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    Drug and Alcohol Counseling Programs

    Expressive Arts and Addiction Treatment

    Alcohol and Drug Counseling Groups

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

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

    General Outpatient: Short-term Substance Abuse Treatment Program:

    As the result of your substance abuse assessment, you might be recommended to complete an early intervention Short-term Substance Abuse Treatment Program. You will be placed in a level of care in strict accordance with guidelines that meet the highest standards.  First Step is licensed by the State of NC and accredited by CARF to ensure compliance with all the highest standards of practice in the substance abuse treatment field.

    The First Step short-term program is approximately 5 – 9 weeks, typically consisting on 20 – 30 hours depending on the outcome of the assessment.  The short term program consists of a Program Orientation and 10 2-hour or seven 3-hour group counseling sessions, usually spread out over no less than 30 days.

    We will assist you in arranging a schedule that works best for you. If you are attending the program to meet NC DWI requirements, state law requires that you must complete the required number of hours in no less than 30 days for the short-term program.

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    General Outpatient: Longer-term Substance Abuse Treatment Program:  

    As the result of your substance abuse assessment, you could be recommended to complete a longer-term substance abuse treatment program. You would be placed in this program in accordance with guidelines issued by the N.C. Department of Human Services, which regulates substance abuse assessments and treatment. These guidelines are established by the State of NC. We use the same guidelines to place all clients and patients at First Step. The longer term, or sometimes referred to as Intermediate Level, consists of no less than 9 weeks and no more than 12 weeks of group substance abuse counseling.

    “When I first started the IOP group, I felt like this was one task of several to satisfy the Nursing Board. Now, I have a completely different view on my IOP experience. Opening up to my peers and learning of their own life experiences humbled me and made me realize I want to do this for me, not for the Board. I have learned so much about myself and gained some very valuable insight on how addiction can destroy everything you hold dear. I am very grateful to the IOP group and look forward to what aftercare will bring.”  Anonymous First Step client

    Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP):

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

    The public sometimes believe substance use treatment “doesn’t work” or has a low success rate. When a person abides by the treatment plan, completes treatment and continues care in an aftercare program and community support, the chances of long term sobriety and recovery are high. There may be the belief that a person “has tried treatment; it didn’t work.”  Our experience demonstrates that not giving up on treatment, even if there has been return to use, will lead to long term success. The adage “keep coming back; it works if you work it” is as true for treatment as well as community support programs.

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

    Groups meet at all our locations. Contact the office nearest you for schedules and cost. If paying at group time, please arrive 15 minutes early to allow time to process payment. We are in network with most insurance companies for all our counseling groups.

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

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

    Aftercare and Alumni Group Program: On Monday nights, First Step provides a 90 minute aftercare group. This group is facilitated by a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor to meet the needs of participants needing long term care after completing a primary care program such as IOP or inpatient treatment. This is a low-cost group consisting of sober “maintenance stage” members determined to stay sober long term.  The “Alumni Group” program allows participants of primary care to continue attending their group for $5 per day. The requirement of participation in the Alumni Group Program is the person has maintained abstinence and is continuing to attend group to support their recovery.

    Alcohol and Drug Education, Prime for Life, Alcohol and Drug Education Traffic School (ADETS):  First Step provides several alcohol and drug education programs that satisfy court, job, schools, probation, DWI, and other requirements. Our Durham facility has an Alcohol & Drug Education program approved by the courts. The cost is $150 that may be paid in payments if paying the full amount all at once is too expensive. The program consists of four 2 1/2 hour sessions and you may be able to complete in less than a week to meet court requirements quickly and for a low cost. ADETS is the education level for DWI clients. The cost of ADETS is $160. Prime for Life is available at all our locations for others needing substance abuse education for $185.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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    NC DWI Process: Charge, conviction, restoration of license

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    I came to First Step primarily to resolve a past DWI from Virginia. Throughout the entire process my counselors have been incredible. You are truly a person and not just a number or paycheck. The treatment helped me reaffirm the life changes I had made several years ago. Being able to share my experiences has helped


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