Tag Archives: Sober Living

Tag Archives: Sober Living

How you can create a new identity through sobriety

A reality that nobody really talks about is the identity change that occurs when a person undergoes recovery from addiction. It’s a gradual process, but it happens – and for the better. As a person adopts a new social network and lifestyle, they begin to view themselves differently in comparison to who they used to spend their time with and what activities they used to engage in. Life begins to shift more towards a recovery/sobriety perspective, and this does change everything – but even if it’s a major change, it’s something that you should embrace, not fear.

A Change in Identity

Earlier this year, writer Seamus Kirst explained the agony that came with a shift in his identity from addiction to sober; he explained that several years ago, he knew that his drinking habits were unhealthy, but he didn’t really want to do anything about it. He stated on The Mighty, a website where individuals can share their stories of triumph:

“Radical change is an adrenaline rush. You’re initially thrilled as the new image of yourself that you’re going to create – and it dances around in your head. ‘I’m going to be the real me. I’m going to be the best me. I’m going to be stable. I’m going to be at peace. I’m going to be happy.’ But of course, nothing is ever that simple – happiness will never be the lowest hanging fruit.”

Recovery is often glorified as this mystical space in a person’s life where they feel confident, happy and healthy, but that doesn’t accurately reflect reality. Just as for anyone in life, there are going to be major changes – changes that feel uncomfortable at times. And when these “growing pains” occur, it’s going to require a lot of patience and strength on the individual. It’s not impossible – in fact, it’s very possible to achieve stability and strength through recovery, but it does take time, and it doesn’t occur easily.

A Common Occurrence for Those in Recovery

A 2015 study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology involved interviews with 21 individuals residing in a drug and alcohol therapeutic community; the researchers were determined to explore that pathways that led these individuals into and out of addiction. Almost all individuals interviewed explained their personal identity through the process of being part of a recovery community – and after treatment, many people strengthened their personal identities to revolve more around sobriety.

There were several themes that derived from participants’ interviews, such as:

  • The belief that people were able to restore more positive aspects of their “previous” identity through the emergence of sobriety
  • Mutual support groups, such as 12-Step programs, provided participants with a more firm social support foundation from which to thrive upon
  • The first month of sobriety was the hardest for individuals to gain strength in developing their personal identity, but these became more evident over time in formal treatment
  • Holistically, there was a process that was identified: Before addiction, participants often associated with either a positive identity or social isolation, and when addiction became present, individuals began associating with more of a “negative” personal identity. Once in treatment, individuals reported feeling part of a “recovery identity”, which then aided in the transition towards a renewed positive identity.

With that being said, if you’re currently pursuing a path of recovery or you have a loved one who is – know that it’s a completely normal process filled with ups and downs.

Discovering Oneself Through Healing

One of the most beautiful components of healing in recovery is the emergence of a stronger version of ourselves – one whom we can be proud of for overcoming what’s previously held us back. A few years ago, the U.S. News covered the story of a woman named Pam, who previously identified as a “Super Mom” to her friends, family and acquaintances. With addiction in her horizons, Pam had to “rediscover” herself – because substance abuse had left her hopeless and in despair. She found several aspects of healing that promoted her new understanding of herself, including:

  1. Clearing her life of substance abuse and maintaining a life of sobriety.
  2. Making note of people, places and things that bring her complete and utter joy.
  3. Taking part in more activities that made her happy.
  4. Accepting that her identity is how she feels, not what she does.

Oftentimes, these aspects of identity and healing are hard to grasp because we want to easily pinpoint who we are and where we’re at in life. As human beings, we want to place ourselves in a “box” of labels because that makes everything easier to digest – but when we do that, we may exclude some amazing parts of ourselves that deserve to be recognized.

Begin Your Transformation Starting Today

If you’re ready to begin your own transformation through identity, healing and strength, 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.

Join our Alumni Relations of Cumberland Heights for ‘Take Me Out to the Sounds Game’ for the Nashville Sounds vs. Omaha Storm Chasers

Alumni Relations of Cumberland Heights present Take Me Out to the Sounds GameAlumni Relations has reserved open seating in the AMi Power Alley for our annual night out at the ballpark! This area accommodates 40 guests with a mix of high-top table seating, couches and standing room. The RSVP cost for this event is $10.00 per person, limit 4 tickets per family. Once you reserve your spot (using the form below), your ticket will be available for pickup on August 17th beginning at 6:00pm at the Right Field Entrance. Please contact Amy Lutz for more information.

Also, due to limited ticket availability, we ask that you make every effort to attend the event or make sure to cancel at least 48 hours prior to the event.

Join our Alumni Relations of Cumberland Heights (ARCH) for Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

Don’t miss the Nashville Sounds taking on the Omaha Storm Chasers!

WHEN: August 17, 2019 at 7:00PM
WHERE: First Tennessee Park, home of the Nashville Sounds
WHO: Alumni Relations of Cumberland Heights (All CH Alumni and Friends invited!)
COST: $10.00 per person/ticket
UPDATE: We apologize bt as of 08/13/2019 we are currently sold out of tickets. If you’d like to put your name on the wait list, please email Amy Lutz at Amy_Lutz@cumberlandheights.org or call (615) 432-3009.

Staying sober this summer in addiction recovery

It is around this time of year that we typically begin to hear of summer celebrations. Barbecues, birthdays, graduations and more all tend to occur during the summer – and in these instances, alcohol tends to enter the scene which can make it difficult for those in recovery. Even with vacations and cookouts, it’s quite possible to pursue a path of sobriety – but staying grounded and using one’s support, tools and resources are what’s going to be most beneficial for healing.

Summer is unfortunately labeled as a time where much “partying” takes place; the National Public Radio (NPR) announces upbeat songs that promote drinking or drug use, and for many in recovery, this can become quite triggering. To embark on the best summer yet, it’s important to consider some things you may want to look out for – as well as some activities you may want to partake in – to create a memorable space for recovery.

5 Beliefs That Tend to Hold People Back in Recovery

  1. I can’t have fun anymore. This is a common belief that those in recovery have, and it actually perpetuates relapse because it’s such an extreme point of view. The reality is that while it seems like everyone is drinking and “having fun”, there are just as many people who are having fun leading sober lifestyles as well!
  2. It’s embarrassing for people to see me sober. It’s going to take time for you to come to terms with who you are sober, and that’s okay. Don’t force yourself to do anything you don’t feel comfortable doing – in fact, you should aim to surround yourself with people who won’t judge you.
  3. I don’t want to be seen without a drink in hand. Thankfully, there are many virgin drinks that can make you feel as though you’re still partaking in summer festivities without compromising your vow of sobriety. In many cases, people won’t even know because they’re too busy staying focused on their own drink.
  4. I don’t want people to view me as boring. Recovery is certainly a transition, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be “fun” anymore. In fact, many people will probably appreciate getting to know the “real” you – and if they don’t, they’re not good for you to be around, anyway.
  5. I’m afraid I’ll fall back into drinking if I attend these events. You know your limits. If you are already feeling triggered, you may want to either come up with an “exit” strategy or to avoid going altogether. Know that you’re never forced to stay or partake in drinking activities – if you can establish back-up support beforehand, you’ll be better prepared to avoid relapse.

Establishing Goals This Summer Season

One individual shared her experience with alcoholism via Lee from America; she explained that living in New York City only perpetuated the ease of drinking around friends. She stated:

“There was always another party, gallery opening, concert or a new restaurant to check out. It was a very surreal time in my life, mainly because I didn’t care much for the consequences of my actions. I was living the life! Or so I thought.”

Addiction recovery is a period of time where goal-setting is incredibly important, and plans can go awry if we become distracted by what’s around us. If you’re ready to begin establishing some summer-specific goals to keep you on track, it’s important to write them out and visit them weekly to remind yourself. Every goal you create should fall part of the SMART plan:

Specific – provide enough detail so that you know exactly what you want to accomplish. An example of this may be, “Read one chapter of my book each day.” 

Measurable – you want to be sure that you can keep track of how far you’ve come, so you want to be able to measure your progress. With the above example, you’ll be able to measure your progress by how far you’ve made it into the book you’re currently reading. 

Achievable – despite all of the activities that could take place this summer, you want to set goals that are achievable and not unrealistic. At Cumberland Heights, setting a goal of participating more in your 12-Step meetings could be a goal that you can easily achieve with genuine effort. 

Realistic – select a goal that you’re going to enjoy pursuing. If you select a goal that doesn’t add many benefits to your life, you won’t find that it “sticks” for long. If reading an entire book by the end of the week feels unrealistic, set the goal of one chapter at a time – you’ll be much more likely to get there, and you’ll feel happier taking the steps to complete it, too. 

Timely – set a timeframe for when you want to have this goal completed by. By setting an end goal – 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months – you’ll have a clear target to achieve, which will make the process much easier.

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.

Learn the celebrities who have spoken about sobriety

Celebrities are known for their charisma and talent, but they’re also often talked about outside of the spotlight. Many interviews have been conducted with celebrities surrounding their use (and abuse) of substances – and while we see so many celebrities struggle, there are just as many who’ve made the decision to stay sober. Thankfully, mental health and substance abuse have become less taboo over the years – and celebrities are starting to open up about their experiences.

According to Insider, these are some celebrities who’ve been practicing a sober lifestyle for quite some time – and they’ve spoken up about it, too.

  1. Eminem

With 11 years of sobriety, Eminem has come a long way since almost dying from an accidental methadone overdose back in 2007. Last year was his 10-year mark, and he continues to push towards his recovery.

  1. Joe Manganiello

One of the most powerful people in media, Joe struggled with addiction at a young age – and he had to learn that just because he didn’t fit the typical “stereotype” of what a person with addiction looked like, didn’t mean he didn’t need help.

  1. Toby Maguire

He may have been a superhero on screen, but Toby found himself recovering from alcoholism many years ago; he once explained in an interview with Playboy magazine about his experience with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). He stated:

“It’s just all practical. There are no holes in the program. It’s so, so simple. I come in, I ask for help. It has totally changed my life”.

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine the trials and tribulations that successful stars have gone through; we see them on the screen and attribute so much happiness and ease to their lives that we can’t quite comprehend how addiction can enter the picture. Celebrities experience real-life issues, too – and thankfully, more and more are seeking help.

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.

Experiencing withdrawal while getting sober in recoveryOne of the most commonly discussed components of withdrawal are the physical side effects – a commonly feared aspect of recovery that must be done in order to fully detox. Detoxification, if done safely and in a treatment center, can be much easier to navigate because there are a team of healthcare professionals that can help minimize some of the pain and discomfort that comes with withdrawal. What isn’t talked about as often are the moments when a person transitions from withdrawal to recovery – what is the reality like for them?

The reality is that a person withdrawing from substances will feel not only physical effects – such as shaking, headaches, fatigue and more – but also mental effects – such as irritability, depression, anxiety and others. Even once a person completely detoxes, they may still feel some stress because the mind, body and spirit are going through some major changes. Chad Sabora, a 31-year-old attorney in Chicago, told Ozy about his experience with opioid addiction. After spiraling out of control on pain pills and heroin, he detoxed:

“Between the combination of destroying myself and going back to rehab, I got a little more to the core of who I was – and that’s what it took for me to finally look in the mirror and be done with the stuff.”

While the transition from detox to recovery is a stressful one – and while there will still be cravings and other symptoms of withdrawal that linger on for a bit longer than others – there will eventually become a greater sense of clarity. These moments can become true eye-opening experiences for people because they bring them back to who they are at the heart of it all.

Christopher Kennedy Lawford, a man who once struggled with addiction, told Today a few years ago that underneath the darkness of addiction comes many beautiful gifts – gifts that shed light onto who we are as human beings, what our purpose is in this world and so much more.

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 2 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.

“Minds are like flowers. They only open when the time is right.” This quote by Stephen Richards resonates not only with people in recovery, but anyone who has been through a journey of growth. Just like the earth and atmosphere go through seasons of change, so do our minds and our spirits.

Whether you found sobriety in winter, fall, summer or spring you felt a new season within yourself. Maybe it was November on the calendar when you got clean, but spring in your soul.There are many parallels between springtime and recovery. Think about the transformation you made when you got sober. You, like spring, experienced blossoming, renewal and probably began to physically look a little brighter too.

Recovery Blogger “Magz” wrote this about springtime being an inspiration for recovery: “I love the significance of spring combined with Easter as the time of rebirth and renewal. When I see the little flower buds opening up on the trees and I think about the significance of Easter, I think about the huge transformation that sobriety has made in my life. In a sense when I quit drinking I died, and then I was reborn again in recovery. My life is nothing like what it was when I was drinking, and I am often overwhelmed by this truly unbelievable transformation.”

But the outside didn’t always look this way did it? Before there were birds chirping, flowers blooming and streams flowing there was lot of dormant grass, frozen creeks and not a flower in sight. In the dead of winter, it’s hard to picture life and vibrancy again, just like when we are in the throes of addiction. But as Mother Nature proves over and over again, no matter how cold, dark and lifeless it may seem, rebirth is on the horizon.

Practicing therapeutic activities for sobriety.Author Heather King explained the complexity of her struggle with addiction in her published book titled, Parched. She stated:

“I lived always in the future, never in the present. Next time, next time! Next time I drank it would be different, next time it would make me feel good again. And all my efforts were doomed, because already drinking hadn’t made me feel good in years.” ‘

Addiction makes us think that our lives will feel better – that suddenly our entire world will change and our problems will go away; what many find, however, is that the “promise” of alcohol and other drugs only lasts as long as the high. Once the high is gone, reality sets in again. Sobriety can be a difficult to grasp, and it takes time; there are many therapeutic activities that can help ease the process, though.

Sobriety requires change, and certain activities facilitate that change in a number of ways:

  • 12-Step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) help add structure to recovery while also connecting a person with sobriety leaders and peers who are working towards similar goals
  • Holistic practices such as massage therapy, meditation, yoga and more can help align the mind, body and spirit – which can greatly reduce some of the anxiety or depression that a person may be feeling as they navigate their journey to sobriety
  • Creative processes such as art therapy, music therapy and drama therapy allow for movement and expression alongside the building of connections with others – which is exactly what those in recovery need to begin adapting to recovery

A 2016 study published in the Journal of Addiction Research and Therapy emphasized the beneficial effects of nutritional therapy for those in recovery. The study noted that coming in from active addiction, it’s normal for people to experience depression, anxiety, memory loss, mood swings and more; nutrition in combination with other treatment activities can make a world of difference for someone anxious to adjust to sobriety.

Cumberland Heights in Murfreesboro Tennessee is a 12-step based outpatient alcohol & drug rehab program. Cumberland Heights’ Intensive Outpatient Program is designed for individuals age 18 and above who may be in the early stages of dependency or are experiencing problems with alcohol or drug use. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

How social media influences sobrietySocial media is a normal part of daily life for many in the United States; platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have direct connections to millions of users each year, and for a variety of reasons. For some, social media is merely a tool to keep in contact with distant relatives and traveling friends; for others, these platforms are information hubs filled with inspiration, storytelling, new-related events and more. One of the drivers of motivation for those in addiction recovery is to lead a seemingly “normal” life – to go about their day, to pay bills and, oftentimes, to do everything that their addiction prevented them from doing. How does social media fit into this?

Ways It’s Helping

Social media is just that – it’s social. Previous studies have shown that we need sociability in our lives, because as humans, we’re social beings. The support that we garner from others is what can propel us to follow through with our goals and long-term aspirations; for some, it’s even inspiration to start their own recovery support networks.

1. It’s Sparking New Ways to Connect

In 2017, Business News Daily covered the story of a young man – Beau Mann – who struggled with addiction at the age of 24. After taking part in a 12-Step program, he felt inspired. He wanted to create an online platform where those in recovery could connect with others living the sober lifestyle. In 2015, he launched an app called “Sober Grid” and, since then, the app has helped over 80,000 people connect to a sober community. What’s even better – the app now features a “Burning Desire” feature where app users who are cravings substances or being triggered can receive immediate support online, no matter where they are.

2. It’s Raising Awareness

With social media, access to information about our closest friends – all the way to their distant family – is nearly right at the edge of our fingertips. With easy access to stories and information, social media platforms are changing the way we talk about key issues in society today – such as addiction and recovery. In 2017, Adweek mentioned the fact that some photos uploaded onto social media have created major waves in communities, as they’ve shown people the reality of addiction.

3. It’s Allowing People to Support Those in Their Community</9>

A few years ago, The Atlantic highlighted the significance that social media has been playing in showing people support for sobriety. One person stated in an interview,

“You’ve seen that person down at their worst, and then [when] you see them looking happy, it’s like, ‘I can do this too’. It’s like support groups, kind of, to see that everyone is touched by it.”

Along with the benefits of social media, however, there are some ways that it’s hindering sobriety, too.

Ways It’s Hindering

There’s always an upside and downside to entities like social media, and there’s always factors that those in recovery should watch out for while scrolling through Twitter or Facebook. Let’s take a look at some of the negatives:

1. It’s Perpetuating Social Media Addiction

In 2014, Forbes Magazine highlighted the fact that not only are we social beings, but we tend to have this inherent need for validation from others. For those who are in recovery and trying to maintain a sober lifestyle, time spent on social media could seem harmless – but it could be sparking a new addiction: an addiction to technology. In addition to sociability and validation, we tend to fear that we’re missing out on something much larger than ourselves – and that could keep us coming back for more. According to The Fix, Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, once stated that Facebook should be regulated “exactly the same way you regulated the cigarette industry.”

2. Partying May Be Glamorized

There’s a high possibility that at some point on social media, we’ll run into images of our high school friends or current family members drinking. Our society likes to embrace drinking as a way of celebration – but for those in recovery, celebrating in that way would be a recipe for disaster. Those who are in the early stages of their recovery may become easily triggered by these posts, which is why it’s important to approach social media very cautiously (and preferably avoid it altogether at the beginning of recovery).

3. Certain Movements Don’t Make It Any Easier

As our society tends to normalize drinking culture, those in recovery may see a slew of memes pertaining to drinking wine and using other substances. In 2018, a woman who previously struggled with alcoholism talked about the dangerousness of “Wine Mom” culture and how it can lead moms to think that in order to get through the day of being a parent, they need to drink. She explained that she was 100% on board with this movement:

“That is, until I got sober, and I saw it for what it is: hugely problematic, potentially offensive and dangerous for those moms who are genuinely struggling to keep it together and might not know how or where to get help.”

Overall, it sounds like there are some major benefits – as well as some major drawbacks – to the use of social media while in recovery. Only you know where you’re at in your journey – be sure to make choices that will benefit your wellbeing, not hinder it.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 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.

Man finding success in sobrietyLiving a life of sobriety takes a lot of time and consideration, especially as a person must figure out over time what boosts their motivation for recovery versus what hinders it. No matter how long you’ve been working towards your recovery thus far, it’s important to think about the various factors that have made up your sobriety and how well it’s worked for you. Assessment is a critical tool for recovery because it allows you to think about what’s working and what’s not – which ultimately allows you to make changes to your daily structure. If you’re ready to boost your success in recovery, consider making sure that the following factors are in place:

  • Abstinence from substances
  • Attending lectures on addiction
  • Engaging in small group discussions
  • Assessing your recovery through written tasks (such as through journaling, diary keeping, self-analysis, etc.)
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Sports
  • Building your spirituality through prayer, meditation, yoga and more

As a 2015 study published in the journal Russian Psychological Society noted, many people fail in recovery because they do not have the correct structure set in place. Sobriety is truly a lifestyle, which means that it incorporates your mind, body and spirit. Those who are most successful in recovery go on to develop nearly every aspect of their lives and, in turn, reap so many benefits from it.

12-Step participation is a key form of support for those in recovery, as they’re able to establish meaningful connections with peers and receive guidance from a sponsor. Education on addiction is provided as well, and the weekly structure of 12-Step meetings only further emphasizes recovery goals. As American writer Ramona L. Anderson once stated,

“People spend a lifetime searching for happiness; looking for peace. They chase idle dreams, addictions, religions, even other people, hoping to fill the emptiness that plagues them. The irony is the only place they ever needed to search was within.”

Start building your life of recovery today. It’s never too late.

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 2 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.

“Every Brilliant Thing” – Alumni Relations March Event


“Every Brilliant Thing” by Duncan Macmillian, with Jonny Donahoe
This one-woman play depicts a daughter who learns as a child that her mother has been hospitalized for doing, as her father puts it, “something stupid.” She resolves to show her mother that life is worth living, by writing a list of 1,000 brilliant things and leaving them on scraps of paper for her mother to find.



“Every Brilliant Thing” offers an unflinching view of chronic depression and the lengths we will go to for those we love. Far from being sad or tragic, the play approaches the topic with love and sincerity, with hope and even humor. This unique theater experience involves the audience in the story, evoking empathy, tears, laughter, insight and deep compassion.
After the show, a panel featuring Cumberland Heights staff & alumni will discuss the impact of mental illness on the family.


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