The Tennessean – Faith-Based Group Aids Women Fighting Addiction

Addiction is a complicated disease, especially for women. Women’s bodies process medication differently, and they experience a higher incidence of depression and anxiety.

Often, as the primary caregivers for their families, women experience increased emotional and financial distress during treatment.

Those are just some of the reasons The Next Door, a faith-based organization in Nashville, offers a wide range of addiction treatment services designed specifically for women. In this Q&A, Chief Clinical Officer Cindy Sneed talks about the challenges women in recovery face and the current opioid crisis in the state.

Why did The Next Door choose to focus on treating women who are addicted to drugs or alcohol?

The women who founded The Next Door were members of a local church congregation. They found an empty building in downtown Nashville that they wanted to put to use in a way that would help others. After completing a community needs analysis, they looked for gaps where they could make a difference. They saw that women who were coming out of incarceration faced multiple barriers and often fell through the cracks when rebuilding their lives. The congregation bought this vacant building on Eighth Avenue that became The Next Door’s first home.

Working with women coming out of incarceration, we quickly recognized the majority of them struggled with addiction, mental illness and trauma, and these challenges impacted the women’s families as well.

Through experience, we learned that clients could do really well when they were in residence, but after they moved out of The Next Door, they continued to struggle with relapse because they had limited to no recovery skills.

We saw the cycle of addiction play out right before our eyes and said, “We can do better.” As a result, we expanded our original mission to include residential addiction treatment.

How did residency affect recovery?

As the residential treatment grew, clients were staying clean and sober longer; as a result, we began to see families coming together in healthier ways. As we further evaluated our clients’ needs, we realized that effective treatment would involve multiple levels of care over a longer period of time. So we added outpatient services and enhanced our recovery support services.

What do you see as the foundation for success with your clients?

Building quality, trusting relationships with our clients.

Working with women requires creating a safe, supportive environment; otherwise, the women we serve cannot begin to make the changes necessary while in treatment.

The collaborative relationship between our clients and our staff is the vehicle for change. Our clients know that when we say, “We will be here for you,” we mean it.

We understand that addiction is a chronic disease and that at some point in the future, our clients may need our services. If they find themselves in a place where they need help again, we have an established relationship, and they can reconnect with us to get the recovery support they need.

What happens when a woman comes to The Next Door for help?

Addiction is a complex disease, and to recover from addiction, a woman has to learn healthy coping skills and develop a quality support system. That begins when they walk in the door.

Our treatment is tailored to each client’s needs and can include:

  • A thorough needs assessment that begins with both medical and psychiatric evaluations.
  • An integrated clinic that provides medical and psychiatric care.
  • A fetal doppler monitor for the babies of our pregnant clients.
  • 24/7 on-site nursing care.
  • Medically monitored detox.

We offer a holistic approach to treatment that includes individual, group and family therapy, and trauma intervention is woven throughout the process.

The Power of Blue
The BlueCross BlueShield Health Foundation has awarded more than $50,000 to The Next Door to help them provide physical, emotional and spiritual rehabilitation for women in crisis, and the foundation provided financial support to help build a KaBOOM! playground on-site. To learn more about how BlueCross is helping your community, visit

This story is provided and presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

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