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First Step Farms Private

200 Pete Luther Road, Candler, North Carolina, 28715
First Step Farm offers clients a unique work therapy program designed to promote self-sufficiency and personal accomplishment. The residential rehab operates a fully functional farm that employs participants in the program, offering them an opportunity to replace mood-altering substances with feelings of pride, self-respect and esteem. Programs are gender-specific and teach clients how to incorporate valuable coping skills and 12-Step principles into their lives, as well as develop a solid personal program for life-long sobriety.

Facility Highlights

  • Individual Treatment Planning
  • Case Management
  • Group Therapy


  • Individual Therapy

    This term describes one-on-one therapy, in which a patient and trained counselor, social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist meets privately with a patient to discuss challenges related to lifestyle, work, family and romantic relationships that may have contributed to the development of an addiction.
  • Holistic Therapy

    Facilities that offer “holistic therapy” see and treat patients in the context of their entire lives and health status. They treat the “whole person,” not just the addiction.

Facility Settings

  • Private/Secluded

Treatment Center Links

Rehabs 360 Guide


Located in the Pisgah Mountains of western North Carolina, First Step Farm of WNC is a private, nonprofit long-term residential treatment center for men and women struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. The organization operates two gender-specific programs, designed for clients who already have completed primary residential treatment and have at least four weeks of sobriety prior to admission. Established in 1992, the women’s facility is set on a secluded 32-acre campus, about 10 minutes from the men’s facility.


Treatment at First Step Farm is considered an alternative program and begins with a referral and a screening. According to the facility’s website, all residents must be referred by a qualified professional associated with a licensed substance dependency treatment center recognized by the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services. Applicants will be screened to evaluate their commitment to recovery, mental health background, capacity for strenuous labor, and willingness to participate in the program for a period of at least three months. During their stay, clients are subjected to random alcohol and drug checks.

The women’s program is strengths-based and utilizes a work therapy model to restore clients’ self-esteem and improve their vocational and social skills. The facility trains and employs all residents, giving them jobs in the kitchen, gift shop, on fully-functional farms, in the greenhouses, or at a nearby automotive repair shop operated by the rehab. Residents learn about discipline, responsibility, and are provided the opportunity to earn money and gain experience with an employable skill.

In addition to work therapy, clients attend a daily morning meeting as well as two group therapy sessions per week and four group therapy self-help meetings at night, many of which are 12-step focused. Clients are allowed visits with friends, family, and community members, and regularly participate in recreational and social activities.


First Step Farm is licensed by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The women’s program is run by a clinical addictions counselor who has worked in the field for more than 20 years.


At First Step Farm, the women’s campus is located in a secluded, rural setting. The residence can accommodate up to 15 clients, who help produce numerous varieties of annual and perennial flowers available for purchase at the facility’s gift shop and other retail and wholesale outlets. Residents receive three country style nutritionally balanced meals each day and are expected to help maintain the facility and keep their personal space and belongings in good order.


The two alumni polled by Rehabs.com at time of writing both gave overwhelmingly positive reivews regarding the facility. One alum polled by Rehabs.com provided positive feedback about First Step Farm, awarding the maximum five stars for metrics such as: counseling options, staff's level of training and experience, family participation, affordability, cleanliness, and exercise and leisure. The other alum similarly gave high five-star ratings to the majority of metrics, and offered additional commentary: "Overall program is well run...was able to work on myself."

The same highly positive pattern was reflected on the organization’s official Facebook page, which First Step Farm can manage.[1] Five reviewers each posted a perfect five-star review, including Megan, who wrote: “They have everything you need! Very helpful and friendly people!” The other reviewers rated the men’s facility, such as David, who posted: “Saved my life” and Bryan: “Could not ask for a better place to go and recover.”

However, one individual who left feedback on Yellow Pages about the experience of her husband at the men’s facility, rated it only one out of five stars.[2] She wrote: “While they may have good intentions, I felt this program failed my family… I have seen no indication from my husband that they follow AA as claimed. He has shown no regret for the damage and pain he has caused his family with his irresponsible behavior.”


There currently is no information provided on First Step Farm's website or elsewhere regarding costs.


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