Those people who decide to leave rehab early often later regret the decision. They realize that by doing so they missed out on the opportunity to build a strong foundation for their recovery. Even those who manage to stay sober can feel as if they are missing out. This is because the program of treatment in these facilities provides the individual with valuable knowledge and skills that will benefit their life going forward. There is also a great sense of achievement when people see rehab through until the end. This is why the decision to leave treatment should never be taken lightly.
There are a number of common reasons for why people might decide to check out of rehab early including:
* They just do not like the structured environment of the facility. The rules of rehab mean that they cannot always do what they want when they want to.
* They are demand resistant and this means that their natural inclination is to rebel against the rehab professionals who seem to be telling them what to do.
* Some people will be just looking for any excuse that they can use to leave.
* The individual dislikes having to live with strangers. This can be a particular problem for those who are naturally lone wolves.
* Some people feel coerced into entering treatment by their family, friends, or employers. If they are there against their will they are more likely to resist the process and leave early.
* One of the most common reasons for why people decide to leave rehab early is an emotional outburst. Early sobriety is often referred to as an emotional rollercoaster.
* Withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable – particularly if people expect them to be bad. If the discomfort becomes excessive the individual may decide that they’ve had enough and want to return to substance abuse as a means of escape.
* Those people who go into rehab and expect their life to be perfect right away usually get a rude awakening. Unrealistic expectations lead to disappointment which can then be used as an excuse to check out of the facility early.
* The individual can decide that rehab has nothing to teach them so they do not feel like there is any reason for them to stay.
* Another reason for why the individual decides to check out early is that they feel they are not like the other clients in treatment and therefore do not belong there – this is sometimes referred to as terminal uniqueness.
* Some of those who enter rehab will be ambivalent towards their recovery. This means that they still hold onto the secret hope that they can drink safely – if things get hard for them in treatment they may decide to check this theory out.
* The individual may still be in denial about their addiction. This means that they’ve entered rehab for the wrong reasons – they might just see it as a way to get other people off their back.
Leaving rehab early is almost always a bad idea. Some of the dangers of taking this action include:
* Rehab is a process that needs to be completed in order to get the most from it.
* Those people who believe that rehab has been a bad experience may be less willing to consider the possibility again in the future. They might also try to use their experience to dissuade other addicts from getting help.
* Entering this facility may have involved a financial commitment and taking time out of life to focus on getting better. The individual may struggle be able to afford to do this again in the future.
* Those people who check out of the facility because of high emotions such as anger will often be unable to make good decisions. This may mean that they do something that they later regret.
* Many of those who leave this facility will end up drinking or using drugs within a matter of hours.
* Leaving rehab early can reduce self efficacy – this is the individuals self belief in their own ability to achieve something. If the person relapses it may be more difficult for them to stop in the future because of this reduced self efficacy.
* The person may blow their only chance of recovering from addiction. This is because there is no guarantee that they will ever again develop the motivation again to seek help.
* Those people who leave the facility early will not have been given a chance to prepare for the transition back home. This transition is fraught with danger and those who are unprepared for it will usually suffer as a result.
* Leaving rehab early can come as a disappointment to loved ones who may feel betrayed. This means that they may struggle to trust the individual again in the future.
* Most of those who leave these facilities early will regret not seeing the process through until the end. Even if they do manage to stay sober they can still regret not getting the most from the experience.
It is rare that people will have a justifiable reason for leaving rehab early. The excuses people use tend to sound weak – especially to other people. The reality is that while these facilities can offer a high degree of comfort it is unreasonable to expect them to be holiday camps. There is work that the person will need to do during their stay, and they will have to make personal sacrifices during their stay. They will never be asked to do more than they can manage but it can be a bumpy ride at times. The individual needs to be prepared for all this and commit to staying the course of treatment. This is because the rewards of doing so far outweigh any discomfort they will undergo.
Those people who stay until the end of rehab are unlikely to regret this decision. This is because the benefits of doing so include:
* If they have done the work during their stay the individual will have built the best possible foundation for their recovery. With a strong foundation they can go on to build a fulfilling and meaningful life in recovery.
* The individual will be better prepared for the trick transition back home. They will also have had time to create some type of aftercare package.
* By staying the course the individual will have gained additional knowledge and skills. This is sure to benefit them in the weeks and months ahead.
* The person will have gotten the most out of their investment.
* Those people who stay until the end of treatment usually develop close friendships with those other people who shared their journey. Even if they never see each other again this closeness can something to cherish always.
* The individual will have had more time to benefit from the resources available to them in this facility.
* By staying in rehab longer the person will have added more days to their recovery – this means that they have put some more distance between themselves and addiction.
* There is a great sense of achievement when people make it through rehab from start to finish. There is no real graduation day but the person will leave knowing that they have done some good work.
* Family and friends will feel that their trust has been rewarded. Their loved one has achieved what they set out to do and this is a reason to feel proud of them.
In order to avoid leaving rehab early the individual should:
* Never leave rehab out on impulse or while emotions are high. It is best to delay any departure for at least 24 hours – if the person still wants to go at the end of this time at least they will have put some thought into it.
* The impulse to leave should not be kept secret. It is vital the mention these feelings to the therapists and to talk about them in group.
* It is important to keep in mind that rehab is not meant to be always easy. This is because in order for growth to occur humans usually need to be challenged – in other words the fact that treatment sometimes feels difficult can be the sign that it is working.
* It is a good idea to get pen and paper and write down the reasons to stay and reasons to leave. When things are written in black and white they tend to be clearer.
* The individual can just commit to one more day in rehab – this way they will reach the end of the program in no time at all.
* It is vital that the individual is aware of the possible consequences of leaving rehab early. In some instances it can be a death sentence.
* One of the most common reasons for why people want to leave the facility is that they have fallen into the trap of negativity. This can be overcome by deliberately developing a positive and optimistic attitude and looking for the good things in rehab.
* Those individuals who have a tendency to introversion should make the most of the time they get alone in rehab. They can also focus on the positive aspects of being introverted – they will be better at self reflection.