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SMART Recovery in Alabama, United States Directory

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: Alabama

What 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 Programs

Not 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
When it comes to free services, you have more autonomy in what you think is best for your needs. Below, you can find a list of substance abuse help that can get you started in your recovery journey.

List of Free Addiction Treatment Resources in Alabama

State-Funded Programs

The 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.
To know more, you can reach out to ADMH by dialing 1-800-367-0955 or call their crisis hotlines.

Local Meetings

There 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 Locally

To 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 Meetings

Alcoholics 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: You may choose the area closest to your community. Otherwise, you can visit the Birmingham online directory for AA meetings to try out virtual support groups.

Local NA Meetings

Narcotics 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:

Faith-Based Meetings

If 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: A benefit of attending faith-based meetings is the chance to volunteer in church ministries. Many of these ministries help people discover a sense of purpose, focus less on their personal issues, and find fulfillment in helping others.

Other Options / Paid Options

If 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. 


If 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 or


Another 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.


Taking 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-Religious

12-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 Forums

Not 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 Family

If 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 Scarce

Money 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.
There is no single path towards recovery--your situation and condition are unique to you. When money is scarce, there are still many ways to receive the addiction help you deserve. Sources:

Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART Recovery) is a nonprofit community of support groups with a global outreach. It was first launched in 1994.

Anyone wanting to work through and overcome addiction -- it can be to drugs or alcohol, or for behaviors such as overeating or gambling -- is welcome to join. Weekly meetings are free, and are held both online and in person.

They’re not just for persons struggling with addiction, however. Family and friends affected by a loved one’s habit, and addicted inmates housed in correctional facilities are also welcome. (The prison outreach is overseen by the National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded InsideOut program.)

SMART Recovery differs from other abstinence-seeking support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and comparable 12-step organizations in that it is secular in nature and its approach is science-based. Its primary focus is on cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing.

There is no bowing to a higher power. The faithful are allowed to join, but faith does not shape the program.

Members are not described as alcoholics or addicts. There is no dwelling on the past, except as something to learn from. (According to this approach, the past can’t be changed, but today and tomorrow can be, so that is where attention is directed.)

As part of the program, members focus on self-empowerment as they work to develop both long-term and short-term coping skills to achieve and hold onto sobriety.

SMART Recovery has a 4-Point Program that frames its meetings:

Build and maintain motivation

  1. Cope with urges
  2. Manage thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  3. Lead a balanced life

Meetings are interactive and are either led by a facilitator who has taken a 30-hour course, or by hosts who have taken a shorter training class who conduct a more basic meet-up. Meetings tend to be a mix of education, conversation, and a sharing of accomplishments and challenges.

The program has an app, CheckUp & Choices, that lets users take self-assessments and offers cognitive behavioral and motivational exercises to help people get sober and stay there. Modules on a variety of substances and habits (alcohol, opioids, etc.) are included. (The app comes with three-month and 12-month subscription plans -- three months is $79, and a year runs $149.)

References - About SMART Recovery - SMART Recovery Fast Facts

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