When I first realized that I had a problem with drugs and alcohol it was suggested that I look into a drug abuse program. In my case, it was recommended that I check into a drug rehab center for a stay of at least 30 days since I knew nothing about the twelve steps or really any kind of recovery system. I was uncertain but I went since it seemed like the right thing to do. Now, I got a lot out of drug rehab and I started this blog to talk about a lot of my observations of rehab.
But the thing about it is that rehab is very expensive. (I’ve written about the cost of drug rehab in a previous post.) The rehab I went to was $600 a day and they did not take my insurance. Naturally, I couldn’t afford this and it was only the goodwill of my parents that allowed me to get the treatment that I needed. I learned a lot at treatment, but one of the surprising things that I learned, that I did not know, was that there were a number of drug abuse programs already operating in my home town and, though rehab certainly helped, it wasn’t essential to check into a treatment center in order to get the help you need.
More than anything else, you will learn the program of Alcoholics Anonymous in rehab. Most rehabs are twelve step based, meaning that there methodology is derived from the AA program. And while a rehab can offer many other services, such as medication management, therapy, and treatment of a dual diagnosis, the meat and potatoes is the AA program.
What does this mean? In rehab you will learn about the twelve steps and twelve traditions as well read the Big Book of AA. You will learn the methods that have worked for millions of people and those come from the alcoholics anonymous tradition. But, now that I have been through it I can comfortably say, you don’t need to spend $20,000 to learn how AA works. You can learn this on your own for free (or a few dollars tossed into the basket at meetings.)
If you are in need of a drug abuse program, but are unable to afford rehab do not despair. If you are determined there is not reason you cannot get sober without rehab and the easiest way to do this is to get involved with a local recovery fellowship. For most people this means AA, though you could attend another fellowship such as NA or CA or, for behavioral addictions, SA, SLA, GA, etc. Just realize that it doesn’t really matter which fellowship you choose since they are all twelve step based and derive from the template that Alcoholics Anonymous created.
So, what I would recommend is that you throw yourself into your recovery with all the vigor that you used to throw yourself into your addiction. It is not difficult to find AA meetings at nearly any hour of the day. Most big cities will have at least one 24 hour club that never closes and several other large clubs that conduct AA meetings at least 5 times a day.
Therefore, free of charge, you can start hitting a morning meeting, a noon meeting, and an evening meeting. Sure, you will be completely lost as to what is going on at first, but you will be shocked at how quickly you can pick things up. In thirty days you will know just as much about how a twelve step program works as someone who headed off to an expensive drug rehab center. Also, one of the strongest traditions of AA (or any of the fellowships) is to help the new comer. For a number of reasons, AAs go the extra mile to try to make new comers feel welcome, to answer any questions they may have, get them a copy of the Big Book of AA, and help them find a sponsor. Though you may be a bit nervous upon entering your first AA meeting, you will be quite surprised how quickly you are made to feel at home.
There are other drug abuse programs that can help you for free as well, though none are quite as popular as Alcoholics Anonymous. Of these, Rational Recovery seems to have the best reputations. However, be advised that Rational Recovery, does not subscribe to the same twelve step formula as the other fellowships. But, if you feel that AA is not for you, it is another recovery program that you could try.
So, remember, that regardless of your financial situation, there are bound to be recovery groups in your area that can help provide the information and support that you will need to live your life free from drugs and alcohol. I personally, have had success with AA, but look around and find the right fit for you. Just remember, that you are going to need to use the same amount of determination and energy to overcome your addiction as you did to feed it for all those years.
Good luck to you.