Reasons People Leave Treatment Early
If you’re anything like me, you’ve either left a drug and alcohol treatment center or you’ve thought about leaving. It’s important to note when I say left I don’t mean graduated. I mean left AMA (against medical advice), ACA (against clinical advice), or just straight up to bolted.
Being in a treatment center isn’t fun. Chances are, if you’re in rehab things aren’t going so hot. Your life is a wreck and now you have to sit in a room and talk about it? With other people? No thanks, I’ll see you later.
That’s a common mentality to hold. I’ve certainly been guilty of thinking it. It’s pretty shortsighted, though. There are a lot of reasons to stay in treatment! First among them is that if we leave treatment, our addiction may kill us. That almost goes without saying. Still, I had to be told multiple times.
Alcoholism and addiction make us hard-headed. They make us oblivious to the damage we cause in other peoples’ lives. They make us oblivious to the damage we cause in our own lives!
Find some common excuses people use to leave treatment below. You’ll also find rebuttals to them.
I Don’t Need Treatment
I Don’t Need This Level of Care
Yep, I used this one too. While I was in residential, inpatient treatment, I thought I’d be fine in outpatient. Never mind that I’d relapsed countless times in outpatient. Never mind that outpatient simply gave me too much freedom. Nope, I’d be fine in IOP.
Obviously, I wasn’t going to be fine in IOP. After completing inpatient, I did an intensive outpatient. I was okay then, but before? I’d have been a wreck and gotten high. I wasn’t ready for IOP.
If someone says they want to leave treatment because they don’t need this level of care, point out their track record. For most addicts and alcoholics, one look at their track record should be enough to make it abundantly clear lower levels of care won’t work now. They’ll work in the future, but not at the present moment.
I Still Want to Use
I used this excuse, too. I thought I wasn’t ready to get sober. I used to tell my therapist I hadn’t reached my bottom. Want to know the funny thing about rock bottom? It happens when you stop digging and put down the shovel.
Boring, but ultimately true, clichés aside, wanting to use is NOT a reason to leave rehab. If anything it should be all the more proof that we need rehab! If our lives are already messed up and all we want to do is continue to use, well, there’s something wrong there.
If someone says they want to leave treatment because they still want to drink and drug, make the same point I just made. That should give them some perspective quickly.
I Have Kids
I’ve never used this excuse, though that’s only because I don’t have children. If I did, you bet I’d have used it! This is actually a legitimate reason to want to leave treatment. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to be separated from your kids.
What use will a parent be to their kids if that parent is drunk or high? None. The answer is they’ll be of absolutely no use. In fact, they’ll probably be a danger to their children.
If someone says they want to leave treatment because they miss their kids, point out that booze and drugs kept them away from children. Just because they were physically there doesn’t mean they were present.
I’m Going to Another Treatment Center
Yep, I used this one. I had no intention of going to another rehab. I just wanted to leave and be left alone.
If someone says they want to leave treatment because they’re going to another rehab, call them out. Chances are they’re lying and could use someone, to be honest.
These Rules are Stupid
Oh yeah, I used this one every day I was in treatment. Much like “I’ll go to another rehab,” there’s no weight to this excuse.
As active addicts and alcoholics, we’re not used to having rules or structure in our lives. If someone thinks a rule is stupid, it’s probably because they need that rule in their life!
If someone says they want to leave treatment because the rules are stupid, call them out! Again, they’re just looking for any reason to leave. Offer some reasons to stay.
I was Lied to
By the time I got to this excuse, I was basically scraping the bottom of the barrel. I said the admissions representative lied to me. He told me there was going to be an in-ground pool, a personal chef, a therapy dog, horses, elephants, and tigers (oh my!).
I was just so uncomfortable in my skin that I’d try anything to leave. If someone says an admissions representative lied to them, they probably feel the same.
If someone says they want to leave treatment because they were lied to, sit down with the patient. Have a conversation where you disclose just how uncomfortable rehab made you. I’m willing to bet they’ll stay.
There you have it – some common excuses people use to try and leave treatment. I hope this helps! I know I’m eternally indebted to the people who talked some sense into me!