Tag Archives: Drug Abuse Treatment

Tag Archives: Drug Abuse Treatment


ABOUT ADMISSIONS & MARKETING SYMPOSIUM

DATE: April 2-3, 2020
LOCATION: Cumberland Heights River Road Campus

There is no greater purpose in our field than to be a resource to the clients and families we serve.

Southeast Admissions & Marketing SymposiumWhat started as a dinner conversation in 2012 about the need for quality training and collaboration for our admissions and marketing teams has developed into an event many treatment center owners and executives count on to provide ethics, leadership, mentorship and collaboration for their employees. This unique professional development opportunity is attended by seasoned professionals and newbies alike, and is packed with outstanding informational keynotes and breakout sessions applicable to all.

As a program executive, admissions or marketing representative, you have the potential to change lives and heal generations of families. Every call or contact with a family is an opportunity to help. That initial voice on the phone, be it a receptionist, intake person or community representative, may be the only person the caller ever reaches out to. Our responses and communication with that person are vital. Raising the professionalism in our field with education, ethics, shared experience and communication of knowledge is essential to achieve success.

Our hope is that no matter how long you have been in the field – be it 10 years or 10 days – there is something new for you to learn and share at the Admissions & Marketing Symposium. It is our vision and goal to transform our field into a shared mindset of abundance rather than be divided by scarcity or competition. To collaborate and connect professionals and families with the best treatment resource and opportunity for healing is the take-away message for the event. These opportunities may or may not always be within the centers we are representing, so by sharing information, we will be better able to make the best referral for each and every family and we will continue to grow and save lives. The character traits you nourish, skills you develop, and new information you learn will benefit both your own personal and professional development as well as the success of your center.

The Admissions & Marketing Symposium is the ideal place to find collaborators and mentors, colleagues with years of experience and attitudes of abundance. Join us in this sharing of knowledge and support the change we wish to see in this field.

About This Course:

WHEN: Wednesday, February 26 & Thursday, February 27
TIME: 8:00AM – 5:00AM
WHERE: Cumberland Heights River Road Campus (8283 River Road Pike, Nashville)
COST: *Includes Breakfast and Lunch on All Training Days

$75 – December 25th – January 25th (Early Bird Registration)
$120 – January 26th – February 14th

Who Should Attend: Anyone interested in sharpening their DBT skills, you do NOT have to have previously attended the Part 1 training to take this course, however, if you are preparing to teach DBT in the future, you will need to attend the first part of the DBT training series.

This course is designed to introduce students to the skills training aspects of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). It includes introductions to the four categories of DBT Skills. Students are introduced to the strategies and styles of running a DBT Skills class.  They also participate in an actual DBT class, including completing homework, completing skills worksheets, etc. to provide an immersive and ‘hands-on’ experience. Throughout the course emphasis is placed on the importance of comprehensive, culturally-sensitive, individualized assessment and intervention.

 

16 CEUs awarded, NAADAC and NBCC approved.

REGISTER NOW

Course Outcomes

Students will:

  1. Refresh their knowledge of the foundations of DBT.
  2. Gain basic knowledge of DBT skills.
  3. Gain skills and stylistic strategies to conduct DBT Skills classes.
  4. Appreciate the experience of Skills class participants by participating in an actual DBT skills class.
  5. Understand how to individualize Skills for respective clients through observing role-plays/demonstrations and participating in ‘hands-on’ practice.
  6. Conduct basic behavioral analysis and suggest more effective behaviors
  7. Understand how to integrate Dialectics into DBT practice
  8. Know the four categories of DBT Skills and the skills therein.
  9. Participate in mindfulness activities.

Course Expectations

  1. Student Expectations: Students are expected to demonstrate professional behavior, which means: attending class; arriving to and leaving class at the scheduled time; informing the instructor when leaving class early (please do so minimally), turning cell phones to silent, vibrate, or off; not texting, emailing, tweeting, etc. in class; coming to class alone and without children, family, and friends who are not registered in the course; returning to class on-time after breaks; coming prepared to participate in class discussion; asking questions and/or giving feedback; limiting the use of laptop computers (with the exception of taking class notes) and other electronic devices; engaging in courteous communication with instructors and peers inside and outside of the classroom; and showing respect for others’ opinions. If your use of electronic devices is distracting to anyone in the classroom, including the instructor, you will be asked to turn off the device and/or leave the classroom. When communicating with instructors or peers, in person or electronically, please be aware that standards of professional behavior apply. Integral to higher education is the exchange of ideas, which may include new, controversial and/or diverse ideas, and sometimes we will not agree with the ideas we encounter in readings, discussions, or class presentations. However, under all circumstances, we will treat others with respect and act professionally. Students are responsible for their own learning and contributing to a larger learning community in the classroom. It is imperative that students be present in order to learn valuable skills for social work practice. If a student misses three (3) or more classes, he/she risks not passing the course.
  2. Instructor Expectations: Instructor is expected to demonstrate professional behavior, which means: attending class; arriving to and leaving class at the scheduled time; informing students of changes to the course syllabus; informing students of changes to the class schedule; providing students with classroom time to work on course assignments; providing clear expectations on course assignments; providing clear and concise feedback on course assignments; returning assignments to students in a timely manner, and replying promptly to e-mail. Integral to higher education is the exchange of ideas, which may include new, controversial and/or diverse ideas, and sometimes we will not agree with the ideas we encounter in readings, discussions, or class presentations. However, under all circumstances, we will treat others with respect and act professionally.
    1. Course Assignments: All students will be given a homework assignment which is due the second day of the training. No extension requests will be approved on assignments that are due within the next 48 hours.
    2. Incompletes: All participants are required to attend the entire 2-day course in order to receive full CE’s.
    3. Safety: As part of professional education, students will be engaging with the community. As such, this may present some risks. Sound choices and caution may lower risks inherent to the profession. It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of and ensure personal safety. Students should notify the appropriate authority regarding any safety concerns.
    4. Confidentiality: Personal disclosure is not an expectation or requirement of this course. However, it may be appropriate for students to share information during class as it relates to learning about a particular topic. Students are expected to adhere to all professional standards of confidentiality during the semester.

At the end of the training, students will have the opportunity to evaluate the course and the instructor using the official University of Utah course and instructor evaluation. This course is based on the premise that much of our learning is from one another.  We each bring our experiences, knowledge, and analyses to realms of mutual learning and reflections.  Such learning requires the student to constructively participate.

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“Am I an addict?” is an extremely common question for those who find themselves behaving differently or making uncharacteristic choices in the name of drugs and alcohol. Individuals who prioritized academic success above all else may find themselves struggling to perform at school. Supportive parents may begin missing recitals, football games and family dinners. There is no way to predict how substance use will affect your life until it has spiraled out of control.

Addiction to drugs and alcohol is a nationwide epidemic. This disease affects your brain and behavior – those who are addicted modify their lives to center around substance use. While the ways that people begin using or drinking may vary, it is universally accepted that no one starts using with the goal of becoming an addict.

Today, we have compiled some resources for those who would like to ask themselves this pivotal question. If you would like help, the team at Cumberland Heights is here for you.

Self-Test for Addiction

This yes-or-no self-test has been developed by Narcotics Anonymous. If you are wondering whether you are an addict, only you can answer that question. This may not be an easy task – from the beginning of your substance use, you probably told yourself, “I can handle it.” This is no longer true. Addiction is a progressive disease, meaning that it worsens with time.

There is nothing shameful about being an addict. Armed with this knowledge, you can begin making powerful, positive changes to your life. Take a moment to answer the questions below as honestly as you can. Keep track of how many items to which you respond “yes.”

  1. Do you ever use alone?
  2. Have you ever substituted one substance for another, thinking that one particular drug was the problem?
  3. Have you ever manipulated or lied to a doctor in order to obtain prescription drugs?
  4. Have you ever stolen drugs? Have you ever stolen in order to obtain drugs?
  5. Do you regularly use a drug when you wake up, or when you go to sleep?
  6. Have you ever taken one drug in order to overcome the effects of another substance?
  7. Do you avoid people or places that do not approve of your substance use?
  8. Have you ever used a drug without knowing what it was, or how it would affect you?
  9. Has your work or school performance ever suffered from your substance use?
  10. Have you ever been arrested as a result of using drugs or alcohol?
  11. Have you ever lied about how much you use, or what you use?
  12. Do you put the purchase of drugs ahead of your financial responsibilities?
  13. Have you ever tried to control or stop your using?
  14. Have you ever been jailed, hospitalized, or placed in a treatment center because of your substance use?
  15. Does using interfere with your sleeping or eating habits?
  16. Does the thought of running out of drugs terrify you?
  17. Do you feel that it is impossible to live without drugs or alcohol?
  18. Do you ever question your own sanity?
  19. Is your drug use making life at home unhappy?
  20. Have you ever thought you couldn’t fit in or have a good time without drugs?
  21. Have you ever felt guilty, defensive, or ashamed of your substance use?
  22. Do you think a lot about drugs or alcohol?
  23. Have you had irrational or indefinable fears?
  24. Has using affected your sexual relationships?
  25. Have you ever taken drugs you didn’t prefer?
  26. Have you ever used drugs because of stress or emotional pain?
  27. Have you ever overdosed on any drugs?
  28. Do you continue to use in spite of negative consequences?
  29. Do you think you might have a drug problem?

Ultimately, the total number of yeses does not dictate your result. The answer to the question “Am I an addict?” lies in your feeling about how substance use has affected your life.

Many people try to make excuses, believing that their circumstances are different or that they are just having a tough time. Ultimately, the truth is that addiction makes life unmanageable. Narcotics Anonymous requires the acceptance of three realizations:

  1. We are powerless over addiction and our lives are unmanageable;
  2. Although we are not responsible for our disease, we are responsible for our recovery;
  3. We can no longer blame people, places and things for our addiction. We must face our problems and our feelings.

I’m an Addict. What Can I Do?

Acknowledging that you are an addict is an important first step to finding recovery. Next, you must create a plan to get well. What should you look for?

Seeking treatment for addiction can be a complicated endeavor. Many people may feel overwhelmed by this process – a simple Google search uncovers countless nearby treatment centers, all with vastly different offerings. Luckily, there are a few specific criteria you can look for in a facility that ensures high quality of care.

  • Joint Commission Accreditation – A seal of approval from this governing body means that a center has committed to high standards of patient safety, evidence-based care and continued education for providers. It can only be attained through an on-site visit and must be maintained afterwards. This indicates that a facility has achieved the gold standard of addiction treatment providers.
  • NAATP Membership – Facilities affiliated with NAATP, the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, must submit proof of adherence to best practices and a universal code of ethics.

Once you have reviewed a center for these standards, you should also take some time to tour their facilities. Most places will have a page on their website dedicated to showing off amenities like walking trails, labyrinths and ropes courses. When you know more about a center, you will feel more comfortable pursuing your recovery there.

Contact a Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center

Finally, you should contact the admissions center at your facility of choice. At Cumberland Heights, our friendly admissions staff are available 24/7 and can even help to verify your insurance coverage. They will discuss your treatment options and help you to organize your finances in order to obtain care. If you are worried about being an addict, we can help. Contact Cumberland Heights today.

Cumberland Heights - Recovery Live Podcast - Life actually has meaning to me now

Todd M Podcast – Sobriety doesn’t make you happy. It removes the things that make you unhappy.

Imagine your drug-addicted lifestyle being broadcast on national television. It happened to Todd M. on the popular A&E show “Intervention.” The season 16 episode followed Todd as he smoked meth and downed pills in his parent’s barn. The experience led him to Cumberland Heights where he now works with three years of sobriety under his belt. Hear how he felt watching that episode for the first time, and why the Californian decided to stick around Tennessee.

The Experiential Healing Center offers a training program in SomExSM: A Somatic Experiential intervention to treat trauma and addiction. Certification is offered to counseling professionals, but the training is open to anyone wanting to enhance their practice with a deeper understanding of the neurophysiology of trauma, emotion, and self-regulation. Some of the professions we have worked with are massage therapists, speech therapists, alcohol and drug counselors, physicians and, of course, psychotherapists.  A professional can participate in one module, or attend all four modules and participate in supervision for certification.

Created by Kent Fisher and Michelle Rappaport, this modality uses an inter-relational model of somatic awareness and experiential techniques.  It is highly effective in working with chemical and process addictions, trauma, and attachment disorders, with an emphasis on emotional regulation. This four-module training is designed to give therapists the tools to transform the nervous system around issues of trauma.

Participants will:

  • Develop a working knowledge of the neurobiological aspects of trauma on the body.
  • Practice Emotional Regulation techniques.
  • Practice Experiential techniques to help uncouple the freeze in traumatized individuals.
  • Learn interventions for harmony and repair around core attachment wounds.

​Friday, October 4th thru Sunday, October 6th 2019

Cost: $595 each module

REGISTER HERE

When Kent Fisher and Michelle Rappaport founded the Experiential Healing Center, they were extensively trained and highly skilled experiential therapists, using psychodrama and other action-oriented techniques to help clients access feelings and develop choice making about how they react and repair.

They certified in Somatic Transformation and began to incorporate the somatic techniques to help clients oscillate within their Optimal Arousal Zone in order to touch the edges of their activation and collapse. They began to see that the two schools of thought were not only mutually supportive, but also nearly seamless in their execution, and SomExSM was born.

We don’t wound alone and we certainly don’t heal alone. SomExSM–a Somatic Experiential intervention to treat trauma and addiction–honors this process, connecting the left-brain hemisphere of rationalization , reasoning and meaning-making to the right hemisphere’s capacity for social engagement and emotional processing.  It facilitates the repair of disorganized and insecure attachments of our childhood through somatic engagement and builds resiliency so clients are able to rediscover the Self that lives within all of us–playful, passionate, unashamed, unafraid, eager to learn and grow. At EHC we believe this is the difference between therapy and counseling. Therapy is a co-regulated process where therapist and client embark on a journey to recover and repair the Authentic Self.

SomExSM training will give you a deepened understanding of the neurobiological aspects of trauma, disordered attachment and addiction. It will equip you with a valuable set of skills to facilitate repair and regulation in your clients–allowing them to explore life in the Optimal Arousal Zone known to us here at the Experiential Healing Center as Emotional Harmony.

Recovery Live Podcasts

Recovery Live Podcasts - Liz Stanislawski from Cumberland Heights sits down with a few key figures in recovery to discuss life and what sobriety means to them.

Recovery Live Podcasts

Liz Stanislawski from Cumberland Heights sits down with a several key figures in recovery to discuss life and what sobriety means to them.

Listen to podcasts on your Apple® iPhone, Apple iPad, Google Android®, Mac/PC, Alexa smart speaker – and even in your car. For free!

Episode 1:

Cumberland Heights - Recovery Live Podcast - Travis Meadows

Travis Meadows Podcast – God did for me what I couldn’t do for myself.

Liz talks candidly with “Nashville’s Favorite Underdog” Travis Meadows about losing his brother at a young age, cancer, addiction and his treatment journal that inspired an album. Even with so much success, writing songs for Eric Church, Brothers Osborne and Wynonna Judd, Meadows says his biggest triumph is making it this far in his sobriety journey.

Episode 2:

Cumberland Heights - Recovery Live Podcast - Addiction is about isolation. Recovery is about connection.

Jaime G Podcast – Addiction is about isolation. Recovery is about connection.

Liz sits down with Jaime Gibbons – Cumberland Heights’ Alumni Relations & Volunteer Coordinator – to talk about what 16 years of sobriety looks like and how engaging with friends in recovery kept Jaime clean. Also in this episode: relationships that make you sick, a spiritual awakening while free-falling 30 feet, and Jaime’s greatest triumph in recovery. Hint: It’s a person and he only stands about 2.5 feet tall.

Episode 3:

Cumberland Heights - Recovery Live Podcast - Addiction is about isolation. Recovery is about connection.

Alexis H Podcast – I’m 100% grateful I’m an addict.

When Alexis went to treatment the first time she decided she was going to prove everyone wrong and not take any suggestions. When that didn’t work the first or second time, she decided to finally take all of the suggestions her third time in treatment. Now sober for 4.5 years, she talks about how recovery got her through her parents divorce, allowed her to experience true joy for the first time and made it possible for her to help other women like her struggling.

Episode 4:

Cumberland Heights - Recovery Live Podcast - Life actually has meaning to me now

Alex H Podcast – Life actually has meaning to me now.

Spending his early 20s in the restaurant industry meant late nights, free booze and social night caps. But as Alex explains, things got out of hand quickly and he found himself at Cumberland Heights. Fortunately, now in recovery, he’s able to use his talents as a chef to serve others fighting similar demons.

Episode 5:

Cumberland Heights - Recovery Live Podcast - Sobriety doesn't make you happy. It removes the things that make you unhappy.

Todd M Podcast – Sobriety doesn’t make you happy. It removes the things that make you unhappy.

Imagine your drug-addicted lifestyle being broadcast on national television. It happened to Todd M. on the popular A&E show “Intervention.” The season 16 episode followed Todd as he smoked meth downed pills in his parent’s barn. The experience led him to Cumberland Heights where he now works with three years of sobriety under his belt. Hear how he felt watching that episode for the first time, and why the Californian decided to stick around Tennessee.

Elton John takes to Twitter to announce his 29th Year Sober
Elton John takes to Twitter to announce his 29th Year Sober

At Cumberland Heights we encourage patients, alumni and staff to recover out loud if they feel comfortable. It helps erase the stigma and gives hope to others who may be struggling. Many of us look up to celebrities who choose to recover out loud – I mean, think of the number of people someone like Sir Elton John reaches compared to us!

Just look to his latest tweet that read, “I finally summoned up the courage to say 3 words that would change my life: ‘I need help.’ Thank you to all the selfless people who have helped me on my journey through sobriety. I am eternally grateful.” As of Aug. 2, that tweet had been liked by nearly 125,000 people, retweeted by 14,000 and commented on by more than 2,000. Talk about an impact.

The star’s struggles with addiction were also laid out in a recently released movie, “Rocketman”, an unapologetic, biopic musical that doesn’t sugarcoat his years of sex, drugs and other risky behaviors.

Elton has said it was difficult for him to watch.

“This is how my life was, and I didn’t want to cover it and gloss it over,” he said. “And it’s difficult to watch because I thought, ‘God, I don’t want to go back there. Thank God I came out of it’.”

He continued, “Success was fantastic, and then I couldn’t cope with it,” he added of the pressures of fame. “And you can’t leave out the bad.”

Elton John, Courtesy: Smooth Radio
Courtesy: Smooth Radio

It was the 1990 death of Ryan White, a young AIDS victim and friend of John’s that made the superstar take a step back and look at his own life. He checked into treatment shortly after.

Elton John even used his new lease on life to start the Elton John AIDS foundation which has raised over $400,000 dollars to combat the disease. John is also celebrating his 5th wedding anniversary this year to David Furnish, who he has been with for 25 years. Together they have two sons – Zachary, 8 and Elijah, 6.

“I am survivor. I’ve survived a lot of things. Life is full of pitfalls, even when you’re sober. I can deal with them now because I don’t have to run away and hide,” said Elton.

The 72-year-old has a big fall planned. He will resume his farewell tour in September. He’ll be here in Nashville at Bridgestone Arena on October 28th. The Grammy winner also penned a new song “Never Too Late” for “The Lion King” that just hit theaters.

We’re all guilty of it. Whether it’s jumping to conclusions, making generalizations or responding with emotion rather that sound evidence, unhealthy ways of thinking can creep up on us especially during stressful times. We’re not perfect so it’s okay as long as we can be mindful of when we’re doing this and take steps to change our thought process next time.

Below are the ten most common unhelpful thinking styles according to Adam Sicinski. Sicinski is an Australian life coach that uses mind maps and visual thinking principles. What are mind maps you ask? It’s an easy way to brainstorm thoughts organically without worrying about order and structure. It allows you to visually structure your ideas to help with analysis and recall. To the right you’ll see an example of a mind map.

Sicinski calls his unique mind maps IQMatrix. You can learn more by clicking here, but for the purpose of this article, we are just going to dive right into those 10 unhelpful thinking styles that when used too often can harm relationships and keep you from success.

Mental Filter

Here you tend to filter things in and out of your conscious awareness. This is a form of “tunnel vision” where you only tend to focus on a part of something and you ignore the rest. You might for instance only filter out all the negatives of a particular situation. You therefore only see the negatives and fail to recognize and acknowledge the positives. Your vision of reality is therefore based on your flawed perspective of the negativity you see in each particular situation.

Jumping to Conclusions

Here you tend to jump to unjustified conclusions. You make quick assumptions about how things are and what they’re going to be like in the future (predictive thinking), or you will assume that you know what someone else is thinking (mind reading). These conclusions and assumptions are not based on fact or evidence but rather based on your feelings and personal opinions. As such, they can often lead you astray down the wrong path.

Personalization

Here you tend to blame yourself for your problems and for everything that goes wrong in your life. You might for instance continuously blame yourself for your misfortunes and bad luck. This will be true whether or not you are responsible or partly responsible for the problem or misfortune. Taking responsibility for things is admirable, however, it can end up being a very burdensome habit-of-mind that leads to very strong feelings of guilt and regret.

                                                                             Black and White Thinking

Woman working through trauma in addiction recovery

Here you tend to only see the extremes of a situation. You either see one extreme or another and this is why it’s called black and white thinking. You will for instance either see the good or bad, the right or wrong, the sad or happy, the left or right, etc. And because of your extreme way of viewing things, there is never a middle-ground. As such you are unlikely to view things in an unbiased and neutral way.

Catastrophising

Here you tend to completely blow things out of proportion and make them out to be a lot worse than they should be. The reality of the situation might be quite insignificant and small. However, because you’re in the habit of catastrophizing, you always tend to make your problems larger than life — thereby making your problems even more difficult to overcome.

Overgeneralization

Here you tend to reference your past in order to make assumptions about the present. You might, for example, take one instance from the past and use that as a “predictor” or barometer for a current or future situation. Whenever you use the words “He always… She always… Everyone… You never… People never… I never…” you are at that moment overgeneralizing.

Shoulding and Musting

Here you tend to put unreasonable demands and pressure on yourself and on other people to do certain things. You tend to say, “I must… I should… You must… You should…”. These statements provide insight into the standards you tend to uphold and the things you expect of yourself and others. These standards can of course at times be helpful, however at other times “shoulding” and “musting” can create unrealistic expectations that you or others will struggle to live up to.

Labeling

Here you tend to label yourself or other people in certain ways based on behavior in very specific situations. These labels you make form your belief systems. Therefore the more times you use these labels the stronger your beliefs become. This can be a good thing, however, it’s unhelpful when you tend to label things a certain way despite the facts and evidence that are inconsistent with the labels you are making.

Magnification and MinimizationHow you should respond to alcohol cues in addiction recovery

Here you tend to magnify the positives attributes of another person, while at the same time minimizing your own positive attributes. You are essentially devaluing yourself — bringing yourself down — while raising the stature of other people. In this scenario, you tend to explain-away everything you have going for yourself including your positive traits, characteristics, and achievements as though they don’t matter.

Emotional Reasoning

Here you tend to base your view of a particular situation in accordance with how you’re feeling. Therefore your feelings dictate how you perceive a situation despite evidence to the contrary. As such you might choose to feel bad about something that is going to happen just because you are feeling miserable in the moment. You are therefore using your current emotional state as a barometer that directs how you will view your life and circumstances.

Again, if you find yourself using these unhelpful thinking styles, it’s okay. The harm comes when we repeat this way of thinking and do nothing to try and change it. If we take note of, and work to change our thinking styles, we will find our work relationships, personal relationships and oveall happiness will improve greatly.

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 15 and 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.


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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.

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