Tag Archives: Sponsor

Tag Archives: Sponsor


June 10, 2018: Sunday Sermon: You Have To Serve Somebody…or Something

We are all worshipping something, whether we realize it or not. In this talk, Stan explores the various “Higher Powers” at work in our lives like seeking the approval of others, chasing financial success or needing to control people, places, and things and compares them to the benefits of the Gospel of Jesus, the Eightfold Path of Buddhism, and the Twelve Step recovery process.

Cumberland Heights Recovery Blog - 7 Ways to Avoid Stress During the Holidays

The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.
– Sydney J. Harris

Stress and anxiety can ruin your holidays and your recovery. Setting realistic goals, seeking support and planning ahead can help to lessen the stress this holiday season. Check out the following 7 ways to practice recovery and avoid stress during your holiday festivities!


  1. Know your limits.
    Don’t overextend yourself. Don’t be afraid to set healthy boundaries and know when to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed.
  2. Go to a meeting, do step work, call your sponsor.
    Engage your support system and beef up your recovery efforts during seasons of high stress. Don’t be afraid to reach out or ask for help when you feel overwhelmed. Take a deep breath and go back to the basics of 12-Step recovery.
  3. Get some physical exercise, fresh air and plenty of sleep.
    Exercise stimulates the feel-good hormone serotonin. Getting out in nature and going for a walk, run or hike can help relieve stress and reduce anxiety. Yoga and meditation are also great ways to refocus, clear your mind and calm your nerves during times of stress. Getting enough sleep is also crucial when avoiding the holiday pressures and being able to think clearly.
  4. Focus on being grateful.
    Making a gratitude list helps put things in perspective. Expressing gratitude or just paying a compliment has a way of lifting others’ spirits by bringing a smile to their face and yours.
  5. Pray and meditate.
    Silent reflection is always a good way to refocus and reduce anxiety. Holidays can be a deeply spiritual time of year. Take time to connect with your higher power or something greater than yourself; it will help you feel calmer and more centered.
  6. Volunteer.
    Spending time doing service work or volunteering with those less fortunate helps put things into perspective. Wrap gifts for a local charity, volunteer at a homeless shelter, buy a gift for a child in need – whatever adds meaning for you.
  7. Set realistic expectations.
    Focus on fun and relaxation, rather than on creating the perfect table, meal or moment, and you will see your holiday stress melt away. The most precious thing we can give to anyone else is our time and attention. Tune in to the people around you and really be with them, so you don’t miss out on what counts most.

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.

Back to Basics – FREE Intensive 12 Step Workshop open to ALL in Recovery!

The Original AA Big Book Manuscript written by Bill W
One page of Chapter 5, “How it Works”, part of The Original AA Big Book Manuscript with edit notes. Very Cool.
Due to concerns regarding inclement weather of snow/ice on the weekend of January 12th & 13th, the Back to Basics has been rescheduled for Saturday, February 24th (same time from 9:30AM – 3:30PM). Please make sure to save this date on your calendar.


WHO: Open to all persons in recovery!
WHAT: An intensive 12 step workshop
WHEN: RESCHEDULE: Saturday, February 24, 2018 from 9:30AM – 3:30PM
WHERE: Cumberland Heights Main Campus in the Dr. John Ishee Auditorium

Also due to the AMAZING participation response we are at capacity for the Back to Basics course. The RSVP for this event is CLOSED. Sorry! We will start a waiting list in the event of any cancellations. If you are not able to attend, please let Jaime Gibbons know you won’t make it and free up a spot for someone else.

CANCELLATIONSWAITING LIST

Cumberland Heights will be hosting an intensive 12 step workshop, much like the original step working format from the 1940’s. This workshop is open to all persons in recovery. This includes all 12 Step fellowships.  Lunch will also be provided free of charge.

All materials will be provided for participants.

This workshop will be facilitated by Carver Brown, a Behavioral Health & Addiction Services’ Alumni Coordinator at Pine Grove. Mr. Brown is an experienced facilitator of the “Back to Basics” nationwide and we are very proud to welcome him here at Cumberland Heights. Please remember this workshop is open to everyone in recovery, including all varieties of 12 Step fellowships. We hope to have you sign up below and see you on January 13th!

We will begin promptly at 9:30AM, please make sure to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to get your supplies and seats. Lunch provided will be free from the Kitchen and during lunch there will be an assignment to process with your partner or small group. Please be prepared to stay for the duration of the workshop, each participant should begin and end the day with the group.


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.

When I was discharged from Cumberland Heights I knew one thing for certain…treatment may have been complete, but recovery was just beginning. Today, there are many ways I’m active in my recovery and one of the most rewarding is what I’m able to do for others. Service work is an integral part of what keeps me sober one day at a time. Each simple act keeps me out of my own head long enough to focus on another individual or group’s recovery. I’m not seeking recognition, only trying to make someone else’s journey in sobriety a little easier. And while focusing on someone else, something magical happens…people begin to recover together.

With this in mind, here are 10 ways to be of service to others in recovery:

1) Sponsorship – Becoming a sponsor is the ultimate way one person suffering from addiction can help another. A sponsor gives his or her time; meeting sponsees to help them work the steps, to ferret out the root causes of his or her addiction, and develop a deeper relationship with a Higher Power of their understanding.

2) Be a sober contact – Newly recovering people are always encouraged to get as many phone numbers as they can so they’ll have plenty of people to call when they’re triggered to use or drink. Being the person on the other end of the call can save a life.

3) Take meetings to detox units – I’ll never forget the first message of recovery, strength and hope I heard was in a detox unit at a local hospital. Providing this vital area of service work, you can inspire hope in someone about a program with the potential to change their life for the better.

4) Chair 12-Step meetings – A certain amount of responsibility comes along with steering the ship at a 12-Step meeting. The chair passes out the readings, and often, chooses the topic of discussion. This role serves every person attending.

5) Attend business meetings – Each home group has a meeting set aside to discuss financial details: bills for rent, items needed for purchase such as soft drinks; and the collections to pay for expenses. This is a good way to serve the home group.

6) Greet people – Making someone feel welcome in a 12-Step meeting is a wonderful way to give back. Shaking hands, taking an interest in a newcomer, offering a smile or a friendly hello can be the one thing someone needed to hear to come back to another meeting.

7) Clean up – Each month my home group assigns someone to clean up our meeting place. Wiping off tables, sweeping floors and cleaning up the facility to keep it nice for our meetings is one way to get out of ourselves and help others.

8) Offer transportation to meetings – In recovery finding our way to meetings is our responsibility. However, some provide rides as service work. I was blessed enough to have someone who helped me get to meetings when I couldn’t drive.

9) Participate in fundraising – A clubhouse where I got sober recently held a yard sale. Providing clothing, tagging items or volunteering time at an event like this are all ways to provide service work.

10) Host sober activities – A common complaint among someone new in recovery is that they don’t know how to have fun without substances. Hosting an event for sober people to have a bonfire, barbecue, movie night, canoe or camping trip; or just a gathering to walk together downtown is more helpful than you might realize.


10 Ways to be of Service to Others in RecoveryKatrina 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.

In the days and weeks after leaving Cumberland Heights for a new adventure in early recovery, I discovered I was painfully shy when it came to meeting new people in the rooms.

Initially this made it difficult for me to make the meaningful connections so necessary for someone in early recovery to achieve and maintain sobriety.

I was afraid of them. I was afraid of me. I was afraid to be vulnerable enough to let anyone see how much I was hurting over what I’d done and how I’d hurt others and myself through my actions.

So, I went to the meetings, kept to myself and left immediately after for many weeks isolating myself in the crowds of recovering people. I warmed up slowly to the people in the AA groups I attended. I paid attention in particular to the women who demonstrated the kind of recovery I wanted to emulate.

One day, I stepped outside of my comfort zone and walked up to a woman I had grown to admire very much for the way she worked the program. I asked her to be my sponsor. Although she was not able to accommodate me, she connected me with a lady who became my sponsor and devoted friend for more than six years. Although she is not my sponsor now, she remains one of my most trusted friends in recovery.

Katrina Cornwell with members of her recovery community.
Katrina Cornwell with members of her recovery community.

Finding a sponsor who I could trust with my deepest darkest secrets, someone whom I could count upon to be my spiritual guide through the 12 Steps was another way I grew in recovery.

Working the steps with my sponsor solidified our commitment to each other, helping each other stay sober one day at a time, spending time together and staying in the literature.

I remember so clearly sitting down with her for my fifth step, not knowing how long it would take or what her reaction to all of my heinous sins would be. Never did she wince or cast a judging glance, she just loved me. She helped me grow until I became strong enough to reach out my hand to help someone else.

My sponsor took me to AA meetings, went to dinner with me and to the movies. She wrote a letter to the judge in my case. She even testified on my behalf at court twice. It was a connection like no other in the program, and it is vital to the successful recovery of the newly recovering alcoholic or addict.

Establishing this relationship in recovery helped make me the woman I am today.


K HeadshotKatrina 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.


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