Help me find help!
May 18, 2010 3:31 PM   Subscribe

Another alcohol treatment question in Southern California.

I'm going to try to keep this from being too long. I'm a sever alcoholic and have been in two detox centers and two rehab centers since October. I relapsed last month and thought that was it, I was really done. And then somehow managed to spend the last two weeks alone in my apartment drinking for two weeks, I don't remember most of it. I'm three days sober right now, I'm detoxing myself but with the support of friends. I know this is really dangerous, but I've done it myself three other times and I know I'm past the danger zone.

I'm done asking my parents for help (I've put them through help and think it would be beneficial for my own recovery to have limited contact with them for the beginning of my recovery.)

I have no insurance, and was working in Oregon for five years before coming to California for treatment (where my family is located) so I don't know if I qualify for medical. The first rehab I went to was largely court ordered, as opposed to walk-ins. It was women who had violated child endangerment laws, or were there on prop 36. Although I am not opposed to returning to this type of county run facility, it cost about $1,000.00 a month for me because I was not court ordered (oh irony!). And I'm looking at 6 months of treatment this time (I tried three months in a private facility and it wasn't enough to break my physical and mental obsession with alcohol.)

I went to a private rehab, and found it boring and found out how to sneak alcohol into the house. I'm still in touch with the couple who run it and they are still very caring and supportive, but their approach is not enough for me.

At the end of the month I will have nowhere to live and I currently have no money in the bank.

I am currently on a ten day wait list with The Salvation Army. I am not opposed to this option except I'm not a Christian. I can handle, sort of, the AA version of find your own God, but I'm really worried about a program with essentially 4 hours a day devoted to bible study about Jesus Christ being your personal savior. If I attend this program I have to stay a minimum of 6 months or they kick you out with your id and the clothes on your back. What I do like about the program is it is hard core, and requires eight hours of work per day (in addition to four hours of bible work and four hours of addiction treatment) per day. I think it would help my self esteem to feel I'm at least earning my treatment.

So my unfortunately long and desperate question: Does anyone know any alternative treatment programs that are free?

I am white/25yo female in Long Beach CA. I am ok with being the only white girl in the program (have been before) but it can be a little awkward (especially when I'm the only volunteer). So, I'm really open and desperate for any advice suggestions you have.

Just want to emphasize I am not going to detox (I have people who will help me in an emergency). Also, can't quite overemphasize the severity of my addiction. I've been in AA for 6 months, and I'm definitely pretty high on the physically dependent side of things.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I can not imagine there is a better resource about local treatment options than members of AA--odds are most of them have "been there done it" quite a few times. Go to several different AA meetings every day and use some of the time to identify local resources. Given cut backs in services through out the country, particularly in Southern Ca., you may have real difficulty finding a program that meets your needs. I would also encourage you to find a community mental health facility or health clinic--some of the newer atypical anti-psychotics can be extremely useful when used off label, at sub therapeutic levels, to help quiet the mind of recovering alcoholics. They are non addictive, not habituating and tolerance is not a problem. They do need to be prescribed by a skilled practitioner. There are also a number of other drugs that can be used off label to help in the recovery process. I am NOT talking about benzodiazepines or SSRIs
posted by rmhsinc at 4:05 PM on May 18, 2010

Posted accidentally before I was finished. I wish you well--as a family member and a professional I know recovery with personal and professional support is possible. Believe me, I know your story and understand incapacitating addiction and the success of recovery. I can not stress the importance of AA and the importance of a well managed medication program. The newer drugs can/may have serious side effects but not nearly as nearly as the medical complications that will result from your addiction. Remember, the newer atypicals are safe from an addiction perspective as are several other newer drugs and drugs that can be prescribed off label.
posted by rmhsinc at 4:15 PM on May 18, 2010

Here is the AA meeting schedule in Long Beach. While you're waiting to find out about qualifying for rehab, get thee to a few of these each day. Hook up with some of the long-timers and ask if there is an AA clubhouse in the vicinity where you could spend a large portion of your day. In my own personal experience, being with other recovering alcoholics as much as I could helped to keep me sane... not to mention sober.

If you are truly committed to your own sobriety, if you have finally had enough, if you simply cannot cope any longer, being with others who can feel your pain may give you a head start. No sense in continuing to binge while you're waiting to find out about rehab, so swallow your pride and let the people hold you, and hug you when you're hurting. Let them help you sit on your hands. Let them share their experiences drunk and with getting sober. Let them share their knowledge of staying sober. Let them.
posted by netbros at 4:40 PM on May 18, 2010

If you can get to a Salvation Army AA meeting (as in, held there, or close by enough that their folks attend in numbers) I hear they are amazing resources for half-way houses and all sorts of good stuff. Hang out after the meeting- wash the cups or something- and start asking questions. But pretty much any group of AAs will be useful. It's just those have people who are new to the program and are still in touch with what resources are around. Some of the evening ones feel a little like social clubs (ime), not that I'm any kind of expert.

Early morning meetings are the best, I hear, though some people have to bail out for work after. Evening meetings are also supposed to be okay for data gathering. Mid-day meetings aren't as useful, apparently.

If you're really stuck, memail me and I might have someone you can talk to- knows a lot of California rehab, both north and south.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:50 PM on May 18, 2010

Pacific Clinics and community mental health agencies are usually good resources for help in determining whether you're eligible for Medi-Cal (which you might be... and it's definitely worth a shot), and can help you apply. If you were able to get Medi-Cal, a lot of inpatient services would become available. Aurora Charter Oak in Covina is at least one place you could potentially access services, and there are a lot of others!
posted by so_gracefully at 6:10 PM on May 18, 2010

If you can get to the east coast, NYSPI offers free psychiatric inpatient. Whether they'll take you depends on what studies are going on. I know someone who went there for treatment, and was in for several months. It says they have some studies on substance abuse.

Mercy Ministries is pretty Jesus-y but I have heard good things from some people. It is free.
posted by quadrilaterals at 8:27 PM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

DAF in Delray Beach, FL. This area also has one of the highest constituencies of the 20-30 recovering persons demographic. memail for more details. I can relate to your situation.
posted by Debaser626 at 11:45 AM on May 19, 2010

Mod note: From the OP:
Thanks everyone for the responses. I do attend 2-3 AA meetings regularly and have spoken to people there about some treatment options. I just thought I'd ask the hivemind if they knew of any other resources. The answers about other health services was particularly helpful. I won't be going to The Salvation Army, and am still a bit uncertain about what my next move will be. But I have found a free counselor and recovered alcoholic who works for behavioral health services and will continue to work with me to find a sober living facility. Five days today and the haze is at least beginning to clear. Thanks again!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:39 PM on May 20, 2010

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