Tag Archives: Recover Life

Tag Archives: Recover Life


Your body is dangling, your heart racing, your stomach drops and then it hits – euphoria. You just plunged 30 plus feet, literally hanging by a thread – well actually a rope, but you get the idea.

More than two dozen Cumberland Heights employees took part in The Big Swing Event April 15 and sure, it was an amusing way to kick off the week, but we did it for much more than the thrill. It was a lesson in trust, peer support and letting go.

“It’s your decision and yours alone,” said Recreation Therapist Jimmy Hudgens.

He was talking about the cable you pull when you’re ready to take the plunge. But for those familiar with AA, we’re thinking, “This sounds a lot like Step 3.” Wait a second! This whole exercise mirrors recovery” (or for others, simply letting go of control).

I was the second person in our afternoon swing group to go. The counselor who went before me did it effortlessly. She even looked relaxed, as if she were swinging back and forth on a hammock. I’m thinking to myself, “Oh, this is easy. I have nothing to be afraid of.” And then my friends on the ground started pulling me up. If you’re not familiar with The Big Swing, it’s kind of like those hoisting you up are playing tug of war – everyone is in a line stepping backwards, yanking on a rope to pull you to the top. So, I see them on the ground getting further and further away and all of a sudden, I’m looking down on acres upon acres of rolling hills as if I’m the camera lens on a drone. In my head I’m thinking “Oh gosh this is high.” It wasn’t until I heard people on the ground say “It’s going to be okay” that I realized I was speaking out loud. And then I had made it all the way to the top.

I nervously scream below, “So I just pull this thing?”

I hear a resounding “Yes!”

And I didn’t think. I just did it. I pulled it. And I screamed. I screamed really, really loudly. And I didn’t stop screaming for several seconds. And it was super scary. But it felt amazing. It was a rush like I haven’t felt before. And as you swing back and forth coming down, you just get to bask in the afterglow. All of my friends were happy for me, and then, even better, I got to be a part of their experience when they took the plunge!

Every person there had a job – to spot someone on the ladder, to hoist someone up, to stop pulling the rope when the swinger didn’t want to go any higher. We had to support one another and we had to trust each other.

Others who had done the swing before took it a step further. They put a blindfold on before they dropped. Josh K. was one of them.

“It was a totally different experience because being up there, being that high you can’t see down so you’re just trusting everything is set up right. Here we go. Blind jump. It’s wild,” said Josh.

“Walking by faith and not by sight may be easier than we expect,” said Jimmy.

April R. who organized the event took part in it as a patient at Cumberland Heights a little over three years ago.

“It’s more just fun now since I’m really not afraid of heights, but at the time it was very therapeutic, very special. It was me saying ‘I surrender.’ I just let go and it was emotional and moving,” said April.

She wasn’t alone in her experience. Jimmy says this exercise means more to the patients than we may ever know.

“I had one guy come to an alumni reunion and I recall that patient being very quiet when he was in treatment, but when he came to the reunion he said the swing was his first spiritual experience. It was about giving up control for him. It was his spiritual awakening he said. And you would never know because he never said anything until years later,” said Jimmy.

Recreational therapy is a staple here at Cumberland Heights and I’ve always appreciated it, but I never fully understood it until that day. In treatment you can do everything by the book and go through the steps as you’re told, but it’s usually moments like these when people really find their center, higher power or willingness to let go. Others may find those things in group therapy or in the art room. Everyone responds differently to certain therapies in treatment and Cumberland Heights works really hard to honor that. That’s just one of the things that makes this place so special.

The Original AA Manuscript written by Bill WAlumni Relations of Cumberland Heights invites you to participate in Back to Basics: Steps and Stories. This intensive 12 step workshop, much like the original step working format from the 1940’s, is open to all persons in recovery.

All materials will be provided for participants as well as box lunches.

Event Details:

WHAT: Back to Basics – Steps and Stories
WHEN: Saturday May 18th 9:00AM – 4:00PM
WHERE: River Road Main Campus – Ishee Chapel

All three of our guest facilitators, Wally Patton, Brit Schanks and Carver Brown,  are experts in Back to Basics and have taken hundreds of people through the 12 steps in group settings.
We will begin promptly at 9:00AM and end at 4:00PM, please make sure to arrive no later than 8:45AM to get your supplies and seats. During lunch there will be an assignment to process with your partner or small group. Please be prepared to stay for the duration of the workshop, each participant should begin and end the day with the group.

  • STEP 1 - Personal Information

    The RSVP cost for this event is $5.00 per person. Please provide your name, email, cell phone and number of tickets desired to secure your reservation.

  • STEP 2 - Credit Card and Billing Information

    We accept MasterCard VISA American Express & Discover

    There is a required $5.00 charge per ticket that is non-refundable and will go to the Cumberland Heights Foundation General Donations Fund. Please select the number of tickets needed and enter your credit card number, expiration month and year, CVN number and billing address to where your credit card statement is sent below.

  • Due to limited number of tickets available we can only allow up to 4 people per family/reservation.
  • Ticket price total: .00

2017 Annual Donor Report

Dear Friends,

Every morning when I drive through Cumberland Heights’ arched gates, I am thankful for the opportunity to help patients and families “recover life.” And every night when I leave, I am reminded to “Let go and let God,” and am grateful for the thousands of little things our staff members do each day as they walk new paths of recovery with our patients.

What our entire Board of Directors and I appreciate most is the generosity of the Cumberland Heights community – donors and volunteers alike – who support our mission. Throughout the pages of this report, you will see how much Cumberland Heights has grown since we started in 1966 with only three patients and a handful of staff.

Everything we accomplish is because of donors like you and the hundreds of others who generously give to Cumberland Heights every year. Thank you for helping change the lives of our current patients, families, alumni and all those who will seek our help in the years to come.

Sincerely,
Jay Crosson CEO

Everything we accomplish is because of donors like you and the hundreds of others who generously give to Cumberland Heights every year.

What gifts we all have the most precious of which is each other — that we have one another and can help one another. Miracles happen, and they happen to us.

—Dr. Arch MacNair, Former Chaplain

NASHVILLE, TENN. – Sept. 6, 2018Cumberland Heights is pleased to announce the hiring of Nick Hayes, M.S., LMFTA (TX), LCDC (TX) as Director of Clinical Research and Outcomes and Greg Snodgrass as Regional Outreach Coordinator.

Nick Hayes - Cumberland Heights, Director of Clinical Research and Outcomes
Nick Hayes – Director of Clinical Research and Outcomes
Hayes will focus on efficacious treatment protocols, predictive analytics, feedback-informed treatment procedures and collaborations with institutions of higher education for all of Cumberland Heights, including inpatient and outpatient treatment programs.

As Regional Outreach Coordinator, Snodgrass will serve as the liaison between Cumberland Heights and a variety of referral sources to ensure seamless and timely admissions as well as treatment and continuing care services for patients and families seeking help with addiction.

Greg Snodgrass, Regional Outreach Coordinator
Greg Snodgrass, Regional Outreach Coordinator
“Nick and Greg have skills that reinforce why Cumberland Heights has consistently remained a nationally renowned treatment center for more than 50 years,” said CEO Jay Crosson. “The research overseen by Nick is critical to demonstrating the effectiveness of our treatment programs and sustaining – and growing – our authority in the industry. Likewise, Greg’s ability to build referral networks ensures that we are reaching patients and families who need help recovering life from the grips of drug and alcohol addiction.”

Hayes holds dual licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist-Associate (LMFTA-TX) as well as a Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC-TX). He has advanced training in quantitative methods, neuro-analysis and systems theory.

Hayes is a doctoral student within the Couple, Marriage, and Family Therapy Graduate Program at Texas Tech University, where he has also served as a student member in university’s Center for Collegiate Recovery Communities for the past seven years. He had worked with the Cumberland Heights Foundation while pursuing his degree.

Like many of Cumberland Heights’ staff, Snodgrass is living in recovery. He is actively involved in 12-step programs and sponsors men in recovery.

Snodgrass completed treatment 14 years ago and has since dedicated his life to helping others struggling with addiction. He received a scholarship to return to higher education at the Collegiate Recovery at Texas Tech University. He was then responsible for the five-year design and implementation of the Collegiate Recovery at the University of Alabama and served as director of the program.

He also served as National Director of Corporate Relations and Sponsorship for the Association of Recovery in Higher Education, where he oversaw the fundraising, donor relations and organizational growth for the association.  Most recently, he worked as a sober companion for Rick Parrish and Jamie Eater at Sober Escorts Inc. and John West of The Guest House in Ocala, Fla.

Snodgrass spends his free time with his wife and daughter traveling to horse shows across the southeast with their thoroughbreds, Harley and Pickles.


About Cumberland Heights

Cumberland Heights’ mission is to transform lives, giving hope and healing to those affected by alcohol or drug addiction. As a non-profit organization, Cumberland Heights is committed to the approximately 2,500 men, women and adolescents it serves every year and the communities where its facilities are located. The organization has followed the teachings of the 12 Steps since its founding in 1966.

Cumberland Heights Among the Few Centers Approved for Google AdWords Program and Welcomes New Screening Process for Treatment Industry

Google Sets Limits on Addiction Treatment Ads, Citing SafetyCumberland Heights is among the first 100 treatment centers nationwide approved to participate in a new Google AdWords program designed to stop unethical marketing that had been plaguing the industry before now.

“I commend Google for recognizing that vulnerable individuals and families were being targeted and taken advantage of by several online marketers,” said Cumberland Heights CEO Jay Crosson. “The new AdWords program recognizes treatment centers like Cumberland Heights that focus on quality care, ethical marketing and helping patients recover life.”

Last fall, in an effort to protect the public from possibly unethical marketing practices, Google banned all ads containing keywords like “drug treatment” or “alcohol addiction.” Predatory marketers that did not provide any treatment services had mastered collecting online leads and selling them to the highest bidder to the detriment of legitimate treatment providers nationwide – and likely to many people who were seeking qualified help. Stopping these practices had become a top priority for industry organizations like the National Association of the Addiction Treatment Professionals (NAATP).

In Spring 2018, Google announced that it partnered with LegitScripts to screen providers that want to advertise using AdWords. To be approved under the new program, treatment providers had to complete an extensive review process focused on quality, safety and transparency.

“The process was onerous but welcome,” said Crosson, who also chairs NAATP’s Ethics Committee. “Online marketing has changed and will continue to change how we reach people who need help. What has not changed and will never change is the need to respect patients and provide them the best possible care to them and their families.”

Read more about Cumberland Heights Code of Ethics and our commitment to reputable marketing.

2018 Alumni Relations Canoe Trip on the Harpeth River

Join Alumni Relations for a 5 mile float down the Harpeth River. You can pick your paddle buddy or we can pair you with someone the day of the event. Price includes canoe rental and cookout afterwards hosted by Scott A. (His address is: 8732 Cub Creek Road Nashville, TN 37209) Please wear comfortable clothing and closed toe shoes. Don’t forget to pack water, sunscreen, snacks and a change of dry clothes.

Event Details:

Saturday July 21st – launch at 9:30AM, please arrive by 8:45AM (The float will take approximately 4 hours to complete)
$5.00 per person (2 people per canoe)
$10.00 for a kayak (limited number available)
For more information, check out the Canoe Music City Website
1203 Highway 70 South, Kingston Springs, TN 37082


Alumni Event Registration & Ticket Purchase

  • STEP 1 - Personal Information

    The cost is $8.00 per person. Please also provide your name, email, cell & credit card information to hold your reservation. Please note tickets are non-refundable and will go to the Cumberland Heights Foundation General Donations Fund.

  • Ticket price total: .00

  • STEP 2 - Credit Card and Billing Information

    We accept MasterCard VISA American Express & Discover

    There is a required of $8.00 reservation per person that is non-refundable and will go to the Cumberland Heights Foundation General Donations Fund. Please fill out your credit card number, expiration month and year, CVN number and billing address to where your credit card statement is sent below.

Summer is host to some of the year’s most festive holidays and events. Parades, fireworks, barbecues and parties are iconic summer traditions which can be stressful for a person in early recovery. Cumberland Heights staff compiled these 5 recovery tips for summer fun to help you enjoy all the season has to offer.

1. Plan ahead

Don’t let an event catch you off guard. Bring your own beverages to ensure you have non-alcoholic options, and prepare a response if someone offers you an alcoholic drink. Plan an exit strategy in case you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation. Make certain you have reliable transportation, and bring a sober friend for support and accountability.

2. Do your own thing

Be the party planner. Create a fun barbecue or party so you control the environment. Planning your own event will ensure you’re not put in unwanted circumstances.

3. Mentally prepare

If you’re attending a party or event where alcohol will be served, evaluate your motives before going. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states, “So our rule is not to avoid a place where there is drinking, if we have a legitimate reason for being there. Ask yourself on each occasion, ‘Have I any good social, business or personal reason for going to this place?’”

4. Attend meetings

Go to a meeting every day of the week leading up to and through the event or holiday weekend. If you’re going to be out of town, check local meeting schedules in the area. Meeting makers make it, and a holiday is just another day to stay sober.

5. Ask for support

Don’t be afraid to call your family or friends and ask for support. Ask someone you love and trust to check in on you throughout the weekend.

Sunday is Mother’s Day and in an effort to recognize those amazing women in our lives, Cumberland Heights staff members share what makes their Moms so special.

My favorite thing about her is her ability to make everyone around her laughHere’s my Momma and me on my wedding day! My favorite thing about her is her ability to make everyone around her laugh. She is the most hilarious person I know with a heart of gold! Her favorite saying is ‘wear your seat belt’ or ‘did you pack a snack?’

~ Lauren Osborne, Patient Accounting


As close to perfection that God has ever gotten when he made my mother Patricia!As close to perfection that God has ever gotten when he made my mother Patricia!

~ Frank Vega, Utilization Review


This was taken less than a year before she lost her battle with cancerThis is my mom and my son. This was taken less than a year before she lost her battle with cancer. What I love about her is that she is responsible for me becoming the person that I am today. She walked through some of the hardest moments of my life with me and never gave up. When she was diagnosed with Cancer, she stood up and fought as hard as she could, until she had nothing left and because of my recovery, I was able to stand right beside her.

I love this picture because it shows two humans at opposite stages in life.

~ Stacy Bridges, Business Development


Life hasn’t always been easy for her, but she has remained loving and graceful through it allMy favorite thing about my Mom is her strength. Life hasn’t always been easy for her, but she has remained loving and graceful through it all. I am lucky to have her! I love when she says, ‘Have a groovy day!’ and ‘Home again. Home again. Jiggity Jig!’

~ Rachel Smith, Patient Registrar


She's the best Mom anyone could ever hope forMy Mom turned 92 Last December. She’s the best Mom anyone could ever hope for. I love her dearly!!!

~ Wanda Yates, Medical Records


You can do anything you set your mind to – but of course I was an only child and she thought I was perfectMama always said, ‘You can do anything you set your mind to’ – but of course I was an only child and she thought I was perfect!  She always called me the light of her life and really made me feel special.

~ Martha Farabee, Chief Development and Marketing Officer


Why is your Mom special to you? Please share some moments below!

Finding Healing through Art - A Blog Post on Cumberland Heights Addiction Recovery Website
Rebecca Sledge Johnson Clinical Coordinator and Art Therapist

Art therapy is a growing experiential therapy used by  the Traditional Men, Women, Young Men, and Extended Care programs at Cumberland Heights. It’s offered through weekly groups as well as to individual patients referred by their primary counselors.

Art therapy allows patients a non-confrontational mode of expression and communication which fosters self-discovery, internalization of core beliefs and improved self-esteem and identity exploration, while also supporting and enhancing 12-Step work. At Cumberland Heights we’re fortunate to have access to a variety of media for the patients to take risks and play with – including painting, drawing and collage, as well as repurposed and “trashed” materials which can be used to create something new – something out of “junk.”

No artistic skill, background or even desire is required for art therapy. All that’s asked is a patient remains open to the process and keep criticism of self and others at bay. This is a huge obstacle for many who’ve been told by others they aren’t creative or aren’t good at creating art – and have ultimately internalized a belief that art is not a mode of expression they’re capable of utilizing.

I have many patients who come through and have experienced some form of “art trauma” and find it very threatening to do something creative outside of their comfort zone. It’s incredibly rewarding to witness these individuals step up with courage to allow themselves to be vulnerable.

There are many things I love about art therapy; namely, there is tangible evidence of a patient’s process. There’s proof of how they’re feeling or thinking in the moment of creation. Art-making is inherently self-esteem boosting and allows patients an opportunity to get “out of their heads.” They begin to make sense of what seems out of control, especially when it’s difficult to find the words to describe or identify what they’re experiencing.

Success Stories

Finding Healing through Art - A Blog Post on Cumberland Heights Addiction Recovery WebsiteI worked with one young woman who entered treatment as the victim of a violent assault. Through art therapy, she was eventually able to tell her story using an artistically altered book as the method for her narrative work. She already had a lot of mature coping skills in place and had done some amazing work in boundary ­setting and self-care while in treatment.

After an art-therapy assessment, I decided she had the ability to self-structure. Her work showed she was very intelligent, insightful and expressive, but also revealed a struggle with unhealthy relationships and feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. I asked her to create an altered book using an old hard-backed library book and mixed media. I gave her no directive beyond this in hopes this freedom would allow her to tell her story. By the end of this book, she showed her attack and trauma, and asked me to join her in her primary group so she could share her story using her book as the guide to show the story she was unable to tell.

The young woman began a new altered book before leaving treatment; the first page was full of messages of self-empowerment. It was inspirational to see her find her voice by taking away the power of her traumatic experience through externalization and storytelling. She no longer carried the burden of her shame and fear alone. Through art therapy, she reclaimed her life and found courage and inspiration from within.

Finding Healing through Art - A Blog Post on Cumberland Heights Addiction Recovery WebsiteArt therapy is powerful in a group setting as well, allowing peers to share themselves at a deeper level and demonstrate trust and willingness in the process.

I worked with an adult male patient who admitted he felt art therapy was the least helpful group for his recovery. After he skipped group, I gave him an assignment to explore how this avoidance was indicative of old patterns or defenses, encouraging him to think about what was holding him in these well-worn patterns of addiction.

From this challenge, he created a sculpture representing his long-term struggle with true acceptance in his life, and acknowledging for there to be a higher power, darkness also has to exist. He connected this to an understanding he had to find balance in his life and work in order to accept that which he cannot change, so he would be empowered in his recovery. His presentation changed completely and his work demonstrated a catharsis, a shift in breaking through his defenses and finally being authentic.

These are just a couple of examples of the powerful work I have been fortunate enough to witness in art therapy. I truly believe in its value as part of addiction treatment. I continue to be blown away by the power of the creative process in self-discovery and, most importantly, self-healing. I am eternally grateful to Cumberland Heights and to the people who have passed through these doors for the healing and growth I receive daily.


Cumberland Heights Alumni Association Event
Cumberland River Cruise

Cumberland River CruiseLet’s go cruising with Captain Jim Steele, the originator of Scenic Nature Cruises in Tennessee. Every year since 2002, he has entertained thousands of passengers aboard the Blue Heron, a U.S. Coast Guard inspected 40’ pontoon boat. The scenery offers both relaxation and adventure, as the boat glides past waterfront homes and through 30,000 acres of wildlife refuge. The foliage and wildlife changes from spring to summer to fall. The narration, music and mood are tailored to the passengers aboard!

Water & Snacks Included!

WHAT: Cumberland River Cruise
WHEN: Saturday 5/19/18, 4:00PM – Sunset
WHERE: Blue Heron Cruises
175 Old Cumberland Street
Ashland City, TN 37015
(meet at Boat Ramp)

Please RSVP below if you plan to join us!

Unfortunately we are out of spots available for our Alumni River Cruise. If you are still wanting to attend and did not sign-up, you may add your name to our waitlist. Please email Amy Lutz, development coordinator, and kindly ask to add your name. If anyone can not make it, we will fill spots on a first come, first serve basis down the waitlist.


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Why is it so meaningful to give to Cumberland Heights?

Your gift to Cumberland Heights through our annual and capital initiates gives immediate support to patients and their families. To make a longer term impact a gift to the endowment fund will provide patient assistance funding for years to come.

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