living creatures that desperately need love and companionship.

We want to thank River Road Retrievers for bringing Karisma into our lives.

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