Tag Archives: We Transform Lives

Tag Archives: We Transform Lives


What  I Learned in Family Week

By Maggie Herndon, Social Media Manager

PeytonHoge photos-019In my personal life I have had limited experience with addiction, so as a new Cumberland Heights employee, I was glad to have an opportunity to participate in our Family Program. To be specific, I attended family week, one component of our Family Program. This four-day workshop is an eye-opening and educational experience offered to each patient’s family members and loved ones.

On the first day, I entered the group room hesitantly. The seats were placed in a large circle in one of our group rooms. I sat in an empty seat among several anxious family members. It was in this seat, among these people, where I began my real education on the disease of addiction.

I learned the ways addiction affects each individual family member and loved one. I experienced a roller coaster of emotions as I participated in various educational exercises. I empathized with the families as they acknowledged their anxiety and fear at the thought of their loved one returning home. Everyone asked the same question: “What do we do when they come home?” The answer is not simple.

Spouses, parents, siblings and children enter family week hoping they will learn how to fix their loved ones, but, in reality, family week is designed to introduce each family member to his or her own recovery.

Co-dependency is a big topic during family week. Families enable the addicts in their lives and become co-dependent on them for their own happiness and self-worth. This reality hit me hard. As the parent of a son with autism, I could relate.

I often allow my son’s attitude and behavior to dictate my personal happiness. If my son wakes irritable and temperamental, I immediately shut down. My patience is thin. I too become ill-tempered and short. My faith goes out the window, and the weight of the world falls on my shoulders. Communication shuts down. I internalize my feelings and take out my frustration on everyone else, especially my husband. However, this does not give my son his best chance. I must take care of myself mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually to be an appropriate source of support for him much like the family of an addict.

Recovery is not an individual journey, it’s a family journey. There was a saying I learned during family week, “You can’t cure it. You didn’t cause it. You can’t control it.”

What we can do for our loved ones is educate ourselves and work toward rebuilding our relationships through healthy boundaries and safe, clear communication so we are able to properly support our loved one.

For more information on the Cumberland Heights Family Program visit www.cumberlandheights.org, call 800.646.9998 or email kristy_roll@cumberlandheights.org.


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the 6th step sm

The 6th Step

By Chuck R.

After 28 years, I still remember the day I presented my 5th Step. I had spent the previous months coming to terms with my disease and myself, and I was prepared to totally reveal my inner self to God and to another human being.

I shared my resentments, the causes, the instincts affected, my fears, my defects, drawbacks and shortcomings. It seemed like an endless litany, but it came gushing out.

Upon completion of my 5th Step, my sponsor turned to me and asked, “Do you think God forgives you for any of the things about which you feel guilty?”

Honestly, I was uncertain. I was in the process of forgiving myself, but could I expect God to forgive me?

I cried all the way home. I was physically drained and emotionally exhausted, yet I had a sense of freedom like no other I had experienced before.

What I was about to do over the course of the next few hours would become a pivotal point in my recovery. It was time for one last soul-searching process.

I mentally reviewed the work I had done on the first five steps. Had I been truly honest with myself, God and my sponsor? Was I finished? Was I ready?

Then I read the following in the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions:

“It is nowhere evident, at least in this life, that our Creator expects us to fully eliminate our instinctual drives… When they drive us blindly, or we willfully demand that they supply us with more satisfactions or pleasures than are possible or due us, that is the point at which we depart from the degree of perfection that God wishes for us.

“If we ask, God will certainly forgive our derelictions. But in no case does he render us white as snow and keep us that way without our cooperation. That is something we are supposed to work toward ourselves.”

To be “entirely ready” meant I needed to become humble enough to fully realize I must change. Being “entirely ready” meant I needed to ask God to help me.

I am not perfect today. I have notions that influence me in an unhealthy manner. Very often my natural tendency is to let them. The difference today is, I am aware. I work toward progress on a daily basis with God at my side.

The 6th Step helped me open the gate of acceptance and forgiveness. I was then ready for Step Seven.


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