Addicts often ask, "If there are support groups all over the world where I can go for free, why should I pay to go into treatment to get clean and sober?" This is a great question. Many people do not go to treatment for any number of reasons. Others find it impossible to stop using/drinking without it. What are the factors that support either of these choices?
How Long Have You Been an Addict?
To begin with, length of time with drinking and using behaviors may be an indicator of how long or whether a person needs to go to treatment. The more insidious the hold of the drugs/alcohol on the person's life, the more need they may have for treatment and its interventions to assist them in loosening that hold. Those with very long-term use and drinking have developed support systems they are most likely not aware of to keep them safe in their using/drinking behaviors, thus strengthening and increasing their denial system. This can be a tough one to work through without a great deal of professional help, as provided in a treatment setting.
What's Your Drug of Choice?
Another determination is the type of substance being used/abused. If the use is of substances that require monitored detoxification, it is necessary to get professional help with this process. Specific drugs and certain types of use require medical monitoring. It is usually in this setting that the user will be referred for treatment to further stabilize both their early recovery and their physical and emotional state. The best thing to do if you believe you are in need of medical intervention for getting off drugs/alcohol is to seek medical advice before you determine what type of treatment you will seek. A doctor's referral is a helpful to have when seeking treatment since some rehab centers take insurance.
Can You Afford Treatment?
Other factors will determine whether treatment is the best option for your early forays into recovery. Some rehab centers accept insurance, but what if you don't have any? In some cases, funding may be available through family members or friends who are willing to either give or loan the money for this purpose. Other times, it may be necessary to find funding through county, state or federal agencies who have programs available at little or no cost to those they serve in this fashion. There may be arrangements that can be made for loan repayment or other creative funding to cover these expenses.
Some people have family, work or community obligations that make it difficult for them to attend treatment in a full-time, residential setting. For them, there are many addiction outpatient options available in most of the world. These provide a more rigid structure than meetings alone, sometimes with flexibility to allow the person to work and/or take care of family needs while receiving part-time treatment and counseling. There are a number of options available to those who need some treatment but cannot commit to in-patient or residential treatment.
If none of these is a good fit for you, consider 12-step meetings that may assist you in getting clean and sober. They help thousands of people each year (millions worldwide) to achieve and maintain abstinence for lifetimes. While it may be distressing and uncomfortable to attend these meetings, this is a small price to pay when looking at the option of continuing to use and abuse drugs and/or alcohol. The cost is little and the benefits have been tremendous.
Kelly McClanahan has an MSW in clinical social work, with a specialization in substance abuse treatment. Having worked in this field for over 20 years, she is currently working on her certification as an addictions' counselor.