By the time many people are ready to get clean, they’re asking a very important question at the worst possible time – is there such a thing as free rehab?
Free Rehab…It’s Not Something You Plan For
Unfortunately, a no-cost rehabilitation facility is not something anyone really thinks about until they are in a life or death situation. Maybe it’s a run-in with the law or perhaps one of the many medical problems that often come with addiction taking a turn for the worse.
Ultimately, it’s not something you plan for. And it’s not something you need until you really, really need it.
Usually, when people become addicted to drugs and alcohol, their addiction spirals completely out of control until one day the situation is critical. They are in need of immediate care, they want to get help, but they have run out of money, they have no insurance, or they are homeless.
Treatment cost is such an enormous issue today that it’s one of the most commonly cited reasons for not getting much-needed treatment. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), of the 4.5% of addicts that weren’t in denial about needing treatment, almost one-third of them said that they didn’t get help because they were afraid of the costs.
Being nervous about detox and rehab expenses, then, is incredibly common. But don’t worry – there are cheaper addiction treatment options available. And depending on the level of care you need, they might be the best choice given your specific situation.
This resource provides important information for people who need to get help for their drug or alcohol problem, but don’t have insurance or the funds to pay for it.
Is There Really Such a Thing as a no-Cost Rehab?
Some people have the luxury of staying at a swanky in-patient rehabilitation facility when they decide to get clean. You’ve seen commercials for these kinds of rehabs on television. They have swimming pools. They have jacuzzis. They have massages available and eggs benedict for breakfast. Either these folks have really great insurance, well-to-do families, they’re famous, or they somehow managed not to blow their entire savings on their drug of choice. They are certainly not free. Lucky these people.
Still, others may not end up in a five-star detox, but manage to do quite nicely for themselves when it comes to finding a safe place to land when it’s time to get sober. After all, when you’re looking to check yourself in somewhere to kick the dope, you realize you really don’t necessarily need a pool. Or a jacuzzi. Or a massage. You need a skilled staff of addiction experts, a clean place to lay your head and some food to eat. These places aren’t free, but they aren’t cheap either. Lucky these people too.
However, not everybody manages to come to their senses and choose sobriety while they still have luxuries……like, say, enough money to scrape together to check into rehab somewhere. Every year, tens of thousands of addicted Americans find themselves in need of addiction treatment without two pennies to rub together.
In these cases, it’s good to know that free rehab and addiction treatment resources are still available for those who need it.
I Need to Go to Rehab But Don’t have the Money: Free Addiction Treatment and Detox Programs
There are a number of different ways to get clean and sober for free by getting assistance from the state. This includes getting free detox, staying at an inpatient facility at no cost, free outpatient services, and other drug rehabilitation treatments that are available for free. You just have to know where to go to find them.
State-run facilities receive their funding from the state and the federal government. They provide free services to those in need of addiction treatment who are low or no income. As to be expected, there is paperwork involved in getting admitted to one of these places. You will have to prove your identity and show that you do not have the income to pay for treatment yourself. If you do have some income available to you, you may be expected to pay for a small portion of your treatment.
The hassle of the red tape is a small price to pay to get free treatment when you have an addiction. Although a state-run facility will definitely not have eggs benedict for breakfast, they do offer effective treatment programs, safe and clean facilities, and free addiction services for those who want recovery.
To get started, you can call SAMSHA (the Substance Abuse Mental Health Administration) at 1-800-662-HELP.
You can also search for agencies by state to get connected with a free state rehab.
Privately-Owned Rehabs Offer Free Treatment for Addiction
In addition to state rehabilitation facilities, there are also free or low-cost privately owned rehabs in your area where you can get treatment. These places are typically funded through grant money or private donations. You might be admitted for free, you might have to obtain a scholarship, or you might have to pay a small amount out of pocket.
Scholarships are available through different resources in the community, like churches or social service offices. A scholarship means that your rehab is paid for by a third-party because you can’t afford it. Quite often, certain organizations connect with privately-owned rehabs to support their mission to treat addicted people who can’t pay to get help. They are on standby to provide scholarships when they are needed.
The best way to find a free privately-owned rehab is to do some networking. Call local rehabs and ask if they have a scholarship program. Contact your local state agencies and ask if they know about any free private rehabs in the area. Reach out to the local churches and see if any of those folks know where you can go to get help.
Faith-Based Addiction Rehabs for Free
Many people forget there are a vast selection of faith-based addiction programs available in every major city in America. The Salvation Army is one such organization. This is a largely untapped resource when it comes to free addiction treatment. The Salvation Army has more free residential treatment facilities than any rehab program in the United States.
In addition to the Salvation Army, many churches are motivated to solve the addiction problem in their communities. They attempt to do this by creating programs that will serve the addicted population in the area. This often includes the homeless, although you do not necessarily have to be homeless to benefit from these programs.
It is important to keep in mind that faith-based programs take a religious approach to the treatment of addiction. This almost always involves the study of the Bible. Many people in active addiction have a real problem with this method of treatment, so they will often shy away from these types of programs. This is unfortunate. Not all faith-based programs take a fire and brimstone approach and preach about sin and carnality. Many of them are coming from a sincere place of love and teach only about the goodness of Christ.
If you would like to get into a free rehabilitation program, perhaps you will consider pursuing a faith-based program. Most churches are connected to resources available in the community for people who need help for drug addiction with no insurance. You can call any local church and talk to someone on the phone to get more information about free faith-based treatment programs.
Does Insurance Help Cover Addiction Rehabilitation?
It sure does. And in fact, recent legislation changes have forced the overwhelming majority of insurance providers to start covering addiction treatment the same way it covers other medical services.
And it’s all thanks to two new laws in particular: The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) and The Affordable Care Act (ACA).
- The MHPAEA – First passed in 2008 and then amended in 2010 to include individual plans as well as group ones, the MHPAEA forced insurance providers to offer similar value for treating mental health disorders compared to physical problems. As a result, insurers had to offer better treatment benefits for addiction sufferers.
- The ACA – Along with mandatory coverage and a new insurance marketplace, the Affordable Care Act also forced individual and small group health insurance plans to include mental health treatment services in their coverage. Now, the majority of providers were required by law to offer at least some sort of help in covering rehabilitation costs.
As a result, the majority of insurance providers now not only have to cover addiction treatment, but also have to make the value that it offers compared to the other coverages they provide.
And given that you can end up paying little more than a few out-of-pocket expenses depending on the plan you use, insurance can be an enormous financial help when you’re low on cash and need to check into rehab fast.
That being said, it’s incredibly important that you verify your insurance coverage with a facility before deciding to go through rehab. Even though all providers are required by law to help cover the costs, not all facilities accept every single plan available.
And jumping into treatment head first without checking beforehand can lead to some painfully serious and completely unnecessary financial burdens.
Public Health Insurance
Health insurance can be a vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to being able to afford quality addiction treatment. And when money is a serious problem, there are a number of public health insurance options to help you still get the treatment you need.
There are two main kinds of public health insurance programs: Medicare and Medicaid.
Medicare – This program is specifically for three types of American citizens:
- People over the age of 65
- Younger people with certain disabilities
- Individuals with end-stage kidney failure that require dialysis or a full transplant.
Within this program, certain stages of recovery are covered by certain types of Medicare. Part A Medicare, for example, helps cover hospitalization or medical oversight (as with alcohol or benzodiazepine detox). Part B can help pay for rehabilitative services like counseling, group therapy, and other behavioral treatments.
Before checking into a treatment center, though, it’s important that you understand exactly what your specific type of Medicare will cover, as well as how much discounted treatment you have remaining.
To find out what’s covered, head over to Medicare’s “Your Medicare Coverage” page for quick access.
Medicaid – This government-funded program is meant to provide health insurance to economically disadvantaged individuals and families. Eligibility requirements vary from state to state.
In the State of Washington, in order to qualify for Washington Apple Health (Washington’s Medicaid program), you must make less than the following per month:
- Single Person Household: $1,397 per month
- 2-Person Household: $1,893 per month
- 3-Person Household: $2,390 per month
- 4-Person Household: $2,887 per month
- 5-Person Household: $3,384 per month
- 6-Person Household: $3,881 per month
- 7-Person Household: $4,377 per month
Private Health Insurance
Private health insurance may cost more, but it provides a higher level of care along with many more options for treatment centers since not all programs will accept Medicaid or Medicare as a form of payment.
Individual and small-group private insurers are required by law to cover (at least in part) the costs of addiction treatment. And depending on what kind of coverage you pay for, a private insurance plan may actually end up covering an enormous portion of total costs.
As a result, individuals with a certain kind of insurance may pay little more than a small upfront fee. However, just how much coverage you receive depends as always on the carrier. And this means it’s especially important to verify coverage before checking into a program.
Group Health Insurance
Group plans are offered by businesses to their employees. These can either be small-group plans (for businesses with 1-50 or 1-100 employees depending on the state) or large group plans (50+ or 100+ employees).
It’s important to know whether or not your insurance type falls under small-group or large-group because large-group plans are not required by the ACA to offer mental health or substance abuse treatment coverage.
And as a result, you may walk into a treatment program thinking you’re covered when, in fact, you aren’t.
12 Step Programs – A Pathway to Finding a Free Rehab
Say what you will about 12-step groups, but there’s one thing you can’t complain about – the cost. They are absolutely, 100 percent free.
Many people have attended their first 12-Step meeting only to find the program was a sufficient substitute for rehab. 12-Step programs offer fellowship to recovering addicts and alcoholics who are looking to find a daily reprieve from the disease of addiction.
12-Step programs offer some simple suggestions for recovery – don’t use or drink no matter what, attend ninety meetings in ninety days, get a sponsor, and work all 12-Steps. Millions of people have recovered from drug and alcohol addiction in the rooms of programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Marijuana Anonymous.
And in fact, the 12-step methodology has become so popular and effective that it’s expanded to include a number of other addictions and ailments, including:
- Clutterers Anonymous
- Sex Addicts Anonymous
- Underearners Anonymous
- Overeaters Anonymous
- Gamblers Anonymous
- Debtors Anonymous
- Food Addicts Anonymous
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
By far the most well-known of all the 12-step groups, Alcoholics Anonymous or AA is what started it all.
Founded in Akron, Ohio in 1935, AA started out with just a few members. In just five years, it had 50 different groups with an estimated active membership of around 1,400. And in 2017, it’s grown to almost 2.1 million members with 120 thousand different groups taking place around the globe.
It is without a doubt one of the most popular and widespread support groups the world has ever seen.
There are plenty of AA meetings within Washington itself too, making this free addiction recovery resource all the more helpful.
Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
First founded in 1953, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) sought to tackle addiction in all its forms using the 12-steps of AA as its basis.
And while it isn’t nearly as large as Alcoholics Anonymous, NA is still huge compared to other support groups. It operates in 139 different countries and holds nearly 67,000 weekly meetings all over the world.
One misconception about NA worth dispelling is that it only handles drug addiction. Instead, Narcotics Anonymous is “not meant to imply a focus on any particular drug.” And in fact, “NA’s approach makes no distinction between drugs including alcohol.” NA strives to address addiction in all its forms then – from alcohol or prescription drugs to illicit substances like heroin or crystal meth.
Like AA, Washington has a number of NA meetings for residents to choose from that happen all over the state.
Family Groups (Al-Anon & Nar-Anon)
Addiction can be incredibly destructive to the individual. It can ruin finances, decimate health, eliminate careers, and even land someone in jail for decades.
But on top of these enormous problems, addiction can also lay waste to social relationships and family units. Willful deception, abuse of trust, codependency, manipulation, and even physical and emotional violence are all common in relationships with addicts. And the fallout can cause serious harm to the self-esteem, social functioning, and emotional wellbeing to friends and loved ones of substance abusers.
Luckily, there are friend/family-focused 12-step groups like Al-Anon and Nar-Anon. These groups help individuals who have been affected by another person’s addiction and show them how to take care of their own needs while also pushing their loved ones towards finally getting help.
Topics that might be covered in Al-Anon and Nar-Anon groups may include:
- How to stop enabling the addict in your life
- Tips for staging a successful intervention
- How to spot the signs of addiction in loved ones
- Does tough love work for addicts?
- Overcoming addiction denial
While Nar-Anon meetings are a bit sparse, there are a number of Al-Anon meetings that take place within Washington to choose from.
Online 12-Step Groups
While 12-step meetings are some of the most widely available support groups around, not everyone will be able to make it to a physical meeting. Time restraints, lack of access to a vehicle, and much more can make it hard to attend in-person gatherings.
But luckily, these groups also have online meetings that take place on a near-daily basis. So as long as you have a web connection and some time, you can chat in real-time with other members or join an online 12-step forum.
Below are some of the best online options for AA, NA, Al-Anon, and Nar-Anon.
- Alcoholics Anonymous Online Meetings
- Narcotics Anonymous Online Meetings (use “Web” as Country in NA Meeting Search)
- Al-Anon Online Meetings
- Nar-Anon Online Meetings
Where Can I Find 12-Step Meetings Near Me?
Often the best places to look for 12-step meetings is by using the meeting finders on the official organization websites listed below.
If you’re looking for more detailed info about a certain city, in particular, you can head over to these city-specific resource pages as well.
- Bridle Trails
- Clyde Hill
- Hunts Point
- Mercer Island
- Yarrow Point
The Power of Connection in 12-Step Programs
One of the most notable benefits of a 12-step program is the fact that it has a tendency to connect recovering addicts with a whole community that may have otherwise been unavailable.
Members forge relationships and bonds in these groups that can and often do end up lasting a lifetime. The group-talk format of meetings allows members who may have felt utterly alone in their addiction to open up to others, make connections, and learn from the experiences of other members.
These connections can help expand their social support network, which in turn can make falling back into substance abuse less likely and help prevent a minor slip from turning into a full-blown relapse.
The social connection that 12-step programs offer, then, can be a powerful force in healing addiction.
Plus, the group also focuses on rebuilding relationships that may have suffered at the hands of addiction – most notably with Steps 8 and 9 which focus on making amends.
On top of the social connection that these programs provide, many 12-steppers are also connected to places in the community that offers free drug and alcohol treatment programs. These people are dedicated to staying clean and helping others stay clean. They are in the know.
And if there are free rehab facilities in the area, they know where they are and how to get somebody into one. If you go to a meeting and ask for help, chances are likely that you will find someone there who is willing to help you find a low-cost or no-cost rehabilitation facility you can check yourself into.
Are 12-Step Programs Religious?
Unfortunately, there are a number of misunderstandings about 12-step programs like AA and NA. And one of the biggest and most widely believed has got to be that these programs are only for members who believe in a certain faith.
It all stems from the use of the words “God” and “higher power” within the program literature and the 12-steps themselves. In fact, 6 of the 12 steps mention one these terms (7 if you count “spiritual awakening”). It isn’t any wonder, then, that most people come to think that AA and NA are religious organizations, open only to people who hold the same spiritual beliefs.
This is not true.
Both organizations clearly state that they are not affiliated with any religion and that members of any belief system (or lack of one) are welcome.
So how do you square this kind of language in their literature? Don’t these terms seem to imply that without the help of a “God” there is no hope for recovery?
The key is in the phrasing “God as we understood him.” This opens up the door to any interpretation of god, whether it be one based on Christianity, Judaism, Muslim, Buddhism, Hinduism, or any other religion.
And for agnostics or atheists in 12-step groups, god can simply be replaced with some power greater than oneself – love, honesty, recovery, or even science. The point is recognizing you need help. Not that you’re under the thumb of an all-knowing being.
Added to that, one of the best things about these groups is the fact that each chapter is separate. The personality, the teachings, and the feel of a meeting varies from group to group. And while many AA meetings have taken on the feel of a religious gathering, there are still plenty of chapters that actively separate spirituality from healing.
Is a 12-Step Program Enough to Conquer Addiction?
12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are backed up by real hard science. It’s true. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 12-Step Facilitation Therapy is listed as one of the 8 evidence-based behavioral therapies that have been proven to help combat addiction and relapse.
It’s clear, then, that 12-step programs work. It’s in the science.
However, 12-step meetings alone are not always enough for addicts to overcome their substance abuse problems. Some people are simply too far gone in their addiction to recover without in-patient treatment. The cravings, the frequent triggers, and dealing with the stress of daily life without effective coping mechanisms can all be overwhelming for some. And without more focused and intensive therapies and treatments found in rehabilitation programs, many recovering addicts are bound to relapse.
On top of that, the physical and mental dangers of going through the initial stages of recovery can actually be life-threatening without proper medical help. Detoxing from alcohol can bring on a potentially-deadly condition known as delirium tremens. Getting clean from benzodiazepines can cause seizures that can lead to permanent and possibly fatal brain damage. And relapsing with an opioid addiction can (and often does) lead to an accidental and lethal overdose.
In the end, moving through recovery with the help of an actual addiction program is the absolute best way to safeguard against both relapse and the various complications that come with getting clean.
And while 12-step programs have been proven to help addicts move away from drugs, it’s at its best when being used alongside professional treatment programs, not in their place.
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Other Non-12-Step Free Support Groups
12-step programs like AA and NA aren’t the only free support groups available either. And whether you’re looking for an alternative because of the “spiritual” aspect of these groups or just the general feel doesn’t resonate with you, there are plenty of alternatives available.
Some of the most popular ones are SMART Recovery, Secular Organizations for Sobriety (S.O.S.), and Moderation Management.
While 12-step groups tend to promote powerlessness in the face of addiction, SMART Recovery is focused on empowering members instead.
Meetings are led by a certified instructor rather than group members themselves, allowing for a more controlled environment as well as consistently reliable information. Coping strategies and treatments provided by SMART Recovery are only backed up by hard science. Plus, the lessons change to reflect new discoveries in the field of addiction too, so you can be sure the info taught here is up to date.
SMART Recovery is recognized by some of the leading authorities in addiction including the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
You can find SMART Recovery meetings nearby by checking out their online meeting finder.
You can also find a list of online SMART Recovery meetings here.
Secular Organizations for Sobriety (S.O.S.)
A self-help organization formed in response to the perceived religious bend of 12-step programs, Secular Organizations for Sobriety or S.O.S. provides addiction support to individuals who don’t want to incorporate spirituality into their recovery.
It was founded in 1985 and membership is 100% free, fully anonymous, and open to anyone and everyone looking to recover from their addiction. It also focuses on addictions of all kind including both alcohol and other mind-altering drugs as well.
To find a meeting near you, have a look at their online meeting locator.
You can also find online versions of S.O.S. meetings here.
Moderation Management (MM)
Not everyone believes that the best path to non-problematic drinking starts with complete abstinence. On top of that, there are many problem drinkers (not alcoholics) in the country that simply don’t have a support group to help them control their drinking.
And for these individuals, Moderation Management or MM may be the best support group for them. This group offers “A supportive mutual-help environment that encourages people who are concerned about their drinking to take action to cut back or quit drinking before drinking problems become severe.”
Attending an MM meeting may give you the help you need to control your drinking before it’s too late.
You can find Moderation Management meetings nearby using their online meeting directory.
They also have an online chatroom that allows individuals to talk in real-time to other MM members.
Other Helpful Resources
There are a number of other places you can look to for help as well. Below are some of the best addiction support resources you can find in addition to the support groups and recovery options listed above.
- SAMHSA – A national organization with information and links to other addiction resources.
- Washington State Health Care Authority – Provides Washington-based addiction support resources including housing options, youth organizations, family groups, legal rights, and more.
- NIDA – The drug abuse arm of the Human Health Services department, this website has an enormous amount of information on substance abuse, addiction, recovery, and treatment.
If You Need Free Treatment for Your Addiction, Find Help Now
Unfortunately, many people who struggle with addiction issues suffer most of their lives before getting help for their problem. Addiction is chronic, progressive, and fatal. This means it shows up again and again, it gets worse with time, and it ultimately ends in death if untreated.
Many people sincerely attempt recovery time after time, but experience only periodic bouts of sobriety – followed by even worse relapses. Typically, someone with a substance abuse problem tries to get sober multiple times before actually finding any lasting recovery (but not before causing a whole lot of damage in the process).
Maybe you’ve tried to get clean a number of times, only to fail. Maybe this is your first attempt at sobriety. Whatever your situation may be, if you’ve found yourself at a place in life where you need free addiction treatment, get help. Now.
You have had to be very resourceful to maintain your addiction. Just put that energy in a different direction. If you decide to be just as committed to finding a free rehabilitation facility as you have been to maintaining your addiction, there’s no doubt you will get the help you need.
Northpoint Evergreen in Bellevue
If you’re looking to begin your recovery, one of the best places to reach out for help in Washington State is The Evergreen in Bellevue. We offer the highest quality alcohol and drug rehab in the area and treat each and every one of our patients with individualized care. Each of our programs is empirically based and has even been nationally accredited by the Joint Commission – a true testament to our superior treatment standards.
On top of that, our knowledgeable, passionate staff makes up one of the highest staff-to-patient ratios in the area. And that means you can rest assured that you’ll get the personalized and attentive care you need to ensure the best chances of a full recovery.
If you’re ready to begin your recovery journey today or simply want to know more about the many resources available to you, give us a call today.
We can provide you with a free addiction assessment and even help you verify your insurance coverage online. In the end, the most important thing is that you get the help you need for tackling your addiction.
And as we’ve seen, there are plenty of free resources to help along the way.
Do you know anyone who has ever gotten treatment at a free rehab? Share your experience here.