A Step Forward is a modest rehab located about 10 minutes from the city center of Baltimore, Maryland. It caters mostly to the homeless, unemployed, recently incarcerated and financially burdened. Lela Campbell, a Baltimore native, founded the facility in 2002 after watching her brother struggle with addiction. Her program has since helped over 6,000 people.
Accommodations and Food
The facility more closely resembles a house than a hospital, and can hold about 20 residents maximum. All clients share rooms with another roommate and each only has the basics: twin beds and minimal storage space. A Step Forward is a co-ed program, but the sexes are kept separate when it comes to housing. There’s a television on-site that residents can use at designated times throughout the day, as well as a weight room with a few exercise machines and free weights for those who want to keep active.
Clients can use the phone in between treatment sessions, but visitors aren’t allowed at any time. After the first 45 days, though, residents can be granted overnight passes to visit family—in some cases, they can even get short daytime visits granted by their counselor.
Food is served three times a day, with monthly menus planned out in advance. and while they can accommodate for allergies, clients are rather limited in their options on any given day. Meals can include burgers and fries, salads or pizza; they offer salads and other green options daily, but health food isn’t necessarily prioritized.
Treatment and Staff
Stays at A Step Forward lasts six months and include one-on-one counseling, dual-diagnosis support, 12-step groups, group counseling, health education (such as educational seminars about HIV transmission) and case management. There’s also life and job skills training such as financial planning, problem solving and interviewing skills; staff individualize schedules for each resident’s needs. Because there are no medical staff available on-site, detox is not available.
For the first 45 days, a typical schedule begins at 5:30 am followed by breakfast and various meetings, a few group sessions and lunch in the early afternoon. After lunch, clients may have more group meetings and life skills training sessions until dinner in the early evening. Each client must attend mandatory AA or NA meetings at 7 pm. There are sometimes additional sessions at the house after that, though generally there’s time to relax until lights out at 10 pm. After the first 45 days, exceptions in the schedule can be made for residents to seek employment, go to work or attend vocational training throughout the day; otherwise, things remain largely the same throughout.
A Step Forward has a psychiatrist on contract that oversees treatment, and also employs three certified counselors as well as various administrative and culinary staff; the staff-to-resident ratio is about four-to-one.
A Step Forward encourages creativity amongst its clientele, as exemplified by an anthology of resident writing they published in 2010 titled Taking a Step Forward: Writing our Way to Recovery. After their six month program ends, clients can continue attending outpatient group and one-on-one counseling sessions for another three months. They also offer transitional housing and additional help finding a job or a place to live for those who need it.
For the most part, A Step Forward provides basic treatment for substance abuse recovery that costs very little and provides so much financial assistance to those in need. What it offers is a supportive, caring environment for recovery, and does its best to cover all the necessary bases.
A Step Forward
800 N. Fulton Ave
Baltimore, MD 21217
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