Over nearly 20 years, The Next Door has established itself as a staple in the Tennessee Community, through their Re-Entry and Addiction Recovery Services. Their commitment to expanding their efforts to ensure women in need have access to their services allowed them to serve 1,488 women in 2022.
To do so, The Next Door has continued to adapt and evolve their service model over the years as the needs of their community have changed. TND started as a re-entry program for incarcerated women to help them as they made the difficult transition from an institution back to their communities. But when the opioid crisis hit, they added a full-continuum of addiction recovery services to their repertoire.
The Next Door knows that effective digital marketing is key to their success in continuing to educate their community on the variety of services the organization offers. And to do so, they’ve gone all-in on their digital presence, including investing in digital search campaigns that we help them manage.
We recently spoke with The Next Door’s Director of Admissions and Business Development, April Landry, about the key to longevity in the addiction recovery space, what TND wants the public to know about addiction, and why marketing is important for any organization — even cause-based ones.
Why is it important for women to have a recovery space that’s just for them?
Addiction doesn’t discriminate — it doesn’t just affect women; it affects men, women, all ages, socio-economic backgrounds — but with women, specifically, there are unique needs and unique barriers to beginning this journey and especially getting into treatment. I work in the front door/admissions/referral space now. I used to work as an admissions nurse. Before that I worked as a detox nurse, and really in each step of that journey, there are unique needs and challenges for women seeking help.
So, getting to the door: Oftentimes, even women active in addiction are the primary caregiver of their children which creates a barrier for coming into an inpatient setting such as detox or residential . And so having a safe place for their children to go or having someone they trust to care for their child, is one of the most common things that we find is a barrier in working with women who really need that intensive level of care. And so, trying to find partners in the community that we can work with that can provide some emergency respite for these ladies, is one of the things I’m trying to work on right now.
There are some programs out there that will provide this, but the need is great and the resources are sparse.
And say you make it to the door, that is half the battle on the front end. Now there are challenges with engagement. The physical pain from withdrawal, the obsession of mind that occurs when you’re detoxing from the substance, the worry about your children and that shame and guilt that you feel about being away from them… and you know that the one thing that can take that pain away and silence the mind is right outside the doors. And so reminding them that this is an investment in themselves, in their family, their children, and it can have a generational impact, is important. You heal a mom, you can heal a generation. Shame and guilt surface and so that is where community is essential in helping someone release that shame and have a human connection and spiritual experience.. When someone can share in a safe space and hear others say “me too”. We don’t feel as isolated in our struggles and can feel seen by another who has had a share experience. That is where the other women in the program and our peers with lived recovery experience can provide HOPE that is essential for change.
Also, not just specifically with moms, but we process everything differently as women, you know. In early recovery, there are such raw emotions that are often hard to even identify, especially when coming off of alcohol or drugs that have been numbing those feelings. Hormones, emotional pain, pain from physical withdrawal…..everything that we experience as a woman. We also serve a lot of women that have trauma either in their childhood, adult life, through their addiction, or all of the above. We serve women who have survived trafficking or domestic violence, and so having a gender-specific setting offers that element of safety for these clients as well. So those are some immediate things that came to mind about the unique needs of serving women.
The Next Door has been serving its community for almost 20 years. What do you think the key is to longevity in that addiction recovery space?
We are about to celebrate 20 years, which is very exciting. The Next Door started as a reentry program for women that were leaving incarceration to step into a program that would help them readjust to life outside of prison walls, to learn life skills and re-enter back into a healthy environment instead of returning to the environment they were in prior to jail which is often not safe or supportive. We do have that reentry program model in Chattanooga and it’s still doing amazing work and helping those women restore their lives and reduce recidivism rates by offering this longer-term programming contracted through the TDOC in Chattanooga. But what we do NOW in Nashville and the way in which we’ve grown over the years was really about meeting the growing need of the community in a more acute addiction space.
I believe we will continue to have longevity and always be looking for how we can adapt to meet the growing needs of the community. In my almost 7 years at TND, we have grown and expanded our programming and now offer a FULL continuum of care.
When the opioid crisis ‘hit,’ and overdoses spiked, it was all over the media and it was really right in front of our faces, we couldn’t deny the need right in front of us. As we began to see the growing need in the community, we began developing more within our program, and we started providing more acute addiction stabilization services including medically monitored detox and inpatient residential treatment. We now have a full continuum of care that includes medically-monitored detox, inpatient residential and outpatient programs including PHP, IOP, and then our outpatient recovery care clinic which serves people in an outpatient capacity with medication-assisted treatment services.
So we really can meet a woman right where she is — from the most acute phase which is when you are actively in your addiction, you’re actively in withdrawal, and you need a medically monitored detox for us to provide that medical care — all the way to outpatient which is the least intensive but still offers weekly support from our team. So, we’ve grown and continue to evaluate how to grow. I mean, really in the medical, behavioral health space — in order to meet the needs of the community — you have to grow, and you have to continually assess what that looks like.
What is the most important thing that you think the public should know about addiction recovery organizations?
I think that when it comes to addiction treatment programs in general, the idea that everything is going to be fixed in the 28 days or so that someone is with us — that is just not possible. And really what I like to explain is that inpatient addiction treatment is the stabilization piece.
Inpatient treatment absolutely has benefit and it serves a purpose in removing the person from the environment that they’re in so that they can have some abstinence from whatever the drugs or alcohol are that they’re using to give time to clear the mind a little, detox the body, and get them out of the environment that oftentimes is not conducive to recovery or in support of them getting sober. We also have the opportunity to then treat all of the unmet medical and psychiatric needs and begin to lay a recovery foundation and teach them some coping skills. We use a holistic approach of treating the whole woman — mind, body, and spirit. We meet medical needs through medical and psychiatric providers on site. We treat the needs of her mind with our therapeutic approaches whether its just some basic DBT or CBT modalities. And just as critical, we must treat the spirit. We begin that spiritual healing process with them through love and a Christ-centered compassionate care approach while integrating 12-step recovery. We love them and teach them how to begin to forgive and love themselves.
But 28 days doesn’t fix everything. Their addiction and the impact its had on their life didn’t happen overnight so recovery doesn’t happen this way. It takes action and effort daily just like the management of any chronic, progressive disease. Recovery is a healing process that is a lifetime of growth and progress that is not linear.
What are The Next Door’s goals for 2023?
Ultimately, it’s to serve as many women as possible so we can be a resource to our community but with that, the most important “goal” is to have a lasting impact on their lives. And that requires so much more than just getting women to the doors of TND. It’s about how do we keep them engaged once they enter any of our programming and encourage them to keep fighting for this new life. How do we keep them invested in themselves? And then from there, how do we equip them once they’ve accepted this foundation of recovery, for that lifelong recovery process?
So if our mission is to empower women to lifetime recovery, what does that look like in 28 days? In our outpatient programming? In a detox level of care? And so our purpose really and our mission is to love women, meet them where they’re at, and then equip them with some skills for when they leave because that’s when the real work begins.
I think it’s about instilling hope. And our Day of Hope event is coming up on March 10. Every year, we celebrate Tennessee’s Day of Hope at The Next Door. So we’re going to do an event, and we’re going to invite several of our community partners to provide their resources as well. It takes a village to treat this disease and we all have important roles in how we provide recovery support. [Tennessee Commissioner of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Marie] Williams, says that hope is the most powerful motivator for change. And I have found that to be true even in my own experiences in life. Without hope, what is your motivation for change if you don’t even believe that change is possible? We believe in, encourage, and love one another especially when someone is without hope. Until they have that light shine within them that tells them they CAN.
So, I’d say at the end of the day, our mission, our purpose, our goal is to love women where they’re at, to have some sort of impact in their life during their time with us, and equip them and empower them with something that they can hold onto for lifetime recovery to be possible and attainable.
And how has Mediaura helped you carry out your mission?
So we have made the decision to invest in digital marketing, because community awareness is important. I mean, one of our biggest barriers in the community is — because we existed for so long doing something so well in that reentry model space for women leaving jail and incarceration — a lot of people still don’t know that we do offer the addiction treatment services such as detox, residential, PHP, and IOP. And so, getting that message out there is so important, because we have availability to help in all of our programming from detox to outpatient. So we want the community to know about what we’re doing so we can help.
And digital marketing, it’s an investment. I mean, what’s the first thing you do when you want a recommendation? You go to Google, and you’re like, OK, what is near me for this?… At least that’s what I do. I go right to the Google gods. And so that presence in the digital space is critical. And word of mouth is also very important.
And digital marketing is new for us. We’re still learning a lot, and we appreciate the partnership and the opportunity to continue to have some of that presence out there, because it is a very competitive market in terms of Google relevancy in the addiction treatment space with a lot of unethical practices that happen that take advantage of families that are in a vulnerable place. And there should be no competition when it comes to hope and healing. As Becca Stevens says, this is not a competitive sport. Too many people are dying and suffering every day from this disease, and families are being torn apart. For us, we just want to get the message out there that we can provide our quality services, that we are right here in Nashville and are available to help today.
How To Help
Help The Next Door in the way that best suits you. Click here to learn how to: donate to The Next Door, volunteer your time, or to support TND at an upcoming event, including its March 10 Day of Hope.
If you’d like to learn more about The Next Door’s programming options — to refer someone or learn more about how to get involved — please see the website for more details.
Mediaura specializes in helping health care clients grow through digital marketing. See what we can do for your organization by clicking here.