Phew where to begin. I was a resident at Next Step for several months (I will avoid sharing any specifics to retain my anonymity). These months were among the most frustrating months of my life.
First of all, I'll start off with the shortest part of this review which are the positive aspects of Next Step. The transportation vans which take residents to and from meetings, work, appointments, etc. are helpful and pretty much a necessity since the apartment complex is located several miles away from downtown Asheville. Without transportation you would be unable to do almost anything. However, getting picked up in a timely manner is rare. Expect to wait at least a half hour when you get off work to be picked up. You are not a priority. If you do not have a car or money to pay for Uber, you will find it very difficult to do anything enjoyable unless you find Narcotics Anonymous meetings enjoyable (you won't).
The last positive thing about Next Step that I feel like should be mentioned is that the apartments are pretty nice. They are relatively new and provide you with everything you need. There are a washer and dryer in each apartment, dishwasher, refrigerator, etc. There is a gym and pool at the apartment complex as well, but you need to pay $25 to get a key card in order to access these. They would be even nicer if they didn't overpopulate the apartments. These are three bedroom apartments and Next Step will cram as many as six people in them which I have seen happen on a few occasions. There is absolutely not enough space in these apartments to have six people.
Next Step is known in Asheville as the halfway house that "can't have girls over." This presents several issues. Residents are forced to hangout with girls outside of the apartments which makes it remarkably difficult to form and maintain a romantic relationship with a girl. You are almost never allowed to spend the night somewhere either. Having a relationship with someone while at Next Step puts a serious strain on the relationship.
Other than some cool staff members who are helpful and easy to connect with, nothing much else positive can be said about Next Step. But many of the staff members are not suited for their jobs. One staff member repeatedly looks at resident's penises while they are taking their UA (drug test). It is creepy and downright unacceptable. You can tell if someone is actually peeing in the cup without staring at their penis. One staff member has relapsed multiple times since I arrived at Next Step yet he is still staff. For the most part, Next Step hires almost entirely recovering drug addicts who are under-trained for their jobs. Do not say anything to staff that you would not want every staff member to know about. They listen to you and then go behind your back and tell other staff members and sometimes other residents which is a huge no no.
There are huge double standards at Next Step. There is one resident who does not involve himself at all in the Next Step community who has lived there for multiple years. He is taking up one of the rare one bedroom rooms and does absolutely nothing but go to work and get his urine tested occasionally. He is a rude to other Next Step residents but they continue to let him live there (probably because of $$$). Beyond this, some residents are treated much differently than others. There are definitely "favorites" that are treated better than other residents.
Recently Next Step has started allowing residents to "work" the third shift which involves walking around to the other apartments and making sure everyone is there. This is not cool whatsoever. I do not want another resident to be able to lurk around my apartment because Next Step is understaffed. I could see this violating labor laws as they are working for no compensation.
The owner is very manipulative. She will try to keep residents as long as she possibly can, typically by convincing whoever is paying that their loved one needs to stay longer or they risk relapsing. I have heard stories from multiple residents that confirm this being true. She will tell residents that their benefactor (for lack of a better word) wants them to stay for whatever reason and when the resident actually speaks with their benefactor, they discover that they never actually said that. This is a BUSINESS and Next Step is trying to make money, so they prolong resident's stays for as long as possible through manipulation and fear mongering.
The "level up" system at Next Step is absolutely ridiculous. You start at Level 0 and once you become Level 1, nothing significant changes. Your curfew is the same but you don't have to go to some of the mandatory things anymore. At Level 2, get ready because this is huge, you get an extra 30 MINUTES of curfew. But only on Friday and Saturday. At Level 3 it becomes 11 throughout the week and at Level 4 it becomes 12. The level up system is childish and for the most part - meaningless.
If you end up in an apartment with residents who are not clean people, your apartment will be consistently trashed. Staff will do nothing about lazy residents who refuse to clean up after themselves so if you're unlucky you will live in a depressing filth.
Unless you have a car and find Narcotics Anonymous meetings enjoyable, you're not going to have a positive experience at Next Step. The day I left was one of the happiest days of my life. Overall, I was very displeased with Next Step and would not recommend it to anyone.