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”.
What Is Families Anonymous?
Families Anonymous (FA) is an organization dedicated to helping family members and friends of people who are addicted to alcohol or drugs.
Members began holding FA meetings in 1971. It resembles 12-step organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous (AA and NA, respectively). Like AA and NA, Families Anonymous:
- Offers both in-person and online meetings that are free to attend (but the organization also accepts donations and sells literature).
- Encourages members to proceed through a series of twelve steps to find healing.
- Features twelve traditions that provide guidance for the organization and explain what it is.
- Promotes twelve promises, which are benefits that FA claims that it can provide as well as other statements about healing.
- Respects the anonymity of its members, who can refer to themselves by their first names only.
- Provides literature that contains more about the programs, addiction, and addiction-related issues.
These similarities may help Families Anonymous members better understand their loved ones with addictions, especially if the loved ones are attending Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or other sobriety meetings themselves.
To further guide members, FA also warns people against four destructive forces that can prevent people from healing:
1.Discussing specific religions
2. Gossiping about other FA members
3. Dominating meetings
4. Dwelling on the past
Families Anonymous Meetings
Meetings are an important aspect of the Families Anonymous organization.
The organization encourages the family and friends of people who are addicted (or people who are in recovery) to gather. Recognizing shared experiences can be cathartic. People can share what has helped them heal. Just as importantly, they can reveal what hasn’t helped them heal.
Members of FA can meet other members in various ways.
By visiting the Families Anonymous website, people can find meetings near them. The organization has meetings across the United States and throughout the world.
People who can’t find a meeting in their areas may want to consider starting a FA group near them by using the information on FA’s Starting a New Group page and ordering a free FA Starter Kit.
For people who don’t have meetings in their area or can’t attend gatherings for other reasons, local Families Anonymous chapters host virtual meetings.
Such virtual meetings are known as Meetings Without Walls (MWW). They allow people to participate in voice chats with each other in real time. FA offers a script template for MWW online voice chats.
The organization encouraged more online meetings due to COVID-19. The pandemic shut down many places that host meetings while governments discouraged or banned social gatherings.
Another way to attend remote Families Anonymous meetings is by phone. The meetings occur on Saturdays at 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) and can be reached by dialing:
- 605-313-5141 in the United States.
- 0330 998 1210 in the United Kingdom.
After dialing either of these numbers, callers are required to dial the access code 164804# and wait for the moderator to begin the meeting.
People who are more comfortable writing about their thoughts and feelings may find that the Families Anonymous E-Meeting is a good fit. It’s an email discussion group that consists of members from around the world.
In addition to its diversity, another advantage of the E-Meeting is its convenience. People can visit the group at any time of the day or night to ask or answer a question, discuss something, or read what others have posted. They can start participating online by following the instructions on the Families Anonymous Virtual Meetings page.
What Happens During Families Anonymous Meetings?
Some of the advantages of FA are its inclusivity and flexibility. Any member can lead a meeting and the organization encourages different people to lead.
Leaders don’t have to conduct all meetings the same way, but for guidance, FA offers a suggested meeting format.
For example, a meeting leader can begin by welcoming newcomers, making announcements, and asking others if they have any announcements of their own. The leader can describe what Families Anonymous is and what it does.
Members can read FA’s twelve steps, twelve traditions, and twelve promises, as well as information about drug abuse and helping by being, not doing. Members can also provide contact information to others.
After a break in the meeting, discussion time can begin. According to Families Anonymous, “Any piece of FA literature, such as a bookmark, a Step or Tradition, or a reading from Today a Better Way (TABW), makes an excellent topic for discussion.”
While anyone at the meeting can participate in these discussions, FA discourages what it calls crosstalk, which it defines as
- Talking without the leader recognizing them.
- Holding one-on-one side conversations during the meeting.
- Counseling or questioning other members.
During Meetings Without Walls sessions, members can request to make comments during the meetings and be recognized by the leaders.
Such requirements allow everyone to contribute. They allow people to focus on the speakers and let speakers truly be heard, which can provide emotional boosts when they need them the most.
Following discussion time, leaders can pass a basket for voluntary donations, ask newcomers if they have questions or comments, and ask if anyone has anything else to contribute.
At the end of the meeting, the leader can remind members that FA offers suggestions and that the program works differently for different people. The leader can also remind members that Families Anonymous values the anonymity of its members, so it discourages discussing what happened at the meetings outside of the meetings themselves.
Finally, like other 12-step groups, FA often ends its meetings with the Serenity Prayer:
- God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
- Courage to change the things I can,
- And wisdom to know the difference.