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    Client Experiences

    Cient Feedback & Experiences

    Experiences of First Step Services clients.

    Changed my views on life

    When I walked through the door I felt apprehensive about opening up to the group, however as I participated more I felt more comfortable and began to realize that I was not alone with my addiction. I learned that I do not need alcohol and can live without it. Coming to the meetings changed my views on life and made me realize what triggers set me off. I would like to thank the staff at First Step for being open minded and patient with me. Thank you so much Holly!

     

    Thankful that I invested in First Step

    I was brought to First Step as a result of a Domestic Violence charge from Tucson, AZ. I had a few beers that night and as a result I was court ordered to take an alcohol assessment. I received 30 hours of group and started in early July. I will admit that I was skeptical during the first session, but as time went on I realized that my time spent here was valuable education. I met a lot of good people, with many stories to tell. I even learned more about myself. I learned alcohol/ weed is not needed to enhance the joys of life and that without them, I made more responsible decisions. I appreciate all of the support Jesse/Tonya provided, and am thankful that I invested in First Step, I learned a lot.

     

    I have much more responsibility now

    “I was brought to First Step because of my second DWI. My sessions were mostly with Dennis as my counselor. Dennis is a great counselor and I believe it’s because of the way he runs group. He is great at making the individual see that only he/she can be the one to make the change, Self-Responsibility. I learned that I needed much more discipline. I have much more responsibility now and much more to lose based on the decisions I made/make. Self-Responsibility is key to any changes in my life I wish to make.”

     

    I really liked the counselors

    “I had to enroll in First Step because I got a DWI in 2011 for drinking and driving. I really liked the counselors because they help me understand that drinking is really bad for you and it can kill you and make you lose everything in your life that is important; the fact that they encouraged me to stay positive, and remain sober throughout this process and moving forward in my life. The people in the groups really made me realize that I could have it way worse so my situation is a learning experience. The thing that I learned about myself is that staying positive and don’t stress in life and don’t run from your problems because no matter what your problems are still going to be there when you come back to reality. This treatment changed me in a way that I’ll never forget. It really showed me that I can be a better person without drugs and alcohol, and no matter what stay positive through all situations.”

     

    Group has helped me

    When I attended my first group, I wasn’t sure how it would be useful to me especially since I did not view myself as someone with a “problem”. As group sessions progressed, I learned and realized that there are many different levels of problems resulting from alcohol addiction. I realized that lack of judgment and poor decision making were my biggest downfalls while under the influence. Group has helped me by teaching me better decision making skills and helping me pay attention and be aware of many consequences that can arise from bad judgment calls. The other thing that group has help me with is realizing that my situation, although personal to me, is not “unique”. This was accomplished through group discussions.  Anonymous

     

    Definitely helped me get through any situation

    “It showed me that at first I didn’t think I had a problem. The more classes I took made me realize I had a drinking problem. The classes help me realize on how to deal and get through my situation. The classes were informative. I learned a lot and it definitely helped me get through any situation.”

     

    I can grow as a productive member of society.

    “I came to First Step because of DWI’s. My first impression was that the counselors actually cared for the people who came in. During the course of attending group I learned more about relapse and relapse prevention. I also realized that I still harbor a few resentments that I still need to work on. I think treatment has helped me relook at my character defects and what I need to do so I can grow as a productive member of society.”

     

    I have been given the tools to help me grow and be the person “I” want to be

    “I came to First Step to complete the needed counseling for reinstatement of my license in R.I. At first I was angry because what I had done [prior to First Step] wasn't accepted [by the state of Rhode Island). After my first group I realized that I really could get something out of this. The topics that we spoke about really helped me to get a better understanding of what was ahead for me if I didn't get control of my life now. I also had to do 1:1 sessions that were required by RI DMV. I liked the 1:1 sessions because I felt comfortable talking about personal things that I hadn't wanted to share in group. I leave group now feeling that I have been given the tools to help me grow and be the person “I” want to be, not the person others want me to be. I am grateful to have come to a place that made me feel welcome and taught me so much about the addiction process and how to use alternative to keep me sober and happy.”

     

    I thought of it as something I had to do

    “On May 14, 2014 I got a DWI. My lawyer told me to come to First Step. I thought of it as something I had to do. My thoughts have changed about that. I have actually enjoyed these classes. Dennis has made me feel so comfortable about talking about myself. I learned a lot of stuff that I can use in all parts of my life. Thanks for the help!”

     

    Overall it was a great experience

    I came to First Step because the court ordered me to complete counseling and I really didn’t want to do it. When I first came here the counselors were very warming, understanding and helpful in a timely manner. The groups were completely different from my first impression. I thought it was going to be lectures of how things are bad and that I can’t do it, but it was more based on discussions of my experiences. The counselors were great and very open minded because everyone has a different situation. Overall it was a great experience; I would want to comeback but only to visit! Thanks Jess!

     

    I really felt like part of a family

    “Unfortunately, a DWI brought me to FSS. I started at the Cary location and transferred to Durham after a month. Both locations were a learning experience for me and aided me with what I needed. I really felt like part of a family at the Durham location. The meetings were catered to us. We could talk about whatever was on our mind. I really enjoyed this part of the program. The counselors gave great feedback that we could proactive in our every day lives. I learned different strategies for communication, stress relief, relaxation, staying clean/sober and all around great life tips. This is a great program and has really helped me change my life and habits. Also, helped financially due to all the money I will save on dumb things like alcohol and drugs. Thank you all!!”

     

    I needed an intervention

    I needed an intervention of sorts to get me back on track. First Step helped me explore and decipher into the reasons why I wanted to “numb out” to avoid pain from various areas in my life….. Both external and internal the length of time “sober” has been a wonderful accomplishment! I’m happy to know that I have strengths to tap into. I want to continue to be a “learner” and develop better communication skills…. Listening/Speaking etc. I’m thankful for the insights gained through the First Step staff’s efforts on my behalf.

     

    I ask myself; who am I? What do I stand for?

    I was brought to First Step after a DUI. I thought this was an educational class that would teach me about the effects of drinking and the consequences of driving while intoxicated. My initial impression at my first group was that everyone must have already been there for months because everyone seemed to be so open and honest with each other. After my second or third group I realized I was starting to become one of those open and honest people. I’ve learned a lot about myself, mostly that I’m not alone, in so many different ways. The counselors in this group brought together people with a common problem and helped them dig deeper to solve this problem. No one and no person can solve this problem for me. This treatment helped me understand that I control my future, regardless of how I’ve effected my past. Every decision I make will and has molded the person I am today, so leaving, I ask myself; who am I? What do I stand for? Where do I see myself in a year, five years, or even tomorrow? I have a new insight to my future.

     

    You always feel welcomed

    “I came to First Step due to several DWI’s. After losing my father and brother over the past couple of years. I had started drinking more. Mainly when I went out or around people; I’m thankful for First Step for helping me find and maintain my “shut off” valve. Today is 11-13-14 and I have not drunk since 5-23-14. First Step has helped me believe in my choices and grow as a human being. I was nervous the first class. But quickly felt at home each group showed respect for one another and for each of our own situation. You always feel welcomed and that promotes a great platform to move ahead. Thank you Ms. Lyons and Ms. Kirby for taking the time to help us all out.”

     

    Counselors really care about what happens

    “What brought me-DWI, my poor choices

    -Initial impressions-counselors really care about what happens to the individuals here./Group –informative-listening to others got my mind feeling as to what path I’m on and which one I’m going to choose.

    -What was most helpful-hearing others like me, who have given further than I have

    -What I learned about self-I still have a lot of work to do –plan on taking further action to stay sober also quit smoking cigarettes - I don’t know if treatment changed me – definitely got me looking in the right direction. I want to leave the past in the past and not repeat my errors. Thank you for all your support and I will return for groups in the future!!” Anonymous

    Didn’t know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised. Questions on the work sheets were eye opening and thought provoking. All staff was sensitive, I spoke to Glenn and a female member in North Raleigh whose name I can’t remember. (Jessica?)

     

     

    Thanks for the support

    My first impression of group was that I was in a room full of the same type of people as me. In fact I am the same as many, but, different than them all as well. I have met some really great enlightening people, people who share the same walks of life, passions, and ambitions as I do. I have learned a lot from the counselors, but at the same time I feel like I have been able to teach in a non-purposeful manner. I feel like it’s a good way to vent, release, and get rid of the weekly stresses and temptations. I have been directly affected in more ways than I am able to explain. Thanks for the support, and I appreciate what each of you has done for me.

     

    Not just construction workers

    When I first came to the meetings, I was not really into the sitting around a room talking about my past as drinking and drugs go. Then as a few more I see it’s not just construction workers or the like in these troubles. Many I would not think as having problems cooks and office executive’s even people in hospital care. The most that I see as a real thing for all there is a need mostly to better themselves as seen in their eyes. Some on family night brought someone that told of not knowing until it was too late. Then the law is involved with tickets and court. Some seem to tell stories made up just to get through the class. I myself have learned while not taking my pill every night does cause troubles everywhere I may be at. Plans to stay within the law and mellow.

     

    I thought this was going to be nothing but a waste of time

    “I was referred to First Step by the courts of VA on a BAC refusal. At first I thought this was going to be nothing but a waste of time. I was initially a bit of an introvert, but by the end of my treatment I was participating in the group discussions. I learned more than I thought I would about alcoholism and addiction. I now know these are serious problems and can be solved by proper clinical help. During my time at First Step I have remained alcohol and substance free and I could not have done that without the help I received from First Step. I would highly recommend First Step to anyone who is even slightly considering group help.”

     

    Helped me change my attitude

    My DWI classes have helped me change my attitude towards appreciating life. Bill and Joanne have been very supportive and caring and I appreciate the counsel and advise they offer. Everyone was helpful and always willing to listen to anything I had to say. The classes have shown me that I do need to change some aspects of my life in order to live it to the fullest extent without endangering anyone. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to meet new people although I wish it would be under different circumstances. I look forward towards this new journey in life and will forever be grateful for the advice I’ve been given.

     

    Learned how to avoid many difficult situations

    Initially I was nervous and annoyed that I had to come to First Step. I didn’t think I would be able to make it to 40hours. After the first couple sessions I quickly changed my mind. I began learning a lot and learned how to avoid many difficult situations. Hearing others was most beneficial. I learned that by putting yourself in a state where you are unable to make the right decisions you most likely won’t and things can change in an instant. To avoid being put in a difficult situation I must have to be in the correct state of mind so that nothing can cloud my judgment. I appreciate all that you two have done for me as well as the entire group.

     

    Didn’t feel my old lifestyle was suitable anymore

    I initially started these groups with a hard head; stuck in the mindset that this was just one more thing I had to get out of the way to get back to my life. After about 4 or 5 sessions I started to realize I had no life worth getting back to. I wasn’t depressed by any means just didn’t feel my old lifestyle was suitable anymore. I stopped using substances a while ago; this [group] helped me more so in dealing with having to do things you don’t want to without zoning out, and actively participating.

     

    I had no idea what to expect

    Just like a lot of people, I came to First Step Services because of a DWI. I had no idea what to expect, and to be honest there were some people who weren’t taking group seriously. However, the longer I came, the more I enjoyed it. I really made strong connections with other group members, and I hope to stay in with aftercare. I learned a lot about myself in this room, as well as other people. I think that the most valuable thing I gained here was learning how to open my eyes and see things more clearly – I have met so many people here I would never have met otherwise, and they surprised me in such a positive ways. I also learned that recovery is a long process – I’m not going to be “fixed” of all my substance abuse in a month or a year; it’s a constant work in progress, but First Step has definitely helped me get on the right track, and for that I am so grateful.

     

    Our past is not what defines us

    I think First Step is a great place for people to be open with each other and learn and grow together with a new dependence on technology, it’s a rare thing to see total strangers talking with, and laughing with one another. A stupid decision a few years ago is what eventually brought me here. My first impression of group was that it was a place where you can truly be open about your personal life and not be afraid of being judged or laughed at. Jesse and Tonya initially seemed a little tough on some of the people in group but I’ve came to see that they’re really only trying to help everyone be open. I’ve learned that no matter the mistakes we make the possibilities for our future are endless and our past is not what defines us, but our actions today. Treatment has shown me that I’m not the only one who has messed up, and that it’s not the end of the world, which has really helped me.

     

    A warm and nurturing environment

    I came to First Step as a result of a DWI. Upon entry, I experienced a warm and nurturing recovery environment. The counselors and group were very accepting and open. My participation in group activities allowed me to open up and share my experiences, and attain my treatment goals. This has been a very positive experience for me, and I am glad that I have had t5he opportunity to be involved with such a positive program, filled with people who genuinely care.

     

    Trouble at school

    I came into this program after getting in trouble at school. My first day of coming in I picked a nice seat in the corner, crossed my arms and tried to be invisible. I didn’t think this program would help me in any way, shape, or form. I just wanted to go through the motions and be done with it. After listening to people for a while and seeing how well they treated each other and how much fun they were having while being sober. I caught myself starting to actually listen to what people were saying appose to just hearing the words. I started to relate to the experiences that were being shared and I caught myself actually sharing myself. As the weeks trailed on I actually became friends with quite a few of the people there. I actually started looking forward to going to these meetings I had once dreaded. My family and friends started noticing positive changes in me shortly after that and, honestly, I did too not just in my personality but how I felt as well. If you come into this program with an open mind you will be amazed at what it can do for you.

     

    Group was always friendly

    Holly and Kylee were outstanding in the way that they ran the group. The topics were always excellent choices and focus on building up ourselves so that we didn’t need the dependence on substance. Everyone in the group was always friendly and open and I learned a lot that will help me in the future. I came in originally angry and stubborn and am leaving more mellow and open-minded to things and am willing to take responsibility for my actions now instead of making excuses or blaming situations.

     

    I am so glad I chose First Step for my Assessment

    At first one DUI brought me here with 30 hours of treatment in a low level group. After attending this group and observing behavior of the other people in the group being obnoxious and cracking jokes with the counselors not having control over the group. I expressed how I felt suicidal and these groups were making me want to drink MORE than when I started then. There was no real concern here or reaching out for help as to what I could or should do and that night I went out and got my second DUI.

    I then got a second assessment and moved up to IOP with Bill & Joann, the atmosphere was very different and the attitudes of people were more serious about their recovery and we stuck to the curriculum, and if we ever got off track Bill & Joann would interfere. After a few sessions of IOP I had a new look on recovery and felt it was possible because as others graduated, I know I could do it to.

    All in all I am so glad I chose First Step for my Assessment, it truly has been worth the money and I will keep coming back! I would also like to thank Bill & Joann for always letting me address my issues and have their feedback as well as the groups.

     

    I had no intention of staying clean

    I came to First Step to fulfill the terms of my probation with the idea that I could still use as long as I didn’t test positive. I had no intention of staying clean. After I tried to stop using on my own to avoid positive drug screens, I experienced a harsh reality of not being able to stop. I am glad I was enrolled here because it gave me accountability until I wanted to actually stop using. When I became willing, group was a place I could share about my problems and feel genuine care from other members. Holly was excellent at pushing me to participate and making me feel an important member of the group. If there was one thing I could change it would be to have each group member tell their story on their second session. We did this at a treatment center and I know for me, it made me feel exponentially more comfortable.

     

    Initially I was really shy

    This was quite an interesting experience earlier on and I have never done anything like this in the past. Initially I was really shy and have come to the conclusion that I am more of an intranet than an extravert. The counselors were nice, informative, additionally; I was unaware of how many people get DWI’s, I was also interest to hear the stories of so many different people and walks of life. Some were very sad and really tugged on my heart strings; overall I believe this has helped me become a better overall person.

     

    First Step has been great

    First Step has been great. I not only learned more about myself but others as well. The service here that was provided was better than I had expected. Jessi and Tonya were great group leaders and very nice. My first thought before coming was I thought that it would be more of a class and it wasn’t that at all. Which I think helped me open up more.

     

    I didn’t take group as seriously

    When I first came to First Step I can say I didn’t believe what I had gotten myself into. I was in the group for my substance abuse of marijuana. There was a point where I didn’t take group as seriously as I should as a result I was made to take extra group sessions for my actions. I understood that if I ever wanted to exit group successfully I had to step up and do what I had to do. Thanks to the help of Ms. Cynthia Lyons and Ms. Phyllis Kirby for helping me in my path to stay abstinent even though I had a rocky road that I started from. I also thank them for believing I could abstain from mood altering substances even when I thought I couldn’t.

     

    I deal with a dual diagnosis

    The counselors and the group recognized I deal with a dual diagnosis and provided the support I need to recover. The genuine concern I received from the counselors and the group has helped me identify the issues and then work on overcoming them. As I continue healing by participating in group and seeing Holly for individual counseling.

     

    Now I am back on track

    I came to First Step because I got a refusal charge the night of my DUI. My initial impression of group was a mystery. I didn’t know what to expect, but I wanted to keep an open mind about my time here. What helped me the most was hearing of success stories and being held accountable to be abstinent. I learned that my life doesn’t have to about going out every weekend and having drinks. I feel proud of myself that now I am back on track. Thank you, Phyllis and Cynthia and everyone in group for making this a positive experience.

     

    Learned about my values, triggers

    When I first began group I was honestly dreading coming and thought I didn’t have a problem. The truth is, if I didn’t have a problem I wouldn’t have been here. I’ve really enjoyed being able to hear everyone’s stories and learn from others experiences and my own. Jessie and Tonya have helped me think about things I’ve never sat down and thought about myself. I’ve learned about my values, triggers that make me want to drink, coping strategies and so much more. I look forward to taking what I’ve learned and gained in group and using it to stay positive and try to achieve my goals.

     

    I really liked the counselors and the group members

    "I really liked the counselors and the group members because they really made me open up as an individual and learn a lot about myself. I think talking and hearing other peoples mistakes also helped because now I will make sure I make “grown up” decisions when I drink alcohol. The counselors taught a lot of information about alcohol abuse and the affects on your body from it.”

     

    Definitely helped me

    Holly Hill suggested that I have a plan of action when I left Detox (I had been there 30 times) I finally took their suggestion I also moved into the Oxford house & started working the 12 steps. First step help me stay focused on what was in front of me and my recovery. Through working the 12 steps with a sponsor and seeing the things I really needed to work on. I was able to bring those things to First step services and get a lot of awesome suggestions. The counselors get down on your level and actually show compassion and understanding it has definitely helped me in my recovery.

     

    I learned to make better decisions

    “I was brought here to First Step because of a bad decision I made three years ago. I got a DUI on New Year’s night. I have been through this class before and I think it is a great class. I especially liked the teachers; I even had a day when it was just me and Glen. We held class as usual, and it was nice to share some of my life and issues with him. I also enjoyed the videos we watched that were very informative. The one video with Father Bill I liked very much. About myself I learned to make better decisions I still have a rough road without my licenses, but I will carry on and better myself one day at a time. Thank you for the opportunity to listen and learn. I hope to NEVER have to go through this class again though!”

     

    I leave here feeling better

    When I first started First Step I wasn’t sure what to expect. I really do appreciate everything I have learned. I leave here feeling better, more energetic. The most helpful thing was being open and hearing how others can relate to you, realizing that you’re not alone makes it easier, not as tense to what to open up because there is no judgment. Treatment has changed me in ways I didn’t think it would. I am healthier, I go to the gym more, my home is more organized. My lifestyle has changed, who I surround myself by. I realized I don’t need to go downtown just to have a good time.

     

    First day, I was terrified

    I came to First Step because of a DWI. I was dreading to attend this group; my boyfriend had to actually keep pushing me to go. First day, I was terrified; I thought it was going to be a bunch of losers and just weird. The first group was very different than expected. Everybody was very nice and normal! We acted out our own commercials and it was not what I was expecting at all. Since I have been to group, I have learned that not everything revolves around alcohol, like hanging out with friends or having fun playing a game, or coping with a negative emotion. I never realized that I had a problem until I attended this group and I am very thankful for that. I’m thankful knowing that I don’t have to turn to alcohol to have fun or make myself feel better.

     

    Depression and alcoholism

    Though WTC (Wilmington Treatment Center) put me on the right track to deal with my alcoholism, the treatment didn’t go beyond that to help me deal with my depression. When I came to First Step I had to deal with my depression and alcoholism.

     

    First Step was Awesome

    First Step was Awesome! This is the third treatment center I’ve been to and was by far the best. First Step doesn’t try to shove anything down your throat; they leave information on the table and allow you to take it yourself. I think that helps people open up. Neither Cynthia nor Phyllis views us as people with problems but people who have messed up somehow and they try to keep you from making the same mistake. The best part about Phyllis and Cynthia is that they relate to people in their own way. Most places I’ve been every counselor says they’ve had a DUI or drinking tickets, they basically say anything to try and relate to you and in some cases it’s easy to know they’re lying. Cynthia relates to us with her dieting struggles, he struggles are true and it is easy to relate. Group was also fun which helps a TON!!!

     

    I had a change of heart

    Well when I first came to First Step my initial thought was this is some Bull xxxxx. I felt it was Just a way to make money. I was angry disappointed in myself and very anxious to get through with everything. About half way through my groups I had a change of heart when I met the inspirational speakers and saw the effects that were done on their lives. It was an eye opener and I realize how important it is for some sobriety. I spoke with a man whose addiction impacted someone else’s life and now he is clean and I see the struggle he faces day to day to stay clean. This program is very important and I learned that I don’t have to be a part of a inner circle I can be alone and it is OK. I really appreciated the counselors for being so understanding and polite throughout my experience here at First Step.

     

    Helped me gain perspective on my situation

    “I enrolled in First Step for my DWI. I felt the group classes really helped. They helped me gain perspective on my situation and made me realize that I did not need to waste my opportunities making bad decisions. Also, there were times when the peers were insightful and could relate to the situation that I was going through. Dharma was a great counselor that was very involved and knowledgeable. I feel he handled group very well and let the class flow when it needed to, but not letting it get too far off topic. Overall, the class was very helpful. There was a lot of knowledge gained from this experience. I have now been convicted and am on my way to finishing my sentencing. Thank you and good luck to all the group mates and Dharma.”

     

    I can’t say my time at First Step was wasted.

    “I can’t say my time at First Step was wasted. I learned a lot of positive steps to take in decision making. To look at whom I may harm due to being careless. The faculty at First Step is always kind and for the most part like to have fun which is a great balance. In my eyes it is really welcoming. They are concerned with your health, but you can hear a hint of doubt in their voices, and I’m sure it may be due to the fact that they see a lot of repeat offenders. I can’t blame them, I respect people that facilitate these groups cause it’s probably nerve racking trying to help some people if all they’re going to do is relapse. But I guess that’s my view. All in all my time at First Step has been good because it’s a lesson and everyday spent learning is a good day!”

     

    First Step has been a very good program for me

    First Step has been a very good program for me since I am further in my Recovery than most people here. It has helped me refocus my efforts and I have learned new techniques to handle situations that arise. It has been a great partnership with my AA group as it has reminded me of where I was, where I am and where I want to be. Both Tonya and Jessica made these groups interesting and brought out the Feelings and Hopes of all group members in a safe environment. Thank you both.

     

    When I first started with this treatment

    I came to First Step because I received a DWI in December. My lawyer recommended I take this treatment because I would have to because of court. When I first started with this treatment I was hesitant like I have been through something like this for a past DWI and it was all videos of deaths caused from drinking and driving. This was so different though. Jessie/Bill were very energetic counselors and made these groups interesting to attend. We learned about alcoholism and addiction and ways to cope. I would recommend this group to anyone who needs it.

     

    I resented coming here

    In January, I came to First Step after completing 30 days at an inpatient facility in VA following my second DUI. At first, I resented coming here, but I grew to like it. I received helpful feedback on a weekly basis about my recovery and the counselors were readily available to talk any time. I learned that I am quick to get frustrated and disengaged, but I also learned how to stay engaged and ask for help when I need it.

     

    My experience at the program was entirely positive

    “My experience at the program was entirely positive. The counselor was very positive and courteous towards all. I came to complete the course outlined in a DWI assessment. There was one particular personality in the class that was extremely disruptive and attention seeking, but I do believe that the positive atmosphere bred by the counselor allowed us to deal with her courteously and without hindering the recovery of the group members. It is a part of the recovery process to be around such personalities and to be able to work through difficulties.”

     

    I’m going to come back on Monday’s

    Actually First Step was a great experience. I’m not going to stop coming; I’m going to come back on Monday’s. I really learned in group things about myself that I really couldn’t see. I learned that if you be honest with yourself first and accept responsibility for your actions; to learn from your mistakes and don’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again and to always stay open minded. Think about what you’re going to lose before you pick up. Think about other people you would affect before you use. I also learned that we are somebody no matter what our circumstances may be. Thank you Jessie you are a great counselor and I really hope that your job not stay at one level hope you prosper and be great in your line of work.

     

    Age 18, I was able to learn and listen to other people’s experiences.

    When I entered the group I was in the mindset of do it because you have to. As I progressed through my treatment, I heard other people’s stories, and shared my own. My eyes were opened to the real world. Being so young (age 18), I was able to learn and listen to other people’s experiences. I was able to learn from the things that people have experienced. For myself, I was able to learn about what my values and goals are. I was able to make priorities of what is important to me. I was able to better my decision-making skills. Lastly, I learned how my decisions affect other people and not just myself. Thank you Ms. Cynthia and Ms. Phyllis.

     

    What brought me to First Step program was a weed charge

    “What brought me to First Step program was a weed charge that happen bout 1 year ago in my home town park. My intial impression of group was that I was about to be in group with a whole lot of drunks and possible learn nothing but really through me a twist and learned a lot and learned from my mistakes most helpful was staying sober realizing my triggers knowing I was addicted. Knowing my future is ahead of me all I have to do is grasp it. Tonya was the best teacher I had.”

     

    I started to believe in myself again

    I ended up at First Step after I was given a choice by my family to get help or they were going to give up on me. My initial thoughts about the counselors were that I didn’t think they knew enough about my problem to help me. I was very wrong about that. I was also scared that I was not going to be able to do this and succeed. Again I was wrong. I slowly changed my way of thinking. I started to learn that the strong will I used to have begun to return over time. As time went on I started to believe in myself again. This program gave me the tools and support to get there. This program has helped me get my life back in order. For that I thank everyone at First Step.

     

    They were warm and caring professionals

    “Well, I was initially introduced to First Step services by my attorney for a DWI case so my initial involvement was involuntary. My initial reaction to the staff was they were warm and caring professionals. I was particularly attracted to the counselor Dharma’s style of addressing people. I thought his style would become less caring as time went on, but he remained consistent and I appreciated that about him. Then as my group started and I met Randee and found her energy as warm and comforting as Dharma. I particular appreciate the manners by the counselors. I truly had a wonderful time in my group. I would recommend FSS to others.”

     

    Staff was personable, helpful and did a great job

    I came to First Step after being arrested for a DWI. Upon first attending group, I was apprehensive and nervous. By the end of the check-in my first group these feelings were gone. I found it much easier to cope with the hard times ahead and to stop felling guilty and disappointed with myself. Treatment at First Step helped me to realize how I can get through my issues and use many different means to recover. I also learned about my triggers and how they can be avoided. In all, I am happy that I had the sessions and services available to me during my hard times. All of the staff was personable, helpful and did a great job making me feel comfortable being in group.

     

    I had no idea what group would be like

    When I first got to First Step for my initial assessment, I had no idea what group would be like. After attending the first group I was very intimidated. I felt uncomfortable telling a group of people that I had a problem for so long. By the time the second group came I made a decision that I was going to be truthful and honest about my problem with alcohol. Since then I have been completely honest with my support group in my personal life. I am proud to say that my life has been so much more meaningful and special. I am proud to say I have not had a drink of alcohol for 80 days and plan on keeping that streak going. Thanks so much for all your support First Step. Jessi and Tonya truly supported me and were both a main component on helping me become a better person.

     

    My entire life has changed

    A DWI brought me to FS and since than my entire life has changed. I have had to set goals for myself and take life one step at a time. I have met many of my goals at FS including buying a house. First step has given me the opportunity to come somewhere and really open up and feel comfortable about it. I have been clean since Aug 16th 2013 and having somewhere to go 2x a week with no temptation has been very helpful. I am grateful for the counselors and the group that have shared this journey with me.

     

    I have been internally confronting my battle with denial

    I approached group with this idea that I’d be a normal person amongst a bunch of weathered alcoholics. Upon listening to other people, perspectives and stories, none of which in my opinion are categorized that way – I encountered a lot of self-reflection in a light I’d never seen before. I’ve realized a lot of what makes my drinking a problem and are the reasons why what Jessie calls “triggers”; anxiety. This has been the source of my teenage drug use, as well as multiple personal problems and group has inspired me to take action and address it. Yes, I expected the subject matter to be repetitive and at no point was a topic repeated without necessary elaboration. The stories of my peers were so diverse it was inspiring to realize that people resort to the same means of copings despite the difference in background, but we are all capable of alternative means of coping. I love that my last class addressed “denial” because I have been internally confronting my battle with denial throughout my experience here.

     

    Extremely helpful

    The counselors at First Step have been extremely helpful. They seem to genuinely believe in the cause and seem to know who they are talking to. Looking inward and getting to know yourself and checking in on yourself and your motives for doing things is helpful and these groups give you tips to do that.

     

    Very nice and helpful

    I was brought to First Step by a DWI. First and foremost I would like to thank my counselors, Ms. Cynthia and Ms. Phyllis for everything. You ladies have been very nice and helpful with my treatment. You always answered questions willingly and thoughtfully. This program has helped me see that I’m not alone in this struggle of addiction. Group is an army of me. What has helped me the most is to sit back and listen to what others have to say. I take what others say in and make relations to it whether it is a positive or negative outlook. As far as coming back; a lesson lived is a lesson learned.

     

    Simple possession of marijuana

    “I was brought to First Step for simple possession of marijuana. My initial impression of the counselors and group were resentful and apathetic, respectively. While the group’s focus was clearly directed toward driving while impaired and its perpetrators, because of this I gained a valuable repertoire of knowledge and skills to avoid making that same mistake. The advancement of my attitude toward smoking marijuana came largely from within, however. While I still possess and “activist’s mindset,” in that I still disagree fundamentally with marijuana prohibition, it became clear to me that I cannot continue to use marijuana for a myriad of reasons. It would endanger my schooling, which is of upmost importance to me, and if my (very) troubled sister in her early teens found out, what might follow could be catastrophic. It may have been a pain to attend three-hour sessions two evenings a week but I cannot argue that it was not good for me.”

     

    THANK YOU!!

    “I came to First Step for two DWI’s that I had got so that I can get my license back. When I first came to FSS, I was kind of nervous but that went away very quickly. Everyone was so nice and welcoming. It made me feel right at home. The counselors (Randy & Sheila) are very nice and right away I could tell that they truly care. It felt good to come into group and be able to open up and talk about things with people who were in the same and very similar situations as me. It was also very helpful to be able to hear their stories. Treatment has taught me how to set goals and have a plan for a healthy sober lifestyle. I am so happy to be finishing with this program and getting this all behind me, but I am truly going to miss the counselors and the people of FSS. I would recommend this company to any one in need of substance abuse treatment. THANK YOU!!”

     

    A very calm and peaceful setting

    I came to First Step Treatment to complete the recommended treatment from a DWI assessment that I had here. My initial impressions of the counselors were that everybody was very nice and open about their thoughts. It was a very calm and peaceful setting that made me feel comfortable even though I was nervous to be at my first meeting. The most helpful thin that I learned was that it seemed like there were a lot of people in similar situations that I was in. I learned not to be so hard on myself, because recovering from my mistakes was a very healthy and realistic goal to set for myself. I learned a lot of helpful ways to deal with stressful situations, even ones that did not directly relate to the reasons I was in treatment, but regardless they have helped me grow as a person overall.

     

    Great place to come to

    First Step is a great place to come to; to receive an assessment and treatment. The group sessions were very helpful in understanding the problems that arise from the substance abuse. The entire staff was very understanding and helpful. I would highly recommend First Step to anyone.

     

    Treatment has been extremely beneficial

    This treatment has been extremely beneficial for me. I’ve been to therapy many times and these group sessions have gone beyond my expectations. Tonya and Jessie made group a fun and safe place to be vulnerable and honest with myself about my addiction. The activities we did really made the group - dig deep, and engage in positive conversation around recovery.

     

    Grateful to all my counselors

    My reason for coming to First Step is due to my May 3rd DUI. Before my DUI, I was NOT happy and unsure about how I wanted to live my life. Before May 3rd I was depressed, worried, staying out all night, sleeping all day, and not an active member of my family or the world. Now since my DUI I feel like I have a new view and feeling on life. I value my family, my friends, and the air I breathe. I look at my DUI as a good thing; a second chance. My treatment here at First Step has been that of support and caring. I am very grateful to all of my counselors here at First Step. My counselors have supported me in bettering my foundation to strive. The information I learned from my 16-hour ADETS class has really given me the information I need to make informative decision about drinking. Coming to group has showed me that I am not alone and that we are all in it together. After all the time, after all the money, and after all the heart ache; I am grateful for my DUI! My DUI saved my life!

     

    I was kind of taking it as a joke

    When I first came to group I was kind of taking it as a joke. It was just something that I had to do for court. I never really planned on stop drinking while I was driving, but after the first group I really started getting insight into my life. By the second group I started realizing how much of my life I had wasted by drinking. So after the second group I stopped drinking cold turkey. Thanks to the counselors and the rest of the group members, and me being sober, I got so much insight into my life that I realized how much faster I can progress and be successful in my life without drinking. I learned that with me alcohol was just a tool to help me be entertained while doing nothing. When you’re doing nothing you’re not progressing and just wasting time out of your life.

     

    I drank alcohol almost every evening

    I enjoyed my time here at First Step Services. I thought that the counselors were extremely helpful and supportive. Before I entered the program, I drank alcohol almost every evening, and the program enabled me to reflect on that decision. After abstaining from using alcohol for some time, I thought about my abuse and how it was negatively affecting my life. I found that when I stopped drinking, I felt overall that I had more energy and felt as if I didn’t have anything hindering myself. I also continued my abstinence from marijuana use, as I had not used for months prior to the program. Although I hadn’t used for a long time anyway, I successfully continued my abstinence, which I am very proud of. Overall I really enjoyed my time at First Step and took away lessons that I will use for the rest of my life.

     

    I was made to feel relaxed

    My initial impressions of the counselors were good. My assessment counselor was not very pushy and I was made to feel relaxed. During group the counselors made group enjoyable for most of the group members. What I thought was most helpful was hearing the group members stories and their issues. I learned that there are others with more issues than I have. I also learned I was not alone with mistakes I have made in my life. Treatment has changed me to realize that we are all human and that we make mistakes. If we learn from our mistakes, we can move past the present to the future. I know treatment has made it easier to talk about my feelings. Most everyone in group was friendly to including the counselors. I had a great experience here at First Step and I thank everyone that has helped me through this process.

     

    My whole experience with First Step has been great

    “My whole experience with First Step has been great. The groups were for more fun and helpful then I first thought they would be. They are similar to AA but are more intimate. Dennis is a fantastic counselor. He has a great attitude, sense of humor, and desire to help. His ability to relate on a personal level greatly helps him connect with everyone. Glenn was also an excellent counselor who very clearly cared a great deal about everyone he worked with.”

     

    all the staff sincerely wanted to help people

    “My impression of First Step is that the counselors and all the staff sincerely wanted to help people. I learned the reality on the impact of death that DWI causes. I always knew but hearing people actually impacted took it to another level. It made me realize that there are many positive ways to manage stress and that opening up to people helps. I learned that there are ways to work through DWI matters and I don’t have to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders by myself. There are resources to help with the transition process.”

     

    Initially I was very upset that I was required to be here

    “Initially I was very upset that I was required to be here, especially at such a great cost. I am worked through most of the things we discuss and go over in group on my own and with my family but group provided space to help me streamline and clarify my goals and self-expectations. I’m still and will be happy about my situation when I came here or the cost but I feel that for many people, especially immediately after whatever brings them here, and helps them sympathize and empathize with others in their situation, which can be very hard if most of their friends use.”

     

    First Step was awesome

    “First Step was awesome. I had to come due to my poor decision making of driving while impaired. As I first came and had my assessment I thought this was the most stupidest thing they had me doing. After entering into group setting I felt different. I felt I wasn't alone we all make dumb choices. Because I was not alone I was easily able to open up and become part of the group. Group has made me realize that it is nothing wrong with being sober from drug and alcohol substances. This group has been an eye opener for me and has been a part of my growing and development of life. After coming to this group I will remain drug and alcohol free because it makes me feel good. I have learned from group that you have to surround yourself around positivity if you want positivity to exist. I thank each and every one that has impacted my life at First Step.”

     

    Today I just feel so good about myself

    “I was placed in this program for a DWI that should not have happened in the first place but now I know that I did have a problem with alcohol and if I could turn back the hands of time I would do it different and that means that I wouldn’t of have been driving while drinking at all. I have completed my program and it feels so good because this program has taught me a lot and I’ve learned a lot by coming here and listening to people share and doing the work that today I don’t need alcohol to have fun or live my life and today I just feel so good about myself and I can also share and help another soul from going through what I’ve experienced so I thank this program for bettering me in all aspects of my life and I will continue to sustain from drinking alcohol. So thanks to First Step and their team Dennis and Glenn you guys are awesome.”

     

    Treatment has changed me in a better way

    My treatment was court and DMV mandated, but I talk to a few counseling centers before I decided to follow through with First Step. From the beginning I loved how accommodation everyone has been. Of course, I waited until the end to complete everything, but you all got me in for my assessment ASAP and I started group that week. Everyone has been so helpful with my treatment. The interactions in group have been the most helpful because hearing everyone else’s struggles made me realize that I’m not alone in this recovery. I have learned a lot about myself and what lead up to my situation that got me here. It’s helpful to understand why before getting full recovery. I since have gotten rid of those negative influences. Treatment has changed me in a better way because I want to have a better life and make my parents and family happy.

     

    Wake-up call

    I came to First Step after being convicted of my second DWI as I needed treatment to be able to get my license reinstated. Fortunately I had quit drinking about a year and a half before coming to First Step after having met up with an old drinking buddy I hadn’t seen in eight years. He had destroyed his liver and kidneys from the heavy drinking we did. That was my ‘wake-up call’ that I had to stop that behavior or I would wind up like him. I made a point not to treat First Step as something I had to just go through the motions of. I believe in life we should capitalize on opportunities and I viewed First Step as an opportunity to learn from my counselors, who did a great job of keeping group fun and positive; and to learn from, perhaps teach something to my peers in the group. I feel like I accomplished both.

     

    I realized it was positive

    I was referred to First Step after a DWI. At first I thought of it as just another form of punishment, another box I had to check. From my first group, I realized it was something positive that I could use to better myself. I enjoyed going to group because I was able to spend time with and learn from other people who were in a similar situation as me. Hearing people’s stories, not just about the incidents that brought them to First Step but the stories of life in dealing with alcoholics and users were all truly humbling. It has given me a greater appreciation and a deeper meaning to staying sober. I am thankful for having taken part in the program.

     

    Better understanding why I drink

    I came to First Step because I was arrested for being on someone’s private property when I was blacked out. Treatment has been extremely helpful in better understanding why I drink (i.e. triggers) and ways in which I can deal with my triggers. Interacting with others in similar situations made me feel extremely comfortable showing my story and working toward improving myself. Jessie and Tonya were extremely supportive and helped me get the best I could out of group. I’ve come to better understand myself and my alcohol use and am now working towards making changes in my life. I can’t thank them enough for helping me and guiding me along the way!

     

    I was pleasantly surprised

    “I began attending First Step after receiving a DWI. I was evaluated and was required to take 30 hours. I was pleasantly surprised about the friendliness and openness of the group. The group members were very supportive and it was helpful to hear what everyone had been through and ideas to improve. The counselors were very friendly and supportive. They seemed to be knowledgeable about the topics. Overall, it was a positive experience.”

     

    A commitment to yourself first and foremost

    “Initially I believed the program to be somewhat rigid and worksheet driven. It was not the most exciting three hours every other weekday, however, the information and advice was useful. Once Dharma took over, the group shifted substantially toward an open forum format. Though initially an open platform was described and often hoped for by the counselors, participation was at a minimum when handouts/worksheets fueled our discussions. Once group members started opening up, treatment seemed to spring to life! The personal narratives, both accidental and instructional, the faces and personalities with whom they belonged in where the strength of treatments such as First Step thrives. A commitment to yourself first and foremost is built upon a network of hope with those whom are steady participants in treatment.”

     

    My apprehension was quickly turned to comfort

    I came to group as a part of my DWI process. When I initially heard about having to attend group sessions I had mixed feelings of which most were not positive. I judged without ever knowing or hearing about the experiences of others while having to attend group. My apprehension was quickly turned to comfort due to the open environment of the group. The ease that I felt when expressing my story and feelings were as if I was speaking with my family and close friends. During the past month and a half I have learned a vast amount about myself from identifying what drives me to drink who I can count on in rough times, what alternatives there are to drinking and how important family and friends are. I will continue to learn from my lack of judgment that resulted in my arrest for DWI and if I decide to partake in consuming any alcohol, I will not put myself or anyone in danger by getting behind the wheel. During this time I have not had the desire to drink and will continue to use this experience as motivation to abstain from alcohol.

     

    I thank you First Step Services

    “I have been drinking and driving in which I caught a DWI in which led me to First Step Services. I caught my DWI in March of 2012 so for 2 years without my driver’s license by that it’s been hard for me to provide for myself and family so I have taken responsibility to do better for myself. I’ve learned a lot in this group, such as take responsibility for my actions and how alcohol & drugs can really destroy your life. I thank you First Step Services for really opening my eyes and horizons for my future I will not drink and drive and or will explain to a friend or relative how dangerous it really is to do so I will make it my business to stay clean and take it one day at a time keep God first and always watch my surroundings because if I’m sober the next person that’s driving along the highway might be once again thank you First Step Services.”

     

    What brought me… was the use of weed

    What brought me here to First Step was the use of weed. I failed a pre-drug screen with my CDL’s which cause me to take the classes to get my CDL’s back. I had no idea of what to expect my first day of group but it was great. During my time attending groups, I have learned a lot, I learned about the laws and dealing with DUI’s and DWI’s. These groups have helped me sustain from using and choosing a different lifestyle. I really enjoyed myself and I thank you for all the love and support I received from treatment.

     

    Personally it helped me learn

    "I was brought to First Step Treatment for a DWI. When I first got here I thought it was a waste of time and money. Personally it helped me learn what triggered me to drink and what I need to focus on to not let my drinking control my feelings and actions. I feel like I can control drinking into better portions. I learned that I abused alcohol more than I enjoyed it. Most helpful was being asked questions that I didn't ever think of on my own time. I learned a lot about myself just from talking about my situation. I don't think I'll be ready to drink until I learn how in moderation.”

     

    I had marijuana in my car

    I was brought to First Step because I had Marijuana in my car and was caught. At first I definitely felt like I wasn’t in a bad situation like a lot of the people here. The longer I was here, though the more I realized that I did have a problem to needed to be addressed. Hearing a lot of stories and other people’s situations, I learned a lot about the laws involving drinking and driving. I learned a lot about friendships when I had to stop talking to a lot of people because they didn’t respect my need to remain sober. I’m so glad I got this experience in such a positive, helpful and supportive community.

     

    I didn’t want to come

    “Even though I didn’t want to come and procrastinated till the last minute…. I truly enjoyed group. Everyone makes mistakes/there is NO judgment and build your accomplishments to make things better!!! I’ve learned to breathe…. Listening and talking about our group topics has helped and improved my life. The unfortunate thing is that I missed out on the monthly speaker.  I DO NOT plan on making an appearance unless I want to. Thank you Phyllis and Cynthia for a job well done and your encouragement to help others to improve their life.”

     

    First Step gave me a safe environment

    I was brought to First Step because NCSU student conduct required a drug assessment for a charge for possession of marijuana I received in November. At first I resented the people and the process at First Step. I did not recognize as an addict, or even as someone with a substance problem. Marijuana was my drug of choice and I thought it was okay because it isn’t considered unhealthy as alcohol. However, I learned by listening to others that I abused marijuana too often, and it was the reason for my enrollment here. First Step gave me a safe environment where I knew everyone was clean, and that pushed me to stay clean. The group interventions taught me about things that applied to me so well and things that I’d even noticed but not as something that was a problem. First Step gave me the maturity and faith to be clean and hopefully stay clean.

     

    I was unaware that I had a drug problem

    I came to First Step because I was arrested for drug possession and had a mental breakdown. When I first came I was unaware that I had a drug problem and was overwhelmed by how intensive and committed this out-patient program was. I felt very welcomed by Holly, Kylie and the members of this group. This program opened my eyes to my drug dependency and eventually led me to the start of my recovery. I learned that I wasn’t in control of my life on drugs and the triggers that led me to use. I was not honest with myself during use, but I have learned the coping tools to deal with my issues I am now fully committed to my long term recovery.

     

    I did not know what to expect.

    “When I first came to group I did not know what to expect. My first evening in class was an eye opener. I did not think that I would have gotten so emotional. I wasn’t used to talking about what bothers me or to have chance to share my highs and lows with anyone but a friend. I believe that I coming to group and being in group was a blessing in disguise because I really do feel better about sharing. It was also great to listen to everyone else’s issues and how much progress they have come.”

     

    Treatment made me take a good look where I am

    A recent bad car accident and DWI brought me here; initially I thought I didn’t have a real drinking problem as I drank seldom and not a lot even then. What I learned was I should not drink even as I have a chronic stomach condition and drinking is really bad for my health. I learned that I drank mostly through anxiety as my life has been pretty rough since my husband and I separated. Treatment made me take a good look where I am and where I would and should be at this point in my life; I learned new coping skills and I still need structure as I will attend AA meetings for myself and maybe meet new friends with similar goals. Going forward I want to be the woman I was and can be. Thank you.

     

    Fun night drinking

    I don’t go out often. My life is too busy and scheduled for partying or drinking. I went to a concert and drank too much. I hadn’t been to a concert or “fun social event” in longer than I can remember. I didn’t know my limits or how low my tolerance was, because I don’t really drink ever. Although I did stop drinking several (4+ hours) hours before driving, until I took this class I had no clue how long it stays in your system. I’ve learned that no matter what, a cab or even just simply not drinking is always going to be the better, safer and cheapest option. I’ve decided to quit drinking altogether. I don’t drink often enough to know what my body can handle, so I’d rather just not drink at all. My daughter and my career as a nurse and my family and my own life are all more important to me than one “fun night drinking” that could’ve ended even worse than it did.

     

    Treatment made me get brave with myself.

    I got a DUI last year in March, my initial thought was I didn’t think I needed any additional classes, I had taken classes in PA and also worried with counselors and really didn’t know what to expect. I’m really happy that I took these classes they helped me get over guilt, they helped me be more open about my DUI, they made me realize that my DUI was the best thing that happened to me. I learned a lot about myself what signs to watch for, and it helped me understand that I’m not alone everyone makes mistakes. Treatment made me feel more open about my DUI and helped me get a better understanding of addiction, and really what to watch out for in the future; it gave me strength rather than guilt. Treatment made me get brave with myself.

     

    At first I was skeptical

    “I was placed in First Step Treatment because of a convicted DWI charge. At first I was skeptical about who would be in the group and how the group would go. The counselors made sure I felt welcomed as soon as I entered the door my first time. The group members were also friendly and I enjoyed the experiences and stories they shared in order for me to progress. I thought each lesson had an impact on things in my life that I could improve on. The more I learned about things and situations happening in others lives the more I eventually learned about myself. I learned that each and every day even though you may go through a lot someone could be going through trials that are much worse in magnitude. Treatment has definitely changed me for the better. I now find myself much happier now that I have bene sober and life is much more enjoyable.”

     

    This could never happen to me

    What brought me to First Step was a new job celebration that went too far. For a long time I always felt that I can drink and drive because I will trust myself behind the wheel before anyone else. I always felt like this could never happen to me and I would never get caught. This has truly been a wake-up call, especially hearing the VIP speakers come in and tell their stories. I thank Mr. Raymond, Ms. Phyllis and Ms. Cynthia for bringing a lot of different things to my attention. The open discussions were very helpful. I learned that I can go out and have a good time without abusing alcohol. This experience has changed me because it gave me a reality check to let me know “oh yes this can happen to you too.” I feel God put you in certain situations in life to get your attention.

     

    I have learned a great deal about myself and my illness

    “I have learned a great deal about myself and my illness since I started this treatment plane. I came to AA over 15 years ago and struggled for far too long, then I met a women who had a solutions and taught me how to get to the solution. This past year I just stopped working and growing and decided to take another drink starting the insane cycle once again. The only difference from then and now is that I know there is a solution. I could not do this alone and did not trust myself enough to try. When my friend told me to come up to N.C. and brought me to First Step. I was not not sure but your groups and one and one office had made all the difference. You take me through work and keep me on track which has helped my mind so much more than just sitting in a meeting. I cannot thank you enough. I hope to see you next year with an anniversary. I definitely needed not only AA but professional outside help.”

     

    I’m honest to say you guys couldn’t hire better

    “Tonya and Jessi I’m honest to say you guys couldn’t hire better. I spend 1 month and 20 days and every time I come in I, happy to see Tonya and the group. Tonya and Jessi just made it feel like this is just something you have to do but to make you feel comfort and a connection which make this easy to go through enjoyable and fun. I would highly recommend First Step especially with Tonya just because I spent most of my hours with her I really like everything I did; I learned more than I would know in 7 years. I’m more in touch with my goals I’m willing to go through whatever I have to because they tuned me up to understand the most important of your life can be achieved without any substances because all it does is ruined every bid of life and goals. Tonya thank you so much I couldn’t thank you more, for making me realize that life is not over is very attainable just have to understand to be a good boy and thrive to strife.”

     

    Good insight on life

    Program gave me a good insight on life. Amy was dope.

     

    highly recommended this program

    When I first started IOP here I was just out of treatment and willing to do anything to stay sober. I looked at First Step as an extension of my treatment. I was ready to focus on me for the first time, to give myself permission to heal. I used this program to make an honest assessment of myself and look at things I still needed to change. The people in the group were fresh eyes to help me see myself. They provided great feedback and insight to this journey. I would and have highly recommended this program to others. Thank you First Step.

     

    Refreshing to be sober during this time

    “My initial response of this group were mixed. Still are. At first I had a hard time, I was not gaining anything from the groups. I was sharing my feelings and emotions that were irrelevant to why I am here. Each class did get better though. I began listening to others and their stories. I started to realize that I was learning more from what everyone else said rather than the activities themselves. The informational class was good in the sense of learning new things about drugs and alcohol that I didn't know before. I began to understand, with the help of the group, the negative consequences of alcohol. It only takes one time. I didn't really change as a person but my views on alcohol and it effects changed completely. Glad my attitude towards group changed in a positive way. Refreshing to be sober during this time. Thanks”

     

    People listened and cared

    I was initially brought here to get my license back but WOW! Was I surprised what I got instead. DWI. Tonya and Jesse right away…. AMAZING! Loved having that not only I “need” to talk and open-up…”but” people listened and cared. I had a DWI years ago and if people got this class first – you would learn and grow and probably NOT happen again.

     

    Group has honestly helped me

    Group has honestly helped me deal with my issues. I came here for a DUI, but failed a drug test and realized I needed help with other issues. I know I have upset Cynthia and Phyllis about things. I’m truly sorry you both have helped me in many ways. I have learned to say no to people. My first impression of First Step was scary. I felt I didn’t need to be here…. But now I see that I did, and I will take the tools I’ve learned here with me in life. Thank you for everything.

     

    I value my family

    I value my family, my friends, and the air I breathe. My treatment here at First Step has been that of support and caring. I am very grateful to all of my counselors here at First Step.

     

    I am able to focus more on my family

    “My treatment has been pretty good. All of the counselors have been great. I have really enjoyed myself. I have learned a lot about substance abuse and ways to refrain from using. I am able to focus more on my family and my life in general.”

     

    It’s my life, not Alcohol’s!!!

    I was at the beach with a friend and went out to dinner. The restaurant was a bar/club attached to it was just opening up as we were leaving. We decided to stay for a few drinks. These few drinks turned into enough for me to spend the next 18 in jail and DUI Charge. The courts said I had to come here so that was my mentality. At some point during my sessions I thought I might as dwell try it. You know give in an open up, listen to others and see how I could relate. It really is interesting to hear other stories and realize I’m not the only person with these issues. Jessica and Tonya are very helpful if you want them to be and can be a great resource. Some of their activities can be fun and make you look at things /yourself differently. Thirty days can be a long time for some and no problem for others. My inspiration was that 30 days isn’t the beginning of the end, it was the beginning of knowing alcohol doesn’t have to be involved in every aspect of everyday of my life. It’s my life not Alcohol’s!!!

     

    Treatment was a blessing

    I came somewhat knowing what to expect. I had an open mind, knowing I could benefit from these groups if I just applied myself. It’s been a good experience. The counselors made it very comfortable, but still open. Everyone I had conversations with, were also very open and welcoming. I think the most helpful thing for me was just talking about my situation. Just hearing myself say it really opened my mind up about what I did wrong, after my first couple of groups I actually started looking forward to Tuesday and Thursday nights. Group was a good way to wash the week off. Hearing other people’s stories was good as well. Not all people were addicts, but good people can make bad choices. My biggest thing was learning from my mistakes. I can change and have changed and will continue to change. Treatment was a blessing and a good, healthy experience. Phyllis and Cynthia were the best counselors I could ask for.

     

    Group has helped me

    When I started coming to group I felt a little out of place. After being here a couple of times I started feeling more relaxed and comfortable. Phyllis and Cynthia are amazing counselors. They really helped me find out a lot about myself and how to better deal with the things in my life. I have found that my substance abuse was a way to not deal with things. Also I have realized my triggers and ways to better not put myself in those situations. This group has helped me in many ways; I am going to take what I have learned and try to apply it to my everyday life. I do realize every day is a struggle, but I will take it day by day.

     

    Group was very relaxing, comfortable

    A DWI brought me to First Step Services in early September. I had heard about this place after I had to complete an ADETS class a few years back for an underage drinking ticket. So when I was told to complete these classes I turned back to First Step because of my previous experience with them. My first impression of the counselors was that they were very nice and helpful. The first time I walked into group I was very nervous and didn’t know what to expect. However, the first group was very relaxing and made me feel comfortable in the setting. I thought the group was going to be more of the counselors telling you how bad you were and make us feel bad about ourselves, but instead it was more of a support group which I found out to be very helpful. Listening to other people’s stories and relating them to me knowing that I’m not the only one out there dealing with stuff like this was very helpful. Also determining what triggers me to drink and use has allowed me to identify those situations and replace those activities with other more beneficial ones. Thank you Tonya and Jessica for everything you all were helpful and beneficial.

     

    FSS treatment was helpful for me

    “My first time at First Step Services, I failed a drug test. My first impressions of FSS was treatment was helpful for me and I learned that drugs and alcohol was hurting me and the people I love. What I learned was that it can change your world in a minute. My counselor was helpful and they do a great job and my group was wonderful. I made some new friends.”

     

    I learned much about myself

    I came to First Step because my transportation asked me to find something convenient for my home to work route. First Step was the treatment center closet to my work, so it became easier to get to group since I stated here. I have been to group at other facilities before coming to First Step, and First Step has proven to be the most interesting, professional, and useful treatment center of all of them. My initial impression of the group and counselors was that the people involved take these matters seriously and want to see people change for the better of themselves in their future.
    I learned much about myself, including things that trigger use, situations to avoid, and how to reduce stress. I also learned ways to use my time and money more efficiently as well as positively. I learned about other people’s ideas toward dealing with the same circumstance. Learning about other group members and ways they can deal with abstaining from use was most useful in that I now have a broader outlook on dealing with harmful situations in the future. I enjoyed every group session here at First Step and thank you.

     

    I found the program helpful and staff knowledgeable and caring

    “My first experience with First Step was the Fall/Winter of 2010. I found the program helpful and staff knowledgeable and caring. When I got my second DUI in the fall of 2014 I had no doubts where I should return for IOP. The counselors were different, but the results the same. A renewed passion sobriety and education/planning that I can carry forward.”

     

    I found it interesting, informative and most of all life changing.

    I was not sure initially what to expect; and to my surprise I found it interesting, informative and most of all life changing. I think hearing other group members gives everyone a common ground to relate to. I have enjoyed my counselor; they have been pleasant; I would like to say the biggest impact for me is the realization that my one decision (extremely bad decision) did not just impact me, and my wallet but so much more. My family, friends, co-workers have all had reactions and been affected to some degree. Thanks for what y'all do!

     

    It has literally changed my life.

    “I had a very bad DUI in June 2013 and was convicted in December 2013. Part of my sentence was to get an alcohol assessment, which resulted in me having to attend 20hours of group therapy. After the DUI I entered AA, which I have been actively attending ever since. I have a home group, a sponsor and have worked all 12 steps. It has literally changed my life. I like the counselors and think they really care about their work and the people in this class, and they facilitate groups well. I think more discussions about AA/12 step programs would do a lot of good, introducing people to AA community, sponsorships, and home groups.”

     

    I was nervous

    “I joined this group because I was charged with a DWI. Initially, I was nervous about the number of hours I would receive and I harbored a deep feeling of shame and regret for my actions that led up to my arrest. Despite this, I felt that the counselors and group as a whole did a great job in allowing people to be open about their situation(s), which was very beneficial to me because I could see the many perspectives of a very difficult situation that we were all going through. Some people/s stories were really emotional and eye opening. Their experiences is definitely helping me to be honest with myself and to continue on the path that I've set out for myself or at least to stay focused. I appreciate the concern and advice I've received from the counselors and the group and definitely know that my future will be great.”

     

    Staff were very friendly and supportive

    “I was brought to First Step due to a DWI. All the staff were very friendly and supportive. I met a lot of different people who were here seeking help for various addictions. I really enjoyed situations as mine and these who were having a much more complicated time. It made me realize how much drugs and alcohol can control and ruin a persons life and grateful to have gone through this so I cam change my life and share my experiences with others.”

     

    I have learned different coping skills

    As I came into my first group at First Step I was kind of ashamed because I had made another mistake. The welcoming and open arms made me feel that I was not different. I have learned that I am a stressed person at times, but going through this treatment so far I have learned some different coping skills. This treatment has opened my eyes once again and made me realize that I do need to stay abstinent from all drugs in order to be happy and successful in life.

     

    I think First Step is great in doing what they do.

    I think First Step is great in doing what they do. But mostly my experience has been so positive and enjoyable due to my counselor Amy. I had interacted with her in the Raleigh Office and it was a pleasure to go thru this round with her. She really knows how to relate to each individual in a unique manner. I appreciate all of her help and support.

     

    Group has changed my thinking process quite a bit

    A DUI had brought me to First Step and was voluntary with the reference of a coworker. The most helpful to me was the feedback from the counselor and other group members. The exercises we did in group were fun and had a purpose to them, such as using powerful words like willpower another helpful and has been most helpful is using “refusal” skills and for me not so much to other people but using it for myself. I learned in group about myself how not to keep bad things bottled up inside, but how to bring it out by speaking to others which I have always had a hard time with. Treatment from coming to group has changed my thinking process quite a bit, like knowing high or low risk situations, using refusal skills and knowing my values which help in everyday situations. My first impression on my first night at group was, I thought this is corny and weird but it was the interaction that made it all make sense.

     

    Men’s group is really good

    I came here for DUI’s, to get my license. At first I didn’t like it, but as time went on I started liking it more. If you’re honest and want to help yourself the [program] will help you. The men’s group is really good on Monday’s. I always enjoyed those.

     

    Already sober 2 months

    “My initial impression was that I was going to get less hours since I had already been sober for 2 months before treatment. Randee saw different and gave me 90 hours, which surprised me. I didn’t like it at first but as time went by, I started to realize why she did it and it made a big difference in my life since I’ve completed my hours. Everyone at first step has been great and I have no complaints. Dharma, the counselor was excellent and he never made me feel uneasy about my situation. I always looked forward to coming to class because it was so informative and spiritually rewarding. I learned that I’m not alone in my addiction and it’s a lot of people who were doing a lot worse than I thought I was. I wouldn’t change anything about the program I was blessed to be apart of the experience. “

     

    I’ve learned about myself so much.

    “Throughout my time here at First Step. I’ve learned about myself so much. I’ve learned to value my freedom more than anything due to the fact that it can be taken from you at any moment. I’ve also learned to think before I act because there’s always a consequence to everything. My counselor Tonya was very helpful to, herself as well as the class helped me open my eyes up to the real world. I’ve learned to behave differently and view things in a different perspective. I have many goals; both short term and long that I plan on achieving. I’m planning on staying abstinence from all mood altering substances. This should help me get to where I want in my job in the near future. I learned a lot here in First Step and I’m glad I signed up for it. It definitely was very helpful.”

     

    My first night I was nervous

    Thank you to Jessie and Tonya. My first night I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect. After coming I felt really happy with attending group. It’s really helped my personal life and professional life. As unfortunate it was to be here; it was a huge eye opener for me. I’m definitely walking out of here with a new outlook on life and values. It took coming to group to really see how I was acting. I felt comfortable sharing my stories with people that respected my confidentiality.

     

    IOP is a special experience

    First Step is a very organized and professional group. It is easy to see that they are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of all their clients. Group IOP is a special experience that allows those of us in need a change to really know and understand ourselves and others that are going through difficult times. You’re not alone.

     

    Initially I was angry

    I ended up at First step Because of a DWI. Initially I was angry at not only the situation but myself. I was upset about the amount of money I was having to spend and how inconvenient this DWI was. I can understand why they make this DWI process too painful. They want to prevent us from getting into the same situation again. This class has been a blessing for me. Phyllis and Cynthia were so easy to open up to. This whole time I’ve felt supported. Hearing other peoples stories really changed my perspective. I could of really hurt myself or someone else. The situation could have been a lot worse but I am just glad it happened so it never happens again. Everything happens for a reason and this definitely happened so I could stop myself from going down a destructive path before it was too late.

     

    I saw an opportunity to enjoy and learn

    I came to First Step because of a second DWI. When assessed I was informed of a possible alcohol abuse problem. At first I did not agree, but after my first couple groups I realized I did. After going over six weeks without any drinking I’ve realized that I did not crave or even think about drinking, and have a strong belief I will not drink again. I began group with a negative attitude but after only one group I saw an opportunity to enjoy and learn about my problem and find ways to help myself. I have also never been very good at speaking in front of a group but Jessie and Tonya made group very comfortable and enjoyable, and I feel I will do better outside of group because of them.

     

    I had to do this if I wanted my license back

    “What brought me to First Step was a DWI. I know that I had to do this if I wanted my license back. My first impression of the counselors was they were very understanding. They were really helpful especially with the different topic of every group. They make you see each negative situation and turn it around to make it positives. What I’ve learned about myself is that I have the right to make my own decisions and its okay to say no. This has really changed me by seeing who is really there for me when times gets rough. I am happy that I was able to come to group versus being dead or killing someone.”

     

    I was very skeptical

    I was very skeptical coming to group but I ended up really enjoying it. I think it made a huge impact on my situation and other aspects of my life. I think the activities were really important and allowed me to think of things I don’t typically think about. I also felt it was really important to hear the stories of others. I think hearing that others, especially people you don’t expect to be in this situation, older people, professionals are going through some things similar and learning from it will really help me put it in perspective. Thank You

     

    Committed to helping others

    What brought me to First Step Services was a DWI arrest. I had a preconceived notion that the program would consist of brow-beating and humiliation for what I had done. Thankfully, that was not the case at all. The groups consisted of people from all walks of life who had used poor judgment and needed to learn about the underlying factors that contributed towards the negative behavior. The counselors are caring, keep the sessions interesting and are committed to helping others.

     

    I thank First Step for their help

    When I initially entered First Step for an evaluation, I was very skeptical about what services could be tailored towards my needs. After learning about the different programs and speaking with the counselors, I felt that I owed it at least the benefit of the doubt. After starting “group” I felt very comfortable with the counselors and the group of people I met. Instead of being a classroom it was a very open circle, and everybody was very welcoming. There were very different activities that made different perspectives to be more clear and manageable. Now that I’ve completed the program, I feel much more comfortable with my abilities to cope, and plan to continue a “treatment program” on my own and with support from my friends and family. I thank First Step for their help and teaching me that deep down I can be determined to do anything I put my mind to.

     

    I initially thought this was going to be a pain

    “I initially thought this was going to be a pain. Dennis turned it form a miserable group to an interactive working session. It was easy to open up and Dennis fostered that environment. I took something away from every session.”

     

    The office staff was very welcoming and prompt

    “My first impression of First Step Services was good. The office staff was very welcoming and prompt. The assessment left a bad taste in my mouth. The assessor treated me like a child who didn’t understand my condition, after blatantly admitting I did and that it was going to be a lifelong process to keep improving. Group sessions however, were very helpful in acknowledging what my strengths and weaknesses were. They also helped me implement strategies to keep myself from making poor decisions to start with. The group counselors were very open and willing to listen to everyone. My overall opinion is that it was very helpful to hear stories of others in my situation.”

     

    Treatment changed me for the better.

    A failed UDS for truck driving brought me to First Step. My initial impressions of the counselors and group members were not what I expected. Everybody turned out to be great people and by members sharing their DWI stories it help me from making the same mistake. I found out by using “I” statements it helps you own up to your mistakes. What I found really helpful was how you had to share what brought you to First Step on your first day. Treatment changed me for the better. I learned how to view the different hats I wear in life and also how to say “no” to drugs and celebrate without drinking or smoking.

     

    I was surprised by the overall care

    I was pleasantly surprised by the overall care and counsel of the counselors. From the assessment to the group, they all showed a really high level of care, concern, and knowledge. The group itself was a tremendous bonus to living a healthy life. We touched on so many areas of emotional and mental health and the group leaders provided a very high level of knowledge and competence along with an amazing level of care and compassion. I will definitely recommend this agency and group to anyone in need of such groups. Additionally when I have my driving privilege restored, I hope to come back to the group. You all provide an amazing service to the community with counselors who have high standards and sincere compassion. THANK YOU!

     

    Coming to First Step has certainly been a learning experience

    “Coming to First Step has certainly been a learning experience. I was unsure what to expect from group treatment however, my experiences in group have all been positive. I’m glad that I found myself in a space where no one considered themselves superior to anyone else, we had all made mistakes. The counselors are really great at running the group sessions in a respectful open manner. Aside from learning how my use can affect other, I also learned helpful tools for making positive changes in my life and new ways to deal with/channel stress. I honestly believe that this treatment, though assigned by court, has helped me recognize my abuse and will keep my abuse from becoming dependence.”

     

    Everyone was extremely friendly and helpful

    My biggest feedback would be the positive nature of my first and all visits I interacted with the First Step Staff. At no point did I feel judged or treated less than I thought someone should be. Everyone was extremely friendly and helpful guiding me through the process. My counselors (I had four) were all super friendly and adapt to their profession; both pushing people beyond comfort levels, listening, encouraging, and preparing activities to help me confront my expectation of myself. Treatment has helped me put a label on my alcoholism and confronted it head on. I thought I was just unlucky as I entered the program. Now I see this more as a blessing. Spending all that money wasn’t fun but the aftermath of it continued on this path could have been worse than spending money on a group that is helping me be a better person.

     

    When I first got here I was ready to leave

    “I came to First Step after getting out of rehab. When I first got here I was ready to leave. I wanted to get my hours in and out ASAP. Mr. Bill and Ms Joann, were very helpful and the group was cool. This became like my family, when I had problems they were there, when I was sad they made me happy. Even when I relapsed they picked me right up. I was able to see that it is okay to open up, because if you leave it all inside, it will only break you down. I'm glad to see that First Step was helpful not only to me but my family as well. Treatment showed me a lot, it is helping me find who I really am, and it will help me along my life long journey to staying sober. Thank you for allowing me to come, the help was needed.”

     

    The style of the group was very good

    “I came to First Step Services after being charged with a DWI and wasn’t really sure what to expect. I ended up with Dennis as a counselor and after the first group I counted myself very lucky. Dennis is a very compassionate and effective counselor. The style of the group was very good in that it really made one look at oneself honestly. Each group focused on a different subject and then the group would share their answers to the subject matter. I feel this approach is very effective as it makes you look at yourself and then you get to see a different perspective from the other members of the group. The environment of the group is very supportive with the guidance of Dennis.”

     

    The counselors were sincere, courteous and knowledgeable

    “Treatment, despite the circumstances has been a very manful (sp?) educational experience. The counselors were sincere, courteous and knowledgeable.”

    My initial impression was that it was just going to a waste of three hours

    “Drinking and driving is what first brought me to First Step and group. Making a poor decision due to consuming alcohol. My initial impression was that it was just going to a waste of three hours twice a week. Once I figured out that if it had some impact to the group and went into with a more positive attitude it was a lot better. I was able to learn a lot about myself that I hadn’t really thought about in a while. It was also nice hearing other people’s reactions/situations and learns from them. I really thought that Tonya did a great job and made the groups as interesting as they could possibly get.”

     

    Counselors seemed very dedicated

    “The counselors seemed very dedicated to the rehabilitation and growth of their patients. The group sessions were helpful for several reasons. First, it helps to know that we are not alone in both your problems and the solutions. Second, the groups provided useful insight into the reasons I drank and an honest assessment on my perceptions about alcohol use. Third an probably most important, I learned useful and practical ways to avoid using alcohol as I had previously. With the lessons learned in treatment, I am confident that I will not repeat my mistake.”

     

    My initial impression of this group was pretty negative.

    “I received a drinking ticket and that’s why I’m here at First Step Services. My initial impression of this group was pretty negative. I thought it was a waste of 3 hours a night. Throughout group I grew to like it and realized there were positive things to being in group i.e.: expressing feelings that if I wasn’t at group probably wouldn’t be expressed anywhere else. I learned that I need to be more responsible in the environment that I’m in. I don’t want to destroy the relationships I currently have. Treatment helped me figure out how to live in a college environment but be sober, and still have a good time. Thanks to my counselors and group I’m moving on with my life.”

     

    I gained strength and knowledge from treatment

    Being charged with a DWI was and is really shameful for me. I am a very proud person. And it has been a hard thing to face. Coming here was stressful initially, but I quickly learned that this was a safe place and was very comfortable. The light moods laughs really helped. It was the one place I could talk freely without feeling ashamed and embarrassed or judged. My family and friends have been incredibly supportive, but my own pride gets the best of me and I beat myself up a lot. I gained strength and knowledge from treatment and the desire to be a better person and living a healthier lifestyle.

     

    I first thought it was a money racket

    “I first thought it was a money racket but Bill and JoAnn proved me wrong it was a good experience for me and I learned a lot about myself and learned what I need to do to stay sober. I enjoyed coming to the group meetings and sure I will come back every so often to touch base with Bill.”

     

    Deal better with stress

    When first coming to group, my opinion/thoughts of the sessions were very poor. I felt as if I was in elementary class talking about feelings and drawing, but, as time passed I became respectful for what First Step Services does for individuals as well as for myself. I have learned a lot about me and what could/are my triggers to consuming alcohol. I enjoyed revisiting my values in life and how I would feel if they were to be taken away. I feel this class will make me more responsible and thoughtful to my well being and people/work. I have realized that it’s my fault that I’m here and need to deal better with stress this life throws at me. I hope others will learn from my mistakes, and become aware it only takes one time to change your life! Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% how you react!

     

    I was smoking weed

    What brought me to First Step I was smoking weed. The first time in group I didn’t know what to think, but I really enjoyed everything that I’ve gotten from First Step. I would just like to say that this group has helped me out a lot. It has opened my eyes to so many things, meeting people like we all would say, just might not of talked to in any other places, but now we have become one. I don’t know what could be harder walking out these doors not seeing any of you guys faces again or not having anything to do on Saturday’s. I really look forward to coming here because it gives me a chance to open up, and I don’t do this anywhere else. I want to thank the both of you for taking the time to show us that we can make it without using.

     

    I tried to be invisible

    I came into this program after getting in trouble at school. My first day of coming in I picked a nice seat in the corner, crossed my arms and tried to be invisible. I didn’t think this program would help me in any way, shape, or form. I just wanted to go through the motions and be done with it. After listening to people for a while and seeing how well they treated each other and how much fun they were having while being sober. I caught myself starting to actually listen to what people were saying appose to just hearing the words. I started to relate to the experiences that were being shared and I caught myself actually sharing myself. As the weeks trailed on I actually became friends with quite a few of the people there. I actually started looking forward to going to these meetings I had once dreaded. My family and friends started noticing positive changes in me shortly after that and honestly I did too not just in my personality but how I felt as well. If you come into this program with an open mind you will be amazed at what it can do for you.

     

    At first I was apprehensive

    At first I was apprehensive about attending the group only because I didn’t know what to expect. I enjoyed group from the beginning because it was a place where I could express my emotions and feelings without being judged. The counselors were very supportive and have a nice way of bringing out each person’s thoughts in a non-threatening way. I learned that I will need tools to not drink as I had before. I have not used alcohol in the last 32 days and will continue that path. Hopefully, I also realized that I am not alone with my legal issues and they will pass. Treatment has changed me to realize my drinking is very serious and must be treated.

     

    Groups were well run and interesting

    I came to First Step on a referral from a coworker for a DWI. I found the staff to be courteous and helpful and the facility to be neat and organized. Groups were well run and interesting to be a part of. I learned a lot about ways to cope with negative patterns of alcohol abuse. It was helpful to hear stories and ideas from people from different walks of life. I was reluctant to share at first, but the group and counselors were friendly and inviting and I felt comfortable by the end of the first meeting. I already made a commitment to abstaining from alcohol well prior to starting my treatment here, but it was a useful reinforcement more the less.

     

    I got more out of group than I thought I would

    During the time I was here, I worked on the 3 goals set prior to starting group. I got more out of group than I thought I would. I think the counselors did outstanding job and I may come back to visit.

     

    First Step is an amazing place.

    Before attending my first group I was very nervous and had no clue to what to expect. My first group was very nerve racking because I get nervous talking in front of groups of people. My first impressions of the counselors were they seemed very inviting and caring. Through check-in in my first group I became a little more comfortable. I quickly realized that I was not the only one who was in for what I was in for. I learned a lot about myself and realized that there were many things within myself and around myself that I needed to change. Hearing other group members tell their stories was an eye opener to work more on myself and my education. I have appreciated everyone’s open mind and honesty. First Step is an amazing place. Thank you, Ms. Phyllis and Ms. Cynthia for everything.

     

    I appreciate all this has done for me

    I was brought here because I blew a .14 and thus received a DUI. My initial impression here at First Step Services was that it was going to be a waste of time. However, as I continued attending groups I not only enjoyed my time here but looked forward to the next meeting. I created a lot of friends here & gained a lot of perspective on a variety of issues. It was eye opening, very helpful, & beneficial for me at this point in time. The groups were engaging and the instructors very helpful.

    Coming here not only cleared my head but taught me how to be a responsible adult. The group introduced me to a lot of new values such as not drinking, not smoking, and if I were ever to drink I would never drive. This has changed me dramatically in a very positive way and I appreciate all this has done for me. I will seclude myself from those who encourage bad choices and will avert myself from any negative situations.

     

    Under age drinking & drug charge

    “I got a drinking under age and I caught drug charge. I didn't want to be here at all but Tonya help me open up and I loved it. I learned I have the drive to be a great just got to stay focused. It changed everything I can look at myself and like what I see. I see a young boy growing up. Group help me deal with things been in me since I was a kid. The group helped me realize how important my family is to me.”

     

    It was a positive experience

    “A DWI is what brought me. My first impression was I was nervous and I didn’t know what to expect. Now, I have a clear understanding of the law and respect for my license. What I learned about myself is forgiveness and limits I have to have. I also learned how to development a clear plan before taking your first drink. People are more understanding than you think and I was not the only one in this situation. I am very aware now my myself and others as it pertains to drinking. My counselor Randee gave us information, asked questions and made us think. She never seemed judgmental. She put you at ease, which made it easier to share. Now that I am finished, I believe it was a positive experience.”

     

    I never thought I would be here

    I was brought to First Step because of a DWI. I never thought I would be here. I thought the counselors were very nice and welcoming and I wasn’t sure what to expect when I came to the class. I really liked the class when we talked about triggers and how to deal with saying no to drinking in certain situations and other things I can do with my time. I learned that I still have problems with opening up to mew people but I am still working on it. The treatment has made me want to have a sober lifestyle. This treatment has made me have a more positive impact/view on life. You need to make the most of every situation because you never know what is going to happen. I am thankful that I had such a great group of people to listen to me and to be in a non-judgmental zone. I also really enjoyed listening to other people’s stories.

     

    My mood improved

    My treatment at First Step was 12 hours of education group sessions. Initially I was annoyed that I was required to take these classes, and my mood showed it during the first group. However, as I continued coming to group my mood improved after each time. I started applying the knowledge I had learned to my life outside of treatment. I am proud of myself for focusing on the silver lining of my required group sessions. I encourage each member of First Step group sessions to listen and absorb the information given. I can impact others with the knowledge I’ve learned and help those around me make better decisions. I hope that this knowledge will keep me from entering into another situation, where I will have to return. I wish all my fellow group members the best of luck and I hope that the next time I see them it will be under different circumstances.

     

    Groups were open-minded and conversational

    “I thought my treatment at First Step went as well as it would. Groups were open-minded and conversational, while rarely becoming contentious or awkward. I cam into treatment without expectations which I believed worked in my favor. I learned a lot about other people in my situation and found it therapeutic just to be able to hear others talk about it. I started around the same time as several others in group and really began to create relationships with them that were always helpful and in the interest of each other. Thinking and speaking in group gave me a perspective on my drinking that I otherwise wouldn’t have, and I look forward to being able to apply what I’ve learned going forward.”

     

    Safe open, and nonjudgmental atmosphere

    I found the program and the counselors very helpful. Phyllis and Cynthia do a excellent job creating a safe open and nonjudgmental atmosphere. I always felt that I could speak my mind freely about addiction or any other subject. The presentation that was given by the speakers from the victim’s advocacy group were particularly effective. I’m sure I’ll remember their stories whenever I’m around alcohol. As for how I’ll apply the lesions from group in the future, I do think I’ve gotten to a secure place regarding abstaining from drinking and driving. The stories I’ve heard in group will help to reinforce my strategies for maintaining sobriety and safety. I’ve also learned a few signs of addiction that I’ve seen in friends and family.. What I’ve learned in group will help me to help them in the future. I’ve learned quite a bit about myself and about addiction and will be sure to carry these lesions with me going forward.

     

    Opportunities for self-reflection arose

    I naturally viewed First Step as a mandatory inconvenience. I also did not think I had a problem. The more I opened up as the groups went on, the more opportunities for self-reflection arose. Although it is not major, I definitely should slow my drinking down. The group members and activities at First Step have allowed me to learn new methods to control my habit and new ways of thinking to look on the bright side even when it gets tough. Jessie was a great leader and did an awesome job maintaining and guiding the open, positive atmosphere in each group.

     

    I have grown closer to my wife and son

    I came to First Step by referral from my employer to keep my job. I thought that I would be in a typical classroom environment, watching videos and hearing statistics. I was totally wrong. I have felt comfortable talking with the staff at First Step I have learned a lot about myself and the things that “trigger me.” I have also realized that my pot smoking habit took away from my family time which I have now realized was very stupid on my part. My group sessions have helped me realize that smoking pot cannot be part of my lifestyle if I want to keep my job where I have been employed for 23 years. I have grown closer to my wife and son. I have also tried to improve my relationship with God. The group sessions on family sculpting helped me realize how fortunate I am to have my family, friends and God in my life. It has also become evident that Jessie and Tonya are here to help people and that this is not just a job to them.

     

    My impression of the place was that it is clean

    I totaled my car and got a DUI. My attorney recommended taking the classes prior to my court appearance. I chose First Step because it is close to my home and I use my bike as transportation. I dreaded the thought of going to a class, but to my surprise I enjoyed it. I plan to come back. My impression of the place was that it is clean. The counselors are friendly. The people that attended class appeared to like group. They got involved. I enjoyed it very much.

     

    I chose to go to treatment

    “I chose to go to treatment because of a drinking problem. I was a little nervous and skeptical about the people I would meet and if it would work for me. It's a very easy place to be yourself and open up. I met a great group of guys that I still talk to and hope to stay in touch with over the years. Group itself was very good, learned some things that alcohol does to your body and the effects of it. My favorite sessions were Monday night Men's group where we would check in and give feedback and ask each other questions. You can learn a lot that way and get to know people at the same time. My group counselor Bill was also great very friendly with a lot of knowledge. He knew when it would be a good time to say something to make the group think. I will come back and see some of the guys graduate that I went to group with and to help me stay sober.”

     

    Group has really helped me

    I was referred to First Step by my DOT assessor due to failing a random drug screening. I was reluctant about starting the group sessions due to financial problems from losing my job. Before starting I had made up my mind on quitting smoking marijuana. Being in group has really helped me solidify my actions on reaching my goals. I have enjoyed everyone’s feedback on the discussions in group. I liked that it was more than just about substance abuse. Talking about family and other relationships has helped me think about other things I need to work on in my life. I’m ready to get my job back and move on with my life. Big thanks to Jessie and Bill for being great counselors.

     

    Treatment drastically changed me for the better

    “It was a combination of my desire to get some help and my wife's insistence that I get some help “or else” that brought me to First Step Services. My first impression was a great one. The check in process was nice and easy and the counselors were very easy to talk to and made me feel comfortable. I think that I was so ready to get better that I didn't have time for form any opinions about Bill and Joanne. I was ready to accept whatever they had to give. Throughout the class they proved to be more than capable of handling each and every member at the group's problems. They did this discreetly when needed or in group if needed. It was Bill and Joann’s reinforcement of group policies and the groups benefits that I found the to be the most helpful. By keeping everything on track, we adhered to the rules while still running our own group. Treatment drastically changed me for the better and opened my eyes to what is most important in life and also instilled a healthy fear for me to stay on track and be dependable and contributing member to the world.”

     

    Learn more about yourself!

    First Step is a good place to have time to slow down in a very hectic placed world and reflect on your personal situation, set new priorities and learn ways to deal with daily pressures. Counselors are not pushy and encourage honest feedback and communication. Learn more about yourself!

     

    Thought I had my drinking under control

    “When I first started treatment I did not know what to expect. I honestly thought I had my drinking under control but over the course of the past month or so I have gained the knowledge I need to sustain from alcohol use all together. Through Dennis lectures and group discussion I now know more than ever the results and consequences of my actions. Alcohol controlled every aspect of my life but not anymore. I am in control of me and it’s fair to say that since treatment I have taken a very deep look at myself and have let go of so much pain and hurt. Life isn’t easy but drinking is never going to make it better. First Step Treatment Center has had a really positive impact on my life and I’m looking forward to continued support. Thank You!”

     

    I really see this treatment as a blessing.

    “I got a DWI charge. I liked the program. I need to stop drinking. I really see this treatment as a blessing. I’m blessed that I can go on with a great and normal life. I learned a lot. I’m not the only person that has drinking issues. I know this, but it’s always nice to be reminded. Both Tonya and Jessi are great counselors, they care and make sure we are all here to learn how to get better and look at ourselves as responsible people. No pushing to either way of dependency. We get to choose for ourselves.”

     

    About the 3rd or 4th group, I really looked forward to coming

    “I felt a bit too much pain when I first came here to where my life was. But I come here knowing that the people who are in these groups seem to remind me of the start of my addiction at a young age. About the 3rd or 4th group, I really looked forward to coming and knew I would have higher spirits when I left do to a lot of interactions with lots of different kinds of people but could still relate to them and what really started this problem I’ve had which is the urge to want to fit in. I’ve learned a lot and am thankful of the staff that’s helped!!!”

     

    The group was excellent; very diverse, and open.

    I started Treatment as a result of a relapse and a DWI charge. Over the course of treatment I have realized how important ongoing maintenance is to my sobriety. The group was excellent; very diverse, and open. I felt it was very interactive and that participants were honest and open about their lives. The staff and counselors were very professional and accommodating. I don’t think the group could have been run any better than it was. The most helpful part to me was discussing my situation as well as past experiences to help me realize what is at stake, and how far I have come, as well as what I still have to do.”

     

    The people at FSS have been kind, helpful and professional.

    My entire experience with First Step Services has been positive from my initial intake to all aspects of my treatment program. The people at FSS have been kind, helpful and professional. My contact with FSS is far from over and I look forward to continued support and guidance from this outstanding organization.

     

    More honest and happy with myself

    After getting charged with my felony, I wanted to make positive changes to help reduce it. Also, I wanted to stop smoking and change for a better healthy life. My initial impression of group was that it wouldn’t help me that much, learn that much, be super boring. I think the most helpful to me was learning about the triggers that would affect me smoking, and some health issues related to smoking. I am more motivated to achieve my goals and focus on a bright positive future. I am not as disappointed in myself; I am much more honest and happy with myself and the way things are turning out. I am very grateful and happy. Overall this treatment was good and helped me a lot.

     

    I brought marijuana into my dorm room

    I brought marijuana into my dorm room. I feel that getting into trouble was in a way the best thing that could happen. Over the course of coming to group I learned quite a bit. Tonya and Jessie were both really helpful with helping me feel comfortable expressing things. I feel that group teaches you how to better deal with problems that occurs in everyday life. I will definitely use the things that I have learned in group and apply them to my everyday life.

     

    I love First Step

    I love First Step. I would definitely recommend it to a fellow addict in need. Also the family night portion was very helpful with me and my family. We learned how to have a healthier and happy relationship for all of us. Thank you First Step!

     

    I thought it was going to be awful

    “I came to First Step for a DUI charge I got in South Carolina. When I got here for the first time I thought it was going to be awful, a session of being shamed and beaten down for what I did and I was pleasantly surprised to find out it wasn’t like that at all. I was very glad that Dennis was understanding that people make mistakes, and that our mistakes are not who we are nor should they be what defines us. From these groups I think I learned a lot about myself, when I was drinking all the time I wanted to shift blame for my problems or avoid taking the blame for my actions altogether, after stopping my drinking I’m now willing to accept that only I am to blame for my DUI and other issues that were a result of my drinking. After attending First Step I feel a lot better about myself, think things are starting to take a turn for the better on the inside and with the different circumstances in my life.”

     

    Great experience

    I was a little concerned at first with counselors changing. But once stabilized, it was safer in coming. Counselors were great and had a great program, lots more confidence and security within. I have learned to communicate more and can see where I have grown. Great experience.

     

    Wonderful and supportive

    When I first started the group I had the mindset of “I’ll be glad to get these 40 hours behind me”. I was upset because I had to commute to Raleigh from Cary. The first day I was quiet and just sat back and observed everyone, taking everything in. Finally in the end I chose to share my story. Everyone was so wonderful and supportive and seemed to really care. I didn’t feel like an outcast, but part of an extended family. With each passing group session I felt more comfortable and was excited to come, even if most days were just on 2 hours of sleep. I was inspired by everyone’s stories and found it easier to stay on course. The group activities helped as well. My favorite was when everyone taped a piece of paper to their back and we had to write down something nice about each other. It was nice and refreshing to see how other people saw me. All the counselors were extremely nice and very helpful. From day one I was totally impressed with First Step starting with the first counselor in Cary. Her name was Amy!

     

    Initially, I felt embarrassed

    I received information with a list of possible providers to contact for assistance with getting an assessment. Initially, I felt embarrassed for even having to call and say that I had a DWI – my first and LAST one. Looking down the list, I chose to examine those closest to my home in driving distance. I came across First Step Services location and looked at their website. It was very informative and after reading testimonials, I was sold! Now, after having my treatment sessions, I can truly see why it was so beneficial to come here. Jessi and Tonya were both wonderful counselors and encouraged everyone to be willing to open up about feelings as well as their stories. The group icebreakers and activities allowed me to look deep down within, do soul-searching and take steps to be both positive and forgiving. I am very grateful for being allowed to have treatment and it has enhanced my life in a much better way.

     

    At first I was unsure of what to expect.

    “At first I was unsure of what to expect. I was very overwhelmed by my DWI and very embarrassed. Right upon meeting both Phyllis and Cynthia, I felt at ease and comfortable. Each group session has inspired me to continue to reach my goal of never having this happen again, as well as being a better person all around. I feel thankful for all of the inspiration and sharing within each group session.”

     

    I am truly grateful

    I first came to First Step as part of the process of a DUI. I entered the group to do what I needed to do. However through Phyllis, Cynthia and the group sharing I was afforded an opportunity to look at myself and learn new skills, or re-examine known skills and apply them to my life where I am at today. Phyllis and Cynthia and their gentle, sometimes subtle but always direct facilitation of group have given me so much and I am truly grateful for them and the process of First Step. What began as a chore, almost resentment has been a gift. Don’t get me wrong I would never put myself in the situation that brought me to First Step again, but group, Phyllis and Cynthia have allowed me and at times, forced me to look at myself so that I will become a person that will not experience the shame and embarrassment that my DUI brought me. A gift that I will be able to share with others, thanks.

     

    The counselor was great

    “I first came to First Step because it was recommended by my lawyer to help my case. After the initial interview, I just wanted to get through the classes and not learn anything or meet anyone, but after hearing everyone talk the first class, I realized it would be smart for me to stay sober since the people in the class related to me more than I thought. The counselor was great because he was always listening and giving great feedback to everyone. The most important thing I learned was that no matter who you are and what you’ve been through, you can become an addict and no matter how bad the addiction, there will always be people there willing to help you."

     

    Blog

    First Step Services, LLC;  A Brief History

    First Step Services, LLC; A Brief History

    First Step Services, LLC, A Brief History First Step was originated by Henry Tarkington in 2001, in Garner,
    The Greatest Gifts

    The Greatest Gifts

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  • Client Experiences

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