Our Founder

Susan Stader, MS, LCMHC, LCAS, CCS

Susan Stader is the Founder and Executive Director of Next Step Recovery, a 12-step based transitional living community for adult men in early recovery. Now celebrating its thirteenth year, Next Step Recovery provides safe, substance-free housing and highly structured recovery programming to support long-term recovery. Susan oversees Next Step’s programs, manages a staff of 10, and provides clinical support to residents.

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 Next Step Recovery welcomed its first residents, and the program quickly filled with a long waiting list.

Since then, Next Step Recovery has 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.

What They Say About Us

"Before coming to Next Step Recovery, my life was in tatters. I felt defeated. The first day I arrived at Next Step, I was swinging. I was so angry. I was lost, hurt, and confused. I was living in paralyzing fear; yet, this place, these people, accepted me... They have shown me that a new life is possible. The staff here helps me grow into a better man every day... I owe the person I am today to Next Step's guidance."

J.C., Beloved Client

"Next Step Recovery is a safe place with people I not only consider a great staff, but also have come to love as family. They treated me with love, compassion, and respect. They helped me see things I couldn't; helped me grow as a person and changed my perspective on many topics. The people at Next Step will forever hold a special place in my heart."

B.D., Beloved Resident

“This is the longest I have ever been clean and Next Step is the reason for that. It has provided me with a safe place to begin my recovery”

T.A., Beloved Resident

"IOP was the perfect activity to both keep my week busy while also being able to fully focus on my recovery. The top notch staff members and therapists made this 12 week program one I will take with me wherever I go."

L.M., Beloved Resident

"I am so grateful for Nextstep and all the staff members. This is definitely the place I needed to come after I got out of treatment. Here I got connected to the recovery community in Asheville and made some good friends here at the houses. Nextstep has not only taught me what I need to do to stay clean but I have learned so many life lessons while I was here. I will stay in contact with Nextstep because this place has given me my life back and for that I am so grateful!"

Z.A., Beloved Resident

"Next Step Recovery was exactly what I needed in the early stages of my recovery! I spent so many years of my life hiding behind a bottle, and I couldn’t take it anymore! Susan and her staff helped me to get back on my feet and start the process moving on and loving life without the use of alcohol or drugs. After my 3 months here with next step, I chose to stay in Asheville and continue to work on my self, with their guidance. I couldn’t imagine my life today if I was still stuck in my old ways, Thank you Next Step Recovery!"

Z.B., Beloved Client

"You may have to leave family, friends and your old life behind as you start recovery. Next Step provides not only a home for you to start over, it gives you a spiritual cleansing. From the staff to my housemates, Next Step has brought a new meaning to recovery. If you let them work with you, you'll find more than a recovery house, you'll find yourself again."

M.R.K., Beloved Resident

My son completed 3 months of sober living at Next Steps Recovery, surrounded by kind, caring and compassionate staff, with all the skill sets required of true professionals to guide and assist him in living a productive, healthy , sober and happy life. He flourished and started to smile and enjoy life again during those three months. He now is starting to build a career for himself and is enjoying the normal things in life that had been missing for so many years. As a family we have been blessed to have been connected with Next Step Recovery. Thank you.

K.W., Family Member


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.