Tag Archives: Drug Abuse Treatment

Tag Archives: Drug Abuse Treatment


Your body is dangling, your heart racing, your stomach drops and then it hits – euphoria. You just plunged 30 plus feet, literally hanging by a thread – well actually a rope, but you get the idea.

More than two dozen Cumberland Heights employees took part in The Big Swing Event April 15and sure, it was an amusing way to kick off the week, but we did it for much more than the thrill. It was a lesson in trust, peer support and letting go.

“It’s your decision and yours alone,” said Recreation Therapist Jimmy Hudgens.

He was talking about the cable you pull when you’re ready to take the plunge. But for those familiar with AA, we’re thinking, “This sounds a lot like Step 3.” Wait a second! This whole exercise mirrors recovery” (or for others, simply letting go of control).

I was the second person in our afternoon swing group to go. The counselor who went before me did it effortlessly. She even looked relaxed, as if she were swinging back and forth on a hammock. I’m thinking to myself, “Oh, this is easy. I have nothing to be afraid of.” And then my friends on the ground started pulling me up. If you’re not familiar with The Big Swing, it’s kind of like those hoisting you up are playing tug of war – everyone is in a line stepping backwards, yanking on a rope to pull you to the top. So, I see them on the ground getting further and further away and all of a sudden, I’m looking down on acres upon acres of rolling hills as if I’m the camera lens on a drone. In my head I’m thinking “Oh gosh this is high.” It wasn’t until I heard people on the ground say “It’s going to be okay” that I realized I was speaking out loud. And then I had made it all the way to the top.

I nervously scream below, “So I just pull this thing?”

I hear a resounding “Yes!”

And I didn’t think. I just did it. I pulled it. And I screamed. I screamed really, really loudly. And I didn’t stop screaming for several seconds. And it was super scary. But it felt amazing. It was a rush like I haven’t felt before. And as you swing back and forth coming down, you just get to bask in the afterglow. All of my friends were happy for me, and then, even better, I got to be a part of their experience when they took the plunge!

Every person there had a job – to spot someone on the ladder, to hoist someone up, to stop pulling the rope when the swinger didn’t want to go any higher. We had to support one another and we had to trust each other.

Others who had done the swing before took it a step further. They put a blindfold on before they dropped. Josh K. was one of them.

“It was a totally different experience because being up there, being that high you can’t see down so you’re just trusting everything is set up right. Here we go. Blind jump. It’s wild,” said Josh.

“Walking by faith and not by sight may be easier than we expect,” said Jimmy.

April R. who organized the event took part in it as a patient at Cumberland Heights a little over three years ago.

“It’s more just fun now since I’m really not afraid of heights, but at the time it was very therapeutic, very special. It was me saying ‘I surrender.’ I just let go and it was emotional and moving,” said April.

She wasn’t alone in her experience. Jimmy says this exercise means more to the patients than we may ever know.

“I had one guy come to an alumni reunion and I recall that patient being very quiet when he was in treatment, but when he came to the reunion he said the swing was his first spiritual experience. It was about giving up control for him. It was his spiritual awakening he said. And you would never know because he never said anything until years later,” said Jimmy.

Recreational therapy is a staple here at Cumberland Heights and I’ve always appreciated it, but I never fully understood it until that day. In treatment you can do everything by the book and go through the steps as you’re told, but it’s usually moments like these when people really find their center, higher power or willingness to let go. Others may find those things in group therapy or in the art room. Everyone responds differently to certain therapies in treatment and Cumberland Heights works really hard to honor that. That’s just one of the things that makes this place so special.

Sitting isolated during recovery is dangerousNote: If you’ve been experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Your life matters.

Whether you’ve first begun your journey to addiction recovery or you’ve been working towards it for quite some time, one thing is for certain: recovery has ups and downs. There are so many lessons that come along the way and while some days we may feel confident, there are others where we may feel like holding back. We may feel depressed, anxious, angry or confused and that’s when we isolate ourselves. Pain is a universal experience, yet when pain emerges, we disconnect from others. If this is something you can relate to, please know that you’re not alone – there are other people out there whom you could rely on and people who need your support, too.

A 2018 study published in the journal Youth & Society sought to explore how isolation affects those in addiction recovery. A total of 195 participants were involved and were assessed at treatment admission, discharge and at the 6-month and 12-month periods afterwards. The researchers found that participants who isolated themselves were more likely to:

  • Relapse
  • Be incarcerated
  • Commit a violent crime

What are some factors to help reduce isolation? The study found the 12-Step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), reduced all of these negative outcomes because participants weren’t alone any longer. In these types of support groups, there are people who understand what you’re going through. Weekly discussions cover a variety of topics pertaining to addiction recovery and it’s through these 12-Step programs where many people strengthen their sense of purpose in the world.

If you’re ready to start your journey to recovery today, speak with someone from Cumberland Heights. Build a support system and reach out for help. There are many other people experiencing pain, so remember that you are not alone. Take that step in your journey to recovery.

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.

Battling emptiness during addiction American poet, essayist and activist Robert Bly once stated,

“The beginning of love is a horror of emptiness.”

Although each person experiences addiction differently, it’s safe to say that for many, there’s this inherent feeling of emptiness that lingers and perpetuates a painful, stinging sensation of loneliness, hopelessness and internal despair. Sometimes it’s an injury that makes a person no longer feel functional, or a series of painful events that have continued to scar a person’s psyche over time. Self-inadequacies, trauma, relationship issues and major disasters have a way of making us feel as though we’re not good enough in some way or another and that’s when addiction appears – in an attempt to fill that gap.

Spiritual Emptiness: A Look Inside

The circumstances of our lives have placed us in unique positions over the years and the pain we’ve endured can certainly leave wounds on our hearts. For a long time, we may feel as though we’re wandering around aimlessly – with no sense of direction or purpose and no true connection. It’s this inner turmoil that often leads people to seek out substances – because the distractions they provide briefly take those feelings of pain away.

A 2016 article published in the journal Alcohol Treatment Quarterly emphasized that spiritual emptiness is often what accompanies poor mental health and substance dependence. When we’re spiritually empty, we’re lacking a sense of connection to the “bigger picture” that is life; put simply, we’re focused on what we don’t have, what we’re missing out on and what we’d rather be doing than healing from our experiences and finding ways to move forward. Addiction affects the mind, body and spirit and when our spiritual self is weak and feeling lost, we may easily find our lives become unmanageable and out of control.

Several years ago, the Huffington Post described spiritual emptiness as being a “lack of love” – but it’s not what you think. Rather than feeling low because of a lack of love we’re receiving from others, our spiritual emptiness often derives from a lack of self-love, which is found through spirituality. When this occurs, we don’t see ourselves as worthy, or loveable, or responsible, or deserving of good. With spirituality in our lives, we become much more open to ourselves and others by acknowledging that we have more to offer to this world than we realize.

Opening Your Heart

Ernest Kurtz, co-author of Experiencing Spirituality, told The Fix in 2014,

“Pursuing the image of “open” we come to giving generous; the open hand, making available what we have, rather than the grabbing, clenched hand, oriented to taking. A facet of open, willing, honest generosity is the gift of self that is presence.”

They say that two core aspects of spirituality are divine love and service to others. 12-Step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), promote both of these components by helping people open their hearts to God or another Higher Power and by giving to others as an act of love. A 2017 study conducted by researchers from the University of Akron in Ohio sought to explore the benefits of these two aspects of spirituality for adolescents in addiction recovery. A total of 195 adolescents participated in the study and were assessed at the beginning of, during and after the study was completed. This is what the researchers found:

  • Experiencing divine love greatly enhanced the effect of service on recidivism rates
  • Service to others reduced relapse and promoted greater character development

Defining Spirituality

Of course, there are many other ways that spirituality can be defined as well as many ways it can improve your life. A study published in the Journal of Psychology and Clinical Psychiatry sought to examine the role and influence that spirituality has had on those in addiction recovery; 50 men and women diagnosed with substance use disorders (SUDs) participated in the study and surveys were conducted to get a glimpse of their perspectives. These were the definitions that many participants provided for their perspective on spirituality:

  • A source of power greater than the individual
  • A guide through life
  • Another form of energy
  • A connection and faith in a universal God
  • Emotion or love

Altogether, these were some of the explanations individuals provided for what spirituality does for them:

  • Spirituality gives many people the ability accept the fact that they’re addicted
  • Spirituality helps them understand that recovery is possible
  • It helps individuals remain open-minded to possibilities for their recovery and life
  • It provides them with a sense of hope and overall replenishment

Spirituality combats emptiness by filling us with purpose, meaning, love and light. 12-Step programs can give us a sense of connection to others who are also on this journey and can enable us to open our hearts more than we ever thought possible. If you’re ready to begin your journey to recovery, speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights today. The time to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit is now.

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.

prescription drug abuseThe opioid epidemic has become a national concern as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports a four-fold increase in opioid-related deaths between the years of 2002 and 2017. When we talk about opioid abuse, it’s mostly centralized around prescription drugs and how friends and family members obtain these from loved ones. There are yet many cases of those who were prescribed these drugs but later developed dependence to them, but the air has been a bit murky as we’ve had trouble identifying direct links to addiction for these individuals. Of course, acute, chronic and emotional distress play a role in opioid dependence, but what exactly led up to that point? Sometimes the best way to find these answers is to speak directly with those who have experienced it.

A 2017 study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment sought to explore these pathways that have led to opioid abuse or dependence by assessing and interviewing 283 adults with opioid dependence. Overall, 121 participants revealed more than one pathway that led them to where they are now.

Three major pathways were identified:

  • Inadequately controlled chronic pain
  • Exposure to opioids during acute pain episodes
  • Chronic pain amongst individuals with prior substance use disorders (SUDs)

This information provides us with a firm groundwork on what we can do to better support those with chronic pain; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that on the public level, we can educate our communities so that they may better protect themselves and their loved ones from opioid dependence. At the state level, drug monitoring programs have already been set in place to serve as interventions. Healthcare providers have also become more attuned to the needs of their clients, which is where more customized treatment becomes important.


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.

It Takes a Village: Understanding and Treating Adolescent Substance Use Disorders Using a Systems ApproachEngaging and treating adolescents with substance use disorders and their families present many challenges including the increasing acuity and complexity of the problem and a limited array of service delivery options and evidence-based treatments. This presentation will provide an overview of current trends and perspectives on adolescent substance use disorders as well as a review of effective screening, assessment and engagement strategies for the adolescent and his family. An overview of evidence-based interventions, as well as a systems-based intensive outpatient model of treatment, will be presented. Case presentation and discussion will allow participants to address real-world challenges and opportunities.

Facilitated by:
Gary L. Sauls, LCAS & Paul Nagy, LPC, LCAS, CCS from Duke University

Date & Time:
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
8:30 AM – 12:00 PM CDT
Registration begins at 8:00am

Cost: $10.00
REGISTER NOW

3 NADAC and NBCC credit hours available

Objectives:

  1. Identify current drug use trends, perspectives and etiology of adolescent substance use disorders.
  2. Review guidelines for screening, assessing and engaging adolescent substance abusers and their families.
  3. Describe evidence-based treatment interventions and a family-based intensive outpatient model of treatment.

NASHVILLE, TENN. – Sept. 6, 2018Cumberland Heights is pleased to announce the hiring of Nick Hayes, M.S., LMFTA (TX), LCDC (TX) as Director of Clinical Research and Outcomes and Greg Snodgrass as Regional Outreach Coordinator.

Nick Hayes - Cumberland Heights, Director of Clinical Research and Outcomes
Nick Hayes – Director of Clinical Research and Outcomes
Hayes will focus on efficacious treatment protocols, predictive analytics, feedback-informed treatment procedures and collaborations with institutions of higher education for all of Cumberland Heights, including inpatient and outpatient treatment programs.

As Regional Outreach Coordinator, Snodgrass will serve as the liaison between Cumberland Heights and a variety of referral sources to ensure seamless and timely admissions as well as treatment and continuing care services for patients and families seeking help with addiction.

Greg Snodgrass, Regional Outreach Coordinator
Greg Snodgrass, Regional Outreach Coordinator
“Nick and Greg have skills that reinforce why Cumberland Heights has consistently remained a nationally renowned treatment center for more than 50 years,” said CEO Jay Crosson. “The research overseen by Nick is critical to demonstrating the effectiveness of our treatment programs and sustaining – and growing – our authority in the industry. Likewise, Greg’s ability to build referral networks ensures that we are reaching patients and families who need help recovering life from the grips of drug and alcohol addiction.”

Hayes holds dual licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist-Associate (LMFTA-TX) as well as a Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC-TX). He has advanced training in quantitative methods, neuro-analysis and systems theory.

Hayes is a doctoral student within the Couple, Marriage, and Family Therapy Graduate Program at Texas Tech University, where he has also served as a student member in university’s Center for Collegiate Recovery Communities for the past seven years. He had worked with the Cumberland Heights Foundation while pursuing his degree.

Like many of Cumberland Heights’ staff, Snodgrass is living in recovery. He is actively involved in 12-step programs and sponsors men in recovery.

Snodgrass completed treatment 14 years ago and has since dedicated his life to helping others struggling with addiction. He received a scholarship to return to higher education at the Collegiate Recovery at Texas Tech University. He was then responsible for the five-year design and implementation of the Collegiate Recovery at the University of Alabama and served as director of the program.

He also served as National Director of Corporate Relations and Sponsorship for the Association of Recovery in Higher Education, where he oversaw the fundraising, donor relations and organizational growth for the association.  Most recently, he worked as a sober companion for Rick Parrish and Jamie Eater at Sober Escorts Inc. and John West of The Guest House in Ocala, Fla.

Snodgrass spends his free time with his wife and daughter traveling to horse shows across the southeast with their thoroughbreds, Harley and Pickles.


About Cumberland Heights

Cumberland Heights’ mission is to transform lives, giving hope and healing to those affected by alcohol or drug addiction. As a non-profit organization, Cumberland Heights is committed to the approximately 2,500 men, women and adolescents it serves every year and the communities where its facilities are located. The organization has followed the teachings of the 12 Steps since its founding in 1966.

Cumberland Heights Among the Few Centers Approved for Google AdWords Program and Welcomes New Screening Process for Treatment Industry

Google Sets Limits on Addiction Treatment Ads, Citing SafetyCumberland Heights is among the first 100 treatment centers nationwide approved to participate in a new Google AdWords program designed to stop unethical marketing that had been plaguing the industry before now.

“I commend Google for recognizing that vulnerable individuals and families were being targeted and taken advantage of by several online marketers,” said Cumberland Heights CEO Jay Crosson. “The new AdWords program recognizes treatment centers like Cumberland Heights that focus on quality care, ethical marketing and helping patients recover life.”

Last fall, in an effort to protect the public from possibly unethical marketing practices, Google banned all ads containing keywords like “drug treatment” or “alcohol addiction.” Predatory marketers that did not provide any treatment services had mastered collecting online leads and selling them to the highest bidder to the detriment of legitimate treatment providers nationwide – and likely to many people who were seeking qualified help. Stopping these practices had become a top priority for industry organizations like the National Association of the Addiction Treatment Professionals (NAATP).

In Spring 2018, Google announced that it partnered with LegitScripts to screen providers that want to advertise using AdWords. To be approved under the new program, treatment providers had to complete an extensive review process focused on quality, safety and transparency.

“The process was onerous but welcome,” said Crosson, who also chairs NAATP’s Ethics Committee. “Online marketing has changed and will continue to change how we reach people who need help. What has not changed and will never change is the need to respect patients and provide them the best possible care to them and their families.”

Read more about Cumberland Heights Code of Ethics and our commitment to reputable marketing.

Original Article By: Stephanie Langston, WKRN News Channel 2, Nashville
Posted: Aug 02, 2018 05:55 PM CDT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A family is sharing their story of heartache after losing their son to addiction. Now, they are doing what they can to raise awareness about the crisis.

It was a battle the Witthauer’s faced for years. They told News 2 despite numerous rehab facilities, the disease was too powerful for their son Greg. “I lost my brother to this disease, but losing my child was much worse,” Karen Witthauer said with tears in her eyes.

At the age of 13, her son Greg had his first taste of drugs. “They smoked marijuana on the beach and then it was head to the ground from there.”

His use increased, and after being dismissed from the soccer team for a drug offense he entered rehab at 15. But he soon relapsed. “He was trying to find something that he could control that would make him feel better. The whole progression, he went through cocaine and from opiates to pills to heroin,” Greg’s father Mark told News 2.

The struggle didn’t get any easier. Several rehabs later and some legal issues finally gave Greg some clean time, almost two years.

“He was working, and he was doing really really well. He bought a car and his job was stable and he was really proud of himself, you could tell,” said Karen. However, a back injury landed Greg a Lortab prescription and he was back using fulltime. “He only had 10. He gave him a prescription for 10 and that was all it took,” stated Karen.

The Witthauer’s said he was never able to put together a long stretch of sobriety again. This time he spent three months in a Florida rehab. “and he was gone within two weeks,” said his mom.

Greg was found in his car near Percy Priest. He had overdosed on heroin likely laced with meth.

“We knew in our hearts that he had probably overdosed somewhere but even though you still get that phone call and it’s like the whole world just starts spinning around,” explained his father. Today Karen wears a bracelet that reads “always have heart,” the same tattoo her son had across his chest. “Even though he had the disease of addiction, I was very proud of my child, very proud of the man that he was, I was proud of his heart, of how he treated people.”

In his sober time, they said Greg wanted to help others struggling with addiction. Now they hope to carry on his mission.

The Witthauer’s started a fundraiser called always have a heart in their son’s honor that goes to support those in treatment.

On August 12, they are hosting a forum, Breaking the silence: Addressing Youth Substance Abuse. It will be at Our Savior Lutheran Church.

Adolescent Treatment: How Recent Treatment Trends May Not Meet Patient Needs

Presentation Details:

During the presentation, we will identify current trends in adolescent substance use, explore a number of adolescent treatment modalities, and outline discrepancies between pertinent research and treatment trends.

  1. Gaining a better understanding about current trends in adolescent substance use;
  2. Exploring recent changes in adolescent treatment options around the country;
  3. Evaluate whether trendy treatment modalities align with current research on the needs of adolescents with substance use disorders

Presentation Date:

September 12, 2018 – 2 sessions; participants only need to choose 1 session. They are identical sessions.

  • 9:00AM – 12:00PM
  • 1:00PM – 4:00PM

Cost: $10.00 per attendee

REGISTER NOW

Presenter Bio: Kelly Little, MSW, LCASA

Ms. Little received her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Elon University and her Masters in Social Work at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte. Her passion for working in the field of addiction grew out of her experience with harm reduction strategies, as she worked as a college-level peer educator for 5 years. Through this experience, she researched the impact of body image on male and female college students, as well as the impact of CBT on adolescents with substance use disorders. Ms. Little has worked the treatment field since 2011, specializing in the treatment of adolescents. She has been at the Dilworth Center for 5 years and is currently responsible for adult and adolescent assessments, adolescent patient caseloads, patient and family education, and group therapy facilitation.

Davidson County Community Education Program

EVENT TOPIC: Addiction Effects the Entire Family

Addiction is a family disease that stresses the family to the breaking point, impacts the stability of the home, the family’s unity, mental health, physical health, finances, and overall family dynamics. Join us to learn about how your family might be effected and what you can do to support yourself, your family and your loved ones who may be struggling with substance use.

Davidson County Community Education

EVENT DETAILS:

LOCATION: Bellevue Family YMCA – 8101 TN-100 Nashville, TN 37212
DATE: July 26, 2018
TIME: 6:00PM – 8:00PM

REGISTER NOW!

ABOUT OUR SPEAKER:

Meet Our Speaker Kristy Roll, LCSW is the Director of Family Services at Cumberland HeightsKristy Roll, LCSW is the Director of Family Services at Cumberland Heights. Kristy has been a counselor for 15 years working mostly in addiction treatment but also began her career working in community mental health. Kristy received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern Indiana. Kristy is trained in EMDR. Kristy has worked with children, adolescents, young adults and adults providing individual and family therapy. Kristy moved to Nashville from Indiana in 2008, joining the Cumberland Heights team in 2012.


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