Tag Archives: Teens

Tag Archives: Teens


talking to teen about alcoholNew Year’s is a holiday that sparks a lot of anxiety for parents, as holiday celebrations mean easier access to substances for teens. Most parents want to have that conversation with their kids on the dangerous effects of alcohol and drug abuse, but they aren’t quite sure what to say. As a subject that’s difficult to discuss, you still don’t want to skip it. Previous research has shown that parents who express their view on drugs – in particular, that they don’t want their kids using them – are more likely to warrant more favorable responses from their teens when the time comes that they’re approached with it. As a parent, you want to make sure that you’re telling your teen exactly what they need to make an informed decision – so what do you say?

Your Teen Mag gives some excellent pointers:

  • Have a discussion and set expectations but don’t lecture your teen
  • Express steps for being safe if they do decide to drink – because the reality is that while we cannot control what our teens decide to do, we can suggest ways they can be safe if they do move forward with it
  • Emphasize just how dangerous it is to drive under the influence or to be in the car with someone who is under the influence

Adolescents and teens are likely going to face experimentation and peer pressure, but maintaining a respectful, open dialogue with your teen is most likely going to give you the most favorable outcomes. As your teen is in a stage where their brain is still developing, they want explanations – not commands – for why they shouldn’t drink or use substances. Make it a collaborative effort and they’ll be much more likely to refrain from use (or at least take safety precautions if they do).


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.

adolescent 12-Step programsAdolescents face unique challenges, because they are learning who they are alongside a number of changes occurring within and around them. They’re trying to find their path and sometimes that path leads them down the road of addiction and recovery. Even at this young age, it’s absolutely possible for teens to seek help, recover and go on to live happy and successful lives. 12-Step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) have been shown to provide a lot of social support for those in recovery and teens in particular really benefit from the spiritual and “giving” component associated with these types of programs.

A 2016 study published in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America involved the review of 10 studies with continuing care for treatment of adolescents. They found that the social support derived from 12-Step programs related to adolescents specifically really helped teens as they continued to work towards recovery maintenance. What type of teens would benefit most from this?

As stated on The Fix, associate director John F. Kelly at the Massachusetts General Hospital stated, “Starting an on-site NA or AA young person’s meeting is another good idea. Not all youth will be motivated to attend, but the more severely substance-involved ones will be more likely to give meetings a try and these are the ones most likely to benefit.”

What about teens who aren’t severely at risk for relapse, but could still benefit from 12-Step based programs? Researchers from around the United States have suggested a combination of continuing care techniques along with 12-Step participation, and these 2 additions have actually been shown to increase engagement in the program:

  • Motivational enhancement therapy (MET)
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

Recovery doesn’t stop after formalized treatment. Support your adolescent by giving them the means to continue seeking recovery maintenance groups and help them remember just how far they’ve come. Adolescents face significant emotional and social upheavals as they try to navigate their way to adulthood and both residential and after-care maintenance could truly help guide the way.


Adolescent Recovery of Cumberland Heights (ARCH) originally began in 1985 when there were few other adolescent programs like it in the country. In 2019, we’re expanding our continuum of services with ARCH Academy, a unique program located in Kingston Springs that offers 60 days to 6 months of residential care to adolescent boys ages 14-18 who are struggling with alcohol and/or drug addiction. This new program stems from Cumberland Heights, which has been around since 1966 and is located in Nashville, Tennessee. The adolescent age is a critical time for development, making this a crucial time of positive influence. For more information, call us today at 1-800-646-9998.

Teens and the Twelve Step Program

Teenagers learn differently from adults, because their brain is still developing and they’re still navigating who they are. It’s a different time to grow up in, but with substances becoming more accessible than ever (especially with the use of technology), researchers and community leaders alike have been trying to find out the best approaches for addiction recovery in this particular group. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens (NIDA), teens’ overall use of drugs continues to decrease – which is good news. However, there are still concerns, especially surrounding alcohol, marijuana and other related substances. Whether it’s through peer pressure or an attempt to self-medicate troubling emotions, teens risk the chance of developing an addiction.

The History of the 12 Step Program

Twelve step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) have been around for many, many years. The roots of AA, the first 12 step program, began in 1934, and since then has become a stable component of recovery. Over 2 million people around the world have used these 12 step programs, and many have found success. The 12 steps are guided by religious/spiritual elements that are meant to bring people closer to God, or a Higher Power. Most people have heard of these programs, but much of the discussions are centered towards adult help-seeking. Steven Jaffe, MD, and Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Emory University, told DrugFree.org“These programs were developed for adults, and teenagers are not little adults – they are in a totally different developmental stage.”

Teens do have different processing from adults, and that is why 12-step programs for teens should involve many other components that really fit the developmental stages that they’re at. Teens have shared their experiences with addiction, published by the NIDA. Here is a clip from one teen’s story: “When you’re growing up and you’re falling into a chaotic pit of mental health issues, you can often feel alone… Drug abuse did more damage to my life than I could possibly imagine.”

With so many teens going through similar situations, intensive programs are needed.

The 12 Step Program and Adolescents

The interventions used in 12 step programs could greatly benefit adolescents, but not much research has been done on the subject. In 2016, researchers assessed 36 adolescents who were undergoing a substance use disorder (SUD) outpatient treatment program. Several types of approaches were used together, and the youth attended treatment for several months, including:

  •    Twelve-step program
  •    Motivational enhancement therapy
  •    Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

Access and ease of working through the program was rated as excellent by the youth participants, which greatly increased engagement in the 12-step component. Ultimately, this led to greater abstinence amongst the teenagers; given the fact that these treatment approaches are easy to understand, teens can gain many benefits from them.

The program’s aim is to empower adolescents to lead, give them a voice and guide them to hope. A beautiful community is developed, where youth can help others through service activities and can even move up through the program as they achieve graduation of their program. Peers are sponsors take part in the program, which gives youth a stable support network. Weekly discussions and group exercises help adolescents gain new perspectives on their role in the world, and as they become more aware of others, they become more aware of themselves, too.

Activities

Participation is a major component of 12-step programs, and teens are active – adventurous activities get them moving while also learning more about themselves. Some of the best teen treatment programs offer a variety of experiential exercises, such as:

  •    Hiking
  •    Mountain biking
  •    Trail rides
  •    Fishing
  •    Softball
  •    Pottery
  •    Canoeing
  •    Camping
  •    Service work

Activities can provide youth with an opportunity to gain a bigger perspective on life. The give teenagers the chance to interact with others and with nature, and this can bring about a sense of solidarity that may not have been present before. Teen boys in particular may find more structure and peace through community building projects and adventures in nature, as this direct connection links back to the very heart of being human. Part of recovery is getting teens back to their core – and being outside is one of the best ways to do that. Addiction is a disease that affects the mind, body and spirit, and 12 step programs that emphasize these types of activities build greater participation and engagement overall.

When It’s Time to Seek Help

If you notice that your child is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, know that it’s time to seek help:

  •    Acting more secretive
  •    Seem to be lying or making up excuses about where they’ve been
  •    They’re withdrawing from their academics
  •    Seem to resist discipline or feedback about their behavior
  •    Become late to their responsibilities
  •    Acting irritable, paranoid and more anxious than normal
  •    Lost or gained a lot of weight, and their overall appearance has changed
  •    Mood has changed
  •    No longer interested in hobbies they once used to enjoy
  •    Distanced themselves from friends they used to be close with

Your teen may not feel comfortable talking to you about what they’re going through, so it’s up to you to make sure they seek the help they need. Sometimes we can’t always catch it right away – but what’s most important is that if we sense something is wrong, we do something about it. All too often, words go unspoken, and that is when our child is most in danger. We can’t let them go by the wayside.

Adolescent Recovery of Cumberland Heights (ARCH) originally began in 1985 when there were few other adolescent programs like it in the country. In 2019, we’re expanding our continuum of services with ARCH Academy, a unique program that offers 60 days to 6 months of residential care to adolescent boys ages 14-18 who are struggling with alcohol and/or drug addiction. This new program stems from Cumberland Heights, which has been around since 1966, and is located in Kingston Springs, Tennessee. The adolescent age is a critical time for development, making this a crucial time of positive influence. For more information, call us today at 1-800-646-9998. 

5 Truths About Crystal Meth Addiction That Every Teen Needs to Know

Teens are capable of getting easy access to drugs through friends, neighbors and others in their community. Peer pressure and stress can become motivating factors for many teens to try drugs, and if they’re not aware of the consequences, they could potentially place themselves at risk for harmful side effects, overdoses and other health-related issues. Crystal meth in particular is an extremely addictive drug that can cause a lot of consequences. The more we educate ourselves and our teens about crystal meth, the more we can give them the confidence to say “no” – because they’ll know exactly what they’d be getting into, despite what those around them say.

Here are the facts about crystal meth:

  1. Meth can significantly raise blood pressure, which can cause a person to pass out, have a stroke or heart attack and more – including death.
  2. Meth causes the brain to produce a lot of dopamine, which is the “feel good” chemical of the brain. Over time, the brain and body remember this feeling and associate it with the crystal meth that was taken – which can quickly add up to dependency and eventually, addiction.
  3. Meth is also known as crank, chalk, ice, crystal and speed.
  4. The effects of meth wear off pretty quickly, which means that more doses are often taken in order to reach the same “high”. As you can imagine, these continued doses really have an impact on the brain – and build up the dependency to become even stronger over time.
  5. If used over a long period of time, a person may contract infectious diseases (such as HIV or hepatitis B/C), they may lose a lot of weight, experience a lot of dental problems, develop skin sores from scratching so much, experience confusion and paranoia, hallucinations and more.

Sometimes teens only think about the perceived benefits of using a drug, but rarely do they consider the consequences. This is where our community needs to step in. If we can educate one another and our teens on the life-threatening effects that drugs can have, our teens may be better equipped to make more informed decisions. We can’t just hope for the best – we have to be actively engaged and making sure that our kids know the serious impact that drugs can have in all aspects of life.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-campus, we are made up of 2 twelve-step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

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

By: Brett Martin
WKRN New Channel 2, Nashville

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By: MELANIE KILGORE-HILL
Published: September 14, 2017

Specialists Address Disturbing Trends, Skyrocketing Death Rates

The Opioid Crisis hits Nashville Tennessee - Cumberland Heights treats Addiction to Opioids and Heroin

More than 2.5 million Americans suffer from opioid use disorder, which contributed to more than 33,000 overdose deaths in 2015, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fortunately, a growing number of treatment options are helping to break the addiction cycle and bring healing to families in Middle Tennessee and beyond.

The New Face of Addiction

“Once upon a time, opioid addiction was limited to healthcare professionals with access,” said Chapman Sledge, MD, FASAM, chief medical officer at Cumberland Heights.

 

An addiction specialist for more than 20 years, Sledge said programs like Cumberland’s primarily treated those suffering from alcoholism a decade ago. Fast-forward to 2017, and the 50-year-old program regularly sees housewives, teenagers and executives – all patients addicted to prescription opioids and, more recently, heroin.

 

“Eight years ago you rarely saw heroin in Nashville,” Sledge said. “When Tennessee became more aggressive with the Controlled Substance Monitoring Database Program, it cut down on multiple prescriptions from multiple prescribers, which tightened up the illegal supply and drove cost up.”

 

To help prevent abuse, pharmaceutical companies also made the drugs less dissolvable. That shift opened doors for mom-and-pop heroin dealers to set up shop, offering an alternative that’s cheaper, easier to get, and more potent than prescription opioids. Today, heroin is often the most popular opioid for first-time users, leading to more overdose-related deaths than ever.

 

Dr. Chapman Sledge, MD of Cumberland Heights Top Opioid Medical Doctor“The thing that’s a game-change is the rate at which people are dying and the desperation among families,” Sledge said. “It’s so incredibly dangerous because the potency has changed. With prescription opioids, we knew what to expect from a single dose … but with heroin, it’s difficult to judge potency.”

Evolving Therapies

Enter medication-assisted therapy (MAT) including fast-acting opioid antagonist drugs, now a standard in pharmacies and emergency departments nationwide. In fact, certain antagonist therapies are available without a prescription in many states, including Tennessee.

 

Also growing is the number of in- and out-patient treatment options now available. At Cumberland Heights, patients undergo an evidence-based, 12-step recovery process that focuses on spiritual healing, as well as physical. In 2016 the program treated more than 2,000 men, women and adolescents through their two main campuses and 11 outpatient offices.

A Lifelong Journey

While inpatient treatment programs traditionally last 30-60 days, those with substance abuse disorders typically face a lifetime struggle with addiction. “We understand that this is a potentially lifelong disease, and we provide medications for that.”

 

Breaking the Cycle

Like Sledge and Lee, Russo-Appel said the stigma around addiction is changing. “Many believe addiction is found in the lower socioeconomic class or the homeless, but it’s startling to see the number of high functioning, well educated people battling this,” she said. That’s because addiction so often starts with a valid prescription for chronic pain. “PCPs and other providers are all coming into an understanding that this has gotten out of control,” she said. “We now have task forces and doctors signing pledges on how to prescribe opioids moving forward.”

 

Russo-Appel said stopping the addiction cycle begins with prevention efforts as early as grammar school. “We need more awareness programs and access to care,” she said. “The heart of our mission is access. How do we get treatment to as many people as we can?”


WHAT: 2017 Education Series – Resistance into Strength
WHEN: September 6, 2017, Two sessions 9AM – 12PM and 1PM – 4PM
WHERE: ARCH of Cumberland Heights
WHO: Thom Rutledge, LCSW

This workshop will focus on how to use a patient's resistance to treatment as a window into the patient’s world and motivation for positive change.This workshop will focus on how to use a patient’s resistance to treatment as a window into the patient’s world and motivation for positive change. Using his characteristic and humorous style, Thom Rutledge, LCSW, well-known author and addiction counseling expert, will assist counselors to create clinical scenarios and opportunities to help patients see the various “actors” within them.

While these “actors” attempt to help and protect our patients, some of these characters may need a “makeover” so that they can work to help patients achieve long lasting recovery. Counselors may even meet a few of their own “inner actors” and learn how to use those as well. Come prepared to have fun.


Learning Objectives:

  1. The counselor will explain the steps of how to create a safe scenario in which patients can meet their “inner actors.”
  2. The counselor will see demonstrations of several common “characters” such as The Addict, The Recovering Self, The Bully, The Story Teller, and more, and experiment with working with these “characters.”
  3. The counselor will discuss how this method of working allows the counselor to align with the patient to address ambivalence rather than becoming the target of the patient’s resistance.

Three CE Contact Hours will be available.


Thom Rutledge, LCSW, holds a BA in Psychology/English from Austin College and MSSW in Social Work from the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Social Work in Nashville, TN. He has been in private Psychotherapy practice since 1986, and is a frequently sought after speaker, author and trainer.

Cumberland Heights is an approved provider for continuing education by the following authorities: NAADAC Approved Education Provider Program (No. 84491) and State of Tennessee Board of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (Endorsement#0813042).

Cumberland Heights is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP) (No. 6127) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. The ACEP solely is responsible for all aspects of the program. Cumberland Heights Foundation, Inc. maintains responsibility for this program. Daily participants’ hours reflect actual hours in attendance.

NBCC and NAADAC approval is limited to the sponsoring organization and does not necessarily reflect endorsements of individual offerings.

Summer is host to some of the year’s most festive holidays and events. Parades, fireworks, barbecues and parties are iconic summer traditions which can be stressful for a person in early recovery. Cumberland Heights staff compiled these 5 recovery tips for summer fun to help you enjoy all the season has to offer.

1. Plan ahead

Don’t let an event catch you off guard. Bring your own beverages to ensure you have non-alcoholic options, and prepare a response if someone offers you an alcoholic drink. Plan an exit strategy in case you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation. Make certain you have reliable transportation, and bring a sober friend for support and accountability.

2. Do your own thing

Be the party planner. Create a fun barbecue or party so you control the environment. Planning your own event will ensure you’re not put in unwanted circumstances.

3. Mentally prepare

If you’re attending a party or event where alcohol will be served, evaluate your motives before going. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states, “So our rule is not to avoid a place where there is drinking, if we have a legitimate reason for being there. Ask yourself on each occasion, ‘Have I any good social, business or personal reason for going to this place?'”

4. Attend meetings

Go to a meeting every day of the week leading up to and through the event or holiday weekend. If you’re going to be out of town, check local meeting schedules in the area. Meeting makers make it, and a holiday is just another day to stay sober.

5. Ask for support

Don’t be afraid to call your family or friends and ask for support. Ask someone you love and trust to check in on you throughout the weekend.

Addiction doesn’t know zip codes, GPAs, or bank account balances.

Teen-Vogue-How-This-Teen-Beat-Alcoholism-at-17


Article: Teen Vogue: How This Teen Beat Alcoholism
Author:
Written: FEB 16, 2016 11:21AM EST

The first week of senior year for most high school students means seeing old friends, figuring out new class schedules, and feeling the excitement of doing every high school thing for the last time. For Regan*, then 17, it meant going to rehab.

 
The night before her parents pulled her out of school to admit her to a 30-day in-patient drug and alcohol treatment program, Regan had run away from home. With nowhere to go, hiding in a bush and covered in poison ivy, she made her way to a local fire station where she called her parents. The next day her life would change forever.

 
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in its fifth edition as of 2013, refers to the disease of alcoholism as Alcohol Use Disorder or AUD. Individuals diagnosed with an AUD are placed along a disease continuum ranging from mild to severe.

 

Regan didn’t smoke crack or carry a gun. She didn’t bounce from school to school or sell drugs. She went to a high school for gifted students and lived in a private, upper-middle-class neighborhood. When she talks about her childhood, she describes it as “ideal” and “perfect.” None of this mattered though. Addiction doesn’t know zip codes, GPAs, or bank account balances.

 

“My mind was killing me. I couldn’t be happy when I was drunk or high. It wasn’t the same as it was those first times,” says Regan, who first started drinking when she was 14.

 

On the night she ran away, Regan had gotten in a fight with her parents. They’d found out about her older boyfriend, read through all the messages on her phone, taken her car keys and her bedroom doorknob. Realizing her attempt to run away wasn’t worth it, that none of it — the drinking, the drugs, the getting in trouble — was worth it, she gave up.

 

“This isn’t how my life is supposed to be. I’m in need of a change, no matter what that is,” Regan remembers thinking. “I couldn’t continue living the way I was. I was going to die.”

 

Tammy Stone, a licensed professional counselor at Cumberland Heights, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center located outside Nashville, Tennessee, works with patients, many under the age of 21, and their families to help them better understand addiction.

 

For many young people, trouble with alcohol and drugs begins with a precipitating event: a parent’s divorce, a break up with a partner, rejection from a dream school, perhaps the death of a loved one.

 

“If they [the patients] don’t have the coping skills or support to work through the event, they might turn to alcohol and drugs to cope,” says Stone. When this happens, the feelings associated with the precipitating event — disappointment, fear, confusion, sadness, anger — are all still there; they never went anywhere.

 

There isn’t always a precipitating event. Regan describes a general feeling of otherness, a feeling like she didn’t quite fit the mold of her peers or like she was missing the life manual everyone else seemed to have.

 

“If you’re experiencing negative consequences in at least three life areas as a result of a particular behavior, like drinking, you have a problem,” she advises. Failing or dropping grades, conflict in peer groups, getting arrested or cited for illegal activity, even losing interest in activities that once brought joy — these events begin to add up to something that looks like more than just the consequences of experimentation.

 

While there are more women in the public spotlight today sharing about their experiences with alcohol and drug abuse (Eva Mendes, Adwoa Aboah, Kelly Osbourne, Kat Von D), there is still a considerable social stigma women face when confronting addiction.

 

“There’s more of a social degradation, so women tend to hide it,” says Stone, adding that for young women, this is compounded by parents who enable, hide, or deny their child’s behavior.

 

“Parents want to protect them from that [the social stigma]. They have a hard time admitting ‘my daughter is an alcoholic,’ so they’ll bail them out of trouble, send them to different colleges, hire lawyers to get them out of legal trouble,” says Stone, “And what that does is send girls a message that, ‘OK, I can’t have this problem. My family is not accepting of me having this problem.'” Shame and denial bury the problem deeper.

 

Alcohol and drug abuse is also linked to sexual assault. A 2015 study conducted by The Washington Post and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation revealed one in five college-aged women have been victims of sexual assault. The report stated, “Most notably, two-thirds of victims say they had been drinking alcohol just before the incidents.”

 

At Cumberland Heights, Stone estimates, conservatively, at least 80% of the female patients have some kind of sexual trauma in their history. “A lot of times, alcoholism doesn’t come to light until they suffer their first sexual assault. That’s if they’ll talk about it.” The shame that so often accompanies a sexual assault then gets tangled up with the shame and denial of addiction. One begins to feed the other and a way out can seem impossible to find.

 

On the way to treatment, Regan remembers thinking she didn’t have a problem with drugs or alcohol, that it was something else altogether. “That’s what I thought treatment was, addressing your problems with drugs and alcohol. But then I realized when I got there that no, those actually aren’t the problems; they’re symptoms.”

 

Just shy of 18, Regan was the oldest in her adolescent program in treatment. Initially, all she could hear was how different she was from everyone else. Over the days and weeks though, she began to realize how similar everyone’s stories were. Regan could replace alcohol for someone else’s heroin or crack, and the feelings were all the same: different, uncomfortable, ashamed, tired, defeated. In treatment, she worked with counselors and case managers to address underlying issues that led to self-medicating with alcohol and drugs.

 

Regan describes struggling early in sobriety with the awkwardness of experiencing life in a sober body: meeting new people, going to events sober, changing old habits and behaviors. The benefits, however, of the sober life quickly outweighed the chaos and instability of the drinking life. No more waking up next to people whose names she couldn’t remember, no more hangovers or blackouts, no more wasting time chasing alcohol and drugs. More than that, sobriety came to mean finding out what she liked to do for fun, uncovering (and appreciating) their authentic selves, and being present for their lives in a way she had never been before.

 

Stone stresses the importance of finding a supportive community, one that understands not only that you don’t drink, but that you can’t drink. That community may look vastly different from what it used to look like before sobriety; in many ways, that’s the point. Many individuals struggle to maintain sobriety when they fall back in with old friends and old habits, ones that don’t support sober living.

 

Through AA, which also has a young people’s program called Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous (icYPAA), and her meditation group, Regan found other people her age trying to do exactly what she was trying to do: stay sober one day at a time.

 

“Young people in recovery care for each other,” Regan explains, “They need each other. They need to see that other people can do it so they can do it.”

 

* Names changed or last names withheld to protect individuals’ anonymity.

 


Dr. Chapman Sledge, the medical director at Cumberland Heights Addiction Treatment Center in Nashville, said he notices the increase every year around this time. He said it’s spurred by all the social pressure to drink around events like the Super Bowl, but that often it’s a problem that has started much earlier than that. Read more…


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