Tag Archives: Drug Abuse Treatment

Tag Archives: Drug Abuse Treatment


What  I Learned in Family Week

By Maggie Herndon, Social Media Manager

PeytonHoge photos-019In my personal life I have had limited experience with addiction, so as a new Cumberland Heights employee, I was glad to have an opportunity to participate in our Family Program. To be specific, I attended family week, one component of our Family Program. This four-day workshop is an eye-opening and educational experience offered to each patient’s family members and loved ones.

On the first day, I entered the group room hesitantly. The seats were placed in a large circle in one of our group rooms. I sat in an empty seat among several anxious family members. It was in this seat, among these people, where I began my real education on the disease of addiction.

I learned the ways addiction affects each individual family member and loved one. I experienced a roller coaster of emotions as I participated in various educational exercises. I empathized with the families as they acknowledged their anxiety and fear at the thought of their loved one returning home. Everyone asked the same question: “What do we do when they come home?” The answer is not simple.

Spouses, parents, siblings and children enter family week hoping they will learn how to fix their loved ones, but, in reality, family week is designed to introduce each family member to his or her own recovery.

Co-dependency is a big topic during family week. Families enable the addicts in their lives and become co-dependent on them for their own happiness and self-worth. This reality hit me hard. As the parent of a son with autism, I could relate.

I often allow my son’s attitude and behavior to dictate my personal happiness. If my son wakes irritable and temperamental, I immediately shut down. My patience is thin. I too become ill-tempered and short. My faith goes out the window, and the weight of the world falls on my shoulders. Communication shuts down. I internalize my feelings and take out my frustration on everyone else, especially my husband. However, this does not give my son his best chance. I must take care of myself mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually to be an appropriate source of support for him much like the family of an addict.

Recovery is not an individual journey, it’s a family journey. There was a saying I learned during family week, “You can’t cure it. You didn’t cause it. You can’t control it.”

What we can do for our loved ones is educate ourselves and work toward rebuilding our relationships through healthy boundaries and safe, clear communication so we are able to properly support our loved one.

For more information on the Cumberland Heights Family Program visit www.cumberlandheights.org, call 800.646.9998 or email kristy_roll@cumberlandheights.org.


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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.

The 2015 Concert for Cumberland Heights presents Montgomery Gentry with special guest Aaron Lewis was held on Wednesday, October 21 at the Ryman Auditorium.

Montgomery Gentry has secured a place in musical history with a unique blend of country, southern rock and Everly Brothers-like harmonies combined with relatable lyrics. The duo has fourteen Top 10 singles, including five number one hits, “Something To Be Proud Of,” “If You Ever Stop Loving Me,” “Lucky Man,” “Back When I Knew It All” and “Roll With Me.” Their recently released album, Folks Like Us, features the hit song, “That’s Just Living.”

Check out some of the photos from the 2015 Concert Event

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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


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