Substance Use Intensive Outpatient Treatment in North Carolina

Group therapy in session

We’re Here for You

First Step NC is a trusted alcohol and drug use rehab center, providing Substance Use Intensive Outpatient, outpatient and long term after-care counseling in the Triangle region of NC. First Step’s Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Programs (SAIOP or IOP) is a core program at all our locations. SAIOP, by definition, is an outpatient counseling group that meets for 3 hours, no fewer than 3 times per week.

First Step Services, LLC facilities are accredited by CARF (Commission for Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) and NCDHHS Licensed for all levels of outpatient treatment. All First Step facilities are in network with insurance companies and meet all standards of outpatient hospitals, including a Medical Director and psychiatry. First Step has provided Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient to communities of the Triangle since 2002.

Patients and clients typically attend IOP for 10 – 12 weeks, attending 3 times per week.  Intensive Outpatient Program groups are typically small with 8 – 12 participants per counselor. IOP group participants typically begin by attending 3 groups weekly. 

First Step’s IOP program relies on the power of the group therapy modality. Our IOP employs cognitive-behavioral and motivational enhancement therapeutic techniques. We focus on the progressive nature of addiction, honest self-disclosure, client-driven feedback, and “telling on the disease” of addiction.

Intensive Outpatient (IOP)

Variety of Week Day & Evening Programs across all our locations

Recovery in Action IOP

Recovery in Action IOP

Utilizes the stages of change model to focus on recovery protection & healthy coping skills. We use a wellness model centered on self-care, problem-solving & life skills that can be applied to daily life.

• Raleigh In-Person
• Mon, Tue & Thu (6 – 9 PM)

Together in Change IOP

Together in Change IOP

It allows for people at different stages of their recovery journey to come together. Focuses on breaking down the barriers & taking steps to change behaviors no longer serving us.

• Cary In-Person
• Mon, Tue & Thu (6 – 9 PM)

New Together in Change IOP Starting in 2024!

We are excited to announce a second Together in Change IOP program will be offered Monday, Tuesday, and Thursdays from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM

The expected start date of this program is January 20, 2024.

Creating Focus IOP

Creating Focus IOP

Focuses on stages of change & value-based decision-making skills. We provide education on the disease model of addiction and look at how we can create a focus in our lives.

• Raleigh In-Person
• Tue, Thu (6:30-9:30pm) & Sat (9am-12pm)

Rather than sticking to a strictly didactic formula, our alcohol and drug rehab centers employ creative experiential activities during group (River of Addiction, Trust Walk, art therapy exercises, small group interaction, brainstorming, etc.) to engage the client in a dynamic learning and support environment. At the heart of each session is the group therapy process. Patients are encouraged to openly share in a safe environment about their recovery achievements and pitfalls. Client feedback, questions, and interaction with each other are just as important as timely clinical feedback given by the counselors.

We provide a strong family program and encourage our clients to take advantage of it.  Our Intensive Outpatient Treatment programs feature regular family nights. Family involvement is a key component that improves outcomes for substance use treatment.  On Family Night, patients and family members attend a special multi-family session.  We encourage our patients to participate in individual family therapy sessions as a supplement to their treatment.  Family therapy sessions can further educate family members and help facilitate open communication to begin healing the family system. It is important for families and patients to understand that treatment and recovery is a long term process; “a marathon, not a sprint.”

What comes after SUD-IOP?

Continuing care or aftercare is recommended to help group members remain focused on recovery during life changes of early recovery. Clients who successfully complete group counseling may continue alumni aftercare for $5 per day with their same primary group and counselor. Some participants choose to “step down” to attending our long term structured 90-minute aftercare group one evening per week. Our goal is to help group members maintain the gains earned during the course of treatment. Research proves that the longer one remains in treatment the better the chances for long term recovery.

“My first initial impressions were good I honestly was nervous, just because everyone else seemed to know each other. After a few sessions I felt that those strangers were my family and I couldn’t wait to see them the days of our meeting. I learned that alcohol is a really major issue and that more should be done to help those who are addicted. I feel like those dealing with the addition do not have the same resources as others who may have something else. I also learned what it meant to be a “sponsor” and now I want to become one to help others out. I was also educated on many preventive measures and how alcohol addiction is very serious in my community. All in all I’m thankful for my new family I met here and the counselor’s for all their support.” Anonymous

Living in Recovery

Living in Recovery Maintenance & Professionals Program

Focuses on helping people live their best life! Emphasis is placed on peer accountability & individual recovery protection to help people live a fulfilling life in sustained recovery.

• Virtual
• Wed (6-7:30 pm)

First Step’s Professionals Program is confidential and private. Upon completion of primary outpatient care, we provide an open-ended Living in Recovery aftercare program. The Professionals Program aftercare groups are 90 minutes and meet on Wednesday evenings. Upon request and authorization, we will provide monitoring and reporting to professional boards, employers, or others as needed.  Reporting must be requested in writing. If not requested by the client in writing, confidentiality is strictly protected and no one is allowed access to treatment information.  Without written permission by the client, “we can’t confirm or deny” that the client has ever been to First Step.

Continue attending groups after graduation for $5 per day

Upon successful completion of recommended treatment, all group members are welcome to continue attending their group for $5 per day. Program graduates may attend as long as they remain abstinent.  This offer is for clients not requiring progress monitoring or another report to Boards, employers, courts, etc. Ongoing support is the best way to ensure long term recovery. Continuing care clients have remained active as long as 2-3 years after completing the initial recommended treatment.

First Step Services, LLC provides Intensive Outpatient and general outpatient aftercare for people completing and discharging from inpatient programs & hospitals across the country. With a comprehensive range of treatments and services, we aim to be the community’s first choice for drug and alcohol rehabilitation in the Triangle region of NC. We provide intensive outpatient group counseling, family counseling, individual counseling, and other services as needed. The goal is to provide people discharging from inpatient and residential facilities with continued treatment and recovery support while they transition back into community living; returning to work, to families and resuming a “normal” lifestyle after completing inpatient or hospitalization.  We provide this service at all our locations.

After completing “detox” and/or an inpatient treatment program from alcohol or drug use, the chances of lasting abstinence and recovery are greatly improved by completing an intensive outpatient for 2, 3 months or longer. Most hospitals and residential treatment centers recommend an intensive outpatient aftercare program.

“My first time in IOP, I was angry, scared, ashamed, tearful, and couldn’t see hope. I met my counselor and the group members and over the sessions, I started to change. I initially was having difficulty expressing my feelings. through the group, I have learned it is okay to feel my feelings. Group therapy has been very eye-opening for me. My life has improved as a direct result of this IOP. I learned it’s good to get help. I needed help, and I surrendered to my addiction. The counselors are caring and do a great job keeping the group focused. I appreciate everyone at First Step. The treatment has changed me because I can love myself again. I no longer feel tremendous shame and guilt. I am living in the present and truly enjoying my sober life.”

You may start at almost any time. Call First Step today and schedule an intake and orientation appointment. First Step is able to see clients within 24-48 hours and you can start at the next scheduled group if you choose. For those who aren’t sure which treatment program to choose, we are happy to assist with finding other treatment providers.


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Our self-pay rates will soon be updated. Please contact our staff for more information.