Free Alcohol and Drug Rehab and Recovery Programs

There Are Options Even When You Can't Pay

Display of pamphlets

Spencer Platt Collection / Getty Images News

If someone sincerely wants help and is committed to stop drinking alcohol or doing drugs, there are several options available that cost very little or nothing at all.

Professional Rehab Centers

Yes, most residential treatment centers are very expensive and require that you have good credit and good insurance to attend. However, there are many facilities that offer alternative payment options, payment assistance or sliding-scale fees.

It doesn't hurt to ask. Contact the facilities in your area and ask if they have any payment assistant plans for someone who lost their job or has no insurance. You may be surprised.

State Supported Rehab Programs

Most states and even some cities and counties offer outpatient and inpatient alcohol and drug treatment facilities that are completely tax supported and charge no fees. These programs can range from short-term detoxification centers, long-term residential treatment facilities to individual outpatient counseling at local clinics.

State-sponsored programs generally have a long waiting list, as they are primarily utilized by people who are already in the "system" due to their interaction with agencies such as the Department of Family and Children Services, the county health department, or the criminal justice system.

Also, because these programs are supported by tax dollars, in times of economic stress, they also can experience cutbacks in funding and restraints on the services they can provide, at the very time the demand for their services are increasing.

Mutual Support Groups

Alcoholics Anonymous has been around for more than 75 years for a reason. A.A. has helped millions learn how to live life sober while remaining self-supporting through the voluntary donations of its members.

If you are committed to staying sober, you can find help and support by attending A.A. meetings, reading the literature and getting a "sponsor" to help you do the 12 steps. Research shows that any recovery program you choose works better if you include mutual-support group participation.

Of course, for those who are not spiritually inclined, there are many secular support groups available also. Most of them have no fees or dues.

Faith-Based Alcoholism Programs

Faith-based outreach programs aimed at alcoholics and drug addicts have been around longer than any professional treatment centers or 12-step programs. For ages, religious organizations have reached out to their communities to help those who are struggling with alcohol and drug abuse.

That has not changed. In fact, there are probably more programs than ever available now through faith-based outreach efforts with the increase in drug abuse in the past 40 years.

From The Salvation Army to Jews in Recovery to dozens of Christian recovery programs, you can find faith-based alcohol and drug programs in almost every community. Most of these programs never charge you anything.

Online Recovery Support

In the Internet age, there are all kinds of options for finding online support to help you quit drinking or doing drugs. You can find email groups, chat rooms, bulletin boards, and instant messenger groups. If it can be used for communication, it can be used for recovery support.​​

Any alcohol or drug recovery program you have ever heard of—be it 12-step, faith-based, secular, professional or commercial—probably has an active online presence.

The chat meetings that began here on the alcoholism site in 1997 are still up and running, but they are now located at There are between 20 and 30 recovery chat meetings a day on the schedule.​

Also, this Alcoholism/Substance Abuse Forum has been active for more than 17 years. Many people have found the support they needed to remain sober by checking in daily with their forum friends and by helping others.

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Help Line. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

  2. Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition). National Institute on Drug Abuse. January 2018.

  3. Donovan DM, Ingalsbe MH, Benbow J, Daley DC. 12-step interventions and mutual support programs for substance use disorders: an overview. Soc Work Public Health. 2013;28(3-4):313-32.  doi:10.1080/19371918.2013.774663

  4. Chat Meetings. StepChat.