Tag Archives: Heal

Tag Archives: Heal


Alumni Relations of Cumberland Heights invites to join us for an experiential activity and a day of fellowship experiencing emotions in a dynamic way! The Alumni Ropes Day consists of both low and high rope elements and processes. These experiential activities place the participant in scenarios, often outside of comfort zones, that allow emergence of a core truth about themselves. Concepts of powerlessness, surrender, keeping it simple, honesty, courage, community support, trust, faith, and many others emerge. The participant is able to draw parallels and metaphors from their experience then transfer it to practical application to their recovery journey.

What: Alumni Ropes Day & Escape Game (Boxed Lunch Included)
When: Saturday, April 27 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: Cumberland Heights Alumni Pavilion
Details: Limited space, register your spot now! RSVP to Jaime_Gibbons@cumberlandheights.org

Please wear comfortable clothing and closed toe shoes. Boxed lunches will be provided.
All participants will sign a waiver and must be over the age of 18

Cumberland Heights’ programming is based on the principles of the 12 Steps of recovery. Each month we ask a member of our expert staff to share his or her experience on a specific Step. This month Spiritual Directors Angela Moscheo Benson, M. Div. MA and Stan Bumgarner M. Div. LADAC will focus on Step Two: Came to believe a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.

Angela Moscheo Benson, M. Div. MA

My first sponsor asked me to define each word in each Step we were working. Working through the definitions for Step Two brought my attention to the word sanity: the ability to think and behave in a normal and rational manner. I remember reading that definition only to laugh out loud at how far from sane my ability to think was in that moment. It’s almost impossible to think back on the roar of distortion in my head the first time I worked Steps One through Three. I lump them together because I recommit to them every day, and right in the middle is the all-important recognition of the need for help.

Step Two is all about asking for help.  Sure, it’s also about understanding how our own best thinking got us here, but logically we need something outside of ourselves if we want to change.

There is an awareness which occurs in an honest working of Step One that leads me to a place of acceptance in Step Two. It’s as if the shift of perception leads to a shift in attitude, but that isn’t necessarily true. Unless we are willing to believe in something greater, the shift in awareness isn’t enough. At its core, Step Two asks us to move from the powerlessness we felt in Step One to a place of hope that change is possible.  Like it says in the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, “We perceive that only through utter defeat are we able to take our first steps toward liberation.” Most often liberation comes with the strength we receive from a Higher Power, but only if we’re open to the possibility of a restorative Power and are willing to ask that Power for help. For some, that Power is found in the other people in the rooms, but for me, that Power is a caring God who wants to help me recover my true spiritual nature. I may be powerless, but I’m not without help.


Stan Bumgarner M. Div. LADAC

Step Two is the natural progression of having worked Step One. In Step One we admit no matter how hard we try to stop, moderate, or control our drinking or drug use, we can’t do it. And as a result, our lives are not turning out the way we want.

The reasonable conclusion from working Step One is, “If I can’t figure this out on my own, then I need help, and it’s going to have come from something much wiser than I am and much bigger and stronger than alcohol and drugs.”

Working Step Two does not necessarily mean we must embrace the capital “G” God as the power greater than ourselves. Although many people are comfortable with this concept of Higher Power, there are also those who aren’t. And that’s completely acceptable.

For recovery newcomers, it may be more effective to have a tangible power greater than themselves in the form of the 12-Step recovery process, the 12-Step Recovery community, and a caring, present sponsor.

The essence of Step Two is recognizing and coming to believe two key concepts: 1. I can’t seem to figure it out because my addiction is bigger than I am; and 2. For me to survive and turn my life around I need help, and the help I get is going to have to be more powerful than my addiction.

Step Two is critically important because it sets the stage for all the other steps. Until we finally come to believe we need help, we won’t ask for it. Until we ask for help, we won’t experience the sense of hope and promise offered by working the remaining Steps.

Cumberland Heights Family Education Program – “Help When You Need It”

The Coalition LogoDeaths from overdose are rising in all 50 states. Drugs are now the number one cause of accidental death. Narcotic addiction creates changes to the brain that merit the need for therapy. Almost all people suffering from addiction to drugs, of any kind, require assistance to get their lives back on track.

WHAT: Cumberland Heights Family Education Program – “Help When You Need It”
WHEN: Saturday, March 3, 2018 from 12:00PM – 2:00PM
WHERE: Cumberland Heights Sumner County ORC 1531 Hunt Club Blvd, Suite 300, Gallatin, TN 37066

Cumberland Heights is proud to partner with the Sumner County Anti Drug Coalition to provide both prevention information and resources for treatment. Please join us to learn more about prevention and treatment of substance use disorders.

When I was discharged from Cumberland Heights I knew one thing for certain…treatment may have been complete, but recovery was just beginning. Today, there are many ways I’m active in my recovery and one of the most rewarding is what I’m able to do for others. Service work is an integral part of what keeps me sober one day at a time. Each simple act keeps me out of my own head long enough to focus on another individual or group’s recovery. I’m not seeking recognition, only trying to make someone else’s journey in sobriety a little easier. And while focusing on someone else, something magical happens…people begin to recover together.

With this in mind, here are 10 ways to be of service to others in recovery:

1) Sponsorship – Becoming a sponsor is the ultimate way one person suffering from addiction can help another. A sponsor gives his or her time; meeting sponsees to help them work the steps, to ferret out the root causes of his or her addiction, and develop a deeper relationship with a Higher Power of their understanding.

2) Be a sober contact – Newly recovering people are always encouraged to get as many phone numbers as they can so they’ll have plenty of people to call when they’re triggered to use or drink. Being the person on the other end of the call can save a life.

3) Take meetings to detox units – I’ll never forget the first message of recovery, strength and hope I heard was in a detox unit at a local hospital. Providing this vital area of service work, you can inspire hope in someone about a program with the potential to change their life for the better.

4) Chair 12-Step meetings – A certain amount of responsibility comes along with steering the ship at a 12-Step meeting. The chair passes out the readings, and often, chooses the topic of discussion. This role serves every person attending.

5) Attend business meetings – Each home group has a meeting set aside to discuss financial details: bills for rent, items needed for purchase such as soft drinks; and the collections to pay for expenses. This is a good way to serve the home group.

6) Greet people – Making someone feel welcome in a 12-Step meeting is a wonderful way to give back. Shaking hands, taking an interest in a newcomer, offering a smile or a friendly hello can be the one thing someone needed to hear to come back to another meeting.

7) Clean up – Each month my home group assigns someone to clean up our meeting place. Wiping off tables, sweeping floors and cleaning up the facility to keep it nice for our meetings is one way to get out of ourselves and help others.

8) Offer transportation to meetings – In recovery finding our way to meetings is our responsibility. However, some provide rides as service work. I was blessed enough to have someone who helped me get to meetings when I couldn’t drive.

9) Participate in fundraising – A clubhouse where I got sober recently held a yard sale. Providing clothing, tagging items or volunteering time at an event like this are all ways to provide service work.

10) Host sober activities – A common complaint among someone new in recovery is that they don’t know how to have fun without substances. Hosting an event for sober people to have a bonfire, barbecue, movie night, canoe or camping trip; or just a gathering to walk together downtown is more helpful than you might realize.


10 Ways to be of Service to Others in RecoveryKatrina 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.

In the days and weeks after leaving Cumberland Heights for a new adventure in early recovery, I discovered I was painfully shy when it came to meeting new people in the rooms.

Initially this made it difficult for me to make the meaningful connections so necessary for someone in early recovery to achieve and maintain sobriety.

I was afraid of them. I was afraid of me. I was afraid to be vulnerable enough to let anyone see how much I was hurting over what I’d done and how I’d hurt others and myself through my actions.

So, I went to the meetings, kept to myself and left immediately after for many weeks isolating myself in the crowds of recovering people. I warmed up slowly to the people in the AA groups I attended. I paid attention in particular to the women who demonstrated the kind of recovery I wanted to emulate.

One day, I stepped outside of my comfort zone and walked up to a woman I had grown to admire very much for the way she worked the program. I asked her to be my sponsor. Although she was not able to accommodate me, she connected me with a lady who became my sponsor and devoted friend for more than six years. Although she is not my sponsor now, she remains one of my most trusted friends in recovery.

Katrina Cornwell with members of her recovery community.
Katrina Cornwell with members of her recovery community.

Finding a sponsor who I could trust with my deepest darkest secrets, someone whom I could count upon to be my spiritual guide through the 12 Steps was another way I grew in recovery.

Working the steps with my sponsor solidified our commitment to each other, helping each other stay sober one day at a time, spending time together and staying in the literature.

I remember so clearly sitting down with her for my fifth step, not knowing how long it would take or what her reaction to all of my heinous sins would be. Never did she wince or cast a judging glance, she just loved me. She helped me grow until I became strong enough to reach out my hand to help someone else.

My sponsor took me to AA meetings, went to dinner with me and to the movies. She wrote a letter to the judge in my case. She even testified on my behalf at court twice. It was a connection like no other in the program, and it is vital to the successful recovery of the newly recovering alcoholic or addict.

Establishing this relationship in recovery helped make me the woman I am today.


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.

Cumberland Heights Blog: Ready to Launch: Forming the Right Relationships in Recovery

I’m not what you would call an “outdoorsy” type, but six years into my recovery I stood on the side of a mountain in southeast Tennessee waiting for my boyfriend, Guy, to jump off. Somehow Guy talked me into watching he and his friends hang glide. For anyone not familiar with this sport, it’s basically jumping off a cliff with a giant kite on your back and hoping air currents will help you to the ground—without dying.

There was a ramp protruding off the side of the mountain, and I held my breath as Guy stepped onto it. Two of his friends checked every inch of his contraption—how the struts were placed along the wings, how he was strapped into the harness, how the bar in front which is supposed to control the direction of this thing was working—and gave him the “Ready to Launch” sign.

Guy stepped to the very edge of the ramp—the place where it looked like the sky met earth – and I was certain sure he was going to fall to his death. His buddies, who were crazy as well, stepped to the edge with him and each held one end of the vast wings. Suddenly, with a warrior’s whoop, Guy jumped off the cliff.

Immediately, the hang glider sank, and I couldn’t see him anymore. I knew this was a bad idea! Then a mystical, magical, some might even say miraculous, sight appeared…This giant kite, with my boyfriend still securely in place, began rising and floating through the air, over fields and ponds, and people—all of the life of the valley spread out below.

I raced to the truck and swiftly drove to the landing field where I arrived in time to watch him slowly circle and sink until his feet hit the ground running and he brought the kite to a stop. I was amazed.

Now, 24 years later, I’ve watched him do this many times. At some point in our journey it occurred to me hang gliding is a metaphor for recovery and the life changing relationships developed in recovery.

  • Although each of us is responsible for our own recovery, none of us can do it alone. We need those people who help us into our recovery hang glider—the nurses, doctors, counselors and loved ones who help us get treatment.
  • We need those people who will check our recovery equipment– ask us questions– the right questions. Are we going to meetings? Have a home group? A sponsor? Are we working the steps? Helping others? Doing service?
  • And we need those special few who will walk to the edge of the cliffs–of crisis, depression, despair, whatever comes–and encourage us to take that leap of faith.

We take that leap of faith out into the void only because others have helped us. And time and time again, the breath of a power greater than ourselves catches us, and we rise.


2010 CSF Headshot sm 2Cinde Stewart Freeman is Cumberland Heights’ Chief Clinical Officer and has been with Cumberland Heights for 25 years. During her tenure Cinde has served in nursing, clinical management and administrative roles.

Cinde is a bachelor’s prepared nurse with a master’s degree in counseling. She served on the Board of Directors at both AWARE and Thistle Farms. Cinde has developed and presented professional trainings on a wide variety of clinical skills, as well as process improvement, clinical supervision, and workplace wellness. She is an Oral Examiner for the Tennessee Board of Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors and a Qualified Clinical Supervisor for the LADAC.

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.

When a teen comes home from treatment there are unique challenges the family will face. Many parents have concerns difficult to understand without firsthand experience. During the Adolescent Family Program at Cumberland Heights families are offered the opportunity to speak with parents of our adolescent alumni to gain knowledge from their experience. For many years Joe Caudle, Carlton McGrew and Phil Walsh have voluntarily led the discussion for these families.

Joe, Carlton and Phil shared their answers to the three most common questions asked by parents when their children return home from treatment.

  1. What do we do when they come home?
  2. Lurking behind the excitement of your child returning home from treatment are often feelings of fear and anxiety. The unpleasant memories of the weeks or years leading to treatment may still be fresh in your mind, and you’re eager not to repeat those mistakes.

    First, realize while your child is at treatment they’re being taught how to manage their disease. They’re also acclimating to a structured, supportive environment with new boundaries and rules essential to successful recovery. Understanding and obeying these rules provide a comfortable environment for your children to focus on recovery.

    While your child is in treatment you should inquire with your family counselor about the benefits of developing an exit contract. An exit contract can be developed to be an extension of the structure they’re comfortable with in treatment and eliminate gray areas when dealing with rules and consequences.

    Secondly, you may want to evaluate your communication process. As parents, reestablishing communication may be challenging. Very often we spend little time listening to our children because we have been busy telling our children how to live.

    When your child sees you making changes it will provide an environment for positive communication. When parents begin to change their behavior, they become a model to the child influencing them to make positive changes.

  3. When my child comes home from treatment, how do I keep him from running with old friends?
  4. Simple, you don’t, and you can’t. Once your child has spent time in treatment he knows who he should and shouldn’t hang out with. Keep in mind if your child wants to run with old friends, it doesn’t necessarily mean he will use again. Controlling who your child is around only begins the battle all over again. Your child will need to make the best choice for him; you can’t make it for him. Let your child experience the negative and positive consequences of his choices. The only exception is in your home. You have the right to allow or not to allow your child’s friends in your home.

  5. When will I trust my child again?
  6. Does your child really know what trust looks like? Does your child trust you? Do you model trust to them?

    Trust and Respect go hand in hand. We all want trust and respect to return in our home after the disease of addiction has poisoned our family. Trust must start with the parent becoming trustworthy.

    Our children have listened to us make demands and threats without meaning for so long, they no longer trust us.

Some steps we suggest to improve communication are:

  • Ask your child’s opinion and really listen to the response.
  • Include your child in your conversations, especially when the child is directly affected.
  • Constantly let your child know how you feel about things.

For example, a parent may say, “If you can’t follow your curfew then you’re grounded for a month.” Only after two weeks of good behavior the parent decides to end the curfew early. If you say one month it should mean one month. Once your child starts seeing a consistent pattern of truthfulness from you he will begin trusting you. The child must learn to trust the parent before the parent can trust the child.

Re-establishing trust is followed by gaining respect. Again, the parent must model respect to the child. Show your child respect first by pointing out positive things about them, not always harping on the negatives. In time balance will return to your home.


Cumberland Heights developed one of the first family programs in the southeastern United States in the 1970s. We believe in whole family healing.

Over the years, we’ve helped thousands of families find their way back to each other. To make our family program accessible we offer a number of options to fit the different needs and schedules of our families. These include individual family sessions with family counselors who are a part of each program and service we offer, family education groups held in the evening at our residential and intensive outpatient sites, family education groups offered during residential visitation and a family workshop lasting Sunday to Wednesday at our residential campus on River Road.

Lost Dreams Reawaken

lost-dreams-reawaken-blog-cumberland-heights-young-adult-program-encouraging-return-collegeHow Cumberland Heights’ Young Adult Program is Encouraging a Return to College
Young adults are seeking treatment in higher numbers and with more acute addictions than ever before. Recognizing the need, Cumberland Heights has found promise in the Young Adult Program (YAP), integrating a flexible, peer-led approach to treatment with outstanding results.

Of the 18-24 year olds entering the program, over 50% have been to college with less than 5% completing a degree.

“The patients we see were unprepared for college and medicated their stress with substances,” said Dean Porterfield, Director of Adolescent and Young Men’s Services. “They’re dealing with a set of issues unique to their generation.”

In order to serve this population successfully, the treatment staff has adjusted their methods to suit specific challenges. By working through behavioral issues, rather than discharging challenging patients, the YAP is helping them see they are capable of learning effective ways of dealing with life’s stressors. The result is an over 90% treatment completion rate due to a staff focused on teaching healthy ways to work through issues – a key component missing before they came to treatment.

“Many of the guys we see have already failed or been kicked out of college,” said David Carrillo, Young Men’s Program Coordinator. “A lot of what we do is helping them learn their life isn’t over and that returning to college is still possible.”

For the young adult with a predisposition for addiction, starting college can be a recipe for disaster. A little test anxiety can quickly become a serious substance abuse disorder as young adults self-medicate the lonely, out-of-control feelings of trying to perform in a world they simply aren’t ready for. By the time they reach treatment, identity and self-esteem issues are acutely apparent.

“We start by setting goals and figuring out who they wanted to be before their addiction took hold,” said Kimberly Burrows, Young Women’s Primary Counselor.

Treating young adults can be tricky. Outward behaviors may be disruptive, manipulative and challenging. The staff focuses on creating a healthy community. Patients hold each other accountable, cutting through denial to treat the struggling person underneath. Throughout the treatment experience, these young adults are subtly inundated with messages that they can be successful. Many of the staff are young people as well, modeling a life of recovery with their own stories of returning to school.

For young adults seeing is believing. These programs incorporate the principle of fellowship, plugging their patients into healthy communities of young people who provide an example of success. They start the conversation about Collegiate Recovery Programs – on-campus support offerings for students in recovery – planting a seed that returning to college is not a lost dream. The result: a young adult with a foundation in their sobriety, a network of support and a newly (re)discovered dream for their future.


Nico Doorn is an Outreach Coordinator at Cumberland HeightsNico Doorn is an Outreach Coordinator at Cumberland Heights. He is a graduate of the Young Men’s Program, which he entered with a ninth grade education. He received the opportunity to attend Texas Tech University’s Collegiate Recovery Community and found a passion for helping young people pursue educational goals. Currently, he is pursuing his Master’s Degree in Human Development Counseling at Vanderbilt University. He is also very involved in Vanderbilt Recovery Support, where he serves as the Graduate Assistant for the program.

Sunday Sermon: Those of us who need our faith to be part of our recovery!

“For those of us who need our faith to be part of our recovery, it is vitally important to learn how to understand God’s will for our lives and deepen our relationship with God. Sometimes the faithful thing to do is drop everything and sit still and listen, like Mary. Other times the faithful thing to do is to get busy and commit to some important task, like Martha. The truth is that both of these attributes have their time and place.”

Scripture text is Luke 10: 38-42

*Link to service

Rev. Carrie Fraser, MDIV, LMFT, CADC
Director of Pastoral Care Services
Cumberland Heights Foundation


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