Tag Archives: Recovery

Tag Archives: Recovery

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 115 people in the United States die on overdosing from opioids. The opioid crisis sparked a national conversation on the need for help, and treatment is a big part of that. So many people turn to prescription medication as a way of numbing not only physical pain, but emotional pain, too. Depression, anxiety, and major life events can make the present moment a painful place to be – and medication can easily become a go-to for escaping these uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. This is considered self-medication, and it becomes harmful to a person when they stop using their medication the way it was prescribed for them.


A 2016 study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse explored 2 of the most common medications that often assist people in treatment for opioid abuse:

  •    Buprenorphine – a partial agonist, this drug helps prevent some of the withdrawal symptoms experienced during detoxification but has a “ceiling effect” in which the pleasurable effects associated with the drug only reach a certain point – increased dosage does not influence the intensity of effects.
  •    Naltrexone – an opioid antagonist, this drug decreases the desire to use opioids, and even blocks the pleasurable feelings that arise if opioids are taken.

Not everyone needs medication, but sometimes it can be beneficial for people who are experience intense withdrawal symptoms that are making it difficult to get through the day. Ultimately, it should be up to the person and their healthcare team to come up with the best plan of action.


Medication isn’t the only type of treatment that should be offered for opioid abuse; some programs only focus on the direct physical issue, but the problem is that it neglects the other aspects of a person’s life – their emotional and spiritual concerns, too. Mind Body Green describes spirituality as, “A belief in a power governing the universe that is greater than oneself, the sense of interconnectedness with all living beings, and the quest for self-knowledge, meaning, and purpose in one’s life.”

When spiritual components of recovery are involved, a person is more likely to build up their sense of connection and personal fulfillment from life – which helps eliminate that desire to fill those emotional and spiritual wounds with medication. Twelve step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) guide people through a spiritual journey in connection to God or a Higher Power. The steps lead individuals through lessons that can transform their lives – and provide them with tools for healing and inner peace.

An article titled “Addiction and Change: How Addictions Develop and Addicted People Recover”, researchers talk about some of the most common issues that lead up to the development of addiction:

  •    Low self-esteem
  •    Negative relationships with others
  •    Lack of purpose/achievement in life
  •    Low sense of personal control
  •    Questions surrounding a person’s identity and vague sense of self-concept
  •    Neuroticism
  •    And more

Prescription opioid use can make all of these concerns fade away, as the effects bring about relaxation and euphoria. Many people are disappointed to find that their problems do not disappear, however – they are merely put on hold. Spirituality tackles the root core of this issue by helping a person transform from the inside, out – where they can find themselves living a happy, healthy life that they’re proud of.

Social Support

Numerous studies have highlighted just how impactful social support can be. In 2016, researchers from DePaul University investigated the role of social support in substance use disorder (SUD) recovery. They obtained information on 31 people living in recovery houses, and found that the more social support participants had, the more likely they were to have confidence in leading an abstinence-based lifestyle. Individuals who reported higher levels of social support also reported higher sense of community levels, and this was mostly associated with 12-step programs such as AA.

Support groups such as AA can provide easy access to peers who have gone through similar experiences, but also to role models and sponsors that can share wisdom and guidance. Recovery has its ups and downs, and it’s important to have people to turn do when things get rough. Not to mention, these same people can be incredibly excited when recovery goals are met, and new accomplishments are achieved.

Other Successful Strategies

A researcher from Harvard Kennedy School published an article last year that talked about other steps communities and individuals can take to help prevent and treat opioid addiction. Here are some other excellent strategies for our community leaders, family members, treatment centers, and neighbors to take part in:

  •    Education – at both the community and individual level, the only way we can combat opioid addiction is to learn more about it. We need to know the facts and how it’s affecting our nation. As they say – knowledge is power.
  •    Closer relationships – patients and doctors should establish clear communication practices so that everyone involved knows what’s going on; if this could be improved, we may be able to stop prescription opioid abuse before it even begins.
  •    Medication disposal – unfortunately, it’s all too easy for people with addiction to rummage through trash and find unused pill bottles. Family members or friends may take some pills from another relative’s medicine cabinet, making proper disposal necessary. Collection sites have become more widely talked about, with many hospitals, fire departments, and pharmacies housing these as well.

Opioid addiction isn’t an easy feat, and recovery involves a lot of patience, time, and hard work. Recovery is possible, however, and doing so could not only make a person happier and healthier – but could save their life.

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.

CLARKSVILLE, TN NOVEMBER 2, 2018 – As addiction numbers continue to rise in Tennessee, so does the need for treatment facilities. Cumberland Heights is pleased to announce the grand opening of our Clarksville Outpatient Recovery Center, making this our 12th ORC in Tennessee.

Cumberland Heights Opens 12th Outpatient Recovery Center

“Addiction does not discriminate. It does not care if you live in a big city or small town. It’s our job to make sure more communities have access to care, helping us fulfill our mission to transform lives, giving hope and healing to those affected by alcohol and drug addiction,” said CEO Jay Crosson.

Cumberland Heights’ ORCs are structured to include individual counseling, experiential learning groups, family education groups and group counseling. The program is designed to treat the whole person, not just the addiction.

At Cumberland Heights we understand that the need of each patient varies. Not everyone suffering from addiction requires 30-day inpatient treatment. Our ORCs are meant for those who do not require detox, and have a stable, supporting home and work environment.

Our grand opening took place November 15th, and we were thrilled to have many special guests including Sarah Schwartz and Jeff Bibb with the Community Health Foundation, as well as Clarksville Mayor-elect Joe Pitts. Please take a look at some of the candid shots taken from our grand opening!

About Cumberland Heights:
Cumberland Heights’ mission is to transform lives, giving hope and healing to those affected by alcohol or drug addiction. Their ability to achieve this over the past 50 years has been through unwavering commitment from an expert staff and a dedication to recovery through abstinence and the teachings of the 12 Steps.

Addiction is considered a family disease, and that’s because it’s not just those with addiction that are affected. Friends, coworkers, and family members must come to grips with the new reality of their loved one – and it’s not easy. It’s hard to understand what our loved ones are going through, and we may even find ourselves angry or resentful for all of the pain we’re experiencing. This is where 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) comes into play, but there is also a group for friends and family members to attend – and it’s called Al-Anon. Similar to what a loved one would go through, there are 12 basic steps that lead individuals to personal lessons, published by the Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters:

The 12 Steps of Al-Anon

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. We decided to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

What Family Members Go Through

When family members are stressed out about their loved one’s addiction, they’re likely to experience a reduced quality of life. Depression, anxiety, anger, insomnia, and regret may sink into the pit of their stomach, and it may feel like it’s taking every ounce of energy just to get through each day. Some people may feel guilt, as they blame themselves for “not raising their son/daughter correctly”, or “not being supportive enough”, or even “perpetuating drug use”. Frustration and downright hopelessness can also appear, especially if a loved one has promised to seek help but doesn’t. Lying and stealing sometimes occur, as addiction can cause a person to feel as though they’d do anything in order to satisfy the ever-increasing demand placed by the addiction.

A 2016 research piece titled “Family Risk Factors Among Women with Addiction-Related Problems: An Integrative Review” explained the dysfunction that many families go through when addiction is involved. Financial strains, relationship barriers (including losing custody of children), family members taking on different roles, unavoidable stress, trauma, and more can truly weigh heavily on family members’ hearts. In these instances, family members need help too – there are so many tools and resources available for family members now that strength and healing can begin to re-emerge from under the surface as family members navigate their way back to healthy living.  

Twelve step programs have helped so many individuals and families as they’ve tried to get a better understanding of addiction and what their next steps forward should be. There are so many benefits to walking through these 12 steps, and a study conducted by researchers in California identified these benefits from participants as they shared their personal stories.

The Benefits of 12-Step Programs for Families

Social support was considered a huge benefit, as family members can meet others who are going through similar experiences. It feels good to know you’re not alone – in fact, knowing this can make the journey to recovery just a little more bearable. Al-Anon was also shown to give people a good sense of direction in what has otherwise felt like chaos. We’re not provided with a guide on how to handle life when a loved one struggles with addiction, but Al-Anon is pretty close to that. The steps that are taken really help a person find their way through the fog and into the light.

The tools provided in these 12-step programs gives family members a chance to learn applicable, hands-on tools for daily living. Perception is a key factor here, and a change of heart can occur after a person has had the chance to really gain some perspective on their life. Many family members who have attended Al-Anon have reported the following benefits:

  •       Being able to better handle negative situations or feelings
  •       Higher self-esteem
  •       Overall better quality of life
  •       Becoming more hopeful about the future of themselves and their loved one
  •       Feeling less abused and depressed
  •       Identifying with others who serve as role models
  •       And more

Al-Anon also tends to engage members in meetings, parties, and community activities, which means that a good social support network can be built. One of the greatest challenges that family members face involves lifestyle changes, and this is because addiction changes the family dynamic – each person in the family must now learn to move forward with a new understanding of themselves and their loved ones. On the inside, it’s hard to figure out what needs to be done in order to keep the family strong – but Al-Anon provides an atmosphere to gain an outsider’s perspective by focusing on the bigger picture through live discussions, lectures, and more.

A Journey to Healing

Recovery is incredibly challenging, and it’s not something that can simply be ignored by family members. We are all affected by the actions of our loved ones, but we have to release that hold and give it up to a Higher Power. In doing this, the pressure we have on ourselves becomes lifted, and we can make it our mission to become better people – minute by minute, day by day.

If you’re a family member of a friend of a loved one who is recovering from addiction, seek the help you need today. Your mental, physical, and spiritual health matter, and healing is possible.

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.

For many years now, researchers have been exploring the exact linkages for what makes one person more likely to develop an addiction over another. Hereditary genes are one likely factor, along with a person’s social environment, age, and overall development. Just as a certain personality trait, talent, or eye color may become more prominent in family generations, so can addiction vulnerability. This genetic linkage could be related to the difficulty in which family members are able to quit using substances, or even the types of symptoms passed down from family members who have tried to quit. If you’re able to ask questions and get some good insight to how your family has experienced addiction, you may get a clearer understanding for your personal vulnerabilities towards it.

Just last year, researchers published a study in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence that sought to explore the differences between those with a family history of addiction versus those without. They found three main characteristics that led to individuals being more at-risk for developing addiction:

  • Cognitive – poor working memory and decision making overall
  • Reward-related – willing to make more risky decisions in order to experience rewards
  • Emotional risk factors –being more likely to get emotionally heated in triggering situations

If you’ve been noticing a clear pattern in your family, and you’re afraid you may be at high-risk for addiction, it’s important to remember 2 things: 1) despite your genetics, you can make deliberate decisions to ensure you don’t go this route, and 2) you can always, always, ask for help when you need it. Recovery from addiction is absolutely possible and seeking this out could mean that you’re breaking the cycle of addiction – which gives both you and your family a new level hope and possibilities for the future.

There may be a lot of factors that make you vulnerability to developing an addiction, but that doesn’t mean that you’re destined to struggle with it at all. Genetics is just one puzzle piece to make sense of why addiction occurs – as humans, we have the capability to change and make different decisions that could place us in a position where addiction isn’t even a concern. No matter what your family has gone through, remember that you have the power to change the story. After all, it’s your story – and it’s time to break the cycle.

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.

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.

By: Brett Martin
WKRN New Channel 2, Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Addiction is sweeping the country and impacting young people every day. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 25 percent of teenagers who use drugs become addicted before they turn 18.

“Drug addiction is chaotic,” said a former addict at Cumberland Heights in northwest Davidson County. Addiction is becoming far too normal for people, including teenagers. “Not all of them have gotten to that point, especially the youth, where they could be addicted, but they are definitely on a path,” said Dean Porterfield, Director of Adolescent and Young Adult Services.

There is no doubt in Alex Booth’s mind that he is a recovering addict. Booth is 28 years old now and once was hooked on pain pills. “Drinking on the weekends, partying, having fun was all that I really cared about, and it’s not realistic to have that kind of lifestyle,” said Booth. Booth came to Cumberland Heights years ago. He said without their help, he might not be alive today.

“I was on death’s door when I got to Cumberland Heights. I had a very low heart beat from being on so many depressants for so long,” said Booth. That is a scary reality for many teenagers and young adults. “I had pretty much given up and I said, ‘Do whatever.’ I’d follow any suggestion,” Booth told News 2.

A report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse says 50 percent of teens have tried alcohol and 40 percent have used some kind of illegal drug by their senior year in high school.

Porterfield said most of the teenagers coming to them are addicted to alcohol and marijuana and headed down a dark path with prescription pain pills. “We are starting to see teenagers and young adults getting into substances at a faster rate and a more lethal rate,” said Porterfield. Porterfield said the biggest challenge is making sure teenagers understand the disease and want to get help. “It’s not uncommon for someone to get to us and have the drug history, substance abuse history of someone that is much older,” explained Porterfield.

That is something Booth said was a huge hurdle for him and others who have hit rock bottom.

“I remember being a teenager and thinking that I had the entire world figured out,” Booth 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.

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