If you fail a drug test while staying in a residential rehab, expect to be kicked out immediately. Rehabs understand a lot about addict behavior and typically have strict zero tolerance policies when it comes to drug screens. Here's What You Can Expect
Here's What You Can Do About It
- The minute you fail the test, you will be confined to an office or lobby while additional staff is notified. This is because they don't want you near the other residents. View it as having something contagious. A drug user in the middle of a bunch of newly-sober addicts is a disaster waiting to happen; therefore, once they know you are "contagious" you will feel like you are being quarantined.
- You will most likely not be allowed back to your room to gather your belongings. Staff members will pack for you and bring everything to you. In some facilities, you will be allowed to do your own packing but will be supervised the entire time by one or more staff members to be sure you don't interact with other residents. Then, you will either be taken into an office to wait for whoever you have called to pick you up, or in some cases, you will be escorted off the property immediately.
- Though the whole thing will feel personal, try not to take it that way. The instant that drug test popped dirty, it stopped being about you and became about preserving and protecting the sobriety of the other residents. You know as an addict how easy it is to tempt another addict to use. Their only focus at this point is for you not serve as a trigger for the others. The vast majority of time, it will all be handled professionally and with compassion.
- Maintain your cool throughout the process. Even if you are angry and feel like giving up. Getting loud, threatening, and agitated is only going to get you banned forever. Don't do that to yourself. Get your things together, call for a ride to somewhere safe and sober and leave.
- Call the rehab a few days later and speak to a director or other high-placed person. Apologize for what happened, assure them you want to continue treatment, and ask if you can come back. If they will allow your return, they will give a timeline and what criteria it will take for you to check back in. Attend meetings daily while waiting to work this out.
- If they decline to let you come back, stay calm and ask if they will recommend another facility for you. Write down the information and call that rehab. Don't give up. This is a setback, but you have admitted you need help. Check yourself into the new rehab and redouble your efforts to stay clean.
Getting kicked out of rehab is embarrassing, but it happens. What is important is what you do if it happens to you. Just like riding a horse, get up and get back into rehab. Congratulations on a good decision to stay sober. Now it's time to try again. The Vice Guide to Rehab Drug Rehab and Honesty After Relapse