Tag Archives: life in recovery

Tag Archives: life in recovery


What Quality of Life Means and Why It’s So Important

A common misconception is that health and overall quality of life (QOL) is for those who are already living a healthy, active lifestyle. You’ll often hear people talk about QOL if they are in the field of psychology, if they’re a fitness instructor or if they’re a dietitian, but what about everybody else? The truth is, QOL affects everyone. We all have it, but it’s based on a spectrum. Some of us have poorer QOL than others, and oftentimes it’s due to factors within our control. If you’re currently in recovery for an addiction and/or mental illness, now is the time to really focus on your own QOL. Now is the time for you to create a life that makes you feel happy, healthy, and fulfilled. Before you can do that, you need to get a firm grasp on what QOL means. The dictionary presents a fairly simple and straightforward definition: “The standard of health, comfort and happiness experienced by an individual or group.”

If you do some more research online, you’ll find that the definition of QOL varies between people and organizations, but it’s all centered around the principles of health, comfort and happiness. Consider these 3 criteria right now. How well have you placed them as priorities in your life? What have you been involved in that has contributed positively to these things? For many people, these factors are involved:

  • Physical health
  • Family
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Wealth
  • Safety
  • Security of freedom
  • Religious beliefs
  • Environmental actions

Recovery is an excellent time to start thinking about all of this and what you need to do to maximize your QOL. Obviously, nobody wants to be sick, uncomfortable and miserable – so QOL gives us the power to do what we can considering what we already have. You now have a chance to create a new life for yourself. Nothing is impossible here. You can become the happiest person you’ve ever been. You can start walking daily and eating healthy, and you can feel strong because of it. There are so many steps you can take, and today is when everything starts. Right here, right now.

A 2016 study showed that people considered to have “poor” QOL tend to be physically inactive, eat most meals alone and tend to have an unhealthy lower weight range. These negative QOL factors can be improved, but it takes time and dedication. No matter where you lie on the spectrum, know that recovery is possible. Life can and will get better if you’re ready for it to.

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.

Why Goal-Oriented Thinking Will Get You Incredibly Far in Recovery

One of the biggest components you’ll have in recovery is trying to find out what your goals and motivations are. Addiction is a complex disease because it can involve so many different factors – your genetics, your personality, the way you grew up, your current environment, trauma you’d had in your life and more. As with any path we take, it’s best to have a long-term goal in mind for what we want to accomplish so that we know what we’re working towards. In the world of recovery, we’re often trying to find the factors that will bring us the most success – relapse prevention, support, attendance, sobriety and more – but the common theme here lies within one simple area: goal orientation.

Perspective is everything, and by keeping the bigger picture in mind, you’re able to work through challenges more effectively. Back in 2015, researchers wanted to learn more about 2 components of goal orientation – hope and self-efficacy (feeling confident in your own abilities to succeed) – and how those two factors play out in a person’s recovery. They found that both had an influence on a person’s levels of depression and anxiety, two mental health challenges that can definitely slow down the recovery process. What are some examples of goal-oriented thinking that you can use in your everyday life?

  • “I will establish a volunteer opportunity by the end of next week.”
  • “Today, I will meditate for 5 minutes.”
  • “By the end of the month, I will be able to meditate for 10 minutes each day.”
  • “By the end of the year, I will have made 3 new connections for building my recovery support network.”

When we set goals, it means that we believe we can achieve them – and it also means that we have the motivation to go after them, too. Spend some time thinking about what you want your goals in recovery to be. Then, create very direct, specific statements that really describe what your goals are. Make sure they have the following:

  • A realistic, achievable goal
  • A set time frame
  • A plan for how you’ll know you’ve achieved that goal

Both short-term and long-term goals are best so that you can take small steps daily that will really contribute to a bigger picture. If you find that you’ve completed some goals sooner than you realized, create new ones – you’ll be extremely proud to find that you’ve accomplished a lot throughout your 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-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.

In What Ways Can I Support My Teen in Recovery?

Teenagers face unique challenges because their brains are still developing as they navigate school, work and other life situations. During this time, peer pressure is a major concern because friends may gain easy access to alcohol and other drugs, for experimentation purposes and for partying. Other times, teens abuse substances because they think it will take away their emotional pain. If your teen is seeking out help to start their journey to recovery, this is the first and most important step they could take. Some teens don’t have the support or resources to get help, and this makes it incredibly difficult for them to break their addiction. If you’re ready to dive into the supportive role, there are many ways you can help.

Previous studies have shown us that during this developmental period, substance abuse can increase a teen’s risk for violence, spread of infectious diseases, risky sexual behaviors and so much more. Support is something that anyone in recovery – regardless of their age – needs. Based on what research has shown us thus far, the following are excellent ideas for supporting your teen:

  • Speaking positively about their progress when they take steps towards recovery
  • Expressing to them that they’re not alone
  • Encouraging them to get involved with volunteer work
  • Educating yourself on addiction and how it may be affecting your teen
  • Refraining from drinking or using any substances around your teen
  • Suggesting that your teen speak with a therapist and attend family therapy as well

Support has been regarded as one of the key ways to bring people out of isolation and into recovery. Your teen may not fully understand the implications of addiction but hearing from others who have gone through similar struggles and found success in recovery could be beneficial for them. Another way that you can support your teen – and a way that isn’t talked about as often – is to take care of yourself.

The energy we provide to our teens is depending on how well we take care of ourselves – if we aren’t tending to our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs, we may not be able to provide as much support as we’d like. Get plenty of sleep. Eat healthy foods to keep your mind and body energized. Take some time out for yourself each day and do something that makes you happy. By taking good care of yourself, you’re taking good care of your teen – and they’ll be thankful you did.

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.

How Does Spirituality Fit into Recovery?

When we talk about spirituality, it’s often in the form of something beyond. This could be a Higher Power, such as God, or it could be simply positivity and good will. Each person’s spiritual journey is different, and it doesn’t always have to be based on a religion. Of those that do explore spirituality, they often find a greater sense of purpose and fulfillment in life – one that translates directly into their recovery as well. Spirituality can be what brings us hope, what motivates us, what gets us through hard times and more. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is an example of a support group that embraces the spiritual component of recovery, but there are other ways that you can build your spirituality, too.

Just last year, researchers from the University of Michigan sought to explore how spirituality plays into recovery. For 30 months, the researchers assessed 364 people with alcohol dependence. Dimensions of spirituality were noted, especially alongside AA programs. Overall, they found 3 main factors of spirituality that seemed to lend itself well to reduced drinking:

  • Higher levels of purpose in life
  • Self-forgiveness
  • Spiritual/religious practice

AA specifically was found to help people with these spiritual elements:

  • Positive religious coping
  • Daily spiritual experiences
  • Forgiveness of others
  • Spiritual/religious practices

You may find that your perspective on spirituality changes the longer you’re in recovery, and that’s okay. For most people, it’s about what makes sense to them, and what gives them meaning – that means that AA and other religious/spiritual components may or may not become part of your recovery plan.

It’s been said that addiction is often developed in an attempt to fill a void. Whether that’s loneliness, unhappiness, boredom, lack of purpose, lack of support, trauma or something else, we lean towards alcohol and other substances often because we’re trying to heal emotional wounds by physical means. Addiction is more than just a physical component and is often considered something that affects a person’s mind, body and spirit. Recovery is about getting you back on track and feeling complete in all areas of your life – by working through what’s been holding you back, you can use the resources you have to take big steps forward.

You don’t to make a decision today about whether or not you want to dive into more spiritual/religious aspects, but you can try different things to see what fits best for you.

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.

The Inside Scoop: Types of Triggers and How They Influence Cravings

One of the most commonly talked about aspects of recovery is relapse. When relapse occurs, we revert back to our old, addictive habits – whether for a brief moment or for a longer period of time. Relapse is often used synonymously with “failure” or “weakness”, but you’d be surprised to know that this isn’t really true. For many, relapse is actually a learning experience where a person can find out what their triggers are, and what steps they can take next time to prevent that behavioral response. Triggers are incredibly important to familiarize yourself with, and it may take trial and error to find them over time. If you can understand your triggers and how they affect your cravings, however, you can get an upper hand on relapse.

A few years ago, researchers did a study to find out a little more about personal cues (thought processes, experiences, triggers, etc.) and how they influence cravings. They found that ultimately, it’s a matter of what really “hits home” for someone – it’s the context of a person, place, or thing that can send someone into a relapse. For example, one person may have specific memories tied to a certain city and state. Even if they’ve moved halfway across the United States, a person who talks about that city and state could trigger that individual because it sparks memories of when they used to live there, when they used to use substances, etc. A person who has never lived in that particular city or state won’t have that same reaction, because they don’t have a special tie to that place.

There are 3 overarching concepts of triggers to watch out for, and you can call them the three E’s:

  • Emotions – guilt, sadness, anxiety, anger, confidence, happiness, loneliness, etc.
  • Environment – returning to a place where substance abuse once occurred for you, hearing a song you used to get high to, etc.
  • Exposure – seeing others using substances at a party, being at a bar, etc.

These types of triggers can really spark up the desire to use substances again, and that’s because your brain has not forgotten the rewarding feelings of abusing substances and its association to those different feelings, places, things or people. Recovery is about re-learning to live without needing to act on those associations, and it takes a lot of hard work – but it’s absolutely worth it because you get your health, happiness and life back.

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.

Your Ultimate Guide to Building a Life of Recovery

To step out of the world of addiction and into recovery is courageous and admirable. Recovery is a lifelong journey and involves a lot of twists and turns. Some days you’re going to feel as though you’ve got it all figured out – and other days, you’re going to wonder why you started doing this in the first place. These mixed feelings are common for anyone in recovery, and eventually will make you a stronger person as you learn to day things day by day.

If you ask anyone what their definition of recovery is, you’ll likely get a variety of answers. Recovery can be quite subjective, depending on a person’s individual goals, motivations and approach. While the personal view of recovery may change depending on the person, there are a number of dimensions that are pretty consistent, no matter whose recovery journey you look at:

  • Substance Use – no longer using
  • Treatment/Support – being in a program, having supportive people nearby
  • Psychological Health – feeling more confident, empowered and in-control
  • Physical Health – more activity/exercise, improved physical condition
  • Use of Time – more structure, more meaningful hobbies, less boredom
  • Education/Training/Employment – going back to school, volunteering, etc.
  • Income – more stability over finances, less debt
  • Housing – more security with a place to stay
  • Relationships – improved relationships with friends and family
  • Social Functioning – improved life skills and social interactions, more involvement
  • Offending/Antisocial Behavior – reduce/none at all anymore
  • Well-Being – less shame and guilt with more purpose, meaning and healthy self-esteem
  • Self-Identity/Awareness – improved perception of oneself
  • Spirituality – a sense of connection to the world, to God or to some other Higher Being

A few years ago, researchers really dived in to derive these elements that are considered foundational to recovery. Of course, each person’s journey is different, and you may have some elements that are stronger (or less apparent) than others over time. These dimensions are actually extremely useful for developing a happy, healthy life in general – not just when addiction is involved. Anyone can incorporate these elements more into their life. It really is a matter of finding what you need the most and what minor changes can be made to really make a positive difference in your life. Demi Lovato has expressed this exact concept by saying, “Recovery is something that you have to work on every single day, and it’s something that doesn’t get a day off.”


Take the leap towards bettering your happiness, health and overall life. 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-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 recovery.

How Do Those Who’ve Been in Recovery Long-Term View Their Journey?

The perspectives of recovery change along with the person, their experiences and their time in recovery. As with life, there are different stages and different time periods that bring up new lessons to learn – and oftentimes, you just have to take everything day by day. Many people find it beneficial to speak with alumni of their treatment program, so they can gain better knowledge and insight of what to expect as they embark on their own journey. Hearing other people’s experiences can be relieving sometimes, especially knowing that you’re not alone. You might also be surprised by some of the nuances that occur during recovery – and hopefully it will open your mind even further to trial and error, learning and growth.

One particular research study published in the journal Psychology & Health sought to understand perceptions of recovery from 21 individuals at different stages of their journey. There are many keywords/phrases that were used to describe each person’s experience with recovery:

  • Ups and downs
  • Changes
  • Non-linear
  • Spectrum between active use and recovery

One of the most common fears of those new to recovery is relapse, because they’re often afraid of failing. This may surprise you, but many of these people in the study expressed that relapse was a normal part of their recovery – along with relapse came a new understanding, a new process and a process of getting back into their recovery goals.

It was obvious from the narratives that change doesn’t take place overnight – even though these individuals had gone through a formalized treatment program, they did not feel “changed” after they completed it. Instead, it took them a lot of trial and error to see what works best for them. Coping strategies are incredibly important in recovery, and time and time again, studies have shown just how important social support is for a person’s success. Whether it’s close friends, family, coworkers or the healthcare team at your treatment center, find ways to connect. Have people nearby to cheer you on, as well as people you can look up to and reach out to if you’re going through a rough time.

Try not to have any expectations for your recovery. There is no way of knowing what your experience will be like until you do it. Find freedom in letting that outcome go and choosing to take each day one step at a time.

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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