Son Wants Out of Rehab

Annette Nay, Ph.D.

Copyright © 2004

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


Dear Mother,

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 left. 

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 again.

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.


Counseling Objectives and Relapse Prevention

Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired = the acronym, HALT



Helpful Sayings and Slogans

Easy Does It

First Things First

One Day at a Time

Let Go Let God

Turn It Over


Hungry and Tired

  1. A state of exhaustion is an invitation drink or use.
  2. A body in poor physical condition will get tired more quickly than one that is being taken care of
  3. How much sleep should you have on an average?
  4. Is this adequate? The average adult needs eight hours rest. Any more ore less usually leaves the body tired and sluggish.
  5. What changes, if any, should you make with regard to rest?
  6. What is your state of health? Are you capable of some form of regular exercise in the interest of gaining energy?




  1. Study it out in your mind.
  2. Make a decision as to what choice you want to take.
  3. Ask your Higher Power if your decision is the right one for you, at this time.
  4. 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 decision.
  5. 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.


1. Anger that causes anxiety drives the addict to drink or use in order to cover these feelings up.

  1. Resentment, comes from unexpressed or denied anger
  2. Resentments must be confronted and let go in favor of more effective ways of dealing with anger in the present.
  3. How can you express anger better, to avoid building up stores of resentments in the future?


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.

  1. Write a "good-bye letter" to your companion, alcohol or drugs.
  2. Write in your journal about losses that you have not adequately acknowledged and grieved, including losses in each of these areas:
    1. Relationships (people, pets, things or goals
    2. Self-esteem or self worth

The Moral Inventory

Goals of the Moral Inventory

1. Honestly admit and talk about the wrongs and errors you have committed as a result of your addiction.

· Jealousy · Greed · Selfishness · Impulsiveness · Grandiosity · Arrogance · Self-pity · Meanness · Resentment

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.

· Generosity · Heroism · Charity · Sharing

· Altruism · Kindness · Humility · Love · Compassion

Making Amends


The Twelve-Step Program

Annette Nay, Ph.D.

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