Addiction treatment can be costly without health insurance. If you’re an Alabama resident in need of substance abuse help, take a look at the resources mentioned below and low-cost strategies that will aid in addiction recovery. Addiction is considered a nationwide epidemic, and the state of Alabama is no exception. In 2018, there are about 67,000 overdose deaths reported in Alabama, many of these deaths linked to substance abuse. Substance abuse is an alarming problem within the state, as many patients are often prescribed opioids, the highest rate of legal use in the United States. Sadly, this is one of the factors that lead to opioid addiction in Alabama.
Free Addiction Treatment Resource: AlabamaWhat is one to do with when substance abuse is a problem, on top of financial woes? Many people assume it is impossible to get treatment without having health insurance. Thankfully, there are free resources one can use, such as state-funded programs, religious organizations, and community groups within the Heart of Dixie. Whether you’re a permanent resident or temporarily staying in Alabama, below you will find a list of resources and strategies you can use to get free addiction treatment.
How to Start Your Search for Free Treatment Resources and ProgramsNot all free treatment resources are right for everyone. Some do, in fact, get disappointed with the process of substance abuse help without proper direction. This leads to numerous relapses and ongoing life problems related to substance abuse. To get started with your free addiction treatment in Alabama, here is a simple guide that will lead you better towards a path that matches your needs.
- Browse the available free addiction treatment services: The first step is to go through the various no-cost or low-cost substance abuse treatment options available in the state. Read through them and glean information on the links provided.
- List two or three that seems like a great fit: After reading through all the possible resources, you can take note of 2 or 3 services that seem like a good option for you. It is best to be open to trying new things and making alternative choices if your first options didn’t work as well.
- Reach out to the agencies and point persons: After listing some top options for you, start reaching out to these agencies and people. You can ask for pertinent information such as requirements, what to expect, schedules, and availability of slots.
List of Free Addiction Treatment Resources in Alabama
State-Funded ProgramsThe state has its own department of mental health services that also covers substance abuse. Called Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH), the organization has patient-specific care with free assessment and referrals. Part of their services include:
- Adolescent treatment: Assessment, referrals, and community support for Alabama residents ages 13-18.
- Adult treatment: For those ages 18 and above, there will also be referrals, counseling, and community support in most of the counties in Alabama.
- Co-occurring mental health issues: Programs are available to address issues of substance abuse along with other mental health disorders.
- Women’s programs: ADMH also has specific programs relating to women’s issues, such as domestic violence, unexpected pregnancies, and health problems along with addiction.
Local MeetingsThere are various kinds of local meetings available in Alabama--those which are hosted by religious groups, and one which is more geared towards gathering people with a certain addiction.
Finding Support LocallyTo find local support, you can simply reach out to these religious and non-religious and ask if there are groups catering specifically to your community. Otherwise, you can also ask if there are virtual meetings being facilitated.
Local AA MeetingsAlcoholics Anonymous (AA) is an established non-profit organization that gathers people who are suffering or recovering from alcoholism to share and learn from each other towards recovery. There are 4 main official websites where you can find information on Alabama’s Alcoholic Anonymous chapter:
- AA Central Alabama
- AA Mobile, Alabama Region
- AA Birmingham Online Meeting Directory
- AA North Alabama
Local NA MeetingsNarcotics Anonymous (NA) is the counterpart of AA for people suffering from substance abuse aside from alcohol. They also have support groups based on areas and virtual meetings to receive encouragement, advice, and accountability through in-person or online sessions. Below are the websites for NA in Alabama:
- Northeast Alabama Narcotics Anonymous
- North Alabama Area of NA
- University of Alabama NA
- Alabama Northwest Florida Region of NA
Faith-Based MeetingsIf you want a more religious-based support group that can help you grow in your faith, there are Christian community meetings available in Alabama as well. Many of these life groups now have virtual meetings so you can join in without having to worry about the commute. Below are some churches offering faith-based free meetings:
- Mountain Brook Community Church (Birmingham, Alabama)
- Life Church (Huntsville, Alabama)
- Church of the Highlands (several branches in AL)
Other Options / Paid OptionsIf none of the options mentioned above seem like a good fit, there are also alternative routes you can take to get free or low-cost treatment.
ScholarshipsIf you are a recent high school graduate looking into a college to apply for, you can find universities in Alabama that offer enrollments with free counseling and substance abuse programs. You can also be a new or returning student to apply for many of the state’s scholarship. Having a well-crafted essay is essential in making your application stand out from the rest. To apply for a scholarship, you can take a look at the options at Scholarship.com or Unigo.com.
InsuranceAnother option is using your current health insurance or applying for low-cost insurance depending on your eligibility. Major health insurance companies now cover the whole or partial cost of addiction treatment, as imposed by the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 1996. You can verify your insurance to fully understand the types of treatment covered.
LoansTaking out medical or personal loans are viable options for people who can’t get insurance coverage or not planning to go to school. Alabama has some great options for loans that have competitive interest rates. WalletHub has provided a review of the best personal loans in Alabama, and the People’s Bank of Alabama also has low-interest rates with no annual fees.
12-Step Programs and Non-Religious12-Step Programs and Non-Religious options are also available as a low-cost option for people with addiction issues. The 12-Step Program is one of the most popular and effective ways people are able to experience long-term addiction recovery. It is mostly a process based on spiritual principles such as admitting one’s powerlessness over addiction, submitting to a Higher Power, and connecting with like-minded individuals who are going through the same journey. Non-Religious programs include self-managed techniques, psychotherapy, and other wellness treatment options. If you plan to make your rehabilitation as low-cost as possible, you can choose to undergo a single type of outpatient treatment in a trusted rehab facility.
Online Self-Help ForumsNot ready to live virtual meetings? You can also try online self-help forums to chat with people going through addiction and substance abuse recovery. You can get support, encouragement, and advice on how to deal with mental health and substance abuse issues in these online forums. Visit this link to get a comprehensive list of recovery online forums you can participate in.
Friends and FamilyIf you are determined to go to rehab sans an insurance or need more finances for out-of-pocket costs, you can also reach out to family and friends for extra help. Contact people whom you can trust and are willing to support you in your addiction recovery journey. As a way to return the favor, commit to your rehab treatment and pay them back later on (whether monetary or through other means) to show your gratitude.
Recovery Advice When Money Is ScarceMoney shouldn’t be a hindrance to get the help you need. Hopefully, the resources mentioned above may give you a springboard to get started with substance abuse treatment. Here are some money-saving reminders as you get started with addiction treatment options:
- Begin with your free treatment as soon as possible: As soon as you receive a referral or a slot for addiction treatment, it is best to start on it as soon as you can. This can help you stay away from progressing conditions, which can ultimately lead to more health and personal problems.
- Save up for premium rehab when needed: Some types of addictions linger even with free treatment. This is why many healthcare experts recommend the use of medical detox to remove traces of drugs and alcohol in the body. If the free treatment helped but not quite fully, you can save up for a premium rehab to undergo the full extent of addiction treatment (detox, customized recovery plan, aftercare).
- Negotiate with your health insurance: Many health insurance providers can be considerate when it comes to the coverages for addiction treatment. As many governing bodies now consider substance abuse as part of the larger umbrella of mental health disorders, it is possible for your insurance provider to reconsider the coverage of addiction treatment.
- Drugabuse.gov - "Alabama: Opioid-Involved Deaths and Related Harms”.
- Mh.alabama.gov - “Substance Abuse Treatment Services”.
- Mh.alabama.gov - “Crisis Numbers for Mental Illness”.
- Centralalaa.org - “District 8, Area 1 Alcoholics Anonymous”.
- Mobileaa.org - “Alcoholics Anonymous Mobile, Alabama”.
- Birminghamaa.org - “Birmingham Alcoholics Anonymous”.
- Aahuntsvillaal.com - “AA Area 1, District 20”.
- Neaana.com - “Northeast Alabama Area of Narcotics Anonymous”.
- Naana.org - “North Alabama Area of NA”.
- Calendar.uab.edu - “Narcotics Anonymous Meeting”.
- Alnwfl.org - “Alabama Northwest Florida Region of NA”.
- Mbcc.us - “Community and Life Groups”.
- Lifechurchhuntsville.com - “Life Groups”.
- Churchofthehighlands.com - “Small Groups”.
- Scholarships.com - “Alabama Scholarships”.
- Unigo.com - “Alabama Scholarships”.
- Wallethub.com - “2020 Best Personal Loans in Alabama”.
- Peoplesbankal.com - “Personal Lending Made Easy with Online Applications”.
Alcoholism affects many people, not just the people who are doing the actual drinking. In fact, family members and friends of heavy drinkers may suffer greatly from the effects of alcohol.
Al-Anon and Alateen groups recognize the suffering of loved ones. The groups teach people about alcoholism and help them understand that they need and deserve help as well.
What Are Al-Anon and Alateen?
Al-Anon and Alateen are organizations that aim to help relatives, friends, coworkers, and others affected by the drinking of people they know. Al-Anon meetings are open to everyone, while Alateen meetings are for teenagers (and occasionally preteens). Collectively, the meetings are known as Al-Anon Family Groups (AFG).
Both groups are related to organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other groups that help people who have struggled with addictions to alcohol or drugs or with compulsive behaviors.
Al-Anon, Alateen, and AA, in common with other addiction-related groups:
- Encourage members to meet with each other to provide support.
- Ask their members to work through a series of 12 steps to acknowledge their problems with alcohol, drugs, or behaviors; admit their mistakes; and make efforts to change.
- Use 12 traditions to guide individuals and the organization.
- Allow new members to ask veteran members to serve as sponsors to provide more personalized support.
- Respect the anonymity of their members.
- Publish literature that informs people about addiction and addiction-related issues.
- Operate under the guidelines of the World Service Conference to manage the organizations and provide access for their members.
- Offer their services for free, although they accept donations.
Do Al-Anon and Alateen Have Meetings?
Yes. Like AA, Al-Anon and Alateen emphasize meetings. And like other addiction-related organizations, Al-Anon and Alateen offer meetings across the United States and around the world.
In these meetings, members can gather to learn more about addiction and provide mutual support. People can share their problems and triumphs and can see that they’re not alone, that others are experiencing the same things.
For people who want to meet face-to-face, Al-Anon and Alateen offer in-person meetings. The organizations include information on where to find such gatherings on the Al-Anon Family Groups online site.
The site also includes information about what to expect when people attend meetings and answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs).
Some people may prefer virtual meetings instead of face-to-face ones. They may not be able to travel to attend in-person meetings or may not have any gatherings in their geographic area.
Developments such as COVID-19 may have also closed facilities that host meetings or have made people wary of gathering in groups.
For those reasons and others, Al-Anon and Alateen support a wide variety of platforms that allow people to gather and communicate without having to leave their homes. Members of these groups can contact each other and express their thoughts by using:
- Phone calls
- The internet (chats, email messages, bulletin boards, blogs)
- Social media (Twitter, Facebook)
- Instant messaging platforms (WhatsApp, Skype, Discord)
- Conferencing apps (WebEx, Zoom)
People who start groups are encouraged to register on the founding organization websites. These sites provide resources about starting new groups as well as other resources about the groups, addiction, and dealing with the addiction of others.
How Can People Learn More About Al-Anon and Alateen?
In addition to providing literature for group members, Alateen and Al-Anon provide resources for professionals who work with addiction. To make the literature more accessible to more people, these resources are in English, Spanish, and French.
For people who prefer to learn by listening, the Al-Anon Family Groups site also posts podcasts that serve as introductions to their meetings. The organizations also publish articles and blog posts where people relate their experiences firsthand.
Knowledge is power. Al-Anon and Alateen work to provide their members with knowledge so they can be more powerful and so they can fight the effects of addiction.
al-anon.org - Al-Anon Meetings
al-anon.org - New Al-Anon Group Registration