Tag Archives: Recovery

Original Author: Nashville Post Staff Reports

Belmont University’s health sciences simulation program has received accreditation in the teaching/education sectors from the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSIH) and the Council for Accreditation of Healthcare Simulation Programs.

The status is for a five-year period and is valid through December 2022, according to a release.

Belmont’s simulation program, the first in the state to receive such accreditation, aims to improve patient safety and health outcomes by providing evidence-based, experiential education.

Additionally, the program’s material recycling program was acknowledged as one of Belmont’s best practices. The program saves the university more than $40,000 per year, the university notes.

Dr. Beth Hallmark, director of the program, stressed the importance of the program.

“Simulation is a safe place to participate in patient care,” Hallmark said. “It enhances patient safety and improves patient outcomes by increasing confidence and improving clinical reasoning. We also are able to expose our students to interprofessional training.”

PhyMed Healthcare Group partners with Michigan entity

Traverse Anesthesia Associates, which provides comprehensive anesthesia and interventional pain management services in Northern Michigan, has partnered with Nashville-based PhyMed Healthcare Group, a physician-led and owned leader of anesthesia and pain management services.

Through the partnership, financial terms of which were not disclosed in a release, TAA will expand its presence in the Michigan market to service health care facilities across the state.

Cross Keys Capital served as exclusive financial advisor to TAA.

TAA comprises 55 physicians and anesthetists.

“We are excited to partner with TAA, one of the premier anesthesia groups in the state of Michigan,” Marty Bonick, president and chief executive officer of PhyMed. “PhyMed understands the challenges facing practices like TAA, and we provide the support and resources to create a platform for lasting success.”

PhyMed has practice partnerships in Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Kentucky.

Aetna Institute recognizes Cumberland Heights

Nashville-based nonprofit substance abuse treatment center Cumberland Heights (an aerial view of the campus is seen above) has been designated an Aetna Institute of Quality for Behavioral Health – Substance Abuse facility.

Aetna, which makes information about the quality and cost of health care services available to its members, recognizes facilities in its network for excellence in care, commitment to continuous improvement, the meeting of standards of quality and cost efficiency.

“The Institute of Quality validates the great work Cumberland Heights does every day to help patients and families suffering from alcohol and drug addiction,” Cumberland Heights Chief Executive Officer Jay Crosson said in a release. “Designations like this are a total team effort that begins with the first phone call and extends through a lifetime of recovery opportunities.”

Cumberland Heights began operations in 1966. Every year, approximately 2,500 patients seek drug and alcohol abuse treatment at its River Road facility and its 12 outpatient treatment centers throughout Tennessee.

InfoWorks marks 20th anniversary

Nashville-based business solutions provider InfoWorks has recognized its 20th anniversary this year.

Of note, the company continues to expand throughout the Southeast and has been recognized as a three-time (2014-16) entry on Inc. 5000’s fastest-growing companies in America list, according to a release.

InfoWorks has worked with more than 300 companies, with its client roster having included multiple 2017 Fortune 500 companies.

“The foundation of InfoWorks’ 20-year success is in our hiring practices, which focus on identifying talented people who are a great fit with our culture and, ultimately, our clients,” Jim Clayton, company chair and CEO, said in the release. “This guiding principle has allowed InfoWorks to expand our reach from Nashville into the Southeast, and it’s the foundation that we’ll build upon in our third decade.”

Volume 29 Number 46
December 4, 2017
Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly

The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous
The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, part of the foundation of AA
Many people mistakenly define the 12 Steps as a treatment approach, which therefore somehow serves to exclude other strategies in working with patients with addictions. In reality, the Steps are more of a philosophy that can serve as a foundation around nearly every accepted treatment modality, which is why a wide range of programs are able to integrate the Steps into their patients’ experiences in treatment every day. “The 12 Steps are more of a point of view, which means you can believe all that and still do straight ahead [cognitive behavioral therapy],” Keith Humphreys, Ph.D., section director for mental health policy at Stanford University’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, told ADAW.

“People think of the 12 Steps as a rigid set of procedures. It’s not,” Humphreys said. He is quick to remind, in fact, that one of the adages in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is that “the 12 Steps are but suggestions.” The 28-day residential programs that were the most fervent in structuring each week of treatment around a progression through the Steps may be fading in today’s market, but the treatment field’s belief in the power of the Steps certainly has not diminished. Twelve-Step Facilitation is a research-based practice in which programs seek to help patients establish lasting connections with recovery support resources in the community. This effort is based on the realization that when addressing a chronic disease, the meaningful and ongoing connections that patients can establish post-treatment may prove more important than what happens in the time-limited context of a primary treatment stay.

Looking through the 12-Step lens

This establishes a repetitive pattern, it reminds patients of the small actions they will need to take in order to stay in recovery every day.
– Cinde Stewart Freeman discussing a New Design for Living for individuals in Recovery

ADAW spoke with Cinde Stewart Freeman, chief clinical officer at Cumberland Heights in Nashville, Tennessee, who explained, “We use a variety of evidence-based practices that operate through the lens of a 12-Step-based philosophy.” Cumberland Heights patients’ exposure to the Steps is early and frequent, although Freeman says their very first experience with the Steps might actually occur unconsciously. A daily routine that includes morning meditation, periodic pauses to check in at intervals during the day, etc., is grounded in the Big Book’s Design for Daily Living. “This establishes a repetitive pattern,” Freeman said. “It reminds patients of the small actions they will need to take in order to stay in recovery every day.” In their orientation to treatment at Cumberland Heights, patients are introduced to the Steps, but not simply in terms of what the principles are. The practices that go with that, and the importance of the 12-Step fellowship, are emphasized from the start, Freeman said. Every patient who comes in receives a copy of either the AA Big Book or the basic text of Narcotics Anonymous, Freeman said. These are used in numerous ways over the course of treatment, which in many of the facility’s program lasts for around a month. The night staff in the residences are very familiar with the texts and will be able to use them in a practical fashion when everyday problems such as an uncomfortable phone conversation with a spouse or a spat with a roommate threaten to distract. “These things seem ginormous when someone is struggling with recovery, and they often make people want to leave [the facility],” Freeman said. Staff will be able to use specifics from the Big Book to show how these everyday concerns can be addressed. “In that way the books are treated not as literature, but as instruction manuals,” she said.

Meeting attendance

Attendance at 12-Step meetings also becomes an important component of a Cumberland Heights patient’s treatment stay. Freeman said an on-site AA meeting takes place at the facility every Friday, but the majority of the meetings patients attend while in treatment are located out in the community. “We try to get people to meetings at least three times a week,” Freeman said. “We want them to experience different meetings,” which will help familiarize them with the types of recovery support options that will be available to them posttreatment, she said.

Cumberland Heights patients routinely rank their experiences in community meetings favorably in patient satisfaction surveys. “They see what people are like out in real life,” Freeman said. “People there are talking about real problems. It lends a genuineness to things. It leaves patients thinking, ‘Maybe I can really do this.'” Ironically, some research has shown that patients who have the opportunity to attend in-facility support meetings have better outcomes, says John F. Kelly, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry in addiction medicine at Harvard Medical School. Both a program’s outreach into the community and its ability to provide resources in-house appear to have a significant impact, Kelly indicated. Kelly told ADAW that residential programs tend to be able to incorporate more components of the 12 Steps because they have more time with the patient. Outpatient programs still can have an impact by exposing
patients to the roles of 12-Step groups and sponsors. “Ideally you can have a warm handoff” to resources in the community, he said.

A good fit with therapy

Even for a program as steeped in the 12 Step philosophy as Cumberland Heights, “That’s not all we do,” Freeman said. She said her staff ‘People think of the Steps as a rigid set of procedures. It’s not.’ Keith Humphreys, Ph.D. colleagues probably have grown tired of hearing her say, “If all we do is what AA and NA did, we need to charge just a dollar.” Therefore, the organization has worked to understand how numerous treatment modalities can work through a 12 Step lens. Freeman said Cumberland Heights has worked with clinical experts at the Center for Dependency, Addiction & Rehabilitation (CeDAR) at the University of Colorado Hospital to incorporate a 12-Step-influenced model of dialectical behavior therapy. It also has tailored interventionist Judith Landau’s ARISE model to its 12 Step framework, helping patients to see the issues they are facing in a familial context. Around two-thirds of Cumberland Heights staff are in recovery, but the organization’s leaders want all employees to be literate in the Steps. The organization is establishing what leaders affectionately call a 12-Step “boot camp” for new employees, Freeman said. Humphreys believes that a 12 Step philosophy basically can fit with any research-supported treatment modality — with possibly one exception.

“We know there is a class of people who will wind up as moderate drinkers,” he said. “That doesn’t mesh with people’s understanding of the Steps.” Ironically, that is the case despite language in the Big Book that references some people ultimately being able to drink “like a gent,” or in moderation, he said.

AUTHOR: Nancy Floyd | PHOTOGRAPHER: Eric England | DATE: APRIL 28, 2017

 

The Reaching New Heights luncheon for Cumberland Heights reached new heights indeed with a record-size crowd showing up for the annual women’s fundraiser at Hillwood Country Club. Co-chairs Grace Clayton and Kathleen Estes joked that they’d like to take all of the credit for the sold-out event, but they knew the real draw was keynote speaker Jeannette Walls, the best-selling author of The Glass Castle, The Silver Star and Half Broke Horses.

 

Fans of The Glass Castle — which appeared to be just about everyone in the room — were thrilled to hear Jeannette recount many of the memoir’s most remarkable stories along with several other tales from her unconventional childhood. Alternating between humor and poignancy, Jeannette took the audience on a journey from her troubled upbringing to her discontented young adulthood to the place of peace and acceptance she found once she learned to embrace her past. And at an event benefiting Cumberland Heights, which provides treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, Jeannette’s heartfelt words about her alcoholic father resonated with everyone in the crowd, particularly a story about how, as a child, she hunted for an imaginary monster called Demon with her dad in the Arizona desert.

 

“He couldn’t battle his own demons, but he gave me the tools to battle mine,” she shared.

 

Jeannette proved to be as down-to-earth, funny and warm as she comes across in her books, chatting and posing for photos with women before the luncheon and long after it concluded. For someone who has been wildly successful in her career, it’s obvious Jeannette’s true passion is finding ways to use her past to help others. Prior to the luncheon, when asked how it feels to share her story with a roomful of women who have battled addiction or been touched by it in some way, she said, “It doesn’t get any better than that. That’s what it’s about. That’s what storytelling is about … It’s connecting with people and having your story mean something.” Her story certainly meant something to this crowd and to Cumberland Heights, which raised $140,000 at the luncheon for the women’s program, funds that will go a long way in offering redemption and hope to countless women across Middle Tennessee and beyond.

 

Photo Gallery of the Reaching New Heights luncheon for Cumberland Heights Event

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A hard hit can do more than just knock the wind out of a player on the field. It can leave them with an injury requiring medical attention and possibly pain medication.
“Sports are probably the leading cause of injury in kids but I think it is important to understand that sports in general are protective,” Dr. Alex Diamond said. “We know kids who play sports compared to kids who don’t are typically less likely to be involved in risky behaviors.”

 
High school sports injuries can lead to addiction depending on treatmentDr. Diamond is an assistant professor of Orthopedics and Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He is also the team physician for Vanderbilt University, Nashville Predators and the Nashville sounds. He along with the other physicians at in his department treated 26,000 adult and children athletes in 2016.
“As physicians we need to be mindful when treating children with injuries what situation require pain medication and what situations can be handled without pain medication,” he said. “Most of them can be handled without pain medications.”

 
Pain medications like hydrocodone, oxycodone and other opioids can be very effective in treating chronic pain. But, they can also be addictive and lead to more illicit drugs like heroin.

 
At Cumberland Heights, a non-profit addiction treatment facility, the number of teens entering the facility’s Adolescent and Young Men’s Services department has grown so much in the past couple of months it is expanding to keep up with the need.

 
“We take kids from all over the country,” Director of Adolescent and Young Men’s Services Dean Porterfield said. “The primary diagnosis is substance abuse, but It is not uncommon though that the underlying issues once you take those substances away are anxiety, depression or trauma.”

 
According to Porter for the 18 year old to 25 year old age group that makes up the Young Men’s program a growing number are addicted to heroin.

 
“A notable factor with the young adult population that we serve is that several of them are athletes who have experienced high school or college sports injuries that have required surgery and have become addicted to painkillers.”

 
He continued, “When the painkillers run out or they become more expensive the more accessible affordable drug is the heroin. That replaces what used to be that passion for sports and athletics and now their primary goal is to drug seek.”

 
Porterfield said with heroin it is not uncommon for the treatment center to get a call from family or the patient themselves saying they are in route for immediate admission to the facility.

 
“They are also some of the most vulnerable patients and need a great deal of attention throughout the painful detox and early days of treatment to prevent them from leaving against medical advice,” he said. “One of the things Cumberland Heights clinicians have made a priority is educating these young men on the risks of relapse and the lethal dangers associated with resuming the volume of heroin use they came in handling with the assumption their tolerance level is the same.”

 
He continued, “This scenario increases the likely hood of a lethal overdose.”

 
At Cumberland Heights the process is based on the 12-Steps.

 
After detox the work begins to help the young men understand the underlying reasons they abused drugs. In many cases its tied to the emotion effect their injury had on them and their identities.

 
“Just being an adolescent adult in general is full of ups and downs,” Porterfield said. “When they realize this substance can help alleviate that, they get hooked pretty quick.”
The same progression from painkillers to heroin and stronger opioids is much the same in adult users.

 
According to the CDC Tennessee is one of the most overprescribed states for painkillers.

 
At one point doctor’s wrote more prescriptions for painkillers than there were people in the state.

 
“As physicians we need to be mindful when treating children with injuries about which situations require pain medication and what situations can be handled without pain medication,” he said.

 
“We have a lot of other options that don’t have the same complications and risk involved with addiction.”

 
Dr. Diamond said things like physical therapy, proper braces or casts and anti-inflammatory medications can be very effective.

 
“As a parent you need to be diligent on what pain medication your kids are getting,” he said. “For the most part the narcotic pain medication is not needed for what we are seeing in our children. It is very rare.”

 
Porterfield said parents should be involved in their teens lives take note if you start to notice missing money, missing prescription medication, if your child is hanging out with friends or in places you do not know, and if your child attends unsupervised parties.

 


By: Mary Beth McCauley, Staff Writer at University of Tennessee Daily Beacon Feb 9, 2017 — Updated Feb 13, 2017

People can change: Justin Furstenfeld’s (of Blue October) unique approach to his book tour

Knoxville (Tennessee) had the chance to get up close and personal with Justin Furstenfeld, the lead vocalist of alternative rock group Blue October, at the Square Room in Market Square this past Wednesday.

People can change: Justin Furstenfeld's unique approach to his book tour
People can change: Justin Furstenfeld’s (of Blue October) unique approach to his book tour and his story of recovery

Furstenfeld has been traveling to cities across the country to promote his book, “Crazy Making: The Words and Lyrics of Justin Furstenfeld to the Music of Blue October.” The “Open Book Tour” also gives Furstenfeld the opportunity to share stories regarding his struggle with addiction, depression and relationships along with playing an acoustic set in front of a small, intimate audience.

He kicked off the evening with “The Answer,” the title track of Blue October’s first album, and began to tell the audience about his own personal journey, starting with his teenage years. Furstenfeld led his first band called The Last Wish at only 15 years old, the age that he was officially diagnosed with depression. When the Last Wish split up, Furstenfeld went on to create Blue October.

Although Furstenfeld was raw and honest with the crowd, he told his stories with such charisma and humor that throughout the heartfelt details we were all laughing and smiling. He often reminded the crowd, “This is the open book tour. No holding back.” The auditorium felt like a room full of friends, a safe space to share their darkest secrets.

Furstenfeld played a few other songs from Blue October’s debut album, such as “Black Orchid” and “Breakfast After 10.” In these, the audience learned of his first love, Mamie, and how he forgot her birthday after two years of dating. His belated birthday song to her was “Calling You,” the song that scored Blue October a record deal.

He told the audience about his band’s first 15-passenger tour van — and their second one, and their third. He walked us down the path that began his drug addiction, partying on tour every night in hotel rooms and bars. During this same time, Furstenfeld met his first wife and had his first child, a baby girl named Blue, and that changed everything for him. The audience sat quietly absorbing every detail and feeling every emotion as he told his story.

He bravely shared the details of his divorce, the custody battle for his daughter and his spiral back into addiction. And, through all of these hardships, he continued to make music.

Furstenfeld pieced together all of the major events in his life one by one and sang us the songs that stemmed from those events, making them even more meaningful and emotional for the audience, many of which were already huge fans of Blue October.

Towards the end of the evening, Furstenfeld shared his redemption story. He went through a 75-day program at Cumberland Heights, a rehabilitation center in Nashville, and found his faith there. He has been sober for four years now. The audience cried, clapped and cheered for him, all rising to their feet in applause. Furstenfeld truly was an open book, and told his story bravely without shame, but with hope.

After the show, Furstenfeld took time to meet his fans, shaking hands and signing posters, all with a smile on his face. His merchandise sports the phrase “People Can Change,” the perfect summary of his journey thus far.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The alleged leader of a Honduran drug group has been arrested in Nashville.

Officials with Metro Nashville Police said in a Tweet Tuesday morning that Victor Cardoza Martinez was taken into custody at an apartment on Nolensville Pike.

Check out Cumberland Heights’ own Dr. Chapman Sledge discussing the local heroin epidemic and Honduran drug leader’s arrest with News Channel 4.

According to investigators, Martinez is the group’s suspected leader. Police also seized heroin, cocaine and cash in the raid.

Jackson Outpatient Office In the News:

While all patient satisfaction scores exceed 95% in all locations, Jackson office consistently, quarter by quarter, registers strong confidence of families and patients who visit.
While all patient satisfaction scores exceed 95% in all locations, Jackson office consistently, quarter by quarter, registers strong confidence of families and patients who visit.

Cumberland Heights Recognizes Excellence in Jackson Outpatient Office
Jackson Intensive Outpatient Staff Ruth Meyer and Christie Dotson recently received recognition for outstanding patient satisfaction, leading all Cumberland Heights outpatient offices in this important measure. While all patient satisfaction scores exceed 95% in all locations, Jackson office consistently, quarter by quarter, registers strong confidence of families and patients who visit.

(Left to Right) Christie Dotson and Ruth Meyer share a moment with Ernie Ward, Business Development Outreach Coordinator for Cumberland Heights
(Left to Right) Christie Dotson and Ruth Meyer share a moment with Ernie Ward, Business Development Outreach Coordinator for Cumberland Heights

As the field of addiction recovery evolves, evidence is pointing out therapeutic alignment – meaning the counselor and the patient are working on the same goals – has proven to be one of the most important factors predicting sustained recovery. According to Randal Lea, Executive Director for Cumberland’s Community Based Programs, “Nothing is more important in early recovery than keeping a patient engaged in their recovery, and counseling staff that puts rapport ahead of giving advice will be more successful.” Lea adds, “Christie and Ruth have shown they are able to let the patient set the pace for their growth and to take ownership over their recovery process.”

Cumberland Heights, celebrating its fiftieth year of operation, has been serving the Jackson community for over fifteen years. Soon there will be a total of 10 Cumberland Heights locations available to help communities in Tennessee. In addition to the Jackson Office on Stonebridge, Cumberland Heights has IOP facilities in Chattanooga, Cool Springs, Crossville, Hermitage, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Sumner County (Gallatin), in West Nashville on River Road and a new branch opening soon on Music Row location in the heart of Nashville.

Nationally Recognized Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center Begins Its Year of Celebrating Half a Century of Helping People to Recover Life

NASHVILLE, TENN. – Feb. 17, 2016 – Cumberland Heights drug and alcohol rehabilitation center will spend much of 2016 celebrating its 50th Anniversary and highlighting success stories from thousands of Nashvillians who have received treatment.

50th Anniversary commemorative coins modeled after "sober coins" that are a fixture of recovery.
50th Anniversary commemorative coins modeled after “sober coins” that are a fixture of recovery.

“We are honored and proud to have been a trusted provider of alcohol and drug addiction treatment for five decades,” said Jay Crosson, CEO of Cumberland Heights. “Fifty years of experience brings us so many positive examples of helping patients and their families – we hope to be able to share some of these with the community throughout the year.”

In addition to events, Cumberland Heights will open a new intensive outpatient facility on Music Row in Nashville, expand its “Recover Life” communications campaign, produce a 50th Anniversary booklet and increase outreach in various ways.

The official kick-off event took place today with a staff-wide, kick-off party and Coin Ceremony where staff and board members received 50th Anniversary commemorative coins modeled after “sober coins” that are a fixture of recovery.

 

50th Anniversary Events and Initiatives Planned To Date Include:

  • Feb. 13 – Alumni distribute “Valentine kits” to homeless community
  • Feb. 17 – staff Kick-Off Party and Coin Ceremony
  • All year – “Recover Life” campaign, story sharing and commemoration coins
  • 50th Anniversary history booklet release
  • April 6 – “The Women’s Luncheon” with speaker Liz Murray, best-selling author of “Breaking Night” on which “Homeless to Harvard” was based
  • May Opening of Music Row IOP (Date TBD)
  • Sept. 17 – Alumni & Staff Picnic with guest speaker Paul Williams
  • Fall – Fundraising Concert at the Ryman (Date TBD)
  • Fall – “Shelter at the Pond” commemoration ceremony (Date TBD)
  • December – Endowment Society Reception

Patients’ families are often included in the recovery process because success depends on a strong support system once they leave Cumberland Heights. “That’s why,” Crosson says, “friends and family are included in many of our 50th Anniversary events.”

New Intensive Outpatient Treatment Facility

Cumberland Heights has had a longstanding relationship with the Nashville music industry. However, it has never had a facility on Music Row. That will change in May when Cumberland Heights opens its first Music Row intensive outpatient facility on 17th Ave. South.

“Recover Life” Campaign

Cumberland Heights recently launched a multi-channel communications campaign called “Recover Life.” The campaign features staff members holding sober coins and saying how many years they have been sober. This month, the campaign expands to include other alumni as well as the families of patients.

A Quick History

Fifty years ago, Robert Crichton Sr. and his personal physician, Dr. Thomas Frist Sr., recognized an unmet need in Middle Tennessee and had a dream. They saw friends, neighbors and patients who were suffering from alcoholism and the disease of addiction. They had a vision of an accessible treatment facility in Nashville. They found a beautiful farm located on rolling hills along the banks of the Cumberland River and said, “What if?” They were, indeed, their brother’s keeper.

It is notable that the charter of incorporation established Cumberland Heights as a private, not-for-profit organization. The founders’ mission was to provide hope and restore patients to the full life of recovery – not to attain personal gain.

Starting with a few alcoholic men, Cumberland Heights gradually expanded to treat women, adolescents and families. Cumberland Heights was a pioneer of 12-Step-based recovery in Middle Tennessee and is now widely recognized and respected as one of the top treatment facilities in America. Cumberland Heights is still true to its original core values that the patient comes first and its greatest assets are its alumni, staff and campuses.

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.

For six years, Jason Isbell was drunk at every show he played.

During his tenure with beloved Southern rockers Drive-By Truckers, Isbell planned his drinking to keep him on his feet for the duration of the band’s marathon live shows – barely.

Something More Than Free: Jason Isbell's Journey to His Most Popular Album | Grammy Awards 2016, Individual Class“I had it timed where, by the very end of the show, I’d done just about all I could do standing up,” he told NPR in 2013. “I knew I needed two or three before I went on, and then during the show, we’d just pass a bottle around between the band.” The routine totaled about a fifth of Jack Daniels per show.

And Jack and Jason didn’t get along well: “Some people get drunk and become kind of sweet,” Patterson Hood, Drive-By Truckers founder and singer-songwriter, told The New York Times Magazine in 2013. “Jason wasn’t one of those people.” It didn’t help that the younger Isbell, a virtuoso guitarist with a proclivity for fast and fiery licks, was also a stellar songwriter, whose finely wrought and frequently heartbreaking character sketches were obviously on par with those of the older and principal Truckers, Hood and guitarist/singer-songwriter Mike Cooley. Isbell, who also managed to marry and divorce then-Truckers bassist Shonna Tucker during his time with the band, left in 2007. At the time, it was portrayed as amicable; in 2013, Isbell revealed he’d been forced out, mostly because of his drinking.

After his dismissal from DBT, Isbell went off the rails a little bit. He was arrested for public drunkenness and at one point accused Dierks Bentley of plagiarizing one of his songs on Twitter. He knew he needed help, and told his then-girlfriend, fellow musician Amanda Shires, he had to go to rehab. Unfortunately, both times he said it, he was drunk. “I only got to do that twice, I think,” he told NPR. The second time, Shires told him, “You’re telling the wrong person.”

Isbell got the message, and in February 2012, spent two weeks in Cumberland Heights, a rehab center in Nashville. Coming out, he started playing live again, dropped 40 lbs. and started writing the songs that would make up 2013’sSoutheastern. That September, Isbell’s song “Alabama Pines” won song of the year at the Americana Music Awards, kick-starting a wave of critical appreciation that Southeastern built upon when it was released in July 2013. The album contains Isbell’s most-streamed song on Spotify, “Cover Me Up,” and the devastating “Elephant” – coined by one music writer as “the saddest song of the millennium” – a quiet ballad about a cancer patient that concludes, “no one dies with dignity.”

Isbell toured steadily behind Southeastern, backed by a crack band named the 400 Unit – after the psychiatric ward of a hospital near Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where Isbell grew up – that included his now-wife Shires. (“She has a big conscience, a big heart,” he told Rolling Stone in 2013. “Essentially, she’s just a good person.”)

Southeastern was rewarded with a near-sweep at the 2014 Americana Music Awards that saw Isbell take the honors for album, song (“Cover Me Up”) and artist of the year. But none of that weighed on his mind when he returned to the studio for his follow-up, 2015’s Something More Than Free. “I have so many people ask me… ‘Did you feel pressure to follow up Southeastern?” Isbell told Stereogum in 2015. “That same question every damn time! No, that’s not an actual problem to have. I know people who can’t pay their f—ing bills. Following up a successful piece of work with another piece of work is the most ridiculous first-world problem I can think of.”

Sure enough, Something More Than Free was a mature, confident continuation of the work Isbell started with Southeastern. Anchored by the stellar lead single, “24 Frames,” it debuted at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Top Rock, Top Country Albums and Top Folk Albums charts, and No. 5 on the Billboard200. By way of comparison, Southeastern peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard200.

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