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    Drug and Alcohol Counseling:

    Expressive Arts and Addiction Treatment

    Alcohol and Drug Counseling Groups

    All groups include participants who come to First Step for a variety of reasons. Groups include people who choose to receive services because they have become uncomfortable with their use, or aren’t sure if the substance use is a problem. Clients and patients are also  referred by families, self-referrals, hospitals, DWI, job/employers, attorneys, probation officers, colleges and universities, high schools, other agencies similar to First Step and many other referral sources. Participating in group session helps clients learn from other group members about the consequences of each others substance use to help each other avoid many of the difficulties experienced by peer group members.  If the thought of joining a counseling group is uncomfortable, just let us know. We can work out other alternatives to get you started.

    Family support is encouraged and available for all levels of care at First Step. We offer a free Family And Community Education (F.A.C.E.) program that meets each Monday evening at 6:00 for families and interested significant others. F.A.C.E. is designed to help all those who want assistance or questions answered regarding someone who has an alcohol or drug use concern. You do not have to be interested in enrolling or committing to any services at First Step. There is never a cost and no obligation of any type for families to participate in FACE.  The FACE group is not used to convince anyone to join our 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 would be placed in this program in accordance with guidelines issued by CARF (the Commission for Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities), person-centered practice, insurance companies, the N.C. Department of Human Services and NC DWI Services.  NC DWI Services regulates substance abuse assessments and treatment for DWI offenders in North Carolina.

    The First Step short-term program is a minimum of 20 hours but less than 40 hours, typically 20 – 30 hours. The short term program consists of a Program Orientation and a minimum of seven 3-hour group counseling sessions, usually spread out over no less than 30 days. These groups meet on Six Forks Road in Raleigh on Monday and  Wednesday 6:30-9:30 PM or Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30-9:30 PM in Raleigh. The Saturday morning session meets from 9:00 AM until 12:00 PM.

    Durham groups meet on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings 6:00 – 9:00 pm. Garner groups meet Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings 6:00 – 9:00 PM.

    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.

    recovery storyIf finances are a concern, ask about working out a payment plan. If paying at group time, please arrive 15 minutes early to allow time to process payment. We are in network with most insurance companies and often there is little or no cost to the program participant.  First Step bills your insurance for services to reduce your cost of your assessment, treatment and counseling.

    As the result of your substance abuse assessment, you could be referred to an Intermediate-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 I assessments and treatment.  These guidelines are established by the State of NC and we use the same guidelines to place all clients and patients at First Step.

    This program consists of a Program Orientation and a minimum of fourteen 3-hour sessions and an individual closing session, spread out over at least 60 days . Individual counseling sessions may also be recommended.  These groups meet on Six Forks Road in Raleigh on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30-9:30 PM in Raleigh. There is a Saturday session that meets from 9:30 AM until 12:30 PM.

    Durham groups meet on Tuesday and Thursday evenings 6:00 – 9:00 pm. Garner groups also meet Tuesday and Thursday evenings 6:00 – 9:00 PM. Cary groups meet Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

    Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP):

    Many studies show that Intensive Outpatient Treatment spread out over at least 90 days, and a less intensive continued care afterwards, is the most successful form of substance abuse treatment. Studies show IOP may be more successful for long-term success than inpatient or residential treatment when participants stick to it for the recommended duration.  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 hear how substance abuse treatment “doesn’t work” or has a low success rate. That is a mistaken belief. When a person completes treatment and continues care in an aftercare group and community support, the chances of long term sobriety and abstinence are very high. There is also a sentiment at times that a person “has tried treatment; it didn’t work” which is also a mistaken belief.  Research and our experience demonstrates that not giving up on treatment, even if there have been some return to use, will lead to long term success. The adage “keep coming back; it works if you work it” is true for treatment as well as community support programs.

    IOP typically consists of 30 sessions of outpatient group counseling, completed in approximately 3 – 4 months. Groups meet Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings and Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at our Raleigh Six Forks Road location. IOP meets in Durham and Garner on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings from 6:00 – 9:00 PM. Call today for more information.

    Day Programs at our Raleigh Facility: First Step offers weekday and Saturday morning substance abuse treatment programs for most levels of care, including general outpatient treatment, Intensive Outpatient Treatment and,  partial hospitalization. These are currently offered at our Raleigh Facility. The morning alcohol and drug counseling groups meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM.   Call us today for more information. (919) 833-8899 or email 1ststep@firststepnc.com.

    Alcohol and Drug Education:

    First Step provides several types of alcohol and drug education that satisfies court, DWI and probation requirements. Our Durham facility has a 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 very low cost.

    Insurance will pay a significant portion, and sometimes the entire, cost of the your outpatient treatment  and supportive counseling services at First Step.  Check with your insurance company and they will pay for the counseling groups but not for the “ADETS” (Alcohol/Drug Education Traffic School) or Prime For Life education programs.  Usually a co-pay is required by your insurance. That might be all that is required for you to pay. Often times your insurance company will also allow reimbursement for your assessment, if you enroll in the program within a short time after the assessment. If that is the case, the money that is reimbursed by insurance will be applied to group session co-pays, or if your insurance pays the entire cost, you will receive reimbursement for you cost.

    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, even if one has insurance. 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. 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 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 every DWI program 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 for an NC DWI.  If the DWI was received an another state, fees will likely vary among agencies throughout the state.

    If money is tight, you can sometimes work out a payment plan for counseling groups so you can get your treatment hours completed. 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.

    To sign in and get proper credit for your group, please arrive 15 minutes early to allow time to process payment.

    Contact the First Step facility closest to you today for more information.


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  • 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.


    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.


    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!


    When I first came in this group I felt like I didn’t really care, but when I came more, I became excited about this group.


    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.


    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.


    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 that was worth it.


    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 […]

    Anonymous Former Adolescent Program Patient

    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 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. KD


  • Read All Testimonials