What To Do If Your Loved One Leaves Rehab Early

what to do when someone leaves rehab early

What To Do If Your Loved One Leaves Rehab Early

Watching your loved one struggle with the disease of addiction is exhausting, terrifying, and stressful. When your loved one finally decides to enter rehab, you will probably feel a sense of relief. Knowing that they are safe, supported, and receiving treatment for their substance abuse can take a lot of weight off of your shoulders. However, you might continue to worry about them and wonder if they will stick to their commitment to addiction recovery.

If your loved one leaves rehab early, all of those old feelings will come rushing back. It is normal to feel worried, scared, and maybe even responsible for their safety. Unfortunately, leaving rehab early and relapsing is common among recovering addicts. You must remember that you are not responsible for their mistakes.

When a family member leaves rehab early, you will probably wonder what you can do for them. The most important thing to do is to become educated on why individuals in recovery leave rehab early. After you come to an understanding, you can begin to learn how to handle the situation.

Reasons Why Some People Leave Rehab Early

When someone leaves addiction treatment early, it is referred to as a discharge against medical advice or an “AMA”. There are many reasons that individuals decide to leave rehab early, but most of the time it’s due to fear. It may be the fear of the unknown, a fear of living life sober, or the fear of having to confront past traumas. Whatever the case may be, watching a loved one leave treatment too soon is difficult to process.

Some of the reasons why your loved one may have left rehab early include:

  • They think addiction treatment is too hard
  • Your loved one is in denial of their substance abuse
  • They have an emotional outburst as a result of facing past traumas
  • Your loved one is struggling with withdrawal symptoms and wants relief
  • They are not ready to commit to sobriety
  • Your loved one thinks they have learned enough to stay sober on their own
  • They do not believe that rehab will work for them

If your loved one leaves rehab early, they are likely to relapse. This can be a scary thought, as watching them struggle with drug addiction may have caused you emotional distress. The most important thing for you to do is remain hopeful and supportive while sticking to your boundaries and avoiding any enabling behavior.

Risks of Leaving Rehab Early

If your loved one has left drug and alcohol rehab early, you might be wondering what to expect. While most individuals who leave rehab early relapse, there are other risks to consider.

The risks of leaving treatment early include:

  • Not developing vital coping skills
  • Relapsing 
  • Overdosing
  • Having a harder time finding recovery than the first time
  • Experiencing self-harming behaviors due to emotional distress
  • Losing the trust of loved ones, friends, employers, etc.

Leaving rehab early can cause an array of negative consequences for your loved one as well as the entire family. It is important to help them get back into treatment as soon as possible. However, you should always put your well-being first. Remember, you cannot help someone if you need help yourself.

What to do If your Loved One Leaves Rehab Early

When a loved one leaves rehab early, you might feel scared or angry. These are normal reactions in response to a difficult situation. Additionally, you may be wondering what you can do to help them get back on track.

Set Boundaries

While it is normal to be scared for your loved one’s safety and health, you must worry about yourself first. This is why setting boundaries is of the utmost importance when your loved one leaves treatment too soon.

To explain, it is likely that your loved one will begin drinking or using drugs again. When this happens, they may come to you for money or a place to stay. This is never a good idea, as it poses safety and emotional health concerns for yourself and the rest of your household. Additionally, allowing them to stay at your home and providing them with money only enables them to continue avoiding treatment.

Avoid Enabling

Enabling behaviors are defined as “behaviors that support our addicted loved one’s chemical use”.[1] This may include providing your loved ones with money, giving them a place to stay, covering for their mistakes, and much more. While it may seem like you are helping them, you are only furthering their ability to continue their self-destructive behaviors. It is extremely important to avoid enabling your loved ones if they leave rehab early.

Have Addiction Treatment Resources Ready

If your loved one leaves rehab early, the ultimate goal is to get them back into treatment. While they may be resistant to accepting help, eventually the time may come when they are ready. Setting up an addiction treatment program for them to attend beforehand will ensure that they get into rehab as soon as possible.

Reach Out for Support

Lastly, when your loved one leaves addiction treatment early it is important to take care of yourself. Dealing with the stress of a loved one’s addiction can take a toll on anyone. Thankfully, there are plenty of support groups designed for the loved ones of addicts and alcoholics. Additionally, attending individual therapy or family counseling is recommended.

Find Support For an Addicted Loved One

If your loved one has left rehab early and relapsed, it’s important to find help for them. Even if they are not ready to accept help, getting in contact with a treatment provider is important. Addiction experts can help you set up an intervention and get your loved one set up for treatment. Contact Florida Recovery Group today for more information on how to get started.


  1. http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/addiction/berman/family/enabling.html
No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.