In December 2011, we recognized that our son had some serious substance abuse issues that he could not tackle on his own. We were referred to Four Circles Recovery Center in Asheville, and after a successful 8 weeks there, they suggested several options for a transitional care environment, one of which was Next Step. Our son was given substantial latitude in the decision as to where to go, and thankfully chose Next Step. I remember driving home after leaving him. He seemed genuinely happy to be moving forward with the next chapter in his recovery, and thinking how fortunate we were to have made that choice. We were comfortable with the surroundings, the residents we met, the staff and expectations. Our son was the youngest resident at the time, and even with that we felt totally comfortable that he was in great hands. Most impressive was how accommodating his fellow residents were not only to him, but to us as well.
Over the next four months our son grew into his role at Next Step, accepting the recovery process, and spoke highly of the program. He enjoyed the advancement opportunities, the life skills classes, the independence that was fostered, and even though he complained about the “rules” from time to time, learned to enjoy the benefits of structure. He stayed in touch with us regularly, as did the staff, and we were never worried about his safety or his development. He quickly found full time employment, went to his meetings, attended skills classes, enjoyed the adventure programs, and I think made some lasting relationships with a few of his fellow residents. He also seems to have made what we hope is a “many years to come relationship” with Jon, his primary case worker.
Our son seems to have turned a significant corner in his life, and even though we expect there may be bumps in the road going forward, he has been given a structure that will serve him well the rest of his life. We are happy that he has decided to remain in Asheville and I expect that in no small part, Next Step being right down the road was a huge part of that decision. Our son is working full time, volunteering at the Science Center, exercising regularly, attending meetings and joining Next Step for Tuesday night alumni dinners and an occasional adventure day when possible.
In closing, we would like to thank the Next Step staff, the residents and our son for accepting recovery as a treatment and/or a career, and we hope that the relationship between our son and Next Step is not over. As with many issues we deal with in life, we need ongoing support, and he has received and will continue to have available just that through your program. Thanks for all of the hard work, the passion you bring to your jobs, and most of all the love that you have for your residents.