Mother’s Day

– Written by Morgan Coyner, Grant and Communications Coordinator

Months ago, I sat in The Next Door’s Chapel, holding a woman’s hands in mine as we bowed our heads before the Lord.

“How can I pray for you?” I had asked her moments before.

She didn’t answer right away. I have learned that silence doesn’t always mean there is no answer. Sometimes it means that the answer is so difficult to say that the heart and brain must prepare themselves to release it.

“I gave my baby up for adoption,” she told me, wiping away a tear. “Right before I came here.”

How do you respond to that? I’m sorry? Why? That’s awful. None of it felt right.

“That must have been hard,” I said.

“My baby’s going to have a better life than I could ever give him,” she said.

I think about her as we celebrate Mother’s Day today. Even though she made the best decision for her son, she must approach this day with trepidation each year. How painful it must be to see mothers with their children, celebrating their special bonds, while her son celebrates with someone else. I wonder if she thinks through her life, how her disease led her to a place where she could not take care of her son. Does she show herself grace and look at all the work she’s done to get healthy? Or does shame take over for the day?

This is the story of many mothers at The Next Door. If their child hasn’t been adopted by someone else, the child is in DCS custody or a foster home.  For some women, it brings up shame and guilt that years of using caused damage to their relationships with their children and their own mothers. Those who have had miscarriages due to the toll drug use has had on their body feel the weight of their disease in a different way. Some women tell us that the first time they used was with their mother, that their mother’s abusive partners played a role in their addiction. The list of broken relationships goes on and on. Mother’s Day is a tough day at The Next Door as each woman works through her own emotions surrounding the word “mother” and what it means to them.

I myself am celebrating today differently this year. It’s my first Mother’s Day without my mother, who died of a fentanyl overdose in August. Addiction has taken too many mothers and daughters. If today is marked by an absence for you, I grieve with you. There is something distinctly “not fair” about addiction and the way it affects many lives through its ripple effect. I hope you will find a way to keep your loved one’s memory alive.

Today, Mother’s Day, we celebrate every imperfect mother there is. The one who thinks she failed her kids. The one who has multiple court dates to get through before custody will be regranted. The one who thinks her mom will never forgive her. The one who gave her child away to be raised by someone else. The one who is here so that her children can stay. The one who is here because she wants to be a better mother than her mom. The one who’s substance use led to miscarriage. The one who hopes to be a mom someday. The pregnant woman who is afraid of being newly sober with a baby. The mother who is repairing her relationship with her children or her own mother. The mother who is parenting someone else’s kids, as a foster mother or stepmother. The mother working multiple jobs to keep food on the table. To all the messy, beautiful, hard, and imperfect things motherhood encompasses.

To every woman, no matter where you are in your motherhood journey, we see you. Whether today brings you great joy or great grief, we celebrate you.

Published on May 13, 2020

Feeding the 5000: In Jesus’ Hands

– Written by Rev. Tambi Swiney, Spiritual Wellness Coordinator

Where We Are

As we enter the seventh week of practicing physical distancing so that we can curtail the spread of COVID-19 in our community, we should not be surprised by the weariness so many of us feel. Has any aspect of our lives remained unscathed by the pandemic? Work, worship, school, sports, socializing, shopping, graduations, weddings, births, funerals – all have been impacted. We are tired, yet we know that we have work to do. This is true for you. This is also true for the staff at The Next Door.

Perhaps you have read some of the articles highlighting the increased risks that those who are battling addiction are facing during the pandemic. The Next Door remains open because women still need a safe place to go get treatment, a place where their physical, mental, and spiritual needs will be met by compassionate professionals.

Where We Have Been

A story that is recorded in all four Gospels gives us hope for the living of these days. Ironically, this is a story of a crowd scene – one that could not safely unfold today in our country. On a day 2,000 years ago, over 5,000 men and their families gathered in an isolated spot on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, hoping to hear Jesus speak. Jesus and his disciples were trying to take some time off to rest, but when Jesus saw the people, his heart was filled with compassion, for “they were like sheep without a shepherd.” Moved by the immensity of their needs, Jesus got out of the boat and began to teach them.

Late in the day, Jesus’ weary (and hungry) disciples made a recommendation to the Teacher: Send the crowds away so that they can buy food in the nearby farms and villages. But Jesus had another plan: “You feed them.”

“With what?” the startled disciples asked. “We’d have to work for months to earn enough money to buy food for all these people!”

Undeterred, Jesus instructed the disciples to go and find out how much bread was available in the crowd. The report was discouraging – at least from the disciples’ point of view. A little boy had a lunch of five loaves of bread and two fish that he was willing to share. In Jesus’ hands, this humble offering – blessed and broken and shared – was enough to feed the multitudes, with twelve baskets of food to spare.

I wonder if others saw the child’s gift and then felt compelled to share the food they had been secretly hoarding. Perhaps some believe this possibility diminishes Jesus’ display of divine power, but when a hardened heart is broken at the sight of great need, isn’t that an act of God?

Whatever the mechanics of the miracle, we miss the point if we fail to notice that the resources to meet the needs of the crowd were found within the crowd. Jesus possessed the power to transform rocks into bread the same way he changed water into wine, but we know from his experience in the wilderness that this was something he had already chosen not to do. Instead, Jesus opted to involve his disciples in the miracle: You feed them.

The Lesson

Today at The Next Door, we clearly hear Jesus’ call: “You feed them.” In other words: “You meet your clients’ needs.” In many ways, our clients are like sheep without a shepherd. They have been traumatized, used, and abused. They have sought to fill the emptiness in their spirits with substances that have left them addicted, estranged, unemployed, or imprisoned. Most of our clients have an addiction disorder and a mental health disorder. Their needs are great.

At times it feels like we lack adequate resources to meet all of our clients’ physical, mental, and spiritual needs. Yet this sacred story of the feeding of the 5,000 gives us hope.

First, we are reminded that Jesus got tired, too. We can pray and ask for strength knowing that Jesus experienced compassion fatigue. Second, we are reminded that we can rely on God to empower us to carry out God’s work at The Next Door. Third, we are reminded that in Jesus’ hands, our resources are more than adequate to meet our needs and the needs of our clients.

Will you pray for the staff of The Next Door, asking God to give us the energy, the compassion, and the creativity needed to meet the needs of our clients? Will you give generously to provide resources that will enable us to carry out our work?

Thanks be to our Good Shepherd, who feeds us so that we can feed others. God is still working miracles at The Next Door.

Published on April 29, 2020

The Connection Between Social Media and Mental Health

– Written by Brandie Moore and Kelsey Strand, VUSN Students

Building a Healthy Relationship with Social Media

Social media keeps us updated on events and highlights the human stories behind popular news headlines. However, taking a break from social media can be a way to protect our mental health, especially during times of high stress and anxiety. If you’re on social media a lot, research suggests that you might want to run your own experiment to see if a social media break boosts your mood.

How Social Media Can Impact Your Happiness and Mood

Studies have shown that social media can have a negative effect on your life satisfaction and subjective well-being. It is also linked to depressive symptoms. (Lanquist, 2017)

Social media can distort our perception of people’s lives. We see all the “highlights” but we rarely see the mundane things like going to work, doing chores, having stressful days, etc…the things that everyone goes through. (Lanquist, 2017)

Social comparison is one of the greatest killers of our happiness and well-being, and social media tends to take this phenomenon and put it on steroids (Lanquist, 2017)

Taking a break from technology could help some people mitigate their anxiety. Responding to new texts, emails, and Facebook messages nonstop can become stressful, and getting away from that—even for just a day—can feel great. (Lanquist, 2017)

COVID and Social Media Content Moderation 

Limit your intake of news and social media if it is increasing your anxiety.  Focus on the expert information sources rather than the latest sensational post or headline.

Just as you take care of your physical hygiene, consider your media hygiene (e.g. when you look at news, the kind of news you look at). (Lanquist, 2017)

Take this time to reconnect with old friends, co-workers, relatives, children, and even yourself. Keep your focus on the present by:

  • Practicing compassion for yourself and others
  • Taking time to journal or draw
  • Meditate
  • Cook a meal with your children
  • Unwind with some music

Curb Your Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

Another huge plus of getting off social media? Avoiding the oh-so-daunting FOMO, or fear of missing out. “When you’re linked up to this huge network through this one device, you can feel that where you are isn’t where it’s at,” says Andrew Lepp, Ph.D.,a professor researching media use and behavior at Kent State University. “This,” he says, “drives the anxiety associated with cell phone use—and it also leads people to compulsively check their devices.”

Some Good News…

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all people, including celebrities and professional athletes, to follow the same social distancing recommendations. This shared experience actually connects us all. Use this time to think about how we might continue to do the following once the pandemic is behind us:

  • Decrease the time we spend checking our devices
  • Remain present in unpredictable situations
  • Prioritize what is meaningful in our lives
  • Resist comparing our lives to others

References available upon request

Published on April 13, 2020

Telehealth and Resiliency: Supporting Those in Recovery in the Time of Social Distancing

– Written by Jane S., LMSW, TND Therapist

It’s fair to say that none of us are living by the status quo. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic is far-reaching, and as a result many areas of life have had to adapt—including us. In recent weeks and with the guidance of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, The Next Door has implemented telehealth Intensive Outpatient Programs in order to meet the needs of our clients amidst this crisis.

While telehealth has been around in a variety of ways for some time, it has not experienced a boom as it has in the past month. Evidence supports teletherapy as similarly effective as in-person therapy, and it allows access to care that otherwise may be unavailable or unrealistic. Our telehealth clients include women who live too far from TND to drive here every day but want to remain connected to our organization; mothers who are caring for children now out of school; women at risk for complications from COVID-19, or who live with someone who is; and people who are doing their part to “social distance” and keep themselves, their families, and people at The Next Door safe by staying at home. They connect with the IOP group from their homes or halfway houses via a HIPAA-compliant video conference platform, for 12 hours per week. And it has been popular: within a week of starting, clients participating in telehealth has grown large enough to require more than one IOP group.

As a therapist, I never saw myself doing telehealth. I don’t even particularly like to FaceTime with my friends, and have always preferred talking in person versus  over the phone. I  went into facilitating telehealth IOP groups with some trepidation, but the truth is I shouldn’t have been surprised by the positive outcomes: that our telehealth clients are just as engaged and motivated, that they share their struggles and hopes with the group, that they give and receive support and encouragement, that they take notes as I provide psychoeducation, all just like they do in person.

It is not without its challenges. During our first group my internet crashed briefly, and I was relieved to see the clients’ faces waiting for me back on my screen when I finally was able to reconnect; and not a group goes by without at least one instance of me saying, “Wait, can you repeat that? You cut out for a second.” But those challenges are minor when compared to the challenge of staying sober in this time.

Many of our ladies have shared how scary it is to be newly sober in a world turned upside down. The combination of isolation, boredom, restlessness, financial insecurity, and anxiety (not to mention social media flooded with content that is normalizing binge drinking alone at home), can be overwhelming for our clients, many of them fresh out of residential treatment and trying to make their way in this strange world. Where many of them otherwise would be unable to receive continued treatment, we now have 20+ women navigating recovery with the support of their peers and the therapists and Certified Peer Recovery Specialists from The Next Door through their phones or computers.

In our IOP group, we’ve been talking a lot about resiliency lately, and what it means. Resiliency is not absence of hardship or adversity, but the ability to face, cope, and bounce back from it. And what an example of resiliency this has been: for the Next Door, to develop and implement this program so thoroughly and so quickly; for our clients, who show up every day with their stresses and sorrows and joys to find support in recovery; and even for me. A big part of developing resiliency is finding meaning and gratitude in the hard stuff, and every morning when I log on to see my clients (or at least the small picture of their faces) on my screen, it gives me a sense of gratitude and purpose in this time.

Published on April 6, 2020

Self-Care During a Time of Uncertainty

– Written by Negest Atemu, Shelby Purdy, and Allie Flinn, students at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

COVID19 has changed life as we know it over the past month. As we strive to find a “new normal,” self-care is vitally important. Here are some self-care ideas for you to add to your “tool box.”

Grounding Techniques
With a goal of bringing you to the present moment, the idea is to keep your mind and body connected. Different techniques work for different people…so feel free to give them a try!

  • Take ten slow breaths. Focus your attention fully on each breath, on the way in and on the way out. Say the number of the breath to yourself as you exhale.
  • Notice five things you can see, five things you can hear, and five things you can feel, taste, or smell. Turn your attention to the clothes on your body, whether your arms and legs are covered or not, and the sensation of your clothes as you move in them. Notice how your feet feel to be encased in shoes or socks or resting on the floor.
  • If you are sitting, feel the chair under you and the weight of your body and legs pressing down onto it. Notice the pressure of the chair, or floor, or table against your body and limbs.
  • Stop and listen. Notice and name what sounds you can hear nearby. Start with the closest or loudest sounds. Gradually move your awareness of sounds outward, so you are focusing on what you can hear in the distance.

Sleep
Getting regular sleep and sticking to a sleeping routine is very important. A “sleep hygiene” routine is incredibly important during times of stress.

  • Steer clear of things that normally keep you awake at least 3 hours before bed, including caffeine, electronics, and exercise
  • If you are having racing thoughts, consider writing in a journal for 10 minutes before bed.
  • Consider relaxation techniques before bedtime, such as meditation, a warm bath, and aromatherapy.

Exercise
Not only does exercising regularly help with sleep, it can also help reduce stress, boost mood, and bolster your immune system. While we may not be able to go to the gym right now, there are many other ways to stay active.

  • Cleaning and decluttering your home has the added benefit of exercise. Take short breaks from what you are doing to get active around your house.
  • Nike Training Club has a ton of free workouts you can do from home as well as nutrition guidance from experts.
  • Seven is an app with 7-minute workouts designed to produce the maximum benefit for the shortest amount of time.
  •  30-days of yoga is free and available online on youtube. Yoga instructor Adrienne starts with the yoga basics that progress throughout the month.

Eating Right
It can be really easy to let go of our healthy eating habits during times of stress, but that in itself can effect our mood and our overall health. Now is an excellent time to make home-cooked meals and try new recipes. However, getting food can be difficult for the time being.

  • Walmart, Aldi, and Kroger have a variety of pick-up and delivery options. Consider looking at the store website to see if pick-up is available. Other options include Instacart, Shipt, or Amazon delivery. If delivery windows are full, consider staying up late or waking up early for an increased chance of finding a time that works for you.
  • If pick-up and delivery is not an option, try to head to grocery stores when they open. Most stores are stocking over night, so products are most available in the morning. In addition, stores tend to be less busy. Make sure to keep at least 6 feet between you and other shoppers as much as possible.
  • Many online resources are available for meal planning or recipes. Brows Allrecipes, Yummly, and Epicurious.
Published on April 2, 2020

The Questions

– Written by Jenn, TND Alumna

Each time the majority of my Narcotics Anonymous (NA) group at The Next Door is new girls, I like to drive home the point that they are not alone. The disease of addiction tricks us into thinking we are worthless and the things that we have done make us so. The 12th tradition that ends with principles before personalities is very important. We are not all going to get along and be best friends; however, we cannot do this alone. I find that showing commonality brings the group together much faster. More importantly, it allows the girls to see that the things they have done run rampant in this community. They are not freaks. They are not worthless.

I always begin by making sure they understand that they do not have to raise their hand if they are not comfortable. I also make sure they pay attention because by the time I am done, every single girl will have have answered at least one question with “yes.” The truth is, most girls could answer “yes” to almost half of the questions. Lastly, I remind them that the fact that they have survived all of these things makes them a bad a** mamma jamma and that they have the strength in them to not only survive and be successful in their recovery but also to help pull their sisters through.

 

THE QUESTIONS:

  1. How many of you have chosen your drug of choice (DOC) over a meal?
  2. How many have chosen not to eat for a day or more?
  3. How many have not paid a bill?
  4. All the bills?
  5. Court costs?
  6. Probation costs?
  7. How many have been arrested?
  8. Spent more than 1 night in jail?
  9. More than a week?
  10. More than a month?
  11. How many have missed important family/friend events?
  12. Lost a job?
  13. Been beaten?
  14. Been robbed?
  15. Been raped?
  16. Sold their belongings?
  17. Sold their bodies?
  18. Had a gun pointed at them?
  19. Had more than 1 gun pointed at them?
  20. How many have lost a loved one to this disease?
  21. More than 3?
  22. More than 10?
  23. How many of you have overdosed?
  24. More than once?
  25. How many have died?
  26. More than once?*
  27. How many felonies above and beyond purchasing and possession of your DOC (which is a felony in and of itself) have you committed in the service of your DOC?*

I don’t ask every question in every group, I usually hit between 10 and 15. The ones in bold seem to have the biggest emotional response. The questions only work on the group level; if asked individually, girls would feel singled out, and it would be counterproductive to the point.

I run the meetings differently than what they will experience in an outside meeting It’s a conversation, and as long as they don’t run each other over or be rude, I will let it run its course. Doing it this way invites a lot more sharing, especially after those questions. It really opens them up, and I typically have to make a list of who wants to go next because they are tripping over each other wanting to share. It is powerful to watch and even more powerful to be a part of.

Towards the end of the meeting, I acknowledge that we have gone over some pretty tough stuff and might be feeling things we either haven’t felt in a long time or have never felt. As addicts, our instinct is to run and get high, which is just about the only thing that is not helpful. So, I make a request of the girls. I ask that if they start to feel that way just to wait. They have a safe warm bed, a shower, and breakfast waiting for them. I promise them that the doors to the outside will be in the same place tomorrow, but their feelings won’t be. I encourage them to talk to each other about it, and if they don’t want to do that, to find someone on staff to talk to or ask someone on staff to call me, I will talk to them on the phone or come up there. I ask them to not be the girl that gets outside the door and regrets it for the rest of her life. I remind them that they are not alone and to remember how many girls answered yes to the same questions they did. By the grace of God we are all still alive, and that’s because there is more for us to do.

Published March 12, 2020

A Time to Lament

– Written by Rev. Tambi Swiney, Spiritual Wellness Coordinator

This is not a normal day in Nashville. Although the sun is shining brightly, some find themselves walking in a fog of grief and loss in the wake of the tornado that ravaged a swath of Middle Tennessee overnight. The clients and overnight staff at The Next Door heard the roar of the twister as it passed nearby, but our facility was undamaged. Several of our staff live in neighborhoods heavily impacted by the tornado, but none suffered injuries or major property damage.

In moments like this, those of us whose homes were unscathed by the storms find ourselves at the intersection of gratitude and grief. How do we navigate such conflicting feelings? We feel blessed. But does that mean that those who were in the storm’s path were cursed? We feel divinely protected. But does that mean that God chose not to protect those whose homes and businesses were leveled, those who are now waiting in hospital rooms with injured family members, or those who are planning funerals?

What is the proper response on a day like this? We can lament alongside our neighbors whose lives have been turned upside down by a capricious storm. We lament the loss of life, the destruction of property, the obliteration of normalcy. As we lament, we pray. We can admit to God that we do not understand why one life ends while another on the block is spared, why one home remains intact while the one next door has been ripped apart. We can ask God to show us how we can invest our energy and our resources to help those in need. We can pray for insight into the suffering of our neighbors, so that we can serve them with sensitivity and grace.

In his book Every Moment Holy: New Liturgies for Daily Life, Douglas McKelvey vividly expresses the depths of loss many of our neighbors are now experiencing. May these words give us insight so that in the days to come we can love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

“A Liturgy for Those Who Suffer Loss from Fire, Flood, or Storm”

Leader: O Christ in Whom
Our Lives are Hidden,
People: fix now our hope 
in that which alone might sustain it.

O Christ in Whom
Our Treasures are Secure,
fix now our hope in you.
In light of all that was so suddenly lost,
O Lord, in light of all we had gathered
but could not keep,
comfort us.

Our nerves are frayed, O God. Our sense
of place and permanence is shaken,
so be to us a foundation.

We were shaped by this place,
and by the living of our lives in it,
by conversations and labors and studies,
by meals prepared and shared,
by love incarnated in a thousand small
actions that became as permanent a part of this
structure as any nail or wire or plank of wood.

Our home was to us like a handprint of
heaven. It was our haven, and now we are
displaced, and faced with the task of great
labors—not to move forward in this life,
but merely to rebuild and restore
what has been lost.

Have mercy, Lord Christ.

What we have lost here, are the artifacts
of our journey in this world, the very things
that reminded us of your grace expressed
in love and friendship, and in shared experience.
It is for these reasons we grieve the loss
of our home and its contents—we grieve 
them for what they had come to signify 
in our stories, for they were charged 
with such meaning and memory, 
and woven with so much that is eternal.

O Father, we have suffered a hard loss,
and one that we cannot endure alone.
May we emerge in the months to
come—even in our frailty—stronger than
before, more deeply rooted in you, and more
wrapped in the necessary arms of community.
Give us humility to receive that which we need
and cannot repay, when it is offered by others.

We thank you for the presence of friends
who would share this burden of grief 
simply by showing up in the midst of it, 
and grieving with us. 
We thank you for small mercies
and kindnesses extended. For the
grace of thoughtfulness translated into
the tiny details of life.  For beauty.
O Lord, let us not lose sight in
our grief, of all that is yet
bursting with beauty in this world.
Let us not lose sight of the truth
that we live in the midst of an 
unfolding story of redemption, and that 
even this loss of ours will have its counterpoint
at the great restoration.

Indeed, for anything spared and salvaged,
we give you thanks. Let us see that
even in disaster, there is grace still
at work, for you know the limits
of our hearts.

Be with us now as we sift and clean,
as we slog merely to reclaim
some fraction of that which we 
once took for granted.

Be with us as we navigate the countless
details that must be tended and
decisions that must be made
between now and the time that we
begin to feel normal again.

Be with us as we slowly recover
from the shock of sudden loss, 
enough to begin to imagine what the 
restoration of our home might mean, 
for to build again a thing that we know
might easily be lost, must be an act of faith.
Let our rebuilding be a 
declaration that a day will come when 
all good things are permanent, when 
disaster and decay will have no place, 
when dwellings will stand forever, and 
when no more lives will be disrupted by 
death, tragedy, reversal, or loss.

So by that eternal vision, shape our vision
for what this temporary home might become
in its repair, O Lord, that in that process
of planning and rebuilding we might also
streamline our lives for stewardship, for service,
and for hospitality in the years ahead.

But those are all tasks for tomorrow.
We do not even know yet today the full
measure of what we have lost.

Today is for mourning. So let us grieve together
as those who know the world is broken,
but who yet hold hope of its restoration.

A moment of silence is observed. Then any who wish to speak aloud their specific expressions of grief may do so. 
The leader then continues with these words read by all: 

Comfort us, O Lord,
in the wake of what has overtaken us. 

Shield us, O Lord, from the hurts 
we cannot bear.
Shelter us, O Lord, 
in the fortress of your love.

Shepherd us, O Lord, as we wake each
new morning, faced with the burdens of a
hard pilgrimage we would not have chosen.
But as this is now our path, let us walk it in faith,
and let us walk it bravely, knowing
that you go always before us.

Amen.

 

For ideas on how to help, see this article from Style Blueprint

 

Published March 4, 2020

Even Louder

– Written by Kate McKinnie, Director of Development

I’m not sure if you’re like me, but as I listen to Christian radio, often I hear a song that I absolutely love and cannot get enough of. Right now, that song is “Even Louder” by Stephen Malcom and Natalie Grant.  The lyrics say,Even if the drum stops beating, My soul will keep on singing, Even louder, even louder.  Even when my eyes can’t see it, I will sing till I believe it, Even louder, even louder.”

This song captures how I feel about The Next Door right now!  Last year was an amazing year for our ministry, celebrating a milestone 15-year anniversary from when we opened our doors at our original 8th Avenue location. We had a fun 15th birthday party; we invited a national best-selling author to come and share his findings about the Opioid Crisis with us, and we held our most successful Fall Benefit ever! There were hundreds of new supporters who came to learn about The Next Door’s mission in the way of monthly Tea-time events, prayer walks, service days, tours, or attending the songwriters’ night put on by our Next Generation board.

But, there are still folks in our community who don’t know about The Next Door and the amazing services we offer women who are fighting the hard fight to beat the deadly disease of addiction.  So, in this new year, I will be talking up The Next Door EVEN LOUDER!   For example…

  • We have a new CEO – Ginger Gaines – that we want everyone to get to know.
  • We have several new events planned for you to come and learn more about the opioid crisis and how to recognize the signs of addiction in someone you know and love.
  • We have a new Client Hospitality volunteer role available for anyone who feels led to deepen your involvement at TND.
  • We have a growing TND alumnae group, many of whom will be sharing their testimonies at special events this year.

We don’t want you to miss a thing in 2020!  If you think you know about The Next Door and the lives being saved each day, there is so much more to learn. There are ways God is at work in the lives of women – showing them a new way to live – that will inspire you!  Be on the lookout for our Events Calendar on our website and follow us on social media to hear the good news of what The Next Door is doing in 2020.  We plan to proclaim the outcomes of this program EVEN LOUDER, to broaden our base of support and brand awareness in this new decade, so we can serve even more women who need our help. Will you join us as a loud voice this year and share the mission of The Next Door with a friend?

Published February 26, 2020

The Flight Attendants of Treatment

At The Next Door, our social workers/case managers are called Care Managers. To us, it’s a more accurate reflection of what they do, and it helps alleviate the idea that these women work themselves into the ground with little to no support.

Care Managers’ main goal is to ensure clients have an aftercare plan that is conducive to recovery. They work to find clients safe housing, increase a client’s sober support network, connect clients with AA/NA/HA/etc. meetings and any necessary medical professionals. All of this begins the moment a woman begins her treatment. Our residential clients are at The Next Door for a maximum of 30 days, so our Care Managers need to make sure all of these things are in place within that time frame. It’s not an easy task.

Our Care Manager Supervisor calls her team the flight attendants of treatment. They respond to the ever-changing desires of our clients regarding their discharge plans as well as any needs they have while they are here. It’s not uncommon to hear a staff member say, “find your Care Manager” in response to a client question. These questions range from questions about having items dropped off by a family member to needing tampons or toothpaste. Care Managers are also on the front lines of interventions. They provide a safe place for clients to process previous impulsive decision making.

The Care Management Team at The Next Door created a list of values for their team: kindness, love, peace, and dependability. These values guide them in their work and hold them accountable to being their best selves for our clients each day. They also provide a gauge for compassion fatigue and burnout. The Care Manager Supervisor’s number one priority in leading her team is encouraging self-care. She experienced vicarious trauma and burnout in previous positions, so it’s important to her that her team feels supported and taken care of. The Next Door allows space for staff to practice what they preach when it comes to self-care. This culture of wellness aids in the ability to do the job well and creates a spirit of passion and hope that is beautiful to witness.

You can be part of this, too! Our Care Management is currently hiring. We’re looking for someone to uphold The Next Door’s core values (love, faith, hope, wholeness, community, respect, encouragement) as well as the Care Management Team’s values (love, kindness, peace, and dependability). Someone who can establish and maintain boundaries and who works well with a routine but is flexible when need be. Being a team player is a must. This job requires a passion for this population and respect for the journey each individual client is on.

Click HERE to apply!

Published February 17, 2020

Recovery Changed My Family

– Written by Elizabeth Tipton, The Next Generation Board Member

Like many people, I have seen the impact of drug and alcohol addiction on friends and family.  Addiction can wreak havoc on an individual and everyone whose lives they touch.  I have also seen the amazing healing and transformation that recovery can bring. Fifteen years ago this month, an immediate family member went into treatment for alcohol addiction.  At that point, I thought that our family was ruined–textbook dysfunctional.  We would never be able to relate or interact in a loving, healthy way, and my personal relationship was irrevocably damaged; I would always resent them for the pain they had caused and for the responsibility I had to take in their absence.  It’s one thing to say you’re ready to make a change and check into treatment. It’s another thing entirely to change who you are. It was going to take some serious growth for me to consider making myself vulnerable again.

We spent Christmas 2004 visiting our loved one in treatment, and although only a few weeks into recovery, I was blown away by the change.  Accountability and honesty took the place of resentment and hostility.  It sounds hokey and too good to be true, but after that trip it was as if we were all distilled down to the people we were meant to be.  Over the following weeks, months, and years, our family healed and adopted a new way to interact with each other. The foundations that treatment and recovery provide have enabled my whole family to live much more openly, respectfully, and gratefully.  What a blessing we have received through the teachings of recovery and the twelve-step program.

I was asked to be one of the founding members of the Next Generation, TND’s young professional board, in the fall of 2016.  I thought that joining TNG of TND would be a great way to give back to a process and program that has given me such love and clarity over the last fifteen years. After serving as the board Vice President last year and President this year, I have certainly volunteered my time to TND. But I have gained so much more from this group that I can ever repay.  I have learned so much from my fellow board members. This is a group of women who are doers.  They come to our bimonthly meetings ready to serve, filled with ideas of how to give back to the wider Next Door community.  They volunteer their time with clients on Saturday nights and spend time showering the staff with gratitude. The Next Generation started hosting an annual songwriters night last year as a fundraiser for TND.  I could not be more proud to serve with this group of women and am grateful to The Next Door for bringing us together.

Published January 14, 2020