First Step Farm – Men’s Program

First Step Farm - Men's Program Candler North Carolina

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.


Located in the Pisgah Mountains of western North Carolina, First Step Farm is one of the state’s 78 (16 percent) long-term residential treatment centers for drug and alcohol addiction. The facility is amongst 208 (42.5 percent) in North Carolina to offer gender-specific programs, and the Men’s Program lasts 12 months. The long-term programs are designed for clients who have already completed a primary treatment program, and all residents must have at least four weeks of sobriety prior to admission.


According to the facility’s website, all prospective clients must be referred to the men’s facility by an approved North Carolina substance abuse treatment program, and must be able to perform strenuous tasks.

The program at First Step Farm 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, the gift shop, on the fully-functional farms, the greenhouses, or at a nearby automotive repairs shop operated by the facility. Residents learn about discipline, responsibility, and are given the opportunity to earn money and gain experience with an employable skill.

In addition to work therapy, clients attend individual and group therapy sessions, many of which are 12-step focused. Clients are allowed visits with friends, family, and community members, as well as participate in recreational and social activities when not working or attending therapy sessions.


First Step Farm’s website notes the director of the men’s program holds many high-level certifications in counseling and clinical addiction services. In North Carolina, 97. percent of all substance abuse treatment facilities have continuing education requirements for staff. The two individuals surveyed by at the time of this writing both gave five out of five stars for the facility staff’s level of training and experience.


The center’s website indicates the men’s rural campus can accommodate up to 22 residents. The farm has a total of 19 greenhouses and grows a variety of produce transplants, including tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, and broccoli. The women’s campus is about 10 minutes away.

To date, the two alumni surveyed by both gave five out of five stars for the center’s cleanliness, as well as its overall accommodations and amenities.


The two alumni polled by at the time of this writing both provided highly positive feedback. Both former clients gave five out of five stars for overall treatment effectiveness, exercise activities, and holistic offerings.

“Overall program is well run. Was able to work on myself with 2 steps,” one alum wrote, providing five-star ratings for counseling options, the amount of family participation, and the facility’s effectiveness in treating co-occurring disorder. This individual also strongly agreed when polled on whether they would recommend the program to others.

Offering perfect five-star ratings for the effectiveness of lead counselors and the facility’s ability to resolve conflict, alum M.E.B added: “Was a wonderful chance to clear my head and work a good recovery program.”

Additionally commentary elsewhere online is scarce, though the sole Google reviewer to date provided a five-star rating for this facility.[1] “A business with a larger purpose,” G.S. commented.


There is currently no information provided on the facility’s website or otherwise regarding its costs. To date, the single alum to provide feedback to regarding facility affordability gave a five out of five star rating for this aspect of the program.

[1] GoogleReview

First Step Farm – Men’s Program Reviews

My daughter spent a year at First Step Farm and is now in her fourth year of sobriety. It's a great organization and the program they have is really good. Unfortunately, my two kids were in multiple rehabs, so I know from experience how good First Step Farm is.I highly recommend it..
Overall program is well run. Was able to work on myself with 2 steps.
Was a wonderful chance to clear my head and work a good recovery program.