The best-laid plans don’t always play out according to script. Addiction treatment bears this out as much as anything else in life. Even if you have done everything you could to help a spouse, child, or friend, now they are out of treatment early and you feel lost as to how to best handle the situation. The most compassionate thing is to be supportive without being completely enabling. Learn some tips for how to best support a loved one who leaves rehab early.
There are many reasons why a loved one may leave treatment early. It may be time to consider other approaches. To promote recovery and prevent things from going back to the dark days of addiction, it helps to do the following:
- Be loving and firm. Some people make threats to the loved one or others take a more gentle approach. Make it clear they cannot return based on past patterns of behavior. What’s most important is that you don’t shut the door or belittle them. When the disease is active, the person’s soul is sucked out and they don’t have conscious control of what’s happening.they may feel everyone has given up on them but it is better to say things like you offer love and support and will try to help them navigate this difficult time.
- Discuss other options: alternatives like intensive outpatient therapy or one-on-one counseling combined with prescription medication to treat withdrawal symptoms or cravings can be good options. With addiction treatment, it is not a one-size-fits-all approach for everyone. Work with your partner, friend, or relative, and come up with a plan to do what you can to help your loved one stick to it.
- Review gains and losses. Bolster your loved one’s motivation to keep going for the long haul by talking to them about the loss as a result of addiction. Point out all the gains he or she will make by being in treatment. This includes self-esteem, healthier relationships, a productive, stable life, and more. In order for treatment to succeed, you need to have a motivated person who really wants it and is going to have a desire to keep going.
- Be a gatekeeper: if substances are a loved one’s addictions, keep him or her away from the people who sold them drugs or drinks in the past. Encourage recovering friends and family to change phone numbers to prevent people who are subversive influences from getting in touch. The risk of not doing this means going back to the same thing and never getting well. Don’t give them the option if you can.
The biggest thing is to encourage a loved one to get emotional. Most people who suffer from addiction have shame and guilt over the fact they are people who struggle with addiction. Someone who leaves treatment early may feel frustrated and lonely, as if nobody’s listening. It is hard but continue to encourage empathy. If the conversation may help reveal whether there’s an underlying health condition, that may benefit from different treatment. Don’t let them think they are alone. Help them understand there are people who care and you will do what you can to support their journey of healing.
Our recovery program at Oceanfront is about helping you take a journey of healing to the other side of addiction. It is not an easy road but there are services and programs that help you at Oceanfront face it and combat it with strength and dignity. We are located in beautiful Laguna Beach. Call us to find out how we can help you navigate addiction recovery: 877-279-1777