#1 Leave the triggers behind. Staying close to home increases the chances you will be reminded of a person, place, or thing that stimulates the desire or impulse to use again. These can be reminders of objects you positively associate with using or they can be stressors that push your buttons in a specific way and using is your usual ‘coping’ skill. These triggers queue up the bad habits. You need to go somewhere that allows a fresh mind and the start of new habits free of the clutter and influences of your triggers and faulty thinking.
#2 Get away from the enabling people in your life. All addicts have enablers in their life, people who love or care for them, who have a very hard time saying ‘No.’ So when you are close to home, it is easy to call your parents, spouse, girlfriend, buddy you use with, or adult child and give them some line ranging from – ‘my roommate is a pig and the staff won’t change my room,’ to ‘I am so much better and they said I could go home,’ to ‘I will do whatever you want if you just get me out of here now’ to ‘ this place is a joke, they are always sneaking drugs in and even the staff is getting high.’ Addicts know how to play the game, know who they can manipulate, and know what lines will pull at the heartstrings of sensibility so someone will be their escape hatch from sobriety.
#3 “Got to Go.” When the going gets tough, it is a lot easier to sign out AMA (Against Medical Advice) when you are 50 miles or less from home than when you are 500 or more miles from home. Sure you can still leave if you are across the country, but the higher the obstacle to leaving, the more thought and effort are required to make it happen and the addict takes the shortcut and stays in treatment.
Our society always wants to do things the quick and easy way, and when things get tough, you will naturally think of quitting. If you find yourself wanting to leave treatment early, keep in mind that longer treatment in a positive program greatly reduces your risk for relapse. Don’t fall for the “Got to go” attitude.
What are some common reasons you might find yourself prematurely wanting to leave treatment?
- You want to leave early during Detox when your withdrawal symptoms set in and cause discomfort or are tough to deal with. Dr. Karl’s note: Withdrawal isn’t as painful as all the consequences you reap when you are using.
- You want to leave early to avoid the pain of digging deeper in treatment by looking at who you really are or what has happened to you in your life both before and after your addiction, which pushes you deeper and deeper into the pit of despair.
- You get into a conflict with staff or other patients and instead of dealing with it in a healthy way and using your new skills, you look to run.
- You might think you know it all, but it is only intellectual knowledge and not actual acquired, practiced, and usable skills. After the first 10-15 days of lectures and building up your addiction library in your head, you need to go into the rehab lab or playing field and hone the skills that will change your decisions and your life forever.
Going farther away for treatment makes it harder to give up and step out the door. Quitting drugs or alcohol is a big challenge – especially during the first couple of weeks. Detox and facing yourself in the mirror test your resolve, and being in a different area removes some temptation of old people, places, and things. Leaving the area also shows a high level of commitment to treatment as it is much harder to step on a plane and travel several states away than to step in a cab and visit a rehab close-by.
#4 Make a true escape. When you are on vacation, going to a B&B just down the street is never as relaxing as going to a B&B in another region. When you stay close to home, your mind still swirls with the stressors of home including the pet, bills, chores, answering machine, mail, lawn, and are the kids surviving or staying out of trouble without you. Your house is a magnet pulling you way from your state of relaxation and back to the stressors and frustrations of life. When you really get out of the area, all that house stuff is still happening, but your mind is able to escape the intrusive thoughts and magnetic pull allowing you to get the most out of your vacation. Going farther away to rehab benefits from this same principle.
#5 Ensure your privacy. Privacy is a big concern for many who are looking for addiction rehab, and going farther away for treatment makes privacy and confidentiality easier to achieve. At a rehab farther away, you won’t know any staff and there is a miniscule chance of running into people you know. There is absolutely no reason you need to explain to co-workers, friends or family exactly where you are going or why. You are protected by HIPAA and the Family Medical Leave Act from having to disclose your personal medical issues with employers. Leaving your area makes it easier to maintain a high level of privacy and get the help you need in an environment that is conducive to recovery.
The biggest advantage about having this privacy is it allows you to really open up, reveal your true self, and often times, people share past abuse, crimes, or mistakes they have been hiding inside for years. These secrets have eaten away at their soul and fueled the addiction. Finally, because of the privacy and safety, they can allow Light to come in and healing to start.
#6 You are not alone. Seeing people from all over the country who are dealing with the same struggles and willing to work on transforming their lives is incredibly encouraging and empowering. God allows you to see you are not alone while always finding someone with a more desperate or heart-breaking story than yours opens your eyes to His hope, peace, and a new possibility for your addiction and gets you out of the “I’m doomed, it’s hopeless” mindset to God’s powerful, loves me, and has a peace and freedom if I just follow Him.Going away for recovery also helps give you a fresh, more positive Godly perspective. Being in a new place sometimes reminds you that there is more to the world than the bubble of addiction you are living in. Many of our rehabs offer outings, sober social gatherings, outside meetings and worship. This allows you to experience a new place and meet new, sober and happy people who have had the spiritual awakening your thirst for.
#7 Find the best option. Rarely is the best option right around the corner from where you live. Often, finding the best treatment fit for the insurance or finances you have is difficult. Not all rehabs are the same. The best treatment situation provides key ingredients for transformation, including medical expertise, psychiatric assessment, psychological depth, spiritual depth, and ample time to learn and apply this transformational prescription.
Finding the best option means optimizing these following Key Principles to Aid in True Transformation while maximizing your insurance coverage and minimizing your out-of-pocket expenses:
- Medical Expertise – Facilitate a safe detox and make sure there are no physical problems either from the addiction or fueling the addiction.
- Psychiatric Assessment – Address any underlying psychological symptoms or disorders which psychiatric meds might help.
- Psychological Depth –
- Help you get to the cause of your addiction. Addictions don’t show up out of the blue. They all come from some psychological immaturity, wounds, traumas, baggage, or issues. An addiction is a maladaptive stress management skill, so we need to dig to see what that underlying stress or mindset the addiction is self-medicating.
- Allow you to develop skills to slow down your mind and become a great decision-maker so your mind is renewed and life is transformed.
- Spiritual Depth –
- Help you replace despair, fear, anxiety, sadness, agitation, arrogance, frustration, hopelessness, confusion, and chaos with power, forgiveness, hope, peace, joy, confidence, belonging, connection, safety, consistency, purpose, meaning, value, humility.
- Access God’s divine power to change the course of your life instead of your addiction controlling your life’s direction.
- Use the Ultimate Life Management Instruction Manual – the B.I.B.L.E. (Best Instruction Book for Living Everyday) will give you coping skills and answers for every life situation.
- Instead of using me-centered lenses of fear, put on Godly lenses to see the reality and truth in every situation and allow the truth to set you free.
- Time – Allow sufficient time for healing. Ideally, you want to stay 30-90 days to detox, have some brain healing away from substances, learn new skills, unlearn the old habits, and practice them over and over until you can use them well in any situation/adversity.