First Step Farm of WNC Review
Established in 1976, First Farm of WNC is a private nonprofit, licensed to provide residential treatment living for adults with substance use disorders. Located in the mountains of Pisgah near Candler, North Carolina, FSF is a short distance from Asheville. Offering two unique programs for both men and women, treatment plans include working outdoors in the beautiful landscape and utilize a 12-step approach.
Accommodations and Food
Set on 32 rolling acres of farmland, the Women’s Facility houses up to 15 female residents, while the Men’s Facility several miles away accommodates 22. The quaint residences are all comfortably furnished, with semi-private rooms and shared bathrooms. Cell phones are not allowed, and access to phones and Internet is limited. Living spaces are large and well kept and clients are expected to maintain the highest level of cleanliness and complete chores. Some of these include preparing three country-style meals daily, which are hearty and nutritionally balanced.
Treatment and Staff
Clients must be referred to FSF from a qualified professional associated with a state-affiliated substance abuse program. Before commencing treatment, FSF screens clients to make sure they are committed to stay at least three months, are willing to engage in 12-step programs and are physically capable of strenuous farm work. Those that need medically supervised detox or mental health stabilization are encouraged to return once they’re stable.
Clients are expected to abstain from all substances and are tested at random. For the first two weeks, residents can’t leave the farm and can only visit with immediate family members. For the length of treatment—which can last up to nine months—clients attend facility meeting each morning, two weekly group therapy sessions, individual counseling, two on-site and two off-site AA/NA meetings each week. These sessions focus on coping strategies and relapse prevention. Clients also engage in 12-step work, completing journaling and assignments as directed by a sponsor.
The bulk of days are spent engaging in farm work across two programs. The Work Therapy Program has men and women operating all aspects of the farm, engaging in the areas for which they’re best suited. This also includes working in the kitchen, cooking and learning new skills, as well as operating the retail store. As the work is seasonal, clients may have various jobs at different times of the year. To promote self-esteem and self-respect, clients receive wages in return for their work.
Staff is available for guidance and supervision around the clock, but numbers are limited as clients are expected to be self-motivated and committed to recovery. Therefore, while prescribed medications are allowed, clients must obtain a physician’s waiver before starting treatment. Off-site doctor’s appointments can be arranged for those needing dual diagnosis support. A Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist, LPC and Clinical Addictions Counselor oversee all treatment.
Tended to by clients, the women’s farm produces flowers that sell wholesale and also retail at the FSF store. The men’s farm is a respected supplier of high-quality fruits and vegetables for the surrounding five states, operating 19 greenhouses and also selling produce at the FSF retail store.
First Step Farm of WNC provides a work therapy experience set against a beautiful landscape. With clients able to build self-esteem while being paid for real work, implementing a new, sober lifestyle. This is a unique program and an excellent choice for those seeking a break from city life and an outdoorsy start to their recovery.
First Step Farm of WNC Central Office Location
PO Box 1450
Candler, NC 28715
First Step Farm of WNC Cost
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