Tag Archives: Recovery

Tag Archives: Recovery

Learning to open up and share your recovery story

It’s not uncommon to feel like your life, experiences and feelings won’t make a difference when it comes to someone else’s life. The reality, however, is that other people could truly benefit from your story – because what you have to offer, the insights that you’ve gained and the way you can connect with other people is unparalleled to anyone else. Researchers from the Veterans Health Association note that sharing your personal story can yield many benefits, such as:

  • Conveying hope for people who may be going through similar struggles
  • Opening an opportunity for a deeper connection with other people, through vulnerability and honesty
  • Demonstrating a person’s capabilities and how far they’ve come in life
  • Modeling effective coping techniques and self-help strategies for those who need it
  • Describing personal wellness practices and encouraging others to find wellness practices that work best for them
  • And more

As a study published in the Journal of Social Work and Disability Rehabilitation notes, personal recovery is,

“…an ongoing, lifelong and highly subjective process.”

Due to such unique experiences taking place, nobody can truly know what a person has gone through unless they share their story with others – and by telling people your own recovery journey, you’re also reaffirming for yourself just how far you’ve come in healing and restoration. One individual shared their personal recovery journey via the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI); they stated:

“Knowing that hope is the ‘cornerstone of recovery’ and believing that you can have success with your life is critical. Your successes and dreams take on many different directions to arrive at your destination.”

By sharing your personal thoughts, experiences and emotions with others, you’re providing valuable insight that could help another person grow in their own journey to recovery. If you’re ready to join a group of people who can help you become stronger in recovery, speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights 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 two 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. For more information, call 1-800-646-9998 today.




A) ARISE® 3-Day Comprehensive Care with Intervention Workshop (no prerequisites)
This workshop can be taken:

  • By experienced interventionists choosing to learn a new model
  • By therapists, clinicians, counselors, and administrators as a general course with 28 PCB-approved continuing education hours
  • As the first step toward becoming a Certified ARISE® Interventionist (CAI)

Dates: Saturday, Sept 21; Sunday, Sept 22; and Monday, Sept 23
Training Time: 7:30AM – 5:00PM


**Please plan your travel arrangements around completing the course by 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. Any missed training time can be made up in a one-on-one Skype session with an ARISE® Trainer at the rate of $250/hour. Typically, missing one morning/afternoon session will require 1 – 2 hours of make up time. Please make arrangements with the training office.

The curriculum provides:

  1. Practice of learning ARISE® Comprehensive Care with Intervention:

    • Learning to conduct the three levels of the ARISE® Intervention
    • Applying ARISE® Comprehensive Care / Case Management
    • Building a family genogram and recognizing family patterns
    • Mobilizing a family support network
    • Determining level of care
    • Understanding when an intervention is necessary
    • Collaborating with family, support network, professionals and treatment providers/facilities
  2. A theoretical overview of:

    • The origins of addiction
    • The relationship of trauma and loss to addiction, behavioral health, and mental health issues
    • The role of families in recovery from addiction and mental health challenges
    • The 3 Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB) approved intervention models, their history, and relevant data
    • ARISE® research and outcome data
    • Neurobiology and addiction
    • Professional ethics
  3. Training Methodology:

    • Hands-on skill building
    • Experiential exercises and role-plays
    • Video
    • Small and large-group exercises
    • Interactive lectures
    • Homework

B) ARISE® Practicum (optional)


Complete 3-Day Comprehensive Care with Intervention Workshop ARISE® Practicum Information Apply and practice the ARISE® method with a hypothetical case to familiarize yourself with the protocol. Participants create, develop, and present a hypothetical case using the ARISE® method.



  • Judith Landau, MD, DPM, LMFT, CFLE, CIP, CAI| President, Founder
  • James Cowser, LCSW, ICADC, ICCDP-D, CAI | Senior ARISE® Faculty
Elton John takes to Twitter to announce his 29th Year Sober
Elton John takes to Twitter to announce his 29th Year Sober

At Cumberland Heights we encourage patients, alumni and staff to recover out loud if they feel comfortable. It helps erase the stigma and gives hope to others who may be struggling. Many of us look up to celebrities who choose to recover out loud – I mean, think of the number of people someone like Sir Elton John reaches compared to us!

Just look to his latest tweet that read, “I finally summoned up the courage to say 3 words that would change my life: ‘I need help.’ Thank you to all the selfless people who have helped me on my journey through sobriety. I am eternally grateful.” As of Aug. 2, that tweet had been liked by nearly 125,000 people, retweeted by 14,000 and commented on by more than 2,000. Talk about an impact.

The star’s struggles with addiction were also laid out in a recently released movie, “Rocketman”, an unapologetic, biopic musical that doesn’t sugarcoat his years of sex, drugs and other risky behaviors.

Elton has said it was difficult for him to watch.

“This is how my life was, and I didn’t want to cover it and gloss it over,” he said. “And it’s difficult to watch because I thought, ‘God, I don’t want to go back there. Thank God I came out of it’.”

He continued, “Success was fantastic, and then I couldn’t cope with it,” he added of the pressures of fame. “And you can’t leave out the bad.”

Elton John, Courtesy: Smooth Radio
Courtesy: Smooth Radio

It was the 1990 death of Ryan White, a young AIDS victim and friend of John’s that made the superstar take a step back and look at his own life. He checked into treatment shortly after.

Elton John even used his new lease on life to start the Elton John AIDS foundation which has raised over $400,000 dollars to combat the disease. John is also celebrating his 5th wedding anniversary this year to David Furnish, who he has been with for 25 years. Together they have two sons – Zachary, 8 and Elijah, 6.

“I am survivor. I’ve survived a lot of things. Life is full of pitfalls, even when you’re sober. I can deal with them now because I don’t have to run away and hide,” said Elton.

The 72-year-old has a big fall planned. He will resume his farewell tour in September. He’ll be here in Nashville at Bridgestone Arena on October 28th. The Grammy winner also penned a new song “Never Too Late” for “The Lion King” that just hit theaters.

Climbing into the light and being your best self.

People are complex beings. Many of us like to think of ourselves as being above the animal world. Others believe that we are indeed animals, if only slightly more evolved or complex than other species. Either way, people are not simple organisms and sometimes, things break down. Everyone experiences illness in their lives eventually. Illness can be divided into physical, emotional and spiritual. Physical illness, while unpleasant and potentially deadly, is somewhat easier to understand than emotional or spiritual illness. We can see the effect physical illness has on us. We all know what a fever feels like. We all know pain. While people experience these things in different ways, they can be generalized. Nausea is nausea. Dizziness is dizziness. When we hear the words, we can internalize it and, in most cases, we can empathize.

Emotional and spiritual pain is completely different. Things like crippling anxiety, deadly depression or intense craving something affects a smaller portion of the population. Not everyone knows what these things feel like, and the individual experience of these things tends to make it harder to pin down why people do what they do or how to treat them. When you say you are experiencing anxiety, many people will maybe generate a feeling of nervousness instead of the paralyzing fear of a true disorder. When you say you live with depression, many people think of sadness instead of the endless emptiness some of live with.

The Chameleon In Your Brain

Things like addiction and mental illness are even harder to pin down. From the outside, it looks like a choice. People who do not live with addiction sometimes think that all you have to do is stop drinking or simply get rid of the pills you use to get through the day. There is a weight of stigma attached to these illnesses which make it less likely we will seek help before serious damage is done.

Addiction and mental illness change the way people think, the way our bodies respond to the drug, the way we see the world outside of our illness. Not everyone with addiction also experiences mental illness and not everyone who with a mental illness develops an addiction. It depends on life experience, predisposition as well as natural and learned coping mechanism. Still, some studies indicate that people with mental illness are twice as likely to develop an addiction that the general population.

Addiction grows out of distorted thinking. We start to think that we need the drug to get through the day. We might think that we have to use in order to survive, fearing the physical consequences of not using, like withdrawal. Alcohol and drugs can offer a false sense of security. They might mask the sense of uncertainty we live with when we’re sober. Others might believe that they cannot be social without chemical help or that they simply feel better about themselves when they are under the influence.

Equipping Yourself With New Tools

In order to achieve lasting recovery, it is imperative to find ways to address these needs without drinking or using. In the beginning, this can be something as concrete as finding a place to live or establishing food security. It might be learning how to go to work or be social sober.

If you are living homeless or lack the resources to eat daily, there are many organizations that can help. First, however, you have to find them. Research can be problematic without access to the internet, but you can overcome this by going to a library or certain homeless shelters. Once you have found a program, be it inpatient, outpatient, 12 Step or detox, make the call. The decision to get healthy is always personal, frequently made alone in a moment of extreme vulnerability. You have to choose to trust at this moment. Reaching out is not simple- it requires humility and a willingness to open yourself to the possibility of rejection and the strength to keep asking for help until we find the program that works for us no matter how many times it takes. Once you have begun your journey, however, you will find yourself with a range of opportunities and resources you lacked at the moment you chose not to actively live in your addiction anymore.

It is overwhelming. There are so many parts and they all seem to come at once. With support, you can do this. You can rebuild your life. You can be healthy and productive. You are no longer stuck at the bottom of the well looking up. You are climbing into the light and the world is waiting for you. Remember, with every day sober, you will get stronger and stronger. What once seemed impossible, is now not only possible but within reach. You are a complex being with a range of skills and abilities you might not have even been aware of.

You can find help honing these skills at Cumberland Heights. We are 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 two 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. For more information, call 1-800-646-9998 today.

Making a relapse prevention plan

A relapse prevention plan is necessary because it provides all the tools and resources that are needed in case of an emergency. Unfortunately, there’s a common belief that relapse is a sign of failure; relapse is incredibly common in recovery, however, and can even be an opportunity to grow. Relapse can be a chance to learn, as you may find that certain areas of your recovery program need to be changed or strengthened. However, the amazing healthcare team at Cumberland Heights will ensure that you are well prepared when it comes to constructing a relapse prevention plan.

There are many strategies, tools and techniques that you can incorporate into your plan, depending on what works best for you. There is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to relapse prevention, as each person is unique and has a different way of learning. However, the following are some excellent tools that may become part of your prevention plan:

  • 12-Step Support – 12Step.com explains that 12-Step programs integrate awareness, letting go of that need for control, self-acceptance and acknowledgment of one’s problems – all of which can help a person become stronger in relapse prevention.
  • Social support – through both 12-Step programs and other recovery-related activities, we can build strong support networks that we can rely on when the going gets tough.
  •  Distracting yourself – healthy alternatives, such as reading a book or watching a good movie, can be enough for us to calm down from overwhelming emotions that could lead to relapse.
  • Motivations – cognitive processes, such as reminding yourself of why recovery is important, can help you stay determined to utilize your relapse plan should you need it.

The University of Washington notes that moments of relapse can occur unexpectedly – even if we’re having an otherwise calm day. Relapse prevention is a critical part of recovery, but you’re not in this alone. If you’re ready to take back control over your life, speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights 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 two 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. For more information, call 1-800-646-9998 today.

These relapse warning signs will help you create preventative measures in recovery

Relapse can be an incredibly scary component of recovery, yet it’s all too common. The first year of addiction recovery yields the highest relapse rates – and often because individuals are still trying to navigate their path to sobriety. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) explained that relapse is,

“…Triggered by exposure to rewarding substances and behaviors, by exposure to environmental cues to use, and by exposure to emotional stressors that trigger heightened activity in brain stress circuits.”

If you’re anxious to pursue a path of sobriety but you’re nervous about relapse, it’s important to become aware of some of the relapse warning signs in addition to developing some useful relapse prevention tools in moments of crisis.

Warning Signs of Relapse

Relapse is all too often feared because it can occur when a person is most vulnerable. Even in times when we feel completely confident in our recovery journey, we may become easily swayed into reverting back to old addictive habits – and if we’re not carefully aware of our thoughts, emotions and present circumstances, we’ll be less prepared for when relapse becomes easier to pursue. Last year, Very Well Mind, a website that publishes relevant information related to health conditions, explained that elevated stress can even lead a person to relapse – and if a person is in denial about the problems they’re going through, they may be more susceptible to relapse as well.

For example, the following are some of the greatest risk signs for relapse:

  • Thinking or romanticizing the days when we used to abuse substances
  • Feeling sorry for ourselves
  • Experiencing over-confidence in our capabilities with recovery
  • Becoming negatively affected by upsetting life events or even subtle cues that remind us of what we don’t have or can’t have any longer
  • Getting into an argument with a friend or family member
  • And others

Human beings are hardwired to focus on the negatives sometimes – it was a survival tool that we used to use thousands of years ago to help keep us alive, but the negatives don’t always help us, especially in addiction recovery. We have to essentially “rewire” the negative thought processes to aid us to learn to focus more on the good – and by changing our perception on things, we’re likely to become less impacted by minor events.

Relapse Prevention Measures

A helpful approach learned in treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which involves helping a person become more critically aware of their thought processes and how they influence their behaviors. CBT is an approach that requires a lot of hands-on effort from the client – and after applying what’s been learned in therapy to daily life occurrences, a person can become stronger in recovery.

A clear example of using CBT is finding a different way to think about certain situations; for instance, if a person receives a short text message from a friend or family member, their mindset may immediately conjure up thoughts such as: “They’re upset with me” or “I did something wrong” – but CBT begs us to question those thoughts and instead choose thoughts that promote a more calm, relaxed mood such as: “They’re currently busy” or “They may be a little stressed out at the moment.” When we learn to direct our thoughts towards outside circumstances, or towards thoughts that will be more productive for our happiness and health, we’ll find that we’re less negatively affected – and therefore less prone to relapse.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains that effective treatment should involve behavioral therapy or counseling, and should:

“…Be tailored to address each patient’s drug use patterns and drug-related medical, mental and social problems.”

By engaging in various types of treatment designed specifically for a person’s needs, the path towards recovery can be well on the way.

Utilizing Your Resources

In addition to the tools that you can learn in therapy, you can also rely on people around you for support. 12-Step programs provide a solid foundation for recovery growth, along with people whom you can rely on in times of need and victory. A stronger connection with a Higher Power can also lead you to feel more fulfilled in life – and the tools you develop in recovery become easier to use the more engaged you become. Last year, Very Well Mind further noted that the spirituality involved with 12-Step programs can help people in a number of ways:

  • It can provide a structured pathway for a better life
  • Greater respect for others and for oneself can be found
  • A person can gain greater perspective on their problems
  • Connect with others who can uplift your journey

Developing hobbies that you’re passionate about can also help in times when relapse feels at bay. For example, if you find yourself feeling depressed or angry, you could turn to a healthy hobby that you’ve picked up lately – such as cooking new meals or writing a book to inspire. Other minor distractions can be used to break up a bad mood or unhealthy thoughts, such as watching a funny movie, joining a sports group, attending 12-Step meetings or starting an art project. While these activities may seem simple, they can mean the difference between relapse or not – especially in times when you’re feeling particularly tempted.

Finding Solidarity in Recovery

If you’re ready to build a life filled with the tools, resources and support needed for happiness, well-being and fulfillment, speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights today. It’s never too late to begin working towards the life you’ve always wanted – and as long as you keep pushing forward, you’ll find that you’re able to live a life that truly makes your heart sing.

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 two 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. For more information, call 1-800-646-9998 today.

The MusiCares® Sober Jam is a quarterly event offering musicians an opportunity to perfor, in a safe and sober environment. The Sober Jam begins at 6:00PM with solo performances, facilitated by emcee Phil Bogard. Each event includes an unannounced special guest performance. All attendees — both on and off-stage — are considered to be active participants in the Sober Jam. By simply showing up, listening to music, and offering an applause between songs, each guest plays a meaningful role in creating a safe environment for the performers.

This event is brought to you by Cumberland Heights Recovery Center & Nashville Recovery Center.

WHAT: MusiCares Sober Jam
WHEN: August 20, 2019 from 6:00PM – 9:00PM
WHERE: World Music Nashville – 7069 US-70S, Nashville, TN 37221

Pathways to Recovery: A Clinicians Toolkit to Achieving & Measuring Success

Event Details:

WHAT: Pathways to Recovery: A Clinicians Toolkit to Achieving & Measuring Success
WHEN: September 27, 2019 from 9:00AM – 2:00PM
WHERE: Powell Church – 323 East Emory Road Powell, TN 37849
COST: $15.00 — General Admission (includes lunch) | $30.00 — CE Admission (includes lunch)
3.5 CE credits available (approved by NAADAC & NBCC) — All proceeds will benefit the Metro Anti-Drug Coalition


Event Agenda:

9:30AM Opening Remarks: Karen Pershing-Metro Drug Coalition
9:30AM – 11:30AM Using Measurement Based Practices in Treating Psychological Disorders
Nick Hayes, PhD: Chief Science Officer, Cumberland Heights
11:30AM – 12:00PM Lunch
12:00PM – 1:30PM Etiology, Assessment, and a THird Wave Approach to Treating Substance Abuse and Co-Occurring Disorders
Amanda Lewis, LCSW: Primary Counselor, Cumberland Heights
1:30PM – 1:45PM Evaluations

Your personal recovery journey is like a fingerprint. While many of them look and feel the same, unique experiences make our stories one of a kind. They can inspire, heal, create hope or even push someone to take that first step in their own journey.

Liz sits down with our Alumni Relations & Volunteer Coordinator to talk about what 16 years of sobriety looks like and how engaging with friends in recovery kept Jaime clean. Also in this episode: relationships that make you sick, a spiritual awakening while free-falling 30 feet, and Jaime's greatest triumph in recovery. Hint: It's a person and he only stands about 2.5 feet tall.

That’s what Cumberland Heights’ new podcast “Recovery Live” is all about. Liz Stanislawski, Marketing and Public Relations Manager and former WSMV journalist will be interviewing alumni, staff, family members, counselors – really anyone who has been touched by addiction. The podcast is co-produced by Jaime Gibbons, Alumni Relations & Volunteer Coordinator. She is the very first guest, talking about what 16 years of sobriety looks like.

Travis Meadows

Cumberland Heights also welcomed Travis Meadows on the show. The successful singer/songwriter is known for penning hits for several country music stars including Wynonna Judd, Jake Owen, Eric Church, Brothers Osborne and Hank Williams Jr. He also has several albums of his own like “Killing Uncle Buzzy” which was inspired by journal entries he wrote while he was in treatment at Cumberland Heights.

Click here to listen!

Future guests include a meth addict whose story was broadcast to millions on the A&E reality show, “Intervention”, a teen who grew up in the recovery world and ended up becoming addicted himself and a woman who as a young teen had to take care of her siblings when her mom disappeared for days.

These stories don’t sugarcoat. They are real, raw and honest. From teenagers with just a couple years of sobriety, to those who haven’t picked up a drink or drug in 30 plus years.

We are so excited to share this new project with you and hope you’ll gain as much from listening as we have putting it together.

Eat these foods to nourish your mind, body and spirit

Focusing on nutrition is an absolute necessity in order to ensure our bodies are functioning properly. When we eat right, we’re less likely to struggle with symptoms of mental illness, and we tend to have enough energy to work through whatever challenges come our way. There are so many nutritious foods that we tend to neglect when addiction is active – and stress, depression, anxiety and more can cause us to crave everything we don’t need.

A few years ago, Alyssa Salz, MD, RD, LD, told Today’s Dietitian that both nutrition and hydration are necessary for the healing process of addiction recovery; she stated:

“Just as patients with diabetes or heart disease receive nutrition education to manage their diseases, patients dealing with substance abuse should have nutrition education that addresses their specific risk factors and increases their chances of recovery.”

Nutrition management is an important part of a customized addiction recovery treatment program – and while it may seem overwhelming, meal plans and healthy offerings can make it easier to adapt to. While in recovery, you’ll likely learn about these types of nutritious foods:

  • Dark greens – with so many vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that help protect and strengthen our immune system, you can’t go wrong
  • Cauliflower, kale and brussels sprouts – these types of foods have antioxidants that can help boost your immune system
  • Pinto beans and black beans – beans and legumes are rich in fiber and plant protein, and they’re incredibly easy to find in the grocery store
  • Avocado – avocado is an incredibly popular food, and it helps boost energy – which means that eating one in the morning could enhance the rest of your day
  • Frozen fruits – research shows that frozen fruits are incredibly healthy for you because they retain all the nutrients and minerals

At Cumberland Heights, we focus on providing the best care possible – while understanding that everyone has a unique story to tell. If you’re ready to begin your journey towards health and wellness, speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights 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 two 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. For more information, call 1-800-646-9998 today.

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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.