Why It’s Important to Get Addiction Treatment HelpNo one starts out using drugs or alcohol with the intention of getting addicted. For many people, what starts out as casual recreational use turns into an everyday indulgence that takes on a life of its own. Addiction happens without you even knowing it and by the time you see the problem, it’s spinning out of control. When used on a regular basis, addictive substances, such as prescription opioids, cocaine, heroin, and alcohol have the ability to change how the brain works. They do this by interfering with brain chemical processes. In turn, the brain responds by altering its normal processes to accommodate the drug’s effects. With repeated substance abuse, the brain will continue to re-adjust its chemical makeup.Before long, the brain can no longer function normally without the drug’s effects. In the process, changes in the brain’s chemical pathways and physical structures give rise to new, destructive ways of thinking and feeling. It’s at this point where getting and using drugs and alcohol takes on top priority in a person’s life. In order to overcome an addiction problem, you have to undo the damage caused by substance abuse. More often than not, this requires medical and behavioral treatment supports that are designed to help the brain and the mind recover from addiction’s effects. Free addiction treatment resources in Kentucky make it possible for anyone struggling with addiction to get the help they need to live a healthy, normal life.
Types of Free Addiction Treatment Resources in KentuckyIn today’s economy, the cost can easily become the determining factor when it comes to getting needed treatment help. Being able to access addiction treatment when you need it makes recovery possible. Fortunately, treatment resources in Kentucky cover a wide range of services, including support groups for you, your family, and friends along with transitional living options. Here are a few free addiction recovery resources in Kentucky to consider:
Alcoholics AnonymousWhile stopping drug and alcohol use is essential to addiction recovery, it doesn’t solve the problem. Once addiction develops, it warps your thinking and emotions to the point where new belief systems form. Addictive substances interact with the brain’s reward center, changing your values and priorities. Once a full-blown addiction develops, the brain believes it needs drugs (or alcohol) to cope with everyday life just as much as it believes the body needs food and water.For these reasons, a big part of addiction recovery centers on replacing these belief systems with ones that can support a drug-free lifestyle. Alcoholics Anonymous support groups follow the 12-Step program, which follows a road map for developing healthy thinking and healthy behaviors. The 12-Step approach also emphasizes the importance of social support and working through challenges in recovery with people who share the same struggles. These meetings take place throughout the week in several locations across the state, making Alcoholics Anonymous one of the more popular treatment resources in Kentucky.
12-Step Support Groups for Family & FriendsWhen addiction enters the picture, relationships tend to change in destructive ways. Family and friends often feel the brunt of addiction and they can influence your progress in recovery, for the good or for the bad. Twelve-Step support groups for family and friends use a modified 12-Step plan that’s designed to help loved ones better understand the effects of addiction. These groups also help their members learn to communicate in ways that allowthe recovering addict to be accountable for his or her actions and choices. The two most popular groups are An-Anon, which helps spouses and friends and Adult Children of Alcoholics for adults who grew up in alcoholic (or any form of substance) households or anyone who’s dealing with the effects of addiction in their life.
SMART Recovery MeetingsAs far as free addiction recovery resources in Kentucky go, SMART is a fairly new resource that first launched in 1994. SMART stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training, a nonprofit community of support groups. People recovering from addiction as well as their friends and family members are welcome to attend. Compared to the 12-Step model, SMART Recovery takes a markedly different approach to addiction recovery. With the 12-Step model, belief in a Higher Power plays a central support role in helping a person live a drug-free lifestyle. SMART Recovery takes a more secular slant that’s science-based. The overall approach entails using cognitive behavioral techniques, which emphasize the importance of replacing unhealthy thinking and behaviors with belief systems that promote drug-free living.
Sober Living HomesFor many in recovery, returning back to normal life after rehab can be overwhelming. Daily stressors, relationship conflicts, and being around friends and family who still drink or use drugs can quickly drive you back to using again if you’re not grounded in recovery. Sober living homes act as a bridge between rehab and normal life.While this option is not a free addiction treatment resource in Kentucky, sober living homes are a low-cost option that provides treatment support within an independent living environment. Residents must hold down jobs, do household chores, and pay rent. Most homes also require residents to have sponsors and attend 12-Step support group meetings on a regular basis. Sober houses provide you with a built-in community of people working towards the same goal.Overall, free addiction recovery resources in Kentucky can help you manage the challenges you’ll face in recovery. Social support and ongoing exposure to the principles of recovery can prove invaluable when things seem overwhelming, helping you stay focused on what’s most important. So if you’re concerned about not being able to afford ongoing treatment support, free resources are there to pick up where rehab leaves off.
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