NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Dr. Stephen Loyd spends his life helping people with big secrets from every walk of life: those with substance abuse issues who continue to work, go to church and drive their kids to school.
“Sometimes I giggle when I talk to people and tell them what we do, and they tell me,’ ‘Well, I don’t know anybody like that,’” said Loyd. “Yes you do, you just don’t know that you know them cause I promise you, they’re your friends and neighbors.”
In his free time, he serves as the volunteer medical director at Renewal House, the only long-term residential addiction treatment center in Middle Tennessee that treats women and their children together.
“This place is an oasis. It moves the needle,” said Loyd. “Women who are here, have their kids here. They have apartments, and when you walk into them families are there, and they have drawings on their refrigerators.”
So why would anyone work 24/7?
Because Renewal House’s volunteer medical director before him was the man who saved his own life 17 years ago.
“You think you’re the only one,” said Loyd. “You come in with this shame and this guilt, and when you get around other folks and you start sharing in group, you realize you’re not alone.”
In recovery himself, Loyd believes connection and being vulnerable enough to share your secrets is the key to overcoming addiction.
Through individual and group therapy, job skills, life and parenting skills, Renewal House helps 500 women a year get sober.
Loyd does not believe in tough love.
“It doesn’t work,” said Loyd. “I’m gonna be here regardless. I’m not gonna run. If you slip, run to me, not away from me.”
Loyd said he believes in meeting people where they are.
“I had somebody tell me the other day, ‘Your problem is you think everybody’s gonna make it.’ Absolutely I do,” said Loyd.
Since 1996 Renewal House has helped 6,000 women and children. Sixty more remain on the waiting list every day.
Renewal House is expanding to a new building in north Nashville.