Wants Out of Rehab
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
My son has been in rehab for 4 days now. He called me tonight wanting to come
home. He has a three yr old habit: smoking speed, pills, alcohol, mjs, etc. He
wanted to go in. It is hard. He has threatened to run away from rehab if I
don't come get him. I’ve never been thru this with one of my children. Tough
love is harder then it seems.
Can you help?
- Mother of 15 yr-old drug addict
What was happening in rehab that was so-o-o-o bad that he
could not get through it? The
only thing that could be that bad is the withdrawal from his drugs.
That is always a real physical and mental torment, but it is the
first step to getting clean and it must be taken.
It is either go through it or continue on with what has been happening.
One of the biggest problems with continuing on with his
drug habit is that it never stays the same.
He will gain a tolerance to the drugs and need more to just be normal,
not high, like he wants.
One way that drug addicts use to overcome the tolerance
problems they have with their drug of choice is to use inject harder drug such
as crank, crystal-meth, and/or heroin.
These to eventually have the tolerance problems and then there is
nothing they can do. What is
worse is that they now have a drug that is so habit-forming that they seldom
get away from it, even when their body is clean of it.
Their minds and bodies crave it so badly that they cannot say no and
start using again, fresh out of rehab.
Having to support the tolerance drug problem, means
needing more money for drugs and having to steal to get it. As a result, all of the drug addicts I counseled had a rap
sheet, with the police, as long as your arm.
All had done time in jail.
The drug habit becomes so expensive and out of control
that there is no way to cope. That
is when addicts finally seek help. After
three years of using drugs, the drug tolerance level must have reached a level
that your son was not able get the amount of drugs he needed to cope, no
matter what he did. This is
probably why he decided to check into rehab.
My drug clients admitted they spent all day stealing and
fencing things so they could spend the night with their drug of choice.
That was the total some of their life.
Another words, their lives were totally lost to them, and they spent
their days bring misery to others from their thefts.
Some thefts end up in murder. One addict was toting a gun to other cities to rip-off drug
dealers of their drugs and money. It
is only a mater of time before someone gets killed. The same is true of those that rob homes.
These deaths do not account for the deadly medical
problems that always accompany drug usage.
Many of my addicts had all three types of hepatitis, which were leading
to their deaths. Others were
sharing needles and AIDS. These
are only a few of the medical problems addicts face.
A lot of addicts die just because there is no control
over the strength of the drugs, resulting in a drug overdose.
Others die from the junk that is used as filler, to cut the strength of
the drugs. Many of my addicts had
blue marks at many of the site of injection, because the dealers had used shoe
polish to cut the drugs. This is
only one example of hazardous chemicals used.
Most are a lot more lethal.
Intravenous drug users face the problem of collapsed
veins. They keep shooting-up and
one by one, the veins finally collapse. The
druggie deals with this problem by finding another vein.
A couple of my drug addict client admitted that they were having to
shoot their drug straight into the juggler, as it was the only vein they had
What you have to ask yourself is this: “Do I want my
son to die or to have a productive life?”
Whether he is shot, overdoses on drugs, dies from medical problems as a
result of using drugs, or does absolutely nothing with his life, He is Dead!
I think you want more for your son than that.
If that is so, you have to tell him why he needs to stay there.
He will beg, threaten, become angry or anything else that
he can think of to push your buttons and get you to come save him, but you
will not be saving him, you will be giving him the death sentence.
His only real chance is to go through rehab and get
clean. This does not mean that he
will never use and get himself right back where he was before he entered
rehab. When this happens, there
is a greater chance that he will use harder drugs to cope with drug tolerance,
so he doesn’t have to go back to rehab.
Eventually, the problem will catch up with him again and he will have
to go back to rehab just to set the tolerance level back, so he can cope
If you really love your child, you will not listen to the
addict talking- that needs a fix, you will listen to your heart and give your
son the chance at life that he desperately needs. You really have no choice, if you love him! I hope this you
to stay resolute in your decision of getting him the help he needs.
Addicts have to get the drug out of their system and
learn how to keep out of trouble. They
get this in rehab. To stay
clean they have to want to change and need to be willing to do what it takes
to do so. This is not easy,
but must be done or they will be using again.
The following article shows exactly what needs to be done just to have
a chance at staying clean.
Objectives and Relapse Prevention
- Avoid slippery people,
slippery places, and slippery things, unless you want to slip. The wisdom
in this slogan refers to the need to change many aspects of one's
lifestyle in the interest of recovery.
- Some of these may have to do
with daily routines such as cooking meals, ironing, cleaning the house,
coming home from work, or watching the 6 o'clock news on television. Other
drinking rituals may involve certain people or even certain places. This
process of connecting drinking with people, places, things, and routines
happens naturally as drinking becomes habitual.
- The addict is someone who is
increasingly preoccupied with maintaining a certain level of alcohol or
drug in their body and whose drinking or using in turn becomes connected
to habits and rituals. In time, many of the addict's old habits and
interests give way to new ones, which support the addiction.
- In order to stay sober or
clean, you need to change many patterns associated with habitual use;
otherwise, your willpower will be no match for the power of ritual and
habits combined with the obsession caused by drinking or using.
- Can you identify any rituals
associated with drinking?
- Is there a certain
sequence of events that you follow?
- Is there certain
routines that are associated with your addiction?
- Can you identify a
list of drinking or drug using partners?
- Can you appreciate the
power of habit or how powerful these rituals can be and how they can
actually be stronger than willpower?
- Can you see how
preoccupation with drinking will be no match for personal will power in
one of these slippery situations?
- First, you need to identify
- Second, change, people,
places, things, and routines associated with your addiction if you hope to
sustain be sober or clean.
- How can you develop:
- a new social
network--a new group of sober or clean friends?
- things to do and
places to go instead of drinking or doing drugs?
- Where did you spend
most of your time with your addiction?
- Where will you spend
your time in the future?
- Include places that are
associated with a variety of activities with a variety of sober and clean
Generally relapse can happen
for a lot of reasons the most commonly it happens when one is:
- Example: Going to
church and becoming involved in its functions.
- Exercise/gym (YMCA)
- Pursue hobbies or
interests...bowling leagues, etc.
- Use the library for
books, music, or videos.
Angry, Lonely, and Tired = the acronym, HALT
- Do not allow yourself to get
into these positions without taking care of these problems fast. These are
the emotions that most often lead to taking that first drink or hit, which
in turn sets off cravings and leads back to addiction.
- Be able to identify the
following "feeling states" and do something about them before
you are induced to drink or drug them away:
·ANGER ·GRIEF ·ANXIETY
- You are more apt to cover
these feelings up with addiction when you are either hungry or tired.
Getting lots of rest and eat healthfully.
Sayings and Slogans
Day at a Time
Go Let God
- Recovering addicts need to
develop a lifestyle that allows them to get adequate rest.
- A state of exhaustion is an
invitation drink or use.
- A body in poor physical
condition will get tired more quickly than one that is being taken care of
- How much sleep should you have
on an average?
- Is this adequate? The average
adult needs eight hours rest. Any more ore less usually leaves the body
tired and sluggish.
- What changes, if any, should
you make with regard to rest?
- What is your state of health?
Are you capable of some form of regular exercise in the interest of
- Avoid excessive hunger.
- Regular meals are encouraged.
- You are encouraged to use
light healthy snacks to avoid getting too hungry.
- Do you have cravings for
- How can you satisfy this need,
- Anxiety has many sources.
- One form of anxiety concerns
making decisions or knowing what to do and feeling right about it.
- Much of the spirituality is
directed at relieving the sense of confusion and anxiety associated with
being alone, of having no one or no faith to rely on.
- The "serenity
prayer" addresses feelings of isolation and confusion:
GOD GRANT ME THE
TO ACCEPT THE THINGS I CANNOT
CHANGE, COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS I CAN, AND THE WISDOM TO KNOW THE
- Study it out in your mind.
- Make a decision as to what
choice you want to take.
- Ask your Higher Power if
your decision is the right one for you, at this time.
- If you feel a sweet calm or
get a sense that what you have asked is good or right, you have gotten a
"yes" answer from your Higher Power. Follow through on your
- If you feel confused or tend
to forget what you are asking, you have just received a "No"
answer. If this is the case Ask your Higher Power to help you select the
correct choice. Rethink your choices and repeat step 3.
- The pressures of deadlines
and over-commitment create stresses that invite addiction.
- Developing a system of
- Make a realistic or do-able
list of things to do today.
- Schedule things twice as far
in advance as you usually would.
- Sit quietly for 15 minutes a
- Talk to someone, preferably a
recovering person, about your feelings of being overextended.
- Anger and resentment are
difficult emotions for addicts to deal with.
1. Anger that causes anxiety drives the addict to drink
or use in order to cover these feelings up.
- Resentment, comes from
unexpressed or denied anger
- Resentments must be
confronted and let go in favor of more effective ways of dealing with
anger in the present.
- How can you express anger
better, to avoid building up stores of resentments in the future?
- Identify sources of
- What do you do in these
situations versus what you used to do?
- There is little difference
between unexpressed anger you have at the moment and stuffing it and
resentment in which you hold on to anger over things that have happened in
the past. Examples: Someone breaking your favorite vase and you saying its
all right (stuffing it). Someone continually taking advantage of you
(holding on to past resentment).
- Both types fester and canker
your feeling and thoughts.
- Both poison your system and
ruin future health both mentally and physically.
- What can you do to keep
either of these types of anger from happening to you in the future?
- What can you do to get rid
of such anger from the past?
- What would stop the patient
from expressing anger in the future?
- Should you deal with your
anger immediately on the spot or take time to figure out why you are
- Has this anger incident
dredged up old festering anger that has not been dealt with?
- Does the amount and
intensity of your anger really match the incident at hand?
- When you are angry are there
times that you cannot figure out how to deal with it?
- Are there times that doing
anything would only make things worse?
- How do you deal with this
type of anger? Can you discuss it with your Higher Power?
- There will be times when the
only best way to deal with your anger is to Turn It Over to your Higher
- Make a commitment to express
your anger honestly and deal with it as soon as possible in the best
- Addicts-to-be often
experience many losses that have gone un-grieved.
- The grieving process goes
through several stages. These stages do not always follow a certain order
or included all the stages. Some stages are repeated several times.
- Understanding the stages can
help you identify where you are and help you get through them in a healthy
Denial - This
is denying there was or loss or minimizing the importance of what was lost.
This includes denying its importance.
Anger - The breakdown of
denial and the natural reaction to loss.
Bargaining - Attempting to
replace the lost thing with something else without acknowledging its loss.
Sadness - The true expression
of un-denied loss. Sadness that is dwelt upon for long lengths of time could
be depression and may need professional help to overcome.
Acceptance - This comes
slowly, only as denial breaks down and the individual feels able to come to
terms with the reality of loss or limitation and is ready to move on.
- Identify one loss in your
life, which you have worked through in this way.
- Identify a loss you have not
- Addicts need to come to terms
with the "loss" of not using alcohol or drugs to cope with
problems or feelings.
- Accept the limitation that
you cannot control your use of alcohol or drugs and have to give it up.
- Your recovery task is to go
through the grief process with respect to alcohol and drugs.
- Write a "good-bye
letter" to your companion, alcohol or drugs.
- Write in your journal about
losses that you have not adequately acknowledged and grieved, including
losses in each of these areas:
- Relationships (people,
pets, things or goals
- Self-esteem or self
- Dependency on alcohol or
drugs needs to be conceptualized as a relationship that must be broken and
grieved in order to recover.
- Addiction is a physical and
a spiritual illness.
- It is an illness of the
spirit in the sense that addicts are driven by their disease to behave in
ways that compromise their personal ethics and values.
- Addicts commit crimes and
misdeeds in the process of satisfying their obsession with their
- As a result addicts have
impaired judgment while under the influence. This undermines their
self-esteem, alienates others, and makes reaching out to one's Higher
Power and others more difficult.
- Recognize the fact that you
have feelings of guilt and shame related to your behavior. Acknowledge and
share that these feelings have value.
- In general, such a moral
inventory is a process instead of an event. It is done best, by someone
who is actively working to stay sober and clean. A true inventory takes
time to investigate with your sponsor, clergy, counselor or your Higher
- Alcoholics Anonymous or
Narcotics Anonymous (AA/NA) program sets least 6 months of personal work
for this step.
- Some feel that a personal
moral inventory should be taken often with one's Higher Power, for the
rest of their life.
of the Moral Inventory
1. Honestly admit and talk about the wrongs and errors you have
committed as a result of your addiction.
- Honesty - To be of real
value, a moral inventory must be honest. Admit your contributions to
strained marriages or friendships, problems with children, and so on. Be
frank without promoting needless guilt. The goal of a successful moral
inventory is not guilt but commitment to recovery.
- Addiction have predictable
effects on personality, one of which is that character defects that were
evident before the illness will get worse. Still others may emerge as a
consequence of becoming obsessed with alcohol. Most addicts become more
demanding and selfish over time.
- Explore these character
defects that leads you to make ethical and moral compromises.
- Character defects include
qualities such as:
· Jealousy ·
Greed · Selfishness · Impulsiveness · Grandiosity · Arrogance · Self-pity
· Meanness · Resentment
- Journaling should be used to
explore your character defects these.
- List down any important
items you come to understand about yourself during the whole process of
the moral inventory.
2. Balance recognition of wrongs done with equal
recognition of positive aspects about you.
Balance -- A moral inventory should also be balanced,
meaning that you should not lose sight of your positive qualities, right
choices, and heroic efforts.
- Even the most severe addicts
are capable of doing things right now and then.
- Note asset or qualities of
· Generosity ·
Heroism · Charity · Sharing
· Altruism · Kindness ·
Humility · Love · Compassion
- You have had the courage to
face your moral mistakes may be able to at least acknowledge them.
- Because of this inventory
you have sometimes felt the need to do something to make up for those
mistakes. This gives you an advantage over those who refuse to even
acknowledge their defects.
- The question now becomes:
When are amends appropriate, and what constitutes appropriate amends?
- Sponsors and AA/NA friends,
clergy, counselor, and your Higher Power are key sources of support during
this time of making amends.
- It would be appropriate
during this time to contact your counselor between sessions if you are
experiencing intense emotional reaction to the moral inventory or amends
- An emergency counseling
session could be appropriate.