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    Substance Abuse Counseling Programs in North Carolina

    addiction counseling group

    First Step Services LLC is passionate about helping individuals overcome all problems related to substance use, no matter how minor or severe. To complete your journey towards recovery, our team of licensed and certified substance abuse counselors provide outpatient and intensive outpatient programs. We provide a range of services from early intervention counseling and education to caring for patients looking for additional support upon returning home from inpatient, residential, and hospital programs.

    Participants of our programs come with a sole purpose: to get better. Whether it is to get past a legal, job, school or other need we have specialized programs to meet many needs. Most of our patients are referred by their families, friends, co-workers, attorneys, and other referral sources. Others refer themselves, but the goal is the same — the desire for a better future for those who battle problems related to substance use.

    Alcohol and Drug Counseling Groups

    Program participants who come to First Step to resolve a variety of needs. Clients and patients are referred by families, self-referred, hospitals, job/employers, attorneys, probation officers, colleges and universities, high schools, DWI, other agencies and many other referral sources. If the thought of entering a counseling group is uncomfortable, we can work out alternatives to get you started. Family support is encouraged and available for all levels of care. Level of care is determined by guidelines issued by ASAM, the American Society of Addictive Medicine criteria.

    “’Group’ is not a class. It isn’t sitting in a room watching videos. It is an interactive, engaging time together. This was a big, but good, surprise for me. I definitely met my goals, especially gaining perspective. I learned this from all of the people in group and their stories. Aubree is great and she makes group fun instead of a chore. “ Anonymous First Step client 

    General Outpatient: Short-term Substance Abuse Treatment Program:

    If problems from substance use has not become severe or of long duration, an early intervention short-term substance abuse group program is often sufficient. You will be placed in a level of care in strict accordance with guidelines that meet the highest standards.

    The First Step short-term program is approximately 5 – 9 weeks, typically consisting on 7 – 15 sessions. The short term program consists of a Program Orientation and seven 3-hour group counseling sessions, usually spread out over no less than 30 days.

    Request a Confidential Appointment
    General Outpatient: Longer-term Substance Abuse Treatment Program:

    If problems from substance use have begun to become more severe or more frequent, you could be recommended to complete a longer-term substance abuse treatment program. You would be placed in this program in accordance with guidelines issued by ASAM, the American Society of Addictive Medicine criteria. These guidelines are established by the State of NC. We use the same guidelines to place all clients and patients at First Step. The longer term, or sometimes referred to as Intermediate Level, consists of no less than 9 weeks and no more than 12 weeks of group substance abuse counseling.

    Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP):

    Studies indicate that Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP), carried through to completion, is the most successful form of substance abuse treatment. IOP is often a successful alternative inpatient or residential treatment when participants complete the full program. Inpatient followed by IOP afterwards tends to be create the best outcomes when inpatient is necessary. The best gauge to determine long-term success is how long a person will utilize continuing care and/or a community support program.

    Some hold a misperception that substance use treatment “doesn’t work” or has a low success rate. When a person follows the treatment plan, completes treatment and continues care in an aftercare program and community support, the chances of long term sobriety and recovery are high. There may be the belief that a person “has tried treatment; it didn’t work.” Our experience demonstrates that not giving up on treatment, even if there has been return to use, will lead to long term success.

    First Step offers weekday morning and Saturday morning substance use treatment programs at our Raleigh Facility. The weekday morning groups meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM. Durham groups meet on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings 6:00 – 9:00 pm. Raleigh and Garner evening groups meet Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings 6:00 – 9:00 PM. Cary groups meet Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Call us today for more information. (919) 833-8899 or email 1ststep@firststepnc(Dot)com.

    “The First Step treatment process has turned my life around completely. I am no longer abusing drugs or alcohol and have been sober for over 30 days now. Now that I’m sober I feel way more productive and energized. While attending groups over the past month I have learned that it’s okay to express your feelings with methods other than drugs and alcohol. Overall this was an outstanding experience and has directly impacted my life. Thank you.” Anonymous First Step client 

    Inpatient, Residential & Hospital Aftercare:
    First Step Services, LLC provides Intensive Outpatient and General Outpatient aftercare for people returning home from inpatient programs & hospitals across the country. The goal is to provide people returning to families, work and friends with continued stability while they transition back into community living and resuming a “normal” lifestyle. We provide this service at all our locations.

    Teen and Family Counseling First Step Services of Raleigh’s substance abuse adolescent outpatient and Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for teens includes IOP groups and Family & Youth/Multi-Family treatment groups.

    Aftercare and Alumni Group Program: On Monday nights, First Step provides a 90 minute Professionals aftercare group. This group is facilitated by a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor to meet the needs of participants needing long term care after completing a primary care program such as IOP or inpatient treatment. This is a low-cost group consisting of sober “maintenance stage” members determined to stay sober long term.

    Our “Alumni Group” program allows participants of primary care to continue attending their group for $5 per day. The requirement of participation in the Alumni Group Program is the person has maintained abstinence and is continuing to attend group to support their recovery.

    Alcohol and Drug Education, Prime for Life, Alcohol and Drug Education Traffic School (ADETS): First Step provides several alcohol and drug education programs that satisfy court, job, schools, probation, DWI, and other requirements.  ADETS is the education level for DWI clients. The cost of ADETS is $160. Prime for Life is available at all our locations for others needing substance abuse education for $185.

    Insurance will pay for most outpatient treatment services: Check with your insurance company or call us if you have questions. Usually a co-pay is required by your insurance but sometimes they pay 100%. In some cases your insurance company might allow reimbursement for your assessment, but only if you enroll in the program within a short time after the assessment. Insurance does not pay for DWI or DMV ordered assessments.

    FOR NC DWI CLIENTS ONLY: The State of North Carolina DWI Services requires all agencies providing services for DWI in NC to collect a $100 fee for a DWI assessment. NC DWI law states DWI clients must complete the required number of hours in no less than 30, 60 or 90 days, depending on the recommended number of hours. NC DHHS DWI Services also requires no less than weekly attendance to complete State DWI requirements. All clients are generally recommended to complete counseling in a similar amount of time because these guidelines usually have excellent results for participants. However, all recommendations are determined by the counselor, according to state regulations, at the time of the assessment, if all the supportive paperwork is available. First Step is licensed by the NC Department of Health and Human Services to provide substance abuse outpatient counseling services to clients who have received an NC DWI. The State of NC has established a fee of $100 for all DWI substance abuse assessments statewide. This fee applies to all licensed DWI programs in the State of NC and is strictly enforced by NC DWI Services. No one should ever be charged more or less than $100 no matter where one receives an assessment. If the DWI was received an another state, those fees will likely vary among agencies throughout that particular state. 

    You can choose a DWI approved agency of your choice. It is illegal for courts, judges or prosecutors to require you attend a specific agency. If you are instructed to attend a specific DWI agency, please report this to NC DWI Services at (919) 733-0566. 

    I paid my fees and completed my program. Why can’t I get my drivers license restored?

    The reason for delays in getting drivers license restored is typically that the client did not inform the assessing agency of the conviction date. DWI assessment & counseling agencies have no means of knowing when a case is resolved in court, whether conviction or dismissal. Until we are notified by the client that the case has been resolved and the exact date it was resolved, a “508” form cannot be completed. The “508” form is the document the State of NC requires to process the paperwork allowing for restoration of driving records. The correct conviction date is absolutely required for the State of NC to release a drivers license for restoration. The client has to notify the DWI assessment agency of the conviction date or drivers licenses cannot be restored until that time.

    “First of all I would like to say thank God for First Step. At first I was not confident there would be a program to help me with my problems. First Step completely swept away that fear. I’ve learned to open up more. First Step gave me the tools to handle my situation or seek help. I love the counselors I have met at the beginning and upon my exiting. You feel at ease relating your problems and seeking help. Thank you First Step. It’s not about money, but it’s about my self-growth, which you gave me back. I’m indebted to you First Step.” Anonymous

    Our VIP – Victim Impact Panel session meets on the 3rd Tuesday of the month from 6:30 to 9:30 PM. The cost is $60. Call our Raleigh office for more information. The VIP session meets DWI requirements for all states that require it. It is beneficial for all who attend, including DWI offenders and interested others who may or may not have had a DWI. Pre-registration is required, so please call ahead: (919) 833-8899.

    Completion paperwork and reports are not final until all fees are paid. Payment can be made by insurance, check, cash, credit/debit card or money order.

    Contact the First Step facility closest to you today for more information.
    Raleigh: (919) 833-8899 Cary: (919) 651-8349 Garner: (919) 329-9400 Durham: (919) 419-0229

    We are in network health insurance companies at all our locations:
    Accepted Insurance programs.


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    Choosing outpatient substance abuse treatment

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  • Client Experiences

    I came to First Step for IOP immediately after completing a 28 day inpatient program at Father Martin's, Ashley. From the outset, I found the counselors and staff professional, approachable and genuinely interested in my recovery. I had not done an outpatient group program, but had hears stories from others about described as “ a

    Anonymous Raleigh Client

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