Free and low-cost resources for help with addiction

This past weekend, singer Amy Winehouse died at the age of 27.  While her cause of death is currently unknown, there has been much speculation that her death is in some way tied to her well-documented drug and alcohol addiction problems.  Although it’s always shocking when someone famous dies, instead of focusing on the shock and obsessing over all the details the tabloids are reporting, it’s more helpful to focus on the lessons that we can learn from this.   Addiction is an equal-opportunity disease, and it can affect anyone–rich or poor, young or old, famous or not well-known at all.  Addiction is not a disease that should be taken lightly; those suffering from addiction need help. 

Although making an addict understand that they need help is not always the easiest task, finding resources for them to get help is often quite simple in comparison.  Resources are available for people of all walks of life and are readily available around the country.  Read on to learn about a few of the major free and low-cost programs available to help those who suffer from addiction.

Alcoholics Anonymous: This organization aims to help those suffering from alcohol addiction.  No-cost meetings are held nationwide; the AA website has an interactive map that can help locate the most convenient meetings to attend.  Meetings are open to the public, and regularly attending them allows recovering alcoholics to develop a support system of people who understand what they’re going through.  Recovering alcoholics can also find a sponsor through these meetings; a sponsor is someone who has been in the program for a longer time and acts as a mentor to the recovering addict as they work through their twelve steps. 

Al-Anon/Alateen: The recovering alcoholic is not the only one who suffers as a result of alcoholism.  Often, family, friends, and significant others of recovering alcoholics are also trying to deal with how the alcoholic’s disease affects them.  Al-Anon and Alateen can help.  These groups provide free meetings, phone support, and online support for people who are living with alcoholics and/or are affected by someone’s addiction.

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Facilities Administration: Sometimes an addict needs more help than what attending meetings can provide.  In these instances, seeking treatment at substance abuse facilities can be helpful.  The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Facilities Administration offers a comprehensive website that includes a searchable treatment facility locator, a 24-hour help line, and other resources.

If you know someone who is suffering from an alcohol or drug addiction, the sooner they can get the help and support they need, the better.  Let them know that there are programs available to help them at little to no cost, whether they have insurance or not.  Encourage them to take advantage of these programs.  Let them know that they don’t have to deal with their addiction alone.  Not only can they start forming a support system at these meetings and facilities, but often non-addicts are welcome to accompany the recovering alcoholic to meetings to provide further support (when searching the AA website for meetings to attend, those designated as “open” generally allow the recovering alcoholic to bring along a loved one).

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