Tag Archives: life in recovery

Tag Archives: life in recovery


Generations of well-intentioned professionals have driven home the message to parents of those affected by addiction, “there’s nothing you can do until your child is ready to get help.” The person with addiction is powerless over drugs, alcohol and their disease, but that doesn’t mean that they are powerless over everything. Similarly, parents are powerless over their child and addiction, but they aren’t powerless over everything either.

Objectives for Participants are to:

  • Review The Stages of Change Model
  • Explore the Implications of Action-Ready Parents with Non-action-ready Children with Addiction
  • Identify at least 5 Opportunities for Action-Ready Parents
  • Identify at least 5 Opportunities for Professionals Serving Families Affected by Addiction

About Ginny Mills:

Ginny Mills joined the addiction recovery field over 25 years ago and now leads both Parenting Through Addiction (a web-based education & consultation service) and Full Life Counseling and Recovery (an outpatient private practice) in Winston-Salem, NC. She holds a master’s degree from Wake Forest University and credentials in both general mental health and addiction counseling.

Ginny has experience leading in primary residential, sober living and outpatient addiction treatment settings, including service as the Chief Clinical Officer for Partnership for a Drug-Free NC, She has a strong understanding of both the clinical and parental aspects of supporting those affected by the disease of addiction. Ginny loves to scuba dive, travel and ski with her husband and adult daughters (one of whom is in sustained recovery).

This fall, Ginny will release her new book Parenting Through Your Adult Child’s Addiction: Making Sense of Treatment, Aftercare and Recovery Recommendations.

PLEASE NOTE: There are 2 Sessions are available for convenience, you do not need to attend both.

  • Session One: 9:00 AM- 12:00 PM (registration begins at 8:30 AM)
  • Session Two: 1:00 PM-4:00 PM (registration begins at 12:30 PM)

3 CE credits awarded, approved by NAADAC and NBCC

 

REGISTER HERE

Training Dates: October 27-29, 2019
Advanced Training Day: The Music Industry: October 30, 2019 with Harold Owens (MusiCares)
*check training prerequisites

REGISTER HERE

This educational program was created and written as the most comprehensive training for individuals interested in becoming a professional in the supportive role of a mentor, coach or companion to someone that is in the early stages of recovery from a substance use and/or mental health disorder.

Providing the theoretical basis, ethical standards, and practical skills required for services offered by Recovery Specialists and Peer Recovery Specialists is the primary goal of this program.

The coursework is delivered as a combination of independent study, classroom instruction and consultation. Educational components of this program include:

  1. The Ethical Role & Responsibility of Recovery Specialists
  2. Developing the Skills and Tools of Recovery Specialists
  3. Providing Safe Passage (transports)
  4. History and Evolution of the Recovery Specialist
  5. Composition of Recovery Plans Practical Application and Role Play

WHO CAN BECOME A RECOVERY SPECIALIST?

This unmatched training opportunity is designed for every recovery professional including:

  • Direct Care Staff Discharge
  • Planner Admissions Personnel
  • Sober Companion / Coach Transports

Recovery Specialist is defined as an individual who provides one on one client and family services within a treatment setting and/or client’s home, community or travel travel and has completed the accredited training offered by IRI.

Cumberland Heights Talks Gender Roles in Recovery - While every person who walks through our doors is unique, we see similarities among those of the same gender when it comes to feelings of guilt and shame. WATCH VIDEO
Cumberland Heights Talks Gender Roles in Recovery – While every person who walks through our doors is unique, we see similarities among those of the same gender when it comes to feelings of guilt and shame.

Cumberland Heights prides itself on treating the whole patient, and not just the disease. While every person who comes through our doors is unique, we see similarities among those of the same gender when it comes to feelings of guilt and shame.

“Men are unique in the sense that when they come to treatment they are providers for their families. They are fathers and husbands and brothers and sons and they feel that responsibility on their shoulders,” said Vivian Sypolt, Director of the Men’s Program.

Sypolt says many male patients come into treatment feeling like they failed.

“For a lot of them, they feel ashamed or shameful that they need to ask for help and be in treatment so we let them know it’s okay. Going into treatment is providing for your family. It is setting a foundation. If you need help, you ask for help,” said Sypolt.

Women also grapple over the decision to enter treatment because of their many roles and responsibilities.

“Today women have more roles than they’ve ever had before. They work outside of the home, but they are also caregivers for children so I think it’s sometimes hard for women to say, ‘Okay I am going to take care of myself for a minute,'” said Director of the Women’s Program Melissa Hudgens.

And even when they do say yes to treatment, and complete the program, there is worry about making the transition home.

“There is a fear of how am I going to parent when I leave here? The stress of working and taking care of children can be overwhelming. There is fear. How am I going to handle all of that?” said Hudgens.

Hudgens  says that’s why Cumberland Heights’ parenting groups, the children’s program and all of the other continued support we offer is so important.

“They are going to meet other women in recovery who really build them up and support them through some of the most difficult experiences in their lives. It’s not just a treatment experience. It’s about live long relationships with healthy women who really understand what they are going through. It’s beautiful. It’s really beautiful,” said Hudgens.

If you are struggling, the time for help is now. Begin your recovery journey today.

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.

social support in recoveryMany people who begin their journey to recovery feel alone. Their friends and family are deeply hurt by the pain that addiction caused them, and the people they’ve been spending their time with don’t support their recovery because they condone the abuse of these substances. If this is the type of circumstance you’re in right now, you have to remember that the feeling of loneliness and lack of support is only temporary; in fact, there are so many people in recovery and you are now part of the recovery community.

As humans, we crave social interactions and support. We need people around us to share our problems with, create memories with, plan out the future with, learn from and more. Time and time again, research has shown that this lack of support can lead to isolation and depression, making us even more prone to relapse, self-harm and suicide. No matter where you’re at in your recovery journey, there are people you can rely on and connect with – sometimes all it takes is finding them or opening your heart up to those connections.

Cut Off Ties

Upon entering rehabilitation, you likely felt nervous, scared and apprehensive. It’s change, after all – and who is truly comfortable with change?! One of the biggest hurdles to overcome is that desire to cling on to those of the past – in an effort to feel more at ease, you may want to call up someone who used to abuse drugs with you and you likely spent a lot of time with this person. In those moments, it can feel like a real connection, a real friendship is there – but what most people find is that instead of this real connection, there is only a commonality: using. What many people find is that recovery doesn’t hold the space for these types of relationships and so those friendships fade away.

In 2015, a study published in the British Journal of Social Psychology sought to explore how social groups change once a person enters recovery. They found that people typically undergo an identity transition from a person with an addiction to a person who is in recovery. The relationships we have in our lives often reinforce the identity that we hold of ourselves, which is why previous social connections brought together by substance abuse no longer fit. In fact, it’s the cutting of these ties that opens up more opportunity for new connections that promote and support your recovery – and these can truly lead to lifelong friendships.

Developing New Connections

Recovery is a rollercoaster ride filled with ups and downs, twists and turns, achievements and standstills. During this transition period, you’re going to find other like-minded individuals who are discovering themselves underneath all of the substance abuse, trauma, mental illness and pain, too. As a 2014 study published in the journal PLOS One emphasized, 12-Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) can further promote these kinds of connections and there is much more depth and strength than can be drawn from with people – from group discussions, activities and other recovery workshops, these budding relationships are formed.

In 2017, researchers from the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center spoke with 33 people who had severe alcohol use disorder (AUD) and had been in recovery to find out exactly what type of connections benefited their recovery the most. Overall, these are the types of social support most of them found:

  • Spiritual leader or church community members
  • Partner/spouse/significant other
  • Someone from their healthcare team
  • Friend
  • Family member
  • AA sponsor or people from group meetings

Overall, these types of relationships seemed to help participants in 3 major ways, providing emotional, appraisal, instrumental, spiritual and informational support:

  • Rebuilding support network
  • Isolation
  • Adding to existing social network to further uplift recovery and sobriety goals

One individual shared his experience with feeling more comfortable with his social support network. He stated, “I know how to go about situations now. If I need help, instead of picking up a bottle, I can call my sponsor or…go to a meeting.”

Trust In Your Journey

You see, the people we meet in life may not be whom we’d expect to become part of our social support during recovery, but that’s the very point of opening your mind and heart up to receive these connections as you navigate your journey. The people who add so much value to your life will lift you up, help you to feel stronger on your bad days, remind you of why you started recovery, cheer you on when you find success, listen to you when you’re upset, guide you in the right direction sometimes and so much more. You may not know it yet, but the people who become your advisers, your best friends, your companions in addiction recovery – they are the ones who know what you’re going through the most because they’ve been there and taken similar steps that you’re taking now. Let go of what’s been bringing in negativity to your life and open up for much more positivity to come.


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.

strength in recoveryRecovery is an incredibly courageous journey and you can’t do it alone. As human beings, we fundamentally rely on social interactions because we’re social beings. We talk to others, we create stories, we laugh, we empathize and that’s one major connection between all of us. In America, we’re told growing up, that family is supposed to be there for you, no matter what. Movies, commercials and holiday magazine ads depict family as something that can never break; we grow up believing this wholeheartedly, but come to find that sometimes, life events and time can change things.

It doesn’t make it any easier, but the reality is that not many people have cohesive families. Many families are broken – they don’t get along, there is distance between family members or certain values seem too contradicting for family members to work through. Addiction recovery is an especially challenging feat, because some family members may not understand or they be resentful for some time.

In a 2015 study published in the journal Qualitative Health Research, women in treatment for substance dependence were asked to talk about the domains of their emotional states, personal networks, recovery and how all of these influence one another. Many participants talked about the aspect of having to distance themselves from negative people or those who were hindering their recovery. As you can see, this isn’t that uncommon.

Some of your loved ones may not fit into your recovery journey right now and that’s okay. Perhaps you need this time to build your strength and there are many ways you can do this.

Reminders for Staying Strong in Recovery

  1. Connect with Others

    In the study mentioned above, several women stated that it became easier to make friends through their treatment center and 12-Step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) as they practiced building these connections. For example, one participant stated, “[My social network] was hard for me in the beginning. Just gaining the trust on my part, you know, I don’t want to tell you about me…I’ve gotten better with it…Instead of being that flower on the wall, it’s easier as time goes on. So, I’ve got a lot of people in my life today. “

  2. Stay Focused

    The less you focus on the past and the people who aren’t actively involved in your recovery, the less time you have to focus on you. You’re missing out on some crucial pieces of the puzzle here and that’s your health, happiness and recovery journey. You will build up your strength and confidence over time, but you have to stay focused. One treatment provider in the study mentioned that many of the women in the program did this – and you can too. They stated, “They’ve built up their self-esteem through treatment, through their relationships with other women in the program.”

  3. Let Go of Expectations

    Sometimes the hardest lesson to learn is to let go of all those expectations; you know, the ones where you expect your family to be 110% supportive, the ones where you expect that you’ll fail or succeed in recovery with or without them, the ones where you expect they will or will not ever enter back into your life – those expectations don’t matter because they are just speculations. Speculations aren’t based on anything but your own anxieties and the sooner you let that go, the sooner you’ll be able to carry on with what really matters – the here and now.

  4. Practice Mindfulness

    Transitioning right from letting go of expectations, the present moment is exactly where you need to be! If you allow yourself to get lost in the deep, dark tunnel of regret, guilt, humiliation, disappointment, anger, bitterness, sadness, loneliness or other negative feelings that are harboring you down, you dim your light. You miss precious time to build yourself, to become stronger and wiser and healthier – there is no time like the present.

    In a 2016 review published in the journal Neuroscience and Neuroeconomics, it was concluded that practicing mindfulness actually tunes us in more to those natural reward cues that life brings us (such as silliness, feeling the wind as you walk outside, getting caught up in a good book, appreciating those sweet moments that fly by). Addiction tends to make it hard to find pleasure in all things non-substance related and recovery is the time to build that up again. With time and practice, mindfulness can bring your life back to you – in every way possible.

  5. Find Your Center

    Last but not least, find what makes you happy. Even though you don’t have your loved ones around, perhaps you need this space to really find yourself amidst the chaos. Discover your hobbies. Connect with God or another Higher Power. Give back to others. Find your purpose. Spend time embracing every step of the way, because it’s one of the best journeys you will embark on.


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.

detox from addictionDetoxification is one of the most critical steps of addiction recovery, because it’s the turning point from active addiction to a time of cleansing and healing. Although it’s often the first step, it’s one of the most feared – and that’s because many people don’t know what to expect. In many ways, detox is different depending on the person – their age, sex, weight, substance abuse history, genetics, health and more can all have an impact on the reaction their body has to weaning off of drugs. As you can imagine, however, detox isn’t the most pleasurable experience – but it’s only temporary and there are more medications and support now than there have been in the past.

Many people experience physical and emotional changes throughout detox. Withdrawal symptoms often emerge, which may include chills, nausea, sweating, seizures, vomiting, depression, fatigue and more. Substance detoxification typically lasts 7-14 days, which may feel like forever, but is truly only a speck of time in the grand scheme of things. Additionally, medications such as methadone, buprenorphine and others can help people avoid some of the uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal. Yale Medicine emphasizes that extended release injection naltrexone has become more popular for those who do not want to take medication that stimulates opioid receptors in the brain (which many drugs do). Here at Cumberland Heights, we used Naltrexone as part of our Safe Start program.

Despite the painful symptoms that can emerge temporarily, there are some positive components of detox that may come to surface. According to a research study published in the journal International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE), detox tends to give people a greater sense of clarity. As one participant stated, “As you get cleaner or the fog goes away you realize that, ya know, what keeps me going is wanting to live some type of normal life, you know, working, paying taxes, taking care of your kids…instead of the everyday chaos and not caring about anything…that’s what keeps me going.”

Detox could be described by some as a roller coaster, as there is a lot of uncertainty. Each person responds differently, which is also why it’s incredibly important to have an adequate healthcare team by your side if you’re ready to detox. Doing so at home could place you in much greater danger.

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.

Many times, Horses respond and interact with human-like emotions.
Many times, Horses respond and interact with human-like emotions.
Addiction recovery is often accompanied by mental illness, which could include depression, anxiety, etc. The effects of these mental illnesses can add a layer of complexity as a person works through the trauma and pain they’ve endured. Thankfully, years of research have provided us with more means than we’ve ever had before to treat addiction and mental illness in different ways that are more suitable for individual’s unique needs. When we talk about therapy approaches such as equine assisted therapy, it’s often discussed in the realm of younger children and the autism spectrum, along with other developmental disorders. Did you know that equine assisted therapy can greatly help those in addiction recovery, too?

Horse-assisted therapy or equine assisted therapy, involves human-animal interactions and can build a person’s mental and physical strength. A 2016 study conducted by researchers from Norway assessed 8 patients seeking treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) before, during and after equine assisted therapy. While the participants noted that it was a nice break from treatment, there were several other implications of just how beneficial this therapy approach could be for those in addiction recovery:

  • Change of focus – this type of therapy was something that participants looked forward to and there were obvious environmental differences (being out in fresh air, smelling the grass or dirt around them) that brought them to the present moment.
  • Activity – some participants mentioned feeling useful by engaging with the horses. One person stated, “It’s animals that need food and care…So it feels good in a way…that I can make a difference and contribute something, something positive.”
  • Identity – several individuals noted that equine assisted therapy provided them with a more relaxed environment in which they could be themselves. They were able to be “normal people” – and this really contributed to their sense of identity.
  • Motivation – over time, enthusiasm and openness to experiences with the horses drove many participants to feel more motivated in their journey to recovery.

You see, recovery isn’t always about education and working through formal therapy components. Sometimes it’s about getting out there and enjoying life. Sometimes, amidst the chaos, we find ourselves in those simple moments of just living.

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.

Alumni Hockey Night: Let's Go Predators

Alumni Hockey Night: Let’s Go Predators

Join Alumni Relations of Cumberland Heights in supporting our very own Nashville Predators! Cost for this event is $25.00 per person and is open to all alumni, families and staff (children under 2 years of age are free but must sit on the lap of the ticket holder).

Seats are located in section 317 Fan Zone. Check out the seating chart below to see where this section is located. All tickets will need to be picked up from the Alumni Relations Department prior to 2/20/19.

Please contact Jaime Gibbons for information regarding ticket pick up. Additionally, we are sold out of tickets. If you’d like to add your name on the waiting list, please contact Jaime Gibbons.

WHAT: Nashville Predators vs Los Angeles Kings Hockey Night
WHEN: Thursday, February 21st @ 7PM
WHERE: Bridgestone Arena

Alumni Hockey Night: Let's Go Predators

There’s always something about the holidays that brings about a sense of goodwill and although you’re in recovery, this year shouldn’t have to be any different. Giving back is amazing choice because it’s filled with appreciation of what one already has and the open-hearted aspect of sharing some of that good fortune with someone else. Perhaps you’ve been contemplating on what to do this holiday season; no matter where you’re at in recovery, there’s always something you can do for someone else – whether it’s a kind word or a few hours of your time.

In 2014, researchers published a study in the journal Alcoholism Treatment that sought to uncover the entire addiction recovery experience. They interviewed people from a number of pathways that can be taken to addiction recovery and found that giving back specifically contributed to long-term recovery maintenance – which means that in providing good service to others, you’re not only helping them – you’re helping yourself, too. Many participants of the study noted that giving back helped them even when support, fellowship groups and more were not available to them at times during their recovery.

Giving back was also shown to increase a person’s motivation to continue helping others. As one participant stated, “…I call it a movement, the recovery movement. The movement that’s designed to make recovery as accessible as possible to as many people as possible…So this is not about me…It’s really about those who might live as a result of the work I might do.”

If you’re ready to take heed of the giving season, consider the following charitable activities:

  • Help out at your treatment center. Ask your healthcare team if opportunities are available – they may even have some connections of other organizations you can speak with.
  • Provide your time and energy to a local food drive. There are always people out there who are hungry and this could be an excellent way to give back.
  • Write meaningful letters to those who’ve inspired you thus far in your recovery journey. You’ll reinforce your relationship with them and it will put a huge smile on their face, too.

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.

 “Everything You Need to Know About the Labyrinth Experience” is locked	 Everything You Need to Know About the Labyrinth ExperienceIf you’ve ever seen the movie The Labyrinth, you’re familiar with the winding, twisting path that a 16-year-old girl must embark on in order to save her baby brother from a wish the Goblin King granted her. While the labyrinth is part of a movie, it’s also part of a spiritual practice – a form of meditation that has been said to help guide people on a journey to the mind, body and spirit. According to the Medical University of South Carolina, meditation labyrinths have been used to encourage healthy communities as people from all walks of life and all cultural backgrounds can benefit from it. Meditation has been around for many, many years and the labyrinth experience is a form of walking meditation.

Labyrinths do not require any specific level of skill, so anyone can complete them. The focus is typically to start through the labyrinth, taking different paths towards the center – meanwhile, focusing on the journey itself and noticing (without judgment) the different thoughts or feelings that arise. The labyrinth experience isn’t designed to frustrate participants or even to serve as a form of challenge that must be accomplished – it’s merely a winding path that represents the greater notion of life and the search for peace, happiness and health.

The University of Oklahoma emphasizes that labyrinths have been implemented in a variety of cultural designs throughout the world – they’ve been implemented in basketry, carved on shrines and inscribed onto ancient Greek currency. If you decide to embark on this beautiful meditative journey, here is what you should remember:

  • Reflect on what you’re grateful for upon entering the labyrinth and upon any questions or problems with which you hope to receive some guidance on.
  • As you walk through the labyrinth, release any negative thoughts, feelings or sensations that are not promoting your peace, happiness and/or health.
  • Be silent, pray and meditate as you slowly encounter each step in the labyrinth. Be open to receiving whatever it is that comes to you during this time.
  • As you find your way through the labyrinth, allow yourself to feel rejuvenated.
  • Reflect on your experience as you exit the labyrinth. Contemplate its resemblance for you and what you’ve taken from the experience.

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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