First at Blue Ridge offers long-term residential treatment for those suffering from chemical dependency. Founded in 1991, the nonprofit rehab is located at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the town of Ridgecrest, North Carolina. After starting out as a male-only rehab, First at Blue Ridge in 2011 added the 65-bed women and children residential treatment program, which serves all female addicts and alcoholics, regardless of whether they have children or not. Besides long-term residential treatment, First at Blue Ridge offers a 30-day inpatient protocol for court-ordered DUI clients, as well as the Vets First program for US military veterans.
Accommodations and Food
The campus sprawls across three wooded acres complete with a barbeque grill and benches. The residential building has 85 beds for men, 65 beds for women (10 are reserved for female veterans), 20 beds for male veterans and 25 beds for transitional housing clients. Residents are housed in gender-specific wings, with up to four clients per sleeping area.
The American-style food is served three times per day in the main cafeteria. There is a salad bar available for lunch and dinner. Fresh coffee is brewed every morning and other caffeine options, including sweet tea, are available all day. Ample coffee is provided at in-house meetings.
Treatment and Staff
Clinical treatment length ranges from 30 days to 10 months. This is a work-for-hire program for those who work their way through the program and commit to stay a year. This includes two months of transitional care prior to graduation, either on site or at a local sober living. For these clients, the only fee required is the $275 admission cost. For the 30-day DUI program, the cost after the admission fee is $3,500. The fee is $6,500 for those who stay either 60 or 90 days.
During the first 30 days, new residents acquire sponsors and begin work on the steps. After the first phase, they are assigned to vocational training partners and develop their work skills or focus on GED completion or educational goals. Qualified residents are assigned to landscaping, cooking or other on-site work teams.
The women and children program allows women to keep their kids with them during treatment. It also serves those who are attempting to regain custody, domestic violence victims, formerly incarcerated women, pregnant women and all other women who suffer from substance abuse. For those who are pregnant when they enroll, prenatal services are provided by local health care providers. Mothers and newborns return to the facility for treatment after delivery.
Besides Executive Director Joseph A. Martinez, there are approximately 26 staff members, mainly program graduates who have gone on to become college interns and LADCs. All staff are clean, sober and committed to providing a good example for residents.
Graduates receive special FIRST class rings that resemble high school rings. After 10 months, some residents move on to recovery cottages, while others live in transitional housing. The rehab allows residents to stay on for an additional 12 months while they save money, pay off debts and plan their futures. Aftercare varies per client, but typically includes continued attendance at 12-step meetings, goal setting and peer support.
There are two small cottages, each housing eight residents in the re-entry phase or program graduates. Each cottage includes a washer, dryer, cable TV with DVD, a pay phone and vending machines filled with snacks and sodas. Re-entry residents are served three hot meals a day, in the cafeteria.
Residents go on rafting trips to the Natanhala River twice a year.
Residents can not only reap the benefits of highly structured treatment, but the beautiful forest setting allows them a chance for self-reflection and healing. This program teaches residents the value of work and prepares them for life after rehab.
First at Blue Ridge
32 Knox Rd
Ridgecrest, NC 28770
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