Those individuals who decide to leave addiction rehab early are usually making a mistake. It can mean that all the good work they’ve done up until that point gets wasted. This is because this type of treatment is a process and in order to get the most from it the individual has to see the process through to the end. By leaving rehab early the individual will be taking an unreasonable gamble with their recovery. In most cases they will be sabotaging their own attempts to create a better future.
There are some common reasons for why people leave rehab early including:
* They did not want to go there in the first place. If the individual has entered this facility under any type of coercion they might not feel committed to the treatment and may try to leave as soon as they have an excuse to do so.
* The individual felt overwhelmed by their withdrawal symptoms and did not feel willing to continue with the process.
* The person decides that they do not like rehab, and so they do not want to stay there any longer.
* They come to the conclusion that they do not need rehab, and that they will be able to enter recovery without such help.
* The individual is ambivalent about their recovery so they are not fully committed to it. As soon as things get hard in rehab it can tip the balance in favor of a return to addiction.
* The person can decide that they are not like the other people in rehab and therefore have no need to be there with them.
* Some people may decide that they already know everything that rehab has to teach them and use this as an excuse for an early checkout.
* The individual has lost control of their emotions and has left rehab out of anger.
* Those people who have unrealistic expectations of rehab can soon become disillusioned. Those individuals who expect their life to be perfect from day one are sure to end up disappointed, and they can use this as an excuse to leave.
In most instances leaving rehab early is a form of self sabotage. By taking this action the individual is likely to relapse back to alcohol or drugs. Some of those who leave a treatment facility will be back to their addiction within hours. This is a real shame because it will usually have been a big step for the individual to have entered rehab in the first place. There is no guaranteed that the individual will ever develop the willingness to attempt recovery again in the future. The decision to leave rehab can have dire consequences so it should never be taken lightly.
It may be that there is a tiny minority of people who check out of rehab early and do manage to stay sober, but in the vast majority of cases it leads to negative consequences. The dangers of an early exit from this facility include
* The individual will not be prepared for the transition back home so they will likely be overwhelmed by familiar temptations.
* If the individual feels like they have had a bad experience they will likely use this as a justification for a return to alcohol and drugs.
* Those who flee treatment while overly emotional (e.g. angry) will not be able to think rationally and so are likely to make bad choices.
* Nobody knows how many chances the individual will get at recovery – some people only seem to get one shot because they never summon up the determination to quit again. This means that by leaving rehab the individual might be blowing their only chance of a good life.
* The individual can use this bad experience as an excuse to never consider rehab again.
* The person may tell drinking or drug using friends of their bad experience, and this could discourage those individuals from seeking help.
* Family and friends are likely to be disappointed by this failure to stay the course of rehab. It may even mean that they struggle to ever trust that person again.
* If the individual leaves rehab and then relapses it can lower their self efficacy – their belief in their own ability to escape addiction. This means that it will be harder for them to quit next time.
Those who decide to check out of treatment early will usually be doing themselves a disservice. The excuses that the individual will use for taking this action will rarely stand up to much scrutiny – considering the risk the individual is taking such excuses sound lame. There is no real justification for leaving rehab early because:
* Feeling overwhelmed by withdrawal symptoms is not a good excuse for checking out of rehab. This discomfort is only temporarily and in many instances the symptoms only appear so intense because the individual is so focused on them – there are things that can be done to make the process easier.
* The individual does not need to like rehab in order to benefit from the process. The choice to enter this facility needs to be based on wanting to live a better life in the future and not on having a fun time – those people who do not expect rehab to be fun are often surprised to find that it can be.
* If the person has entered rehab for the wrong reasons (e.g. to please other people) they will want to leave, but this is not a good excuse to do so. Just because people come with the wrong motivation does not mean that they cannot stay for the right reasons.
* Most of those people who believe that rehab has nothing to teach them will be wrong. The reason why they have reached this conclusion is that their mind is closed and they are resisting taking on board new information that they do not like.
* Ambivalence towards recovery is no excuse to give up on rehab. The person needs to understand that addiction is a downward spiral and returning to alcohol or drugs can only lead to further misery – this acceptance will end the ambivalence.
* These facilities do attract people from different backgrounds and if clients go looking for differences between them and other people they are sure to find them. This is why the best advice is to focus on the similarities and not the differences.
* It is not necessary to like everyone in rehab in order to benefit from the process.
* If the individual feels disappointed because their life is not automatically perfect they cannot use this as a reasonable excuse to check out of rehab. It will take time and effort to get their life back on track and rehab is just an important first step.
* Strong emotions such as anger and resentment are never a good reason to check out of treatment. The individual will be allowing their inability to deal with their emotions to ruin their life – this is what they’ve been doing for years.
It is common for people to have periods during their stay in rehab when they just want to leave. The best way to deal with this urge will be to:
* Speak to one of the counselors or therapists. These professionals will have dealt with this situation a thousand times and will be able to offer good guidance.
* Mention these feelings in group. Sometimes just getting these thoughts out into the open can be enough to see them for what they are.
* If the individual feels desperate to leave they should delay for 24 hours – those who leave impulsively are the most likely to regret the decision. Most often the person will find that by delaying the urge to leave rehab disappears.
* The person needs to consider carefully the ramifications of leaving treatment. This means not only considering how it will impact their future but also how it will impact the future of their loved ones.
* It is important to keep in mind that rehab is just a temporary situation. If the individual stays until the end of the process they are unlikely to regret it.
* It can be a good idea to get some pen and paper and list all the reasons why the individual wishes to escape addiction and their hopes for the future. This can help them recommit to their recovery and develop the determination to see treatment through till the end.
* One of the benefits of being in this type of facility is being surrounded by those who are on a similar path. If the individual confides in these friends they are sure to get needed support, advice, and encouragement.
* The person can keep on committing to just one more day in rehab. Before they know it their treatment will be over, and it will be time for them to go home.