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How to Deal When Your Loved One Wants to Leave Treatment Early

When it comes to substance abuse and addiction, the longer and more intensive the treatment program, the better. Addiction is a life-long disease for which there is no cure however, there is specialized treatment that can help those who struggle with the disease to learn coping methods and tools in order to arrest their disease, stopping it in its tracks.

But treatment can be daunting. At times, it’s uncomfortable – physically, due to withdrawal syndrome, and emotionally. Sooner or later, every addict in treatment wants to leave. The issue, for those who care for the addict, becomes: how to deal when your loved one wants to leave treatment early?

Talk to your loved one about it

If your loved one says they want to leave treatment early, the best way to respond is with care and concern. Ask them to give it a try. Empathize with them by letting them know you understand that it is difficult and unpleasant but, emphasize that it is critical for them to complete the whole program in order to give themselves the best chance at success. You can get input from the staff and other medical professionals regarding statistics and then use this as ammunition to back up your request.

Be prepared for arguments

Which can be pretty compelling at times. Remember that someone who is experiencing substance abuse and addiction issues is pretty good at manipulating others and, because they are your loved one, they’ll know what buttons to push and what things to say in order to persuade you to see things their way. Again, do your homework and have your responses in order. You never want to be caught without an appropriate comment. That will just give the addict an edge to chip away at your resolve.

Here are some common complaints and excuses that your loved one might use in order to get you to agree to them leaving treatment early.

  • I’m too lonely. I miss you, my family and my friends.
  • The food here is gross.
  • I really don’t belong here. Everyone here is way worse than I am.
  • How could you stick me in a place like this?
  • I can’t sleep. The other clients keep me up at night. The bed’s uncomfortable.
  • They won’t let me watch my favorite TV shows.
  • They won’t let me stay up as late as I like. And I have to get up too early.
  • The work is too hard.
  • I don’t like telling my private thoughts to a group of strangers.
  • I don’t like my therapist.
  • I feel like a prisoner.
  • I promise I won’t touch alcohol (or drugs, gambling, or other addictive behavior) any more. Please just let me come home.
  • If you love me, you’ll let me come home.
  • I hate you for what you’ve done to me, telling me I have to stay here.
  • When I get out of here, I’m never coming back home. Then you’ll see what you’ve done.
  • Was it really so bad when I was home? I’ll try to do better. Just give me a chance. I don’t need to stay here any longer. I’ve really learned my lesson.
  • I’m afraid to stay here. The other patients are scary, even crazy and dangerous.

They can go on and on with complaints and excuses such as these. Most likely, they will start with whatever they think will work with you and gradually move on to more elaborate and specific reasons as to why they need to leave treatment.

Talk with their therapist

Of course this is only an option if your loved one has signed a release of information making it legal for their therapist to discuss their case with you. If it is an option, get the therapist’s input on how you can support your loved one is treatment and how to deal when your loved one wants to leave treatment early. After all, their therapist has been the ones involved in your loved one’s care and therefore have some insight as to what will be supportive in this situation.

Support groups

There are support groups, free to join, for people in your situation: loved ones of an alcoholic/addict. You can go online to find when and where these meetings take place. Search for Family Anonymous, Al-Anon, and Nar-Anon.

Stay involved in their treatment

Often times, treatment programs offer some kind of family program that allows you, the loved one of someone in treatment, to get involved in the treatment process and learn all about it. These kinds of programs are essential to a successful treatment plan because they educate and empower the loved ones of those who are in treatment for addiction and substance abuse disorders. Family programs usually involve meetings and activities that take place over the course of a weekend and, for those who live too far to attend, offer other kinds of support and ways to participate, even without being there in person.

Having a loved one who is affected by a substance abuse disorder or addiction can be really tough. Many people in this situation feel at a loss of what to do and where to start when it comes to getting help for their loved one who struggles. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call us here at Palm Partners where we offer a top-notch family program. Our number is toll-free 1-800-951-6135 and we have addiction specialists available 24/7 whom you can talk to about the treatment process as well as how to deal when your loved one wants to leave treatment early.

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Additional calls will also be forwarded and returned by a quality treatment center within the USA.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by a licensed drug and alcohol rehab facility, a paid advertiser on

All calls are private and confidential.

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