Our Founder

Susan Stader, MS, LCMHC, LCAS, CCS

Susan Stader is the Founder of Next Step Recovery, Intensive Outpatient Programs for adult men ages 18 – 40 in early recovery. Also, since 2006, Susan is the Executive Director for the 501c3 non-profit, NSR of Asheville which is a Transitional Living Program.

Susan understands firsthand the power of community for restoring dignity and a sense of purpose. It transformed her own life many times. First, as a teenager in a therapeutic residential school, where she learned how to claim her self-worth and became inspired to help others do the same.

Susan on her journey discovered the Camphill Special Schools movement—therapeutic residential communities for handicapped children and adults, based on Rudolf Steiner’s educational theories. Susan moved to Pennsylvania, where she lived and worked for three years as support staff and 10th grade Waldorf curative education teacher. She then moved to England to study anthroposophical counseling at Emerson College.

Shortly after graduating, Susan was called again to serve and live in community, this time in a therapeutic boarding school for teens in Arezzo, Italy. Susan supported students in her role as a mental health and substance abuse counselor. Having come full circle, Susan’s life purpose crystallized.

She moved back to the U.S. with her husband and daughter and spent the next 10 years pursuing her formal education, earning her master’s degree in community counseling and certification as a licensed professional counselor and clinical addictions specialist.

Susan worked for several years as the lead counselor for a large residential community of men recovering from substance use disorders. During this time, Susan developed a robust curriculum that educated residents about addictions recovery and relapse prevention tools and strategies.

In early 2006, Susan learned that a local halfway house was closing its doors, leaving a critical shortage of recovery housing in the Asheville area. To make matters worse, there wasn’t any sober housing offering the highly structured recovery support and education that research shows are critical to early recovery success.

Susan didn’t hesitate to take the next step in her life’s work. In May 2006, Susan and NSR of Asheville welcomed its first residents, and the program quickly filled with a long waiting list.

Then in 2016, she created Next Step Recovery. Her programs have helped hundreds of men rebuild their lives, reclaim their dignity, and restore their hope. It has also continued to expand its programs and services to meet the ongoing need for safe, structured and effective early recovery support.

Ready for the Next Step?

Recovery is the Real Adventure.  Embrace the journey with other young men on the same path.  Lean on Next Step as your support network as you work toward sustainable sobriety.  You don’t have to make the climb back to a life of meaning by yourself, but you do have to start.  Take the next step toward your future today.