• Every great journey begins with a First Step!
  • banner

    Client Experiences

    Cient Feedback & Experiences


    Experiences of First Step Services clients.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    The group was ok

    What brought me to group was my decision to smoke weed. My first impression of the counselors were great Ms. Phyllis and Ms. Cynthia were outstanding they help me to look at life from a lot of different views. The group was ok. I had to get use to different people. What I thought was helpful was the support the counselor openly gave and made available to the group. I learned that my thinking is most of the time not right and that’s OK if I was willing to do things that was not my way. Treatment made me just look and think about the choices I have when negative things occur.

    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 had a great experience

    Jessie scared me at first because of her intensity and how much she questioned but over time I enjoyed her even more. She is a very nice person and made the time go by faster. Also, Tonya is fantastic; both counselors are very courteous, loving, and caring. I had a great experience. You have to have great souls to help with a serious epidemic that is taken very lightly these days.

    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 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.

    Glad it happened

    I’m not happy with the situation (that caused me to need treatment) but I’m glad it happened because I’m realizing early enough in my life that I need to be careful with my decisions and use my tools gained from group to keep my life on track.

    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.

    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.

    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 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.

    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.

    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.

    Treatment has been beneficial

    My treatment has been beneficial for me at First Step. My DUI brought me to First Step and I had to look at the triggers that caused me to make the decisions. I realized through these sessions what my triggers are and how to deal with them.

    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.

    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 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.

    Treatment changed me for the better

    Substance Abuse treatment at First Step was great. There were good mentors and great people in group. I like how open and honest everyone was. The group served as an eye-opener for me, and I learned that my problems were not as small as I thought they were, but they weren't that much bigger either. Treatment changed me for the better and helped me to prioritize and refocus on the more important things in my life and how vulnerable we all really are.

    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.

    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.

    Counselors are very good at directing people

    The counselors are very good at directing people to tell things about themselves. In return others and I myself get to learn from other events that have happened in people’s lives. It makes you understand and be more committed to making better decisions that will affect the rest of your life and others around you.

    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 really look forward to coming here

    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 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.

    It was a “safe” place

    I came in having had a really bad experience with another IOP provider so my expectations were to “do my time.” Somehow over the next 4.5 months I began learning about myself and most importantly began to have hope that life was just not to be endured but that life was to be lived and shared. I learned that guilt and shame did not have to be my best friends. It was a “safe” place to explore my demons and to shine the light into the darkness so that the cockroaches could scatter. Thanks guys!

    Pleasantly surprised

    When I first received my assessment I was very pleased with how friendly everyone was. I was then told I had 40 hours and 14 sessions. I thought I was going to be in a classroom type of setting about substance abuse and how not to use. I was pleasantly surprised to learn it was very different. I learned from group that it was very different. We did a lot of activities that were hands on and dealt with a lot of real life problems and problem solving skills. You learn most from others and what they have to offer with their experiences. Whenever you think someone is at their weakest and shares it might make you learn much more than you expect.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.”

    Lawyer advised that I attend

    Lawyer advised that I attend. The group and counselors have been a pleasant experience. Turns out we were more alike than we all expected.

    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.”

    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 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.

    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!

    Not sure what to expect

    My first thought of treatment consisted of being nervous and not sure of what to expect. Shortly after beginning group I realized that everyone has similar issues but come from a variety of paths in life. I quickly felt in place as I realized that everyone pulled together to give positive feedback. My favorite group entailed describing the positions our families play in our lives and how to bring the farther people closer to us. I have learned a lot from group hearing other people’s situations similar to mine and the feedback on how to address them and the feedback on how to address my own situation.

    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!

    Group was very helpful

    Family Issues – I took a lot from group. Group was very helpful. I have learned a lot about myself and the steps I need to take group to get better and stay better. I really enjoyed and gained from hearing others and knowing that I am not alone.

    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!

    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.

    Was able to better my decision-making skills

    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.

    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 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.”

    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.

    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.

    I appreciate what each of you has done for me.

    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.

    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.

    It has been a pleasure

    First Step made my treatment experience a great one. Everyone was so pleasant and helpful; laughs and encouragement from all staff. It has been a pleasure doing my treatment for these reasons and more. I have gone through my life history and recognize my faults and weaknesses. I fully understand what I must do to avoid future troubles. Achieve my goals and staying focused will give me the peace, love, joy and happiness I desire! In bad tires I can cope by reading the scripture, calling a friend or taking time to do something fun.

    My initial impression of First Step was frustration

    Getting a DWI brought me to First Step. My initial impression of First Step was frustration but only on my own part due to my guilt of getting me in this situation and frustration that I choose to drink and drive. The counselors have been nothing short of amazing. I decided personally to put up a wall because of shame but slowly my heart let that wall fall because I knew I had to face the road ahead. It’s not easy to own our faults and our mistakes but that first step when we make bad choices is to face the road ahead and own the consequences. First Step in healing is acknowledgement. Just being real to you and to others is most helpful in healing. I learned to stand with humble confine or knowing that God is healing me and there are brighter days ahead. Treatment has been therapeutic knowing that many others are in the same situations or similar situations. I plan to stay sober and continuously work on me every day and hopefully be a light to others who may face the same situation.

    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.

    I’ve taken at least something out of each group

    An internet research brought me to First Step for an assessment and 30hours of group sessions. My first impression was that I didn’t need to be here but after attending group I realized I do have some issues. I’ve taken at least something out of each group; with each session I’ve attended. The biggest was making changes with associates that could/would cause a trigger. Thanks!

    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.”

    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?)


    First Step changed me

    First Step changed me for my job and my Son.

    New outlook on life

    From prior to treatment till now, I have changed my views and opinions on a lot of different topics. This class along with the people in it have given me a new outlook on life not just my use of alcohol. The experiences have shown me a light which I’ve never really known. Everyone has helped me gain a new vision of how I want to live my life and I think it will be a very long time, if ever I pick up drinking again.

    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.

    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.”

    Getting insight into my life

    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 have been able to improve my life

    I was brought here due to my DWI and treatment was recommended. My initial impression of the counselors and group was very positive. I felt very comfortable in group and around others there. Tonya and Jess were very friendly, professional and easy to communicate with. The most helpful part to me was learning what my triggers are and how to address them. I learned that I need to change certain things in my life and my actions. Treatment helped bring out my true emotions and feelings in regards to who I am. By being aware of this I have been able to improve my life.

    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!

    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!

    Treatment has left a lasting impression on me

    From the very first day I came in with a positive attitude to take something positive away from this experience. My initial impressions of the counselors were that they were all helpful and concerned for our well-being. I thought that they did a good job of interacting with the group and getting every member involved with the discussion. The most helpful part of the process was the open dialogue that I engaged in with the group. It was refreshing to share experiences and relate to others with similar circumstances. I learned that my irresponsible actions affected not only me, but those close to me as well. The treatment has left a lasting impression on me as I move forward.

    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.

    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.

    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.”

    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.”

    I would and have 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.

    First Step was a great experience

    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.

    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!”

    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.”

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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 was somewhat resentful

    I came into this group somewhat resentful… After just my first meeting I actually went home feeling good and eager to talk about my visit. I learned a lot about myself and I am very grateful to Jessie and First Step Services.

    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.”

    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 through. 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.

    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.

    It’s my life

    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!!!

    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.

    Group for me has been great

    I think group for me has been great, when I first came to group I had no expectations, but I have learned a lot about myself and what I can do to better myself in many aspects.

    I was skeptical about the group approach

    A DWI is what first brought me to First Step Services initially. I was skeptical about the group approach to therapy. However, the counselors were very welcoming and thoughtful. I never felt that I was being judged. Being in a group setting allows you to hear other member’s story which allowed me to better understand my situation. The most important thing that I learned about myself is that I can enjoy life without the use of a substance and my quality of life is better without that substance. This treatment has made me a better decision maker. I have learned that poor decision making can make you lose a lot more than money.

    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.

    They inspire me

    When I first walked in I was thrown back. I guess I was under the impression that it was a class. I was disappointed I guess more with myself because I was now in “AA” due to my lack of responsibility. After the first session I got over my pride (especially after talking to my bf) and kept an open-mind. I’ve learned so much about myself. Most of it I already knew deep down. But this experience has brought it out to the surface I never vocalized or really accepted that the root to my “self-destructive” behavior was M.’s death. It makes a lot of sense. And honestly I feel a slight weight off my chest being in this group. I knew I needed a change and this couldn’t have happened at a more perfect time. Group along with my boyfriend and me already starting to change my habits has helped me get myself in gear and life back on track. It also helped me make the decision to move in with my boyfriend in Pittsboro which I feel really good and excited about. I admire what Tonya and Jess do for the group to be honest they put the idea of possibly liking into becoming a counselor especially since I kind of already am to my friends (laugh out loud); no but seriously they inspire me.

    Eye opening experience

    My experience at First Step was an eye opening and self-defining one. I learned a lot about myself and the problems I have and continue to work on. Having an environment that I can be open and honest is an important tool for me and anyone to have access to my initial impression was a neutral one because it was mandatory for me to attend. Sessions over time I began to enjoy and looked forward to coming to group to learn about myself and experience others. I grew to enjoy listening to others express their problems and fears and think about how they could be attributed to my situation. Treatment made me a better person, a better citizen, and a better worker due to the intrusive examination of myself and who I was, but more importantly, who I want to be.

    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!

    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!!!

    Felt good about the class and counselors

    Felt good about the class and counselors. Was very informative. Learned a lot of things that I did not know about.

    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!

    My experience at First Step

    My experience at First Step was absolutely wonderful. I learned more about myself than I had my whole adult life. Our group counselor, Holly, did a fantastic job facilitating the meetings, and no matter what activity or discussion we had, I never left without feeling enlightened and fulfilled.

    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.

    Group at First Step

    Upon starting group at First Step I immediately felt like I could be open with my fellow groupers. It helped me to get questions and get feedback when I was confused. All of my fellow groupers were very informative and I gained a better understanding of others peoples struggles with alcohol I learned that I don’t have to put myself in in sticky situations just because. I don’t trust anyone other than myself. There is always other options than driving drunk. I learned that I can use different support systems to remain abstinent from drinking. Even though I haven’t abused alcohol or any drugs in many years. I learned that I can still take control of me if I open the door to it. I pledge to continue to stay abstinent from any mood altering substances.

    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!

    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.

    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

    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.”

    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.

    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 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.

    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 think 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 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.

    Obtained the needed tools

    Like so many others, I came to First Step as a last resort to free myself from addiction and reclaim my life. I was physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually broke with only a glimmer of hope. In desperation I faithfully attended group meetings, two times a week, for three months, and as time went on, the hope that I might restore my health grew more and more. When I graduated, I had obtained the needed tools to live a clean and sober life.

    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!

    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 never dreaded a moment

    I was a patient at First Step due to my DWI. I immediately felt welcomed and comfortable sharing my story. Every session, I was educated on work and I learned what to do in situations where I feel unsafe. [The Counselors] were fabulous counselors who taught us in fun, exciting ways that made me actually eager to come to group. They challenged me to think in ways I had never thought before and to cherish my values day to day. Each group was a joy to be in and I never dreaded a moment.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    I have a lot to live for

    Initially, when I looked this facility up, I didn’t think I was doing anything but trying to finally pay and do the 20 hours to get my license back. I came in with a get it done attitude, not planning on taking anything from it. However, I learned that everyone (myself involved) needs a wake-up call. God did not give us the ability to reproduce without giving up real life examples. I learned that if you make a mistake and you never learn from it you will forever spiral in the same direction. Learned my lesson and changed my way after I made my mistake and didn’t’ continue down that path. I also learned I have other issues that I need to deal with. I’m proud of myself for finally accomplishing this task. I enjoyed meeting Amy and Cynthia and the other lady Phyllis. Although Cynthia’s was my favorite, her approach was realistic. Amy was down to earth and IU related to her as well. The content could have been better however but overall it helps others. I learned I have a lot to live for and that as long as I know right from wrong and learn from mistakes I can be successful. Thank you for helping me reaches my goal. A costly one at that was worth it.

    Better ways to handle stress

    A DWI brought me here. The counselors are extremely attentive, helpful, and work to focus items on your special issues. What I can take away are better ways to handle stress that I deal with day to day.


    “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!!”

    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.

    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 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!”

    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."

    I encountered a lot of self-reflection

    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.

    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 didn’t want to be there

    When I first came to group I didn’t want to be there, But over time I realized how helpful it was. In the group setting everyone shared what happened to them. I learned things that would be helpful towards my case and for the future. The counselors are great they want everyone in the group to be part of the group. They make you feel comfortable in the group setting. The thing that I found most comfortable was knowing that I was not alone in the situation, and that I had people here to help me.

    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.

    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.

    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.”

    To my surprise I enjoyed it

    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.

    Fully embraced the program

    I was initially brought here for a DWI. Initially I was angry and did not accept that I was the one who made the decision that brought me here. Now I have fully embraced the program and have accepted and have taken responsibility for my actions. The counselors have been very helpful in helping me take a step back and look at my life and choices I have made and this is something I really needed. The groups have been great. Very understanding, supportive and non-judgmental. The most helpful were the stories of others and not feeling alone in this situation. Also learning about my triggers is a huge help and great place to start. Again I needed a change in my life and this is something I very much needed and chose to embrace the assessment and the group sessions and take the time to step back and get insight on all flaws, work towards fixing them and get fully educated on myself and work towards being a better man.

    I am glad I was enrolled here

    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.

    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.

    Here to help

    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.

    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.

    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 was skeptical at first

    I was skeptical at first, but I was pleasantly surprised with the counselors and First Step. It was not more of the same and it was helpful to me and my sobriety.

    I learned several tools

    I came into group optimistic. I came in with an open mind and heart. I wanted to learn how to become a better person and to improve my habits and my life. I learned several tools from the counselors and group members that I can apply daily. I have used this group as a way to guide my fight into growth and self improvement.

    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.

    Good insight on life

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

    Really did not want to participate

    “I initially came to First Step for my second DWI. I came in with a negative attitude and really did not want to participate but about two classes in and hearing everyone’s stories I became very interested. I’ve realized that my situation could have been prevented if I would have been more responsible and made better decisions. Luckily, I did not hurt anyone or myself and I get another chance. God is good! So, I’ll take everything I learned and use it to hopefully help someone else that may be in a bad situation or heading down the wrong road. Another thing that I would like to mention is that the staff was very knowledgeable and made class very interesting and fun.”

    The counselors were great

    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!

    I can be successful

    I learned I have a lot to live for and that as long as I know right from wrong and learn from mistakes I can be successful. Thank you for helping me reach my goal. A costly one that was worth it.

    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. “

    Love and support

    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.

    New insight to my future

    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.

    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.”

    The counselors where pretty cool

    I thought it was a very comfortable setting and the counselors where pretty cool. It changed the way I think about drinking but after hearing stories from everybody nothing ever turns out good.

    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.”

    Coming to group, I learned quite a bit

    I was first brought to group because 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.

    Better mind set

    What brought to First Step is failing a drug screen test with my probation officer. Since being here at First Step I have learned many things from how to control my anger to staying away from triggers that will make me want to use and abuse a substance. In group I learned that staying away from all mood altering substances will have you with a clearer mind to think with. When you are on a substance you are thinking with a clouded judgment. Since being in group I have kept myself away from mood altering substances to keep me in a better mind set.

    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.

    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.

    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 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.”

    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.

    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.

    At first, 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. “

    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 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 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.”

    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.

    My biggest take away

    Jessi and Tonya, as well as the rest of the group made me feel welcome right away. I wasn’t sure what I was going to walk into and I was surprised by what it turned out to be. The group sessions really made me spend a lot of time reflecting on things that I normally don’t take the time to think about. That would be my biggest take away and greatest gain.

    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.

    Counselors did outstanding job

    The counselors did an outstanding job of lesson planning and their work should be commended. I can now walk into the world with a greater purpose and I will continue to fight for the things that I believe in and will continue practice abstaining for all substances.

    In the end I enjoyed going

    I learned that I have more to offer than I previously thought. Also that I can share comfortably in a group setting; in the end I enjoyed going to these meetings.

    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.

    Pleasant experience

    The First Step program has been a pleasant experience for me. I will miss the comfort I feel in expressing my feelings. Ms. Cynthia and Ms. Phyllis are out of the ordinary, kind and considerate. Different people take different thoughts from this group. What I took is that I can control when, where and how much. I truly am going to make an effort in not drinking and driving. Thank you ladies!

    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.

    Caring and understanding to my situation

    Like everyone else that I have heard say I thought this class was going to be boring and a waste of time; but as I got into group and learned people and got comfortable. I was able to talk and share and really started to enjoy thanks to Tonya and Jessie. You guys were really caring and understanding to my situation and allowed me every chance to get my classes over with and start new.

    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.

    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 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 enjoyed my time

    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 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!!”

    Knowledgeable and understanding

    My initial impressions of First Step were both a sense of embarrassment and a though I wasn’t going to get much out of the group meetings. Quickly I found the counselors to be very knowledgeable and understanding to the needs of every individual. I also saw that they treat everyone the same yet different as ones needs were noted. I did enjoy the family feud game and found that it was a great way to emphasize learning and understanding the subject manner. I do absolutely feel my decision making process will be different in the future. I know that I will put a plan together for any evening activities that include alcohol. I have learned that a $25.00 cab ride is a lot cheaper and not to mention safer than taking a chance with my life and someone else's.

    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.

    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

    Opened my eyes

    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 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.

    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.

    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.

    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 you’ll do!

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    The Counselors were great

    The treatment helped me a lot and made me feel good every night I left. The Counselors were great and I hope to stay on the same road I’m on now.

    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.”

    I found the sessions informative and cathartic

    I came here because of a DWI. I found the sessions informative and cathartic. I already knew I’d been feeling down but getting the DWI and the activities at First Step enabled me to realize I need to take action to get better for myself and my kids.

    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.

    Didn’t think I belonged here

    I am here on a 24 year old D.U.I. that I didn’t complete my conditions for to acquire a N.C. Driver’s License. When I was in my first group I really didn’t think that I belonged there. After the second group I had learned that everyone should get this class just for the education.

    The biggest lesson I got from this group was the progression of abuse to dependency and the difference between the two. I learned that I needed this class to make me aware of some indirect abuse/dependency in my immediate family. I have 23 and 24 year old children and I have had my questions, but things are a lot clearer now. Thanks to Phyllis & Cynthia for their thorough & professional manner as well as their detailed instructions & subjects.

    I personally recommend this class to anyone that hasn’t had any education or study on the causes & effects of alcohol or drug abuse.


    I never felt judged!

    I chose First Step to do my assessment due to their proximity of where I live. All the counselors I have dealt with have been most courteous, knowledgeable and understanding. The classes I was required to attend were informative, and the warmth of the groups made it easy to participate in and share. I never felt judged! My time here was really enjoyable.

    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.”


    Stress Free Holidays

    Stress Free Holidays

    Can you have stress-free holidays? The holidays are usually a time that is filled with
    Thankful for Recovery

    Thankful for Recovery

    Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on
  • 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!

  • Read All Testimonials