Getting Help for Addiction: Factors to Consider


Sober Recovery Expert Author

Once you have decided that you are ready to stop using drugs or alcohol, there are several decisions to make. Will you enter an inpatient program at a treatment facility or will you try to stop using at home with help from an outpatient addiction rehab program? Not all addicts can take the time away from home for inpatient addiction treatment, but some can attend outpatient treatment. Either type of formal treatment is a good beginning for personal recovery and provides important tools for maintaining that recovery.

What Do I Need to Know about Addiction Treatment?

A. Addiction Treatment with Insurance: The first factor to consider is financial resources. Addiction treatment costs money. Those who have insurance benefits are going to have a relatively easy time finding help. Let’s begin with this group.

  • Most treatment programs will check your benefits for you. However, knowing your insurance benefits can help to weed out the programs that are not covered in your plan. Have writing tools with you for taking notes.

  • The best way to begin is to go online and research treatment programs. There are probably a few, if not more, in your local area. Contact any that look appealing to you or that you want to find out more about. When you have a couple of programs to contact, have your insurance information with you before you make the calls.
What you need to know before signing up for treatment.
  • Call the intake personnel at the agency at the top of your list. They are going to ask some very personal questions about you, your drinking or using history, your financial information, and more. There will be questions about medical issues and other information that will help them decide if you are a good fit for their program.

  • Have a list of questions that are important to you about their services. At no time are you obligated to do anything until you have signed an agreement. Get all the information that you can before deciding about the best fit for you. The more information you have, the better you will understand this process.

  • Most programs set an appointment for you to do a screening or assessment before they decide to admit you to their program. This is usually the same for both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs.

  • If you do not find a program that fits, ask for a referral to another program. Most people who work in treatment are aware of alternatives and are happy to make the referral.

  • When your assessment is scheduled, it may be online via Skype, over the telephone, or you may be asked to meet with a program representative. However this is done, be honest when answering the questions. Serious risks are sometimes taken when addicts lie about the amount of drugs or alcohol they are using and for how long. This is a professional relationship. Addiction and treatment professionals do not judge or report this information to anyone, except as it impacts your health. Do not be afraid of legal consequences from talking frankly about this with a treatment provider.

B. Addiction Treatment without Insurance: For those without insurance benefits, or those whose insurance companies do not cover treatment at the level you are looking for, there may be additional steps to take.

  • Get information about treatment services available to you and the cost. Treatment programs range widely in costs, based on numerous factors. Find out how long the program is, (example: 30, 60 or 90 days); inpatient or outpatient; and what they charge, etc.

  • If you have financial resources available, go through the same process to make arrangements for entering treatment that is best for you.

  • If you do NOT have the financial resources to pay for treatment, ask family members and friends, or your employer, if there is funding to assist you in getting help. Talk to them frankly about your situation and what you have learned about treatment. You may be surprised that those who have turned their backs on your addiction are more than willing to work with you in getting help.

C. Addiction Treatment without Financial Resources: Many addicts have burned financial bridges and are deeply in debt due to loss of job and family support during their addiction. If this is your case, these are options available to you.

  • Contact County or State Department of Drug and Alcohol Services. They usually have a website with information about programs funded through Federal, State and local grants. Use the information for contacting these agencies.

  • If you are a veteran, the local Veteran's Administration will refer you for services.

  • If you are on a pension or Social Security, there are services available. Contact the Social Security Administration.

  • If you are a member of a church or spiritual organization, some do provide links to treatment for members. The same goes with other community organizations. Check with doctors, City and local programs, and others for referrals.

  • The Salvation Army and similar community agencies fund programs for treatment. They are usually available by telephone or online. Some of them offer basic living arrangements, treatment groups and assistance.

I Have a Treatment Program, Now What?

Most programs give you a list of items to bring and instruct what you need to do next. The process is often confusing, but ask questions until you feel confident before proceeding.

Some treatment programs (inpatient) will not allow you to contact anyone for several days. There are many reasons for this and each program is different. The focus on early recovery needs to be complete. Problems at home can distract from receiving full benefit from treatment. Be sure to ask about this.

What About My Family During Treatment?

Most addicts find that husbands, wives, children, parents and siblings are all greatly supportive of their recovery. As you begin to talk about treatment, there may be information you do not feel comfortable sharing with them.

Specific information about your financial losses, drug use, alcohol consumption and behavior are best left to deal with when you have some guidance from a treatment professional, a therapist who is working with you on your recovery process, or after you have removed some of the emotional impact of your addiction by gaining some recovery.

Many treatment programs offer Family Groups to benefit family members who do not understand addiction and recovery. Invite those who are important to you to attend these sessions or other treatment programs.

There are also outside family support groups, such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon, that address matters pertinent to family members impacted by addiction. Provide your loved ones every opportunity to attend these groups for their own recovery.

Ask a professional from the treatment center to answer questions for your family about treatment and addiction. They are used to these questions and have answers that can help everyone. Talking with family members honestly will take some time and some recovery for most addicts. Be sure to get all the help you can when doing so.

If you or someone you know is seeking help for behavioral, alcohol or drug addiction, please visit our directory of treatment centers or call 866-606-0182 to start the path to recovery today.

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