Tag Archives: Holidays

Tag Archives: Holidays


Pursuing Sobriety

The new year is always a time of promise and change – it’s when we reflect on the past several months and how we feel about them. It’s also an opportunity to look ahead and seize the chance for growth. If you’ve conducted a personal inventory, you may have realized that your substance use has spiraled out of control. Beginning the new year with the goal of finding recovery is a very brave decision. To help you, we’ve created a guide for pursuing sobriety in 2020.

Create Accountability

The first step to getting sober is to enlist your friends and family members into the recovery process. Tell them about your intentions to stop drinking or using drugs – odds are that they’ve been looking forward to this news and will be excited to help you in your efforts. From that point, they can hold you accountable and assist you with finding treatment.

Invest in Yourself

It’s difficult to manage your finances when you’re in active addiction (or if you’re going out every weekend). Instead of throwing that money away on drugs and alcohol, use it towards your recovery. For some, this may mean investing in a residential addiction treatment program. For others, it may involve creating a budget for therapy, self-care or a quick vacation. Research shows that the longer an individual spends in treatment, the better their chances of lasting sobriety. We encourage you to pursue professional, accredited addiction treatment.

Avoid Boredom

One of the largest factors in relapse is boredom. If you have too much time on your hands, it’s tempting to fall back into your old habits. You can avoid this obstacle by finding a new hobby. If you’re unsure of where to start, look back to your childhood. Did you look forward to painting in art class or enjoy team sports? Those can be excellent outlets in your adult life, too.

Put Your Health First

If you’ve spent any amount of time doing drugs or drinking heavily, you’ve doubtless noticed that it takes a physical toll. By getting sober, you’ve already taken a great step to restoring your health. You can continue this momentum by eating nutritious meals, joining the gym or spending time outside. As your body recovers, you may be surprised by how much you’re capable of. Be sure to focus on your needs in recovery – this is how you will build a strong foundation in the days ahead.

Participate in AA or NA

One of the most impactful steps a person seeking sobriety can take is to involve themselves in a recovery group. Whether you choose to attend AA, NA or a group provided by your local treatment center, you may be surprised by how important a sober support network can be. Not only will you create another layer of personal accountability, but you’ll hear stories of men and women experiencing the same obstacles as you.

Change Your Routine

If nothing changes, nothing changes. You can’t expect to live by the same schedule, go to the same potentially triggering locations and spend time with the same old drinking buddies, all while maintaining your sobriety. These factors can jeopardize your newfound recovery. Instead, change things up; take a different route to work or schedule dinners with another group of friends. If you’re worried about the temptation to call up a dealer, delete those phone contacts. By taking small, actionable steps, you’ll be more likely to succeed in the long run.

Recover Your Life and Find Sobriety in 2020

At Cumberland Heights, we understand that recovery is a journey. We’re happy to help you along the way. Please contact our helpful admissions staff for information about our detoxification, residential treatment or outpatient services.

Sunday Sermon: Finding Joy in What is to Come

December 15, 2019

Sunday Sermon: Finding Joy in What is to Come
Sunday Sermon: Finding Joy in What is to Come

As we mark the halfway point of the Christmas/advent season, we light a special pink candle to emphasis the spiritual principle of joy. In this message, we share about how difficult it is for us to feel joy as humans, because it means accepting our vulnerability in the possibility of loss. We also learn about joy that comes not from the moment, but from the anticipation of the moment. This talk closes with a reading of the promises of recovery from the AA Big Book, pages 83-84 as the anticipation of “what is to come” in our recovery.

The Challenges of the Holidays

For some, the holidays are a carefree time spent celebrating and relaxing with loved ones. For those in early recovery, the pressures of seemingly endless parties and dinners present an obstacle to sustained sobriety. Catalysts for cravings can appear anywhere – reunions with old drinking buddies, difficult family members, busy travel schedules, financial stress, holiday gatherings fueled by alcohol or even the stress brought on by being back in your hometown. To aid you in preparing for these challenges, Cumberland Heights has compiled a list of tips that will help you to protect your sobriety this holiday season.

  1. Make a Plan for the Holidays

    Before leaving home or participating in any potentially triggering events, be sure that you have developed a plan. This may include asking a sponsor or sober friend to come with you or attending extra 12-Step meetings in preparation of the holidays. Remember that you can always limit your time in difficult situations; you can either set an expectation of leaving at a specific time, or text a friend to call you and request that you leave the party.

  2. Practice Moderation

    Over the holidays, it can be tempting to indulge in heavy meals and abandon your exercise regimen. As with all things, moderation is key. There is nothing wrong with setting aside some time for relaxation and rejuvenation during your time off, but be mindful of how changing these habits can affect your physical health and routine.

  3. Make Self-Care a Priority

    Be sure to take some time for yourself this holiday season. Get a good night’s rest, eat well and find some quiet time each day to meditate or reflect on your emotions. You may be surprised by small, free activities with restorative properties:

    • taking a bath
    • making a phone call to a sober friend
    • curling up with a good book
    • watching silly videos online
    • ice skating
    • asking for help with chores
    • cooking a new recipe
    • decluttering your closets or drawers
  4. Find the “Wise Mind”

    The holidays can be an emotional time of year. For some, unpleasant childhood experiences or past memories from active addiction can be particularly salient during this time. This flood of feelings can be difficult to handle in early recovery. Practice a technique straight from the DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) manual: finding your wise mind.

    This exercise creates a Venn diagram of possible views: your emotion mind (knee-jerk feelings or perceptions) and your reasonable mind (rational, logical thoughts). The ideal intersection of these two schools of thought is wise mind – a state in which you recognize your emotions, but are not ruled by them. If you are triggered at a holiday gathering, first try to name your feelings before acting impulsively. You may be tempted to lash out or react passive-aggressively. Instead, ask yourself, “Is this wise mind?”

    Wise Mind Holiday Coping

  5. Perform Acts of Service

    Giving your time to others can be a spiritually fulfilling practice. It provides purpose and reinforces your 12-step education, especially during the holidays. If you would like to volunteer from home, you can participate in activities like can drives, knitting hats for infants in the NICU and putting together hygiene kits for the local homeless shelters. If you would like to get out of the house, there are a few great places to volunteer:

    • Homeless shelters
    • Food pantries
    • Local libraries
    • Retirement homes
    • Animal shelters
    • Treatment centers
  6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help Over the Holidays

    Remember, there are countless others who are staying sober this holiday season. Whether this is your first December in recovery or your tenth, it can be a challenging time of year for anyone. If you find yourself struggling, be sure to reach out for help. This can take the form of calling your sponsor or checking yourself into a treatment center when things become overwhelming.

At Cumberland Heights, we provide residential and outpatient support to those struggling with addiction. Call our staff at 800-646-9998, 24/7. We are standing by to support you.

Cumberland Heights Gratitude Meeting on Thanksgiving DayPlease join us on Thanksgiving Day and share your attitude of gratitude with patients and Alumni! Immediately following the gratitude meeting, we invite everyone to join us for Thanksgiving Dinner in the Craig Dining Hall! Cost for the meal will be $12/person however you MUST register below!

Event Details:

WHAT: Gratitude Meeting on Thanksgiving Day
WHEN: Thursday, November 28, 2019 from 10:00AM – 11:00AM
WHERE: Frist Family Life Center – Auditorium (on the campus of Cumberland Heights)
Open to the public, alumni and Cumberland Heights Employees

  • Personal Information

    This event is come one, come all but RSVP is requested so we have a head count. Please provide your full name, email, cell phone number and number of participants below.

talking to teen about alcoholNew Year’s is a holiday that sparks a lot of anxiety for parents, as holiday celebrations mean easier access to substances for teens. Most parents want to have that conversation with their kids on the dangerous effects of alcohol and drug abuse, but they aren’t quite sure what to say. As a subject that’s difficult to discuss, you still don’t want to skip it. Previous research has shown that parents who express their view on drugs – in particular, that they don’t want their kids using them – are more likely to warrant more favorable responses from their teens when the time comes that they’re approached with it. As a parent, you want to make sure that you’re telling your teen exactly what they need to make an informed decision – so what do you say?

Your Teen Mag gives some excellent pointers:

  • Have a discussion and set expectations but don’t lecture your teen
  • Express steps for being safe if they do decide to drink – because the reality is that while we cannot control what our teens decide to do, we can suggest ways they can be safe if they do move forward with it
  • Emphasize just how dangerous it is to drive under the influence or to be in the car with someone who is under the influence

Adolescents and teens are likely going to face experimentation and peer pressure, but maintaining a respectful, open dialogue with your teen is most likely going to give you the most favorable outcomes. As your teen is in a stage where their brain is still developing, they want explanations – not commands – for why they shouldn’t drink or use substances. Make it a collaborative effort and they’ll be much more likely to refrain from use (or at least take safety precautions if they do).


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.

3 Holiday-Themed Meditations to Start Your Days off Right

The holidays are considered a time for celebration and thanksgiving, but there’s a lot of stress that can go into the holidays, too. Anxiety can seep in as we attempt to create this “picture-perfect” depiction of what the holidays are supposed to be about, and all of this energy can be draining. Food preparation, decorations, conversation, traveling and more are generally part of the holidays, which can make the day of peace and gathering everything but! What’s even more – a lot of people are unable to spend time with loved ones this holiday season because of work, recovery or other life situations. This time of the year is an excellent time to really zone in with meditation – to give you a peaceful state of mind as you navigate some of the busiest times of the year.


Try out the following holiday-themed meditation exercises:

  1. Reel in Positivity

  2. Lay down or sit comfortably and close your eyes if you can. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth while taking several minutes to gently repeat to yourself (either out loud or in your head) the following: “May today be filled with peace. May I be well. May I be filled with love and kindness.”

  3.    Extend Love

  4. Getting in the same type of position and with your eyes closed as the first meditation exercise, imagine that your feet are grounded firmly, almost as if you’re a tree with roots that are secured deep into the ground. Imagine the energy from this balance flowing up through your feet, your legs and through your entire body – and you’re extending love out to the entire world this holiday season. Imagine yourself feeling so much love – and then extend that to a friend, a family member, a stranger, a community and so on.

  5. Gratefulness

As you’re focusing on your breath, breathe in positivity and gratitude, while breathing out negativity and pessimism. Allow beautiful thoughts of your blessings to emerge in your mind as you breathe in – this could be the food and housing that you currently have, friends and family, the journey of your recovery, the inner strength that you have and so much more.

The holidays can be stressful for a number of reasons, but you can really tone down that stress by taking hold of it through meditation. Over time, meditation can truly transform your inner and outer experience – and you’ll find that you become much stronger over time because of it.

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.

Trolley Tour of Nashville area Holiday LightsJoin us for a festive trolley tour of Nashville area holiday lights. We will board the trolley at Starbucks in the Belle Meade Plaza Shopping Center – Address: 4514 Harding Pike, Nashville, TN 37205, arrive early and get a holiday beverage on us!


WHAT: A festive trolley tour of Nashville area holiday lights
WHEN: Saturday, December 8th from 7:00PM – 10:00PM
COST: $8.00 (nonrefundable fee) per person – limited spaces available

The deadline to RSVP (signup form below) is Thursday, December 6th. This event may not be appropriate for small children due to the length of the tour as well as the seating arrangements on the trolley. If you RSVP and are unable to attend the event, please notify Jaime Gibbons by 12/6/18 – failure to cancel within the time frame indicated can result in higher costs and restricted participation in future events.

Wow! All available spots are gone!

Due to the overwhelming response we’ve had for our trolley tour, we’ve unfortunately run out of available spots. If you’d like to add your name(s) to the waiting list, please email Jaime Gibbons at jaime_gibbons@cumberlandheights.org

Enjoying the Holidays When You’re Celebrating Alone

If you’re going to be home alone this holiday season, you’re not the only one. So many people either don’t get along with their family members, or they’re focusing on their addiction/mental illness recovery and don’t feel ready to go out and about yet. For some reason, there’s this stigma that being alone for the holidays means you’re unloved – but that has nothing to do with it! Life happens, and sometimes holiday plans with others just don’t pan out. Rather than beating yourself up this holiday season, you need to embrace the fact that you’re going to have some truly magical days indoors – which means you can spend some time doing things that really make you come alive!

One person shared the reason why they chose to celebrate the holidays alone via the Seattle Times. They stated, “I could cook what I wanted when I wanted. I could stay in my pajamas all day. I could nap on the couch with my dog. I didn’t feel obligated to go anywhere or do anything. It was so freeing.”

Yes, it’s possible to have an incredibly relaxing (or adventurous) holiday all by yourself, but it’s really up to you to embrace it. There are so many other fun things you could do, such as:

  • Singing and dancing to your favorite tunes (without worrying about anyone watching!)
  • Sleeping in (who doesn’t like that?!)
  • Trying to cook a new recipe
  • Helping others by volunteering somewhere
  • Hosting a sober holiday party with others in your recovery community
  • Zoning in on a craft or activity you’ve been meaning to get to

One of the most important aspects of recovery is perspective, and that’s because what you allow into your mind is what follows through in your actions and life experiences overall. If you fill your mind with the endless possibilities of what this holiday alone could bring, you are setting yourself up to have an excellent day. It’s not about making the most of it, either – it’s embracing the fact that you don’t need to have the “picture-perfect”, family-filled, laughs and conversations around the table in order to have the best holiday ever. By celebrating alone, you’re actually able to skip all of those pesky conversations about the weather, politics, jobs and more – and what could be better than that?

Enjoy the holidays this year by making it a day of self-care. You won’t regret it.

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.

Holidays: What Are Some Benefits to Being Sober if I’m Alone This Holiday Season?

American musician and songwriter Ace Frehley stated in his book titled, No Regrets: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Memoir“I personally believe this: We have only today; yesterday’s gone, and tomorrow is uncertain. That’s why they call it the present. And sobriety really is a gift…for those who are willing to receive it.”

Alcohol and drugs often give us this illusion that they’ll solve all of our problems, only to find that after the “high” is gone, they’re still there. The same thoughts, feelings and life circumstances continue to plague us, and even more problems seem to appear because now we’re chasing after the intense craving that comes with dependence and addiction. Sobriety is an incredibly powerful way to live because it forces us to battle our demons every single day. We have to use the tools we’ve learned to climb up that mountain of emotions and with every ounce of strength that we have; we have to pull ourselves back up – again, again, and again.

The holidays are a time that bring up a lot of challenging emotions, especially for people in recovery. This is because for many of us, friends and family are absent from our lives, or we’re unable to celebrate because we’re still working through our recovery. No matter what you’re going through this holiday season, you must remember to separate the story that society tells us is important from the real story that applies directly to you. Media, movies, billboards and more try to convince us that everyone’s out there having a great time with their loved ones during the holidays, when the reality is that there are so many people celebrating the holidays on their own – and so many others are focusing on their sobriety, too.

Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed by feelings of guilt, sadness, loneliness, or anger. Be open to experiencing all of the wonderful benefits that come with being sober this holiday season, including:

  • Becoming a warrior for your recovery by using the tools you’ve learned thus far
  • Strategizing the holidays as you would any other day – because that’s what they are
  • Amping up your self-care, which could include crafts, watching a movie, relaxing, cooking some new food, reading a good book and much more
  • Promoting others’ well-being by volunteering at local food banks and similar places this holiday season

This holiday season, you have a choice – and you’re strong enough to stay sober and build up your strength in recovery, which is something you can be extremely proud of.

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-campus, we are made up of 2 twelve-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.

Holidays and Recovery: What Are Some Things I Can Be Grateful for This Holiday Season?

The holidays can be a difficult time for those in recovery, especially if you’re still trying to figure out how everything works. If you won’t be able to spend time with friends or family right away, you may also be struggling with feelings of guilt, sadness or hopelessness; our society places so much emphasis on being surrounded by others during the holidays, and this often causes us to hold unrealistic expectations. We begin to believe that if we aren’t surrounded by a lot of people who love us – this “picture perfect” vision of love, happiness, food, gifts and celebration – we must not be lovable. The truth is, a lot of families around the U.S. don’t have others to celebrate with. Not only that, but there are a lot of other people in recovery whose friends and family aren’t around. There are still so many things to be grateful for this holiday season and changing your perspective may make this time go by much smoother.

Things to be Grateful For

  • You’re at a place in your life where you can really start focusing on your mental, physical and spiritual health.
  • With so many free resources and organizations who want to help people, you’re at a great advantage for finding tools to promote your recovery.
  • This time of the year is a great time to start reflecting on how far you’ve come and where you plan to head with your life.
  • If you have little friends or family around for the holidays, you can enjoy the day relaxing, catching up on movies you’ve missed, or volunteering to help out others. You have another chance to focus on yourself.
  • You’re alive! Today in and of itself is a beautiful opportunity to learn and grow.

Back in 2015, researchers published an article in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine regarding the “rules” of recovery and people’s’ perceptions on what really makes recovery a transformative journey. These are the rules they found worked best: 1) creating a life that’s more conducive to sobriety, 2) being completely honest with others and yourself, 3) asking for help when you need it, 4) practicing self-care, and 5) don’t bend the rules! Perception is everything, and in all reality, the holidays are just that – days. They will come and go, but what matters most is that you continue to practice the path of recovery that you’re on. Stay strong.

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-campus, we are made up of 2 twelve-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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