Free Alcohol and Drug Rehab and Recovery Programs

There Are Options Even When You Can't Pay

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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 often 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 pricing.

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 to long-term residential treatment facilities and 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 85 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 are one of the oldest forms of treatment. 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. There are likely more faith-based programs available now than ever before.

From The Salvation Army to Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons and Significant Others (JACS), to dozens of Christian recovery programs, you can find faith-based alcohol and drug programs in myriad religious communities. Many of these programs never charge you anything.

Online Recovery Support

In the digital 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, instant messenger groups, and Facebook pages. If it can be used for communication, it can be also be utilized 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. has been hosting chat meetings since the late 1990s. To date, there are dozens of recovery chat meetings a day on the schedule.​ Another mainstay, AboutAlcoholism, is an alcoholism and substance abuse forum that's been active for 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.

3 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 Institute on Drug Abuse. Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition).

  2. 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):313-332. doi:10.1080/19371918.2013.774663

  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. About Faith-based and Community Initiatives

By Buddy T
Buddy T is an anonymous writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism.