Tag Archives: Drinking

Tag Archives: Drinking

It’s a typical day — you’ve arrived home from work, and you’re ready to settle in for a comfortable evening. You drop your keys on the counter and head for the kitchen, thinking about the bottle of wine or the six-pack of beer waiting for you. But it’s not there. You forgot; you’d meant to stop at the store, and then on your way out your manager asked you to cover for a coworker next week, and you were distracted. How do you feel?

Maybe a little bummed out; you were looking forward to having a drink with dinner, and it’s just the icing on the cake of a hectic week — but speaking of cake, that ice cream in your freezer will probably get your mind off things just fine.

Or maybe there’s a twinge of something else — a deeper level of anxiety, a headache coming on, a surge of unexplainable frustration. You really needed that drink; it’s part of your routine and you know you won’t be able to relax or sleep well without at least a buzz. You can’t stop thinking about it. Maybe you’ll go to the bar down the street for dinner instead of cooking as you’d planned.

If your drinking has become a regular habit that you rely on to feel calm, happy or comfortable, it might be time to take a step back and evaluate whether your relationship with alcohol is a healthy one. Alcoholism doesn’t always look the same; not everyone fits the stereotype of an alcoholic who is always drunk and spends every cent they earn on plastic bottles of liquor. Alcoholism can affect people of all backgrounds, ages and genders, and can be difficult to identify because drinking alcohol is so common. If at any point you start to worry about the drinking habits of yourself or a loved one, you should consider learning more about the signs of alcoholism, or think about reaching out to an alcohol addiction treatment center for help.

To determine if you or a loved one has a drinking problem, we encourage you to learn more below.

On July 28, 2012, I was at a complete loss. Despite years of trying to control my drinking, I had yet again approached a social situation with intentions to “just have one,” only to wake up that morning with no recollection from the night before. All I knew was things had not gone well. My girlfriend (now wife) made a simple ultimatum – alcohol or her, but I couldn’t have both. It was an ultimatum I’d heard many times before, in various forms, but something about this time was different. I was done trying to keep up the illusion I had any semblance of control with my drinking. Despite my very best efforts and sincere intentions, I simply could not predict how much I would drink once I had the first sip of alcohol. I was finally willing to admit I was powerless over this disease.

The 12 Steps are the solution which continues to show me there is a better life I can live if I am willing to be humble, take action and trust my Higher Power.

For years, I’d used alcohol to fill a deep void in my life. I spent a lot of time and energy trying to convince others I didn’t have a problem, and I could quit any time. The problems with these statements were they were completely false, and deep down I knew it. I knew I was lying to myself, but I was terrified to come out and actually admit I was powerless when it came to drinking. It terrified me to think I might be perceived as weak by my friends and family. The great paradox of admitting I was powerless over my drinking was it created an opportunity to allow something else in, and for me that something else was God. My Higher Power gave me the strength to forge ahead during some difficult times in my recovery, and continues to do so today.

After that moment of surrender, I was able to admit I needed help. I made my best effort to stay humble and to listen to the wisdom of others who had gone before me. They showed me there was a better life waiting for me, but only if I was willing to trust to the process and go to any lengths to get it. In essence, my admission to being powerless and understanding my life was unmanageable led me to identify the problem, which was Step 1. Once I identified the problem, I could then work towards the solution.

After five years in recovery the one thing I remind myself each day is powerlessness is not the same as helplessness. I admit I am powerless over my disease to create an opportunity for something bigger than me (my Higher Power) to lead me through my sobriety. What is essential about this admission is I take action each day to maintain the spiritual condition that allows me to remain sober. Once I take Step One, and I’ve admitted I am powerless and my life has become unmanageable, I’ve identified the problem. Next, I then have to take the necessary steps towards the solution. The 12 Steps are the solution which continues to show me there is a better life I can live if I am willing to be humble, take action and trust my Higher Power.


Brandon Antoskow, LPC-MHSP is the clinical coordinator in the Men’s Program at Cumberland HeightsBrandon Antoskow, LPC-MHSP is the clinical coordinator in the Men’s Program at Cumberland Heights. He has been at Cumberland Heights for over three years, and enjoys watching the miracle of recovery take form each and every day. Brandon lives in Franklin, TN with his wife Kelsey and dog Cash.

By: Brett Martin
WKRN New Channel 2, Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Addiction is sweeping the country and impacting young people every day. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 25 percent of teenagers who use drugs become addicted before they turn 18.

“Drug addiction is chaotic,” said a former addict at Cumberland Heights in northwest Davidson County. Addiction is becoming far too normal for people, including teenagers. “Not all of them have gotten to that point, especially the youth, where they could be addicted, but they are definitely on a path,” said Dean Porterfield, Director of Adolescent and Young Adult Services.

There is no doubt in Alex Booth’s mind that he is a recovering addict. Booth is 28 years old now and once was hooked on pain pills. “Drinking on the weekends, partying, having fun was all that I really cared about, and it’s not realistic to have that kind of lifestyle,” said Booth. Booth came to Cumberland Heights years ago. He said without their help, he might not be alive today.

“I was on death’s door when I got to Cumberland Heights. I had a very low heart beat from being on so many depressants for so long,” said Booth. That is a scary reality for many teenagers and young adults. “I had pretty much given up and I said, ‘Do whatever.’ I’d follow any suggestion,” Booth told News 2.

A report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse says 50 percent of teens have tried alcohol and 40 percent have used some kind of illegal drug by their senior year in high school.

Porterfield said most of the teenagers coming to them are addicted to alcohol and marijuana and headed down a dark path with prescription pain pills. “We are starting to see teenagers and young adults getting into substances at a faster rate and a more lethal rate,” said Porterfield. Porterfield said the biggest challenge is making sure teenagers understand the disease and want to get help. “It’s not uncommon for someone to get to us and have the drug history, substance abuse history of someone that is much older,” explained Porterfield.

That is something Booth said was a huge hurdle for him and others who have hit rock bottom.

“I remember being a teenager and thinking that I had the entire world figured out,” Booth said.

Dr. Anderson Spickard Jr. presents “The Craving Brain”

Please join us in the Frist Family Life Center Auditorium on the campus of Cumberland Heights for the following schedule of events:

WHAT: Dr. Anderson Spickard Jr. presents “The Craving Brain”
WHEN: September 13, 2017
WHERE: Frist Family Life Center Auditorium (on the campus of Cumberland Heights)
SPEAKING: 1 PM to 3 PM – Lecture with Q&A
SIGNING: 3 PM to 4 PM – Book Signing
COST: $60 per ticket

Click Here to Register

Dr. Anderson Spickard’s book “The Craving Brain” will also be available for purchase in the Cumberland Height’s Book Shop.

Dr. Anderson Spickard, Jr., will draw on his 45 years of experience as a physician, professor and leader in the field of addiction studies to synthesize and summarize his current understanding of the cause and treatment of addiction as laid out in his most recent book, The Craving Brain: Science, Spirituality and the Road to Recovery. Impacted deeply in the early days of his practice by the death of a colleague suffering from addiction who committed suicide, Dr. Spickard has since followed a determined course to find answers. Drawing on research into the brain’s reward system, he will describe the hijacking that leads to the perfect brain injury/disorder for the development of addiction. His description of how a person gets into an addicted state and how a person gets out of it is extremely relevant for those called upon more each day to address the needs of patients, families and communities struggling to survive in a time of increasing deaths by overdose.

Dr. Anderson Spickard presents 'The Craving Brain' at Cumberland Heights

Triumph Over Tragedy

One woman’s journey from drunk driving to addictions professional

Drunk driving offender Katrina Cornwell with Fiance
Katrina Cornwell and her fiance, Mike Long, attending Recovery Fest in Nashville, TN.

Louder than the sound of a 44 Magnum reverberating in the memories of my cousin’s failed suicide attempt. More deafening than the thunder in my scariest childhood storms. It was the sound of metal crunching against a concrete wall in the blackest of nights. It jolted me awake while drunk driving in a Xanax and wine induced blackout. I hit something with my car.

I remember thinking, ‘What was that?” but I didn’t see anything. Disoriented and barely conscious, I drove away in the dark.

Click. Click.

The clasping of silver handcuffs on my wrists was a cold awakening the moment the police jimmied open my car door. I’d never seen so many blue lights. I had no idea what was going on, or how my life was about to change.

A failed field sobriety test, a police interview and an inadvertent spotlight on the TV news later; I found myself in the back of a patrol car on my way to Metro General Hospital for a blood-alcohol test to determine the level of my intoxication.

Still clueless, I asked a question of my own, “Am I being arrested for DUI?”

“No,” the officer said. “You’re being arrested for vehicular homicide.”

And from that moment forward, my life has never been the same.

K 2
Katrina Cornwell with her children (L to R) Kavanaugh Creekmore, Kristen Creekmore, and Ian Creekmore.

In one night, I lost my children. I lost my home. I lost my award-winning career as a journalist, and I was labeled a killer who had just run over a father loading his daughter’s truck on top of his wrecker.

I never saw him. I was not able to avoid him. That has been a hard pill to swallow. Imagine how you would feel if you accidentally fell asleep at the wheel and killed someone? That’s exactly what happened to me.

I was drunk driving. I have no excuse. I take full responsibility for ingesting the substances that caused this accident. I’m horrified everyday with the knowledge of a wrong I can never fully make right for the family of the man I ran over that night.

However, this night was also a defining moment in the life of this alcoholic who was able to completely surrender to her Higher Power and allow him to rebuild her piece by piece.

In 2009, I sought addiction treatment at Cumberland Heights. This small step in faith toward a life of sobriety saved my life. In my first primary group, my counselor asked me to tell my story. With each sentence of truth, tears streamed down my face. I allowed myself to be vulnerable in public, and the healing began.

Women in my group said, “That could have been me.”  Suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone anymore. I was able to identify. It was an important part of my journey, as was two years of individual and group therapy, regular AA attendance and working the steps after my discharge.

Eighteen months later, I accepted a plea deal for my crimes and was sentenced to 10 years of probation, including two weeks of incarceration at Christmas and at Father’s Day each year. As part of my sentence I was ordered to speak publicly twice a year, but I have done this as often as possible. I never turn down an invitation. I have spoken to more than 1,000 students in Metro Schools, master’s level counseling classes, youth outpatient programs, church groups and even basketball teams. I consider it my life’s mission to use my story to help others.

I have remained sober for the past seven years. The God of my understanding took something so tragic and used it for good. He did this by increasing my faith, teaching me humility by being willing to accept a job at Goodwill when no one else would hire me and by being willing to be of service to other sick and suffering alcoholics.

I have sponsored women, taken meetings to detox units and even taken over leadership for a 12-step book study that has been meeting every Thursday night for four years.

In 2015, I took the next step and made helping other alcoholics and addicts a vocation at Samaritan Recovery Community. During that time, I applied and was accepted into the master of arts of addiction studies: integrated recovery for co-occurring disorders at the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies.

Last year, I was hired to work at Still Waters for Women, a 12-step immersion program under the umbrella of Cumberland Heights, and was recently hired as a case manager.

Today, my life’s goal is to help the next alcoholic and addict at the treatment center that gave me life again.


K HeadshotKatrina Cornwell is a case manager at Cumberland Heights, a motivational speaker, blogger and three-time, first-place award winner in the annual Tennessee Press Association contest.

In her presentations, she speaks about her addiction to drugs and alcohol and how those habits led to a drunk driving accident which killed a man in October 2009.

How Do I Know I’ve Hit Bottom?

How Do I Know I’ve Hit Bottom?
Hit Bottom: Those of us who experience increased physical tolerance for alcohol or drugs inevitably see an increase in our mental and emotional tolerance for pain, suffering and compromising our values.
You can’t predict when you will “Hit bottom.” For some the mere threat of failing out of school, losing our spouse, family support or a job is motivation enough to begin the process of recovery. For others the bottom is a much messier, deeper, darker place. Those of us who experience increased physical tolerance for alcohol or drugs inevitably see an increase in our mental and emotional tolerance for pain, suffering and compromising our values. This desensitization is an integral part of the denial system a person needs to sustain their drinking or drug use. It sounds like, “Sure, my wife left me, I got a DUI and I was fired, but I don’t see why everyone else is so upset.” Similarly, a comment I’ve heard among younger, opiate addicted patients who relapse within a matter of weeks is, “Sure, I’ve overdosed a few times. I’ve had some friends die from overdose, but I don’t really need to do all this recovery stuff. I just need to quit using.”

Exactly what does it take to cause surrender? The unfortunate reality is past, present or future consequences, no matter how dire, are often not enough to cause a person to hit bottom and choose the path of recovery. That’s because hitting bottom, reaching the point when enough is enough, is an extremely personal thing. Some people in recovery describe having a moment when the pain and fear of staying in active addiction was greater than the pain and fear they felt about the recovery process. But the best definition I’ve heard recently was from a patient who defined hitting bottom by saying, “It’s when bad things are happening to me faster than I can lower my standards.”

Stan Bumgarner graduated from Vanderbilt Divinity School in 2006 and worked for the Tennessee Association of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services teaching ministers across the state. This led him to become an alcohol and drug counselor. He is currently the Spiritual Director at Cumberland. Stan is a regular speaker at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Clarksville, the father of thirteen-year-old twins and active in his own 12-Step recovery.

For six years, Jason Isbell was drunk at every show he played.

During his tenure with beloved Southern rockers Drive-By Truckers, Isbell planned his drinking to keep him on his feet for the duration of the band’s marathon live shows – barely.

Something More Than Free: Jason Isbell's Journey to His Most Popular Album | Grammy Awards 2016, Individual Class“I had it timed where, by the very end of the show, I’d done just about all I could do standing up,” he told NPR in 2013. “I knew I needed two or three before I went on, and then during the show, we’d just pass a bottle around between the band.” The routine totaled about a fifth of Jack Daniels per show.

And Jack and Jason didn’t get along well: “Some people get drunk and become kind of sweet,” Patterson Hood, Drive-By Truckers founder and singer-songwriter, told The New York Times Magazine in 2013. “Jason wasn’t one of those people.” It didn’t help that the younger Isbell, a virtuoso guitarist with a proclivity for fast and fiery licks, was also a stellar songwriter, whose finely wrought and frequently heartbreaking character sketches were obviously on par with those of the older and principal Truckers, Hood and guitarist/singer-songwriter Mike Cooley. Isbell, who also managed to marry and divorce then-Truckers bassist Shonna Tucker during his time with the band, left in 2007. At the time, it was portrayed as amicable; in 2013, Isbell revealed he’d been forced out, mostly because of his drinking.

After his dismissal from DBT, Isbell went off the rails a little bit. He was arrested for public drunkenness and at one point accused Dierks Bentley of plagiarizing one of his songs on Twitter. He knew he needed help, and told his then-girlfriend, fellow musician Amanda Shires, he had to go to rehab. Unfortunately, both times he said it, he was drunk. “I only got to do that twice, I think,” he told NPR. The second time, Shires told him, “You’re telling the wrong person.”

Isbell got the message, and in February 2012, spent two weeks in Cumberland Heights, a rehab center in Nashville. Coming out, he started playing live again, dropped 40 lbs. and started writing the songs that would make up 2013’sSoutheastern. That September, Isbell’s song “Alabama Pines” won song of the year at the Americana Music Awards, kick-starting a wave of critical appreciation that Southeastern built upon when it was released in July 2013. The album contains Isbell’s most-streamed song on Spotify, “Cover Me Up,” and the devastating “Elephant” – coined by one music writer as “the saddest song of the millennium” – a quiet ballad about a cancer patient that concludes, “no one dies with dignity.”

Isbell toured steadily behind Southeastern, backed by a crack band named the 400 Unit – after the psychiatric ward of a hospital near Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where Isbell grew up – that included his now-wife Shires. (“She has a big conscience, a big heart,” he told Rolling Stone in 2013. “Essentially, she’s just a good person.”)

Southeastern was rewarded with a near-sweep at the 2014 Americana Music Awards that saw Isbell take the honors for album, song (“Cover Me Up”) and artist of the year. But none of that weighed on his mind when he returned to the studio for his follow-up, 2015’s Something More Than Free. “I have so many people ask me… ‘Did you feel pressure to follow up Southeastern?” Isbell told Stereogum in 2015. “That same question every damn time! No, that’s not an actual problem to have. I know people who can’t pay their f—ing bills. Following up a successful piece of work with another piece of work is the most ridiculous first-world problem I can think of.”

Sure enough, Something More Than Free was a mature, confident continuation of the work Isbell started with Southeastern. Anchored by the stellar lead single, “24 Frames,” it debuted at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Top Rock, Top Country Albums and Top Folk Albums charts, and No. 5 on the Billboard200. By way of comparison, Southeastern peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard200.

Masking Addiction

By Stan Bumgarner M. Div., Counselor

Art MaskIn a matter of days I will open my front door to find small groups of witches, zombies, Captain Americas, and princesses on my porch. Faces, hidden by masks or make-up, will shout “trick or treat,” greeting me with plastic pumpkins or expectant pillow cases. I will dutifully share equal amounts of treats with each child. It’s fun. I love seeing all the different costumes, and I eat more than my share of the candy.

The kids’ costumes do seem more elaborate these days. When I was a kid we were pirates or hobos. I recall my fifth grade year my best friend and I decided to go as mummies. We wrapped ourselves from head-to-toe in toilet paper then, one foot dragging, an arm raised, moaning, went door-to-door doing our best impression of Boris Karloff. It was a damp night in Birmingham. Our costumes didn’t last long. What didn’t melt right onto our clothes unraveled two blocks into the night.

I’ve worn masks as an adult that are made of much stronger material, but worked about as well as my fifth grade mummy costume. I found it helpful to hide behind them—the sports hero, the happy frat boy, the successful business guy, Don Juan the famous lover, the guy whose feelings are never hurt, the guy who has all the answers, the guy who never makes mistakes, the funny guy, the serious guy—my masks go on ad nauseam. I wore them to mask the real me: the self-doubter, the one who is never good enough or who is afraid to be exposed as a fraud. This seemed like a successful strategy until I discovered the most powerful masks of all, alcohol and marijuana. Overtime, these became the most destructive masks.

They weren’t as easy to shed as a toilet paper mummy costume. Alcohol and marijuana became a second skin. They were so integral to my life they became part of who I was at a cellular level. It was a painful way to live. Thank goodness there were people who had the skills to see beyond the masks and pull me out of the morass I had created. Through outpatient treatment, individual therapy and immersion in the 12-Step recovery community my true self began to slowly emerge and continues to grow.

Those old masks still live in my closet though. On occasion I will pull one out, put it on and wear it for days without realizing it. Then, one of my recovery friends will hold up a mirror helping me see what I’m doing. What a gift! Today, I am blessed to have a network of sober people in my life. They love me, imperfect as I am. I plan to remind myself of that as I hand out candy on Halloween this year—my friends in recovery are the greatest treat I’ve ever received. All I had to do was quit trying to trick them.


Stan graduated from Vanderbilt Divinity School in 2006 and worked for the Tennessee Association of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services teaching ministers across the state. This led him to become an alcohol and drug counselor, a position he currently holds as primary counselor for the Cumberland Heights Extended Care program for men. Stan is a regular speaker at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Clarksville, the father of thirteen-year-old twins and active in his own 12-Step recovery.

4th step sm

In the beginning I had the gift of desperation. The inability to manage the  pain of my  active addiction wrenched me to a place of willingness and honesty I had never known.  My alcoholism forced me to contemplate a spiritual solution. I had no idea how precious desperation could be. At the time I was only aware of the pain of living. Fortunately I was  more frightened at the idea of using than I was at the concept of a fearless and  thorough inventory.

My first inventory was as fearless and thorough as I could manage  and it was enough for me to meet my higher power.  I don’t recall the act of writing it but I’ll never forget reading it to my sponsor as we circled  the city of Phoenix in his Volkswagen. As I came to the end of my page and the silence in the car was stifling,  after an eternal pause my sponsor quietly asked “Is there anything else?” I told him a  secret I swore I would never let pass my lips. After speaking it I couldn’t make myself  look anywhere but the floor mats. Then my sponsor shared a quiet truth of his own. I  don’t know if it was the compassion of that man to offer a piece of himself to me or if it  was the love of a wonderful God who put us together; I just know in that moment I felt a  deep connection with others for the very first time.

The Twelve Steps states on pg  57 “Until we had talked with complete candor of our conflicts, and had listened to  someone else do the same thing, we still didn’t belong”. It was the beginning of a true kinship  with man and God.

Stepping out of that car I had my first spiritual experience. In a glimpse I saw the thread  of the supernatural carefully woven through my life. In this ephemeral moment where  I felt no better or worse than my fellow man I met my creator. Walking through windy woods of Still Waters, a Men’s 12-Step retreat offered by Cumberland Heights, I crested a summit just as the wind stopped and I stepped into the sunshine  for the very first time.

– Anonymous

Dr. Chapman Sledge, the medical director at Cumberland Heights Addiction Treatment Center in Nashville, said he notices the increase every year around this time. He said it’s spurred by all the social pressure to drink around events like the Super Bowl, but that often it’s a problem that has started much earlier than that.

Stay Connected

Signup For Emails

Secure Contact: Confidential Email Form

Call Today: 800-646-9998

Stay in the Know

Get Confidential Help from Cumberland Heights Treatment Center


If you or a loved one would like to speak directly with one of our licensed admissions staff, please call us now at (800) 646-9998 or submit the following information. If outside business hours, we will get back to you the following day.

* Required Field


Why is it so meaningful to give to Cumberland Heights?

Your gift to Cumberland Heights through our annual and capital initiates gives immediate support to patients and their families. To make a longer term impact a gift to the endowment fund will provide patient assistance funding for years to come.

We Are Open. Read updates regarding COVID-19 here and our available Telehealth services here.