Tag Archives: Sober Living

Tag Archives: Sober Living


How impulsivity impacts addiction recoveryImpulsivity has long been part of the discussion when it comes to addiction recovery, as individuals who have difficulty holding back from acting on something – despite their negative consequences – have been shown to be more susceptible to addiction. As an article published by researchers from California suggests, addiction affects the prefrontal cortex, which influences the way a person makes decisions, speaks, learns, judges and more. The prefrontal cortex is a part of the brain that we use to make rational decisions, but where impulsivity takes place, addiction causes a person to transition from impulsivity to compulsivity. When this happens, a person is no longer using substances for pleasure – rather, they are seeking out substances because their mind and body feel compelled to do so; as the researchers from the study aforementioned suggest, this is essentially like having a car without brakes.

Impulsivity: How It Works

A 2014 article published by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) explained that impulsivity is a form of altered regulation in the brain and those who are more prone to impulsive behaviors are prone to choosing immediate rewards over more effortful, long-term incentives. Furthermore, a 2017 study published in the journal Psychopharmacology sought to explore the types of impulsivity and how they are linked to addictive behaviors. A total of 1,252 young adults were assessed on different impulsive and personality trait measures and these were the three “types” of impulsivity the researchers found:

  • Impulsive Choice – choosing immediate rewards over longer-term ones
  • Impulsive Action – difficulty withholding a response to act impulsively
  • Impulsive Personality Traits – personality traits that often correlate to acting without thinking

Previous studies have shown that impulsivity, attention and working memory deficits are often found in those with substance use disorders (SUDs). While we can understand the relationship between impulsivity and how addiction translates this into compulsiveness for those abusing substances, a different question remains: Do those in addiction recovery still experience issues with impulsiveness? If so, what is their experience like?

Combatting Impulsivity in Addiction Recovery

A study conducted by researchers from Portland, Oregon in 2017 sought to understand these types of impairments in adults recovering from methamphetamine addiction. Twenty-four people in recovery were compared with thirty people not addicted to any substances. The researchers conducted several tests to identify any key differences between the groups, especially as it relates to executive functioning and impulsivity. They found that those recovering from meth addiction experienced much more difficulty with attention and working memory, planning and organization and mental flexibility compared to the group of individuals not struggling with addiction.

There’s no doubt that the effects of addiction can weigh heavily on one’s recovery – for many, it’s a process of learning and re-learning.

Cynthia Moreno Tuohy, Executive Director of the Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC). explained in 2014 that part of breaking down this impulsive nature is to try different approaches – and often, over time – so the brain learns to ask questions, problem solve, weigh out decisions and more, which are tools towards combating relapse and living more mindfully.

This type of “brain training” is heavily reinforced in intensive outpatient treatment programs, where individuals can begin to practice what they’ve been learning in treatment to their home, school and work lives. Of course, impulsiveness can still rear its head, even for someone who has been working diligently towards their recovery for quite some time. In some moments of vulnerability, we may find that we’re more susceptible to acting on our emotions – and that is when we really need to remind ourselves of the rules for recovery.

The 5 Rules of Recovery

A 2015 article published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine emphasized that when it comes to relapse prevention, it’s a gradual process. Different stages take place and along with that come various personal milestones. The main tools of recovery often involve cognitive therapy, which helps to change negative thinking and impulsive behaviors that stem from it. There were 5 simple rules listed for recovery, which really provides an excellent and easy-to-understand foundation for those working to overcome impulses:

  1. Change your life – create a life where it’s easier to not use; this is often in terms of your routine, who you spend your time with and the hobbies you partake in
  2. Be completely honest – both with yourself and others, take responsibility when it’s due
  3. Ask for help – speak to your sponsor, reach out to your peers in your program and refer to the resources you’ve been given in recovery thus far to help guide you through challenging times
  4. Practice self-care – eat healthily, get exercise, sleep well, drink water and take good care of your health overall. Recovery is not just about sobriety, it’s about nourishing your mind, body and spirit
  5. Don’t bend the rules!

If you’re ready to begin your journey to recovery, speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights today. It is never too late.

Cumberland Heights in Nashville, Tennessee on Music Row is a 12-Step based alcohol & drug rehab program. Cumberland Heights’ Intensive Outpatient Program is designed for individuals 18 and above who may be in the early stages of dependency or are experiencing problems with alcohol or drug use. We offer personalized assessments and treatment plans, as well as convenient evening hours to accommodate your workday schedule. To get started on your recovery journey today, call us at 615-356-2700.

remaining vigilant during recoveryIn 2017, psychotherapist Anita Gadhia-Smith told U.S. News,

“Remember that time [in sobriety] doesn’t exempt you from relapse. Anyone can relapse at any point in time.”

Women face unique challenges in addiction recovery and relapse prevention is an area of recovery that begs for vigilance, which is defined as, “the action or state of keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties.” There are many strategies that can be used to aid relapse prevention, but women in particular may view their recovery – and their self-identity through it – differently than men do. In 2017, researchers published a study in the journal Qualitative Social Work to explore women’s lived experiences in recovery and to find what helps them maintain vigilance. This is what they found:

  • Remembering. Many participants in the study reported remembering certain aspects of their substance abuse – and very vividly – so they could easily recall just how much destruction is caused and how “out of control” they felt. This served as a clear reminder to many women what happens when they engage in addiction.
  • Being careful. It was very important to women in the study to watch out for thoughts, feelings and behaviors that were signs of being triggered. They described a delicate balance between attention and monitoring as a way of anticipating or working through troubling events.
  • Seeking community. Community provided many women with a sense of safety, comfort and access to others whom they could build connections with. 12-Step programs were highlighted as places to stay “plugged in” to recovery.

Each person will experience different types of triggers, but the key is to find what works best for you. For many, the strategies listed above work wonderfully and others may have additional tools. Don’t wait any longer to start working diligently towards your journey.

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.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.

benefits of sober livingIf you’re looking for a supportive community that helps you transition from a more formalized treatment program to a more home-like setting, a sober living home could be an excellent step for you to take. Sober living houses provide a like-minded community of people who are after the same goal as you are – to remain sober. It can be a bit scary trying to figure out whether or not a sober living home is the right place for you. Each place can be different and, similar to any other neighborhood or community, a lot of the environment will depend on the people who live there. However, it’s pretty safe to say that you’ll be surrounded by people who also want to stay on the track of recovery – and you’ll still have your healthcare team, too.

The Benefits to Sober Living Homes

To talk about the many benefits of sober living homes, it’s probably best to talk about the factors that can hold a person back from their recovery. For example, having an unstable living situation can make it that much easier for a person to dive back into old habits and if friends or family members who abuse substances live at home or nearby, the chances of relapse may increase. Research has shown us time and time again just how important social support is to recovery and if you have major influencers in your life who don’t believe you can make it or who don’t want to do what they can to promote your recovery journey, it’s a risk that could place you back on the path of active addiction.

Recovery requires that we have consistency in a number of things, such as:

  • A set routine
  • A set bed time/ wake time
  • People you can rely on daily
  • Healthy food/exercise
  • Self-care activities such as reading, crafting, spending time with a pet, etc.
  • Helping others
  • And more

Sober living homes provide a community that’s already pre-determined with rules and curfews (and, of course, no alcohol or drug use), while also allowing more flexibility to ease back into independent-style living. Group meetings are still required and there are often a number of resources that are provided to help you meet your goals. These things might include help with making amends with friends or family members you may have hurt when substance abuse was active, it may mean assistance with finding a job, locating the right form of housing for you once your sober living house arrangement is complete and even general tips to adjusting to a fully independent but recovery-based lifestyle.

Stays at sober living homes are typically at least 90 days, but they can extend way past that. Many times, residents can stay for up to a year as long as they agree to abide by the house rules – which may include participating in house chores, paying rent and other living fees, staying abstinent, continued participation in 12-Step meetings and more. In a study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, the average length of stay amongst 300 participants in sober living was 254 days, with another sober living home totaling 166 days.

If you decide to move forward with a sober living home, it’s probably a good idea to gear up on some tips for making the most of your experience.

How Can You Meet Your Recovery Goals in a Sober Living Home?

There are many programs available for people in terms of in-patient, outpatient, detox programs and more, but sober living homes are more about the environment and way of life. Several years ago, researchers from California assessed over 300 individuals entering sober living homes for 18 months; they found that a number of factors really helped these people improve on their journey to recovery:

  • Involvement in 12-Step programs
  • The type of social support network they had
  • Having lower psychiatric concerns

Support is a major component of sober living. In a 2015 study published in the journal Substance Abuse Rehabilitation, participants shared their experiences of living in a sober living home. One person shared just how helpful it was to have a wonderful sense of community with people who could help one another out if it was needed. They stated, “One of the things that I think is completely awesome is when somebody is having a bad day around here and you can kind of see…you kind of feel it, the aura…There [are] people that step up that ask you, hey, what’s going on?”

It’s hard to get that kind of support outside of the recovery world. For many people, it’s hard to get that kind of support at home, too. Living around others who have been there, who understand the painful thoughts or feelings you’re going through, can give you just the strength you needed for that day.

A New Opportunity

Sober living homes provide an experience like you’ve never had before. It’s another phase of your journey, another chance to learn something new about yourself, about others and about life overall. If you decide to move forward, you’ll find that the support you receive is exactly what was needed to make you feel more confident in your transition to independent living.


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.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.

What Are Some of the Most Beautiful Lessons of Sober Living?

Sobriety brings about an entirely new perspective of oneself, others and life as a whole. There’s nothing like being able to completely live in the moment, without the influence of drugs or alcohol. Sober living is a lifelong journey that requires a lot of hard work and dedication, but it’s absolutely worth it in the long run. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shares many success stories of individuals in recovery, and one person shared their experience with addiction. Here is an excerpt from their story, a lesson they learned: “[I have been] clean for the past 21 years from all mood-altering chemicals…I have come full circle from being addicted, whose life was unmanageable to one fully involved in the helping professions of mental health services. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve.”

One of the most beautiful lessons of sobriety is learning that you’re still strong, you’re still capable and your story is powerful to help others. Many people who have worked so hard in recovery also spend time volunteering because of this very lesson – they know that after everything they’ve been through, it’s worth it to try and help others better themselves, too.

Being sober means gaining a new perspective on what life means to you. Sobriety gives you lessons about quality time with those you love, communicating your wants and needs, remembering some of the best moments of your life, fully engaging in the present moment, and being able to influence others in the most positive of ways. According to The Medium, one person expressed that they didn’t realize being sober would mean they’d “feel everything” – as it turns out, substances block us from working through our emotions and make us quite numb instead. Rather than waiting for the time to pass by, or feeling like things are a blur, all of your thoughts and senses come to life – giving you a much more real, human experience.

Yes, there are days that are painful. There will always be ups and downs. Alcohol and other drugs do not benefit anyone, though – they merely serve as a distraction. With sobriety, you’re opening yourself up to become stronger, wiser and more whole than you’ve ever felt before. You’re ready to learn just how wonderful life can be when you’re fully present for it all times, taking in the good and the bad.

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.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.

Join our Alumni Relations of Cumberland Heights for Take Me Out to the Sounds Game!

Alumni Relations of Cumberland Heights present Take Me Out to the Sounds GameAlumni Relations has reserved 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 $8.00 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 18th beginning at 6:00pm at the Right Field Entrance. Please contact Jaime Gibbons for more information.

Don’t miss the Nashville Sounds taking on the New Orleans Baby Cakes!

WHEN: August 18, 2018 at 6:00PM
WHERE: First Tennessee Park, home of the Nashville Sounds
WHO: Alumni Relations of Cumberland Heights (All CH Alumni and Friends invited!)
COST: $8.00 per person/ticket
UPDATE: As of 08/07/2018 we are currently sold out. If you’d like to put your name on the waiting list, please email Jaime Gibbons at jaime_gibbons@cumberlandheights.org or call (615) 432-3222.

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!

nFOCUS - The 2017 Best Parties & Most Inspiring Events

Best Parties 2017

The results are in!

AUTHORS Nancy FloydHolly HoffmanGeert De LombaerdeMegan Seling

Another year has come and gone, but we couldn’t bid 2017 adieu without honoring the best parties of the year. Our writers and readers alike have been reflecting back on the biggest and brightest moments of the past 12 months, and what a year it was! From laughing with Shaq to dancing with Steven Tyler to celebrating the birth of Andrew Jackson, there was something to delight everyone on Nashville’s social scene. Keep reading to find out what events stood out to our readers, what details impressed our writers and whether or not your favorites made the list.

Cumberland Heights’ own “Reaching New Heights” Women’s Luncheon took top honors for Most Inspiring Luncheon and we couldn’t be more appreciative!  Read about it below:

Most Inspiring Luncheon

Reaching New Heights

Cumberland Heights’ Reaching New Heights Luncheon is always an afternoon filled with wisdom and inspiration, but this year’s keynote speaker took it to another level. Jeannette Walls, author of the best-selling memoir The Glass Castle, shared many of the book’s more poignant tales as she addressed her father’s alcoholism, her untraditional upbringing and the lessons she’s learned along the way. Supporters of Cumberland Heights are no strangers to the heartbreak of addiction, but Jeannette’s message was one of hope and healing, two things that Cumberland Heights works hard to achieve every single day. Nancy Floyd

Scan the list of all the Nashville-area winners below:

Readers’ Choice

Best Party

1. Symphony Fashion Show
2. One Night Only
3. Conservancy Gala and Ballet Ball (TIE)

Most Inspired Co-chair Team

1. Shaun Inman and Sheila Shields (Symphony Fashion Show)
2. Beth Courtney and Mara Papatheodorou (Conservancy Gala)
3. Charlotte Goldston and Trish Munro (One Night Only)

Best Favor

1. Beehive honey pot with honey (Conservancy Gala)
2. Bridge tea towel (Dinner on the Bridge)
3. Commemorative book (Sunday in the Park)

Best Decorations

1. Ballet Ball
2. One Night Only
3. l’Eté du Vin

Most Fun Party

1. One Night Only
2. Gentlemen’s Christmas Breakfast
3. Conservancy Gala and Ballet Ball (TIE)

Best Auction Item

1. Trip to NYC with Matt Logan (One Night Only)
2. Live painting by artist (Dinner on the Bridge)
3. Breakfast with Megan Barry (Taste)

Best Entertainment

1. Eden Espinosa (One Night Only)
2. Fisk Jubilee Singers (Ballet Ball and Conservancy Gala)
3. Steven Tyler (Symphony Ball)

Best Women’s Event

1. Symphony Fashion Show
2. Power of the Purse
3. Friends & Fashion

Best Special Guest

1. Steven Tyler (Symphony Ball)
2. Zac Posen (Symphony Fashion Show) and Renée Fleming (Oz Chairman’s Choice) (TIE)
3. Steve Inskeep (Hermitage Gala)

Best Children’s Event

1. All Booked Up (Junior League)
2. Family Day at Oz (Oz Arts Nashville)
3. Picnic at the Library (Nashville Public Library)

Best Dressed Party Guest

1. Clare Armistead
2. Milton White

Craziest/Funniest/Best Sight at a Party

1. President Jackson showing up for his 250th birthday
2. Seesaw at Conservancy Gala
3. Sabering a 9-liter Schramsberg Champagne at l’Eté du Vin

Best Animal-Centric Event

1. Art for Animals
2. Sunset Safari
3. Cause for Paws

Best Caterer

1. Kristen Winston
2. Johnny Haffner
3. G Catering

Best Event Planner

1. Amos Gott
2. Jayne Bubis
3. Hugh Howser

Best Event Venue

1. Schermerhorn Symphony Center
2. Oz Arts Nashville
3. Cheekwood

Writers’ Choice

Most Touching Tribute

Jane Dudley Dedication

In June, Cheekwood Estate & Gardens recognized Jane Dudley — the founder, two-time chair and honorary chair of the Swan Ball and an honorary Board of Trust member — for her perennial commitment to the historic estate. Following the heartfelt dedication of the Jane Anderson Dudley Grand Staircase and Balcony, past Swan Ball chairs surrounded the honoree for a group photo at the base of the newly named stairwell, which now serves as a constant, touching reminder of the benevolent lady we lost this year. Holly Hoffman

Best Blast from the Past

Richard Marx at Stars for Wishes

Wherever you go, whatever you do, Stars for Wishes will be right here waiting for you. The star-studded fundraiser for Make-A-Wish had ladies swaying in the audience and singing along with 2017’s headliner, Richard Marx. The singer — best known for his romantic ‘80s ballads — won the crowd over in no time, inspiring everyone to wave their candles from side to side when he closed out the show with “Right Here Waiting.” Nancy Floyd

Most Successful Makeover

Harvest Moon

After more than 30 years, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee decided it was time to give its signature event, the Harvest Moon Ball, a makeover. They opted for a more casual vibe by dropping “ball” from the name and moving to the crowd-pleasing Loveless Barn. The many enthusiastic attendees, who filled the barn wearing sporty jackets and jeans, enjoyed fare from The Loveless Cafe and dancing to Super T Revue, proving the plan was a huge success. Holly Hoffman

Best Bipartisan Gathering

Gentlemen’s Christmas Breakfast

On one of the first truly cold days of late 2017, there was plenty of warmth from both sides of the aisle at Shaun and Gordon Inman’s Franklin home, where a record crowd gathered for the 18th Gentlemen’s Christmas Breakfast. Politics might be especially divisive these days, but disagreements were set aside for this jovial pre-holiday gathering that drew plenty of Republican and Democrat officeholders as well as numerous candidates looking to take their public service to the next level. Geert de Lombaerde

Biggest Celebrity Sighting

Shaquille O’Neal at Great Futures Gala

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee is known for bringing in some big-time celebrities for the annual Great Futures Gala. In the past, they’ve welcomed Rob Lowe, Martin Short and Martin Sheen. But no one was bigger than this year’s special guest. Shaquille O’Neal, a former Club kid himself, was charming and hilarious when he sat down with Rudy Kalis for a live interview about his basketball career, his business success and his upbringing in New Jersey, reminding everyone in attendance of the huge impact this organization has made. Nancy Floyd

Best Dog Park Alternative

Unleashed: Dinner With Your Dog

The number of dog-friendly spots in Nashville continues to grow as more people take their furry friends out and about. When the sun goes down and the dog park closes, the best place to party with your pup is Unleashed: Dinner With Your Dog. Canines are as excited as their owners to head to the Hutton Hotel for the Nashville Humane Association fundraiser. If you don’t own a dog, no worries. Every adorable pup modeling canine couture is available for adoption! Holly Hoffman

Most Inspiring Luncheon

Reaching New Heights

Cumberland Heights’ Reaching New Heights Luncheon is always an afternoon filled with wisdom and inspiration, but this year’s keynote speaker took it to another level. Jeannette Walls, author of the best-selling memoir The Glass Castle, shared many of the book’s more poignant tales as she addressed her father’s alcoholism, her untraditional upbringing and the lessons she’s learned along the way. Supporters of Cumberland Heights are no strangers to the heartbreak of addiction, but Jeannette’s message was one of hope and healing, two things that Cumberland Heights works hard to achieve every single day. Nancy Floyd

Best Late-Night Snack

Chocolate-covered popcorn

After an exquisite evening that included an a cappella performance of Aerosmith’s “Dream On” from the Nashville Boy Choir at Blair, ladies and gents at the Symphony Ball Patrons Party received one final surprise. Each guest was handed a charmingly wrapped, generously sized bag of chocolate-covered popcorn, compliments of G&G Interiors and past Symphony Ball chair Jane Ann Pilkinton. Two nights later at the ball, patrons were raving over the gourmet treat and many confessed to snacking on it as soon as they got home. Holly Hoffman

Most Modern Décor

Frist Gala

The art that inspired the 2017 Frist Gala may have been centuries old, but the party was as fresh and modern as you can get. Guests spent the first half of the black-tie gala admiring Secrets of Buddhist Art: Tibet, Japan, and Korea in the main gallery, but when they stepped into the tent, co-chairs Julie Dretler and Betsy Wilt wowed them with a modern take on the exhibit. Working with The Tulip Tree, the ladies created a contemporary and oh-so-chic setting for dinner, dreaming up a stark white-on-white aesthetic that was accented by bold red lanterns and panels hanging from the ceiling. The result was as stunning and dramatic as the art itself. Nancy Floyd

Best Visit to a Honky-Tonk Without Running Into Bachelorettes

Bright Lights, Nashville Lights at the Omni

Remember when a trip to Lower Broad was ill-advised because of rather sketchy, somewhat seedy characters roaming the streets? Now it is even riskier due to the rather drunk, somewhat loud bachelorettes who have invaded the five block stretch. At Bright Lights, Nashville Nights, the Tennessee Kidney Foundation remedied that problem by recreating the famous district inside the Omni Hotel. It provided all the fun of hitting the honky-tonks without the threat of running into a single woo-girl. Holly Hoffman

Best Audience Participation

Broadway Brunch

In its second year, Nashville Rep’s Broadway Brunch showcased the excitement and unpredictability of live theater with this raucous Sunday morning party. As guests enjoyed brunch at City Winery, a handful of Nashville Rep’s stars entertained with a Broadway revue, eliciting a little help from the audience from time to time, most notably from the talented Eddie George who was sitting front and center. About halfway into the performance, the cast started chanting “We want Billy,” the intro to “All I Care About” from Chicago. Eddie didn’t need too much coaxing before jumping onstage to reprise his Broadway role of Billy Flynn, sending this crowd into a mimosa-fueled tizzy. Nancy Floyd

Fanciest Footwork

Christie Wilson, Dancing for Safe Haven

You can count on discovering a friend’s hidden talent at Safe Haven Family Shelter’s Dancing for Safe Haven. That friend was Christie Wilson. Six competitors took the assignment seriously, training for weeks with professional dancers to learn their way around the dance floor. Each performance was impressive, but it was Christie who danced her way into hearts of the crowd. With her partner, Christopher Wayne, she wowed everyone with a Foxtrot that went from demure to red hot in a flash and deservedly won the Audience Favorite Award. Holly Hoffman

Best-Kept Promise

Laura Bush at the Spring Outing

In 2009, former first lady Laura Bush was so moved by a visit to The Hermitage that she told the staff to let her know if there was ever anything she could do to help. Last year, when the Andrew Jackson Foundation was planning the Spring Outing, Laura was the first person to come to mind. The former first lady kept her promise and appeared at the 117th annual event to speak to the record-breaking crowd of 700 guests, sharing tales of her time in the White House, offering updates on her family and honoring the important role of The Hermitage in educating others about American history. Nancy Floyd

Best Photo Opportunity

NFA Honors

At the inaugural NFA Honors, Kelly Diehl and Elizabeth Williams of New Hat Projects teamed up with Vroom Vroom Balloon and employed loads of color and patterns to create not one, but two, fantastic photo opportunities at the arts-immersive event. A kaleidoscopic balloon wall from Vroom Vroom Ballooon was the most innovative step-and-repeat ever, and columns of spin-able cubes provided a killer backdrop in the photo booth. As artistic directors for the Nashville Fashion Alliance event, Kelly and Elizabeth embraced the theme — celebrating the artistic collaboration and economic potential of Nashville’s fashion industry — and brought in their creative friends to help. Holly Hoffman

Most Charming Duo

Kelsea Ballerini and Zac Posen at the Symphony Fashion Show

It’s hard to imagine anyone more adorable than fashion designer Zac Posen. That is, until country music darling Kelsea Ballerini walks into the room. The duo was paired up for the Symphony Fashion Show, a genius move by co-chairs Shaun Inman and Sheila Shields, and it was love at first sight — for them and for us. When they came together on and off the stage, the result was pure magic, giving fans one of the most fabulous Symphony Fashion Shows in recent memory and — if we do say so ourselves — one of the most gorgeous Nfocus covers of the year. Nancy Floyd

Best Alternative to Happy Hour

Wined Up

A great way to end a wintry week — or any week for that matter — is drinks with friends. In February, Wined Up provided the perfect setting for exactly that while raising funds for Nashville Wine Auction’s fight against cancer. A thirsty crowd filled City Winery for the Friday-night event, a part of the organization’s Pairings: The Ultimate Wine and Food Weekend. Enthusiasts and aficionados reveled in sampling almost 100 wines from 29 West Coast vintners while cleansing their palates with tasty appetizers prepared by Chicago chefs. That’s plenty to be happy about! Holly Hoffman

Best Slice of Americana

Whitland Fourth of July Celebration

The Fourth of July always has everybody feeling patriotic, but no celebration in the city is quite as charming as the parade and potluck that happens in the Historic Whitland neighborhood. The entire affair feels like stepping inside a Norman Rockwell painting — rosy-cheeked children waving American flags, dogs yapping at their heels, grown men dressed like Uncle Sam — and is the perfect way to kick off the birthday of our great nation. Nancy Floyd

Best Trip Back in Time

Prom Night at Hampton High

No matter what your recollection of high school prom may be, everyone looks back on Prom Night at Hampton High with fond memories. More than 200 people attired in big dresses, big hair and big lapels walked through a balloon arch into the “gym” — aka Bette and Mark Christoferson’s backyard — for the zany night benefiting Nashville Conflict Resolution Center. Even a former prom queen returned to campus for old times’ sake: Title-winning female impersonator Brooke Lynn Hytes entertained the crowd until way past curfew. Holly Hoffman

Best Triumphant Return

Conservancy Gala

After taking a year off due to an unexpected tragedy in 2016, the Conservancy Gala returned in triumphant fashion this past November. A celebration of our beloved Centennial Park and Parthenon, the event honored the history of these two Nashville treasures by transporting guests back to 1897 for the Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition. Co-chairs Beth Courtney and Mara Papatheodorou had every detail covered, from a welcoming committee decked out in Victorian attire to copies of the expo’s admission tickets to a replica of the giant seesaw that was the most popular attraction. It was the perfect way to celebrate the past and the future! Nancy Floyd

Best Hockey-Viewing Party

Swan Ball

Ticketless fans of the Predators filled sports bars and living rooms to watch their beloved team win the first home game in the Stanley Cup finals, but the ritziest viewing party by far was held at the Swan Ball. Guests — some wearing fan gear to accessorize tails and gowns — were thrilled to find televisions strategically placed under the tent on Cheekwood’s Swan Lawn. Although performer Sheryl Crow couldn’t slip away to watch the game, she showed her support for the team by plucking a Preds cap from a fan and wearing it while she sang a couple of songs. Holly Hoffman

Most Informative Chat

Antiques & Garden Show Lecture

The Antiques & Garden Show is known for bringing in some of the most fascinating and glamorous people in the world — Hi, Diane Keaton and Gwyneth Paltrow! — and we could listen to their keynote speakers talk for days about style and design. But it’s also nice to walk away with some very practical tips, which is what audiences received when Nate Berkus took the stage. The interior designer, who shot to stardom as a favorite guest of Oprah Winfrey, was charming and informative as he offered up design tips and shared his favorite finds from the show. Nancy Floyd

Best-Behaved Honoree

Bill Forrester at How About Dinner and a Movie

You can always count on Bill Forrester to be a perfect gentleman, and he was definitely minding his manners at How About Dinner and a Movie. The man who always keeps us in line by asking, “Are you behaving?” was honored for his many far-reaching contributions to so many area nonprofits, including Park Center, beneficiary of the event. A courteous — and record-breaking — crowd followed Bill’s lead and minded their p’s and q’s throughout the night. Holly Hoffman

Coolest Collaboration

Steven Tyler and the Nashville Symphony at the Symphony Ball

It’s no secret that the Nashville Symphony is fabulous, but there is something incredibly special about watching them accompany some of Nashville’s — and the world’s — biggest stars. Fortunately, for guests of the Symphony Ball, that’s exactly what happens when the Harmony Award winner takes the stage at the white-tie gala each year. This year’s honoree, Steven Tyler, had everyone on their feet during his five-song set, but it was the closing number — a moving rendition of “Dream On” accompanied by members of the symphony — that nearly brought the house down. Nancy Floyd

Best Costumes

Ballet Ball

Upon arriving at the Ballet Ball, we were mesmerized by the striking dancers positioned atop marble bases in the lobby of the Schermerhorn. Billy Ditty of the Nashville Ballet’s costume department used a sophisticated color scheme of black, gray and champagne and unexpected materials including feathers and passementerie to create the fanciful costumes that evoked the fashions of Jean Paul Gaultier and Alexander McQueen. We were so enamored by the remarkable looks that we featured three of the dancers on our April cover! Holly Hoffman

Most Artful Dinner

l’Eté du Vin Patrons Dinner

The pieces of art lining the galleries at 21c Museum Hotel — the site of the l’Eté du Vin Patrons Dinner last summer — weren’t the only masterpieces on display. With chef Levon Wallace at the helm, each course of the delectable dinner was a work of art. And due to a new format where patrons were divided into two smaller dinners, Levon and his team actually prepared two entirely different — but equally inspired — multi-course meals to complement the wines from the California vineyards. With inventive dishes like tobacco-cured duck and black cocoa rigatoni with lamb ragù, the meal was almost too pretty to eat. Nancy Floyd

Prettiest Alfresco Event

Dinner on the Bridge

Cumberland Park was a breathtaking substitute spot when Dinner on the Bridge relocated from its usual spot on the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge. The park’s riverfront location afforded spectacular views of the city skyline, the bridges, the Cumberland River and the restored riparian plantings along its banks. As if perfectly timed, the sun set just as dinner was announced. More than 500 guests made their way to a long line of tables which ran down the East Bank Greenway, which was perfectly appropriate for an evening benefiting Greenways for Nashville. Holly Hoffman

Best Farewell to Summer

Fall Harvest Dinner

After another long, hot summer, we’ve never been more ready for autumn, and there’s no better place to usher in the cooler temps and the beautiful colors of fall than at Cheekwood. The Horticultural Society’s Fall Harvest Dinner is one of the best ways to say au revoir to summer and embrace the cooler days ahead. The alfresco dinner, staged beautifully in the Bradford Robertson Color Garden, paired perfect weather with an exceptional meal. Nancy Floyd

Best Floral Display

Marché des Fleurs by Electric Flora at the Antiques & Garden Show

Phillipe Chadwick is known for his show-stopping, vibrant designs, and when Electric Flora, his company with Nick Maynard, conceived Marché des Fleurs for the Antiques & Garden Show, it may have been the most impressive example yet. As visitors stepped into a garden of evergreens and white tulips and hyacinths, a loose floral arrangement sitting in a “window” beckoned them to pass through the “storefront” door. On the other side, a vivid flower shop with two flower walls — buckets of pastel flowers on one side and primary-colored ones on the other — was a visual spectacle that brightened our day and spirits. Holly Hoffman

Best Way to Watch the Oscars

A Red Carpet Evening

There are a few requirements for optimal viewing of the Academy Awards: a big screen, a group of friends and plenty of wine. The Belcourt’s annual fundraiser provides all of this and more, offering Nashville the biggest and best Oscars party around. Guests can walk the red carpet like a star, browse local goodies in the silent auction, stock up on treats at the concession stand and watch Hollywood’s biggest night in the company of hundreds of film lovers and new friends. Nancy Floyd

Most Educational Cocktail Party

Claws, Paws and Jaws

At the annual Claws, Paws and Jaws, generous supporters get up close and personal with some of the wonderful creatures who reside at the Nashville Zoo. Not only do attendees get to pet and hold the special guests, they also learn new and fascinating facts about the creatures as well. This year we learned a most unexpected tidbit about some new zoo inhabitants that will never be taken to anyone’s home. One knowledgeable staffer informed us that petting a white rhino is “just like petting a dog.” Holly Hoffman

Best Chance to Mingle With Roman Josi

Petey’s Preds Party

The Nashville Predators hadn’t announced who their new team captain would be when we rolled up to the Bridgestone Arena back in September for Petey’s Preds Party, the annual event that raises awareness of Parkinson’s disease on behalf of the team’s former assistant coach Brent Peterson. So we happily took the opportunity to go straight to the source, asking Roman Josi, the man rumored to fill the honorable role, if he could confirm or deny anything. He let out a surprised laugh, claimed to know nothing and happily posed for pictures. Just a week later, Roman was, in fact, announced the new captain. Congrats, #59! We literally told you so. Megan Seling

Most Original Award

Thomas Williams Golden Skillet Award

At Nourish, an event hosted by The Nashville Food Project, Executive Director Tallu Schuyler Quinn announced the creation of the Thomas Williams Golden Skillet Award. The prize was just that — a skillet painted gold with a plaque in the center. Thomas, a board member and Nourish founder, had the honor of announcing Margot McCormack as the first recipient of the annual prize for her continued dedication to inventive eating. The room cheered when he presented her with the shiny frying pan. Holly Hoffman

Most Bizarre Answers on Readers’ Poll

Is this thing on?

We collected a record number of votes on our Best Parties Readers’ Poll this year so thanks for participating. But it seems like maybe not everyone clearly understood what we were looking for when submitting their answers. We got a kick out of these answers and we thought you would too. Enjoy our picks for the most bizarre answers submitted by our readers!

Best Venue: The party was great
Best Party Favor: Food
Best Decorations: Gold
Best Auction Item: The way they set up the bar
Most Fun Party: Chris in shoes sues home

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.

Components of a Continuing Care PlanWhen I was a patient at Cumberland Heights the idea of leaving the bubble to begin life in recovery was overwhelming. Luckily, I did not have to figure out how to live life on life’s terms alone. I had a counselor and case manager who collaborated on a Continuing Care Plan that would guide me toward resources which would help me develop skills to remain clean and sober one day at a time.

A Continuing Care Plan is developed and managed by a patient’s Case Manager. It’s comprised of several clinical recommendations by a patient’s treatment team and designed to support his/her recovery once s/he leaves campus.

Providing an alumnus with a firm foundation for his/her recovery is not only a recommendation; it’s essential. Look at it as a road map to sobriety.

A good Continuing Care Plan may encompass some of the following components:

  • Ongoing Treatment… such as Extended Care to work more deeply on co-occurring disorders or trauma while practicing recovery.
  • 12-Step Immersion… for those who would benefit from an intimate community doing an in-depth look at applying the 12-Steps of recovery.
  • 12-Step meetings… these help form the foundation of abstinence based addiction treatment. It’s an important step to find a home group and a sponsor. There are AA and NA meetings in most communities across the country. Find more information at www.aa.org or www.na.org.
  • Aftercare meetings… are an ongoing support network for alumni and their family members. The goal of Aftercare is to foster and encourage accountability, identify and arrest relapse symptoms and nurture long-term recovery. Aftercare is a FREE service provided for all former patients and family members to attend for life and is offered weekly at a several convenient Cumberland Heights locations.
  • Sober living… is recommended to an alumnus when it is felt they would benefit from additional structure following the residential program. For someone new in recovery sober living provides a sober support system while transitioning to independent living.
  • Outpatient Recovery Centers… can offer day or evening group therapy for the next step for an alumnus who began his/her recovery within an inpatient residential program. It affords a transition back to the home and work environment while still being supported in early recovery practices.
  • Meeting with a psychiatrist and/or therapist who is informed about addiction… this gives an alumnus a clinician to speak to in a confidential environment and a platform to work through issues such as trauma. Additionally, a psychiatrist will understand mental health and various therapy and pharmacology options for each condition.
  • Wellness checkups with a primary care physician… to ensure an alumnus doesn’t have an undiagnosed medical condition for which s/he needs treatment. Also, to maintain communication between the alumnus and his/her physician where medication may be of concern.
  • Alumni Activities… connect and have fun in recovery. As you continue your recovery process, Alumni services may be provided where you’ve completed treatment. Participation is encouraged in the wide range of activities and events offered in a safe and friendly recovery environment.

I cannot say enough about how critical a Continuing Care Plan is to a person’s overall outcome. Following the specific steps of a Continuing Care Plan ensures a greater degree of success in long-term recovery. With a road map in hand, each alumnus bravely begins recovery, taking the recommendations and each of the 12 steps, one at a time…one day at a time.


Components of a Continuing Care Plan | Blog Author Katrina CornwellKatrina Cornwell is a case manager at Cumberland Heights, a motivational speaker, blogger and three-time, first-place award winner in the annual Tennessee Press Association contest.

In her presentations, she speaks about her addiction to drugs and alcohol and how those habits led to a drunk driving accident which killed a man in October 2009.

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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March 4th – Room in the Inn Outreach

Details coming soon…

March 18th – Dinner and a Movie @ The Cookery

Details coming soon…

April 15th- Alumni Ropes Day

Details coming soon…


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