how to pack for rehab

How to Pack for Rehab: A Checklist

Millions of Americans struggle with drug and alcohol addiction every year, but only about 11 percent of them actually get help from a rehabilitation program.

If you’ve made the decision to go to rehab, congratulations on prioritizing your well-being and taking a big step toward recovery.

If you’ve decided to go to rehab, you might also have some questions about what to expect during your stay or what you should bring with you.

Read on to have all your most pressing questions answered. You’ll learn more about how to pack for rehab, what rehab is like, and how to make sure you’re prepared for your stay.

What is Rehab Like?

If you’re planning on participating in an inpatient rehab program, you might be concerned about what you’re going to do during your stay there.

What kinds of activities will you be required to participate in during the day? Will there be any flexibility or opportunities for you to choose your own activities?

Every program is a bit different, of course. Most inpatient programs look something like this, though:

  • Your days start bright and early with a healthy breakfast and perhaps an exercise class, group meditation, or group meeting
  • During the day, you’ll participate in various therapies and activities (group therapy, individual therapy, classes, etc.)
  • During the afternoon, you’ll also eat a healthy lunch
  • You may have some free time in the afternoon where you can choose to relax or participate in specific leisure activities
  • In the evening, you’ll have a healthy dinner and likely attend another group meeting
  • You’ll go to bed relatively early so you can wake up on time and feeling rested the next day

Most rehab programs place a heavy emphasis on structure and routine. This helps you learn to develop new, healthy habits and makes it easier for you to avoid stress and triggers.

How to Pack for Rehab

Now that you know what to expect from rehab, you’re probably wondering what you should pack.

There are a lot of factors that will influence what you pack for your stay. For example, the length of time you’re staying and the climate in the area where the facility is located.

Be sure to take these things into account so you can bring clothing that suits the location and will keep you feeling comfortable.

The items you’ll need to bring with you can be broken down into the following categories. 

Clothing

Most rehab facilities have a strict dress code. Be sure to research this before you start packing to ensure all your clothes fit the bill. Some clothing items you’ll need to bring include:

  • Comfortable shoes for everyday wear and for exercising
  • Shirts that comply with the dress code and are weather-appropriate
  • Pants or shorts (make sure they comply with the dress code)
  • One “dressy” outfit to wear on special occasions, such as family visits
  • Socks
  • Undergarments
  • A jacket or coat
  • A bathing suit if the facility you’re visiting has a pool

You will likely have access to a laundry facility during your stay, so you usually don’t need to bring more than one week’s worth of clothes with you.

Toiletries

Make sure you have enough toiletries to last you the length of your stay. Some specific items you’ll want to bring include the following:

  • A toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • A comb or brush
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Lotion
  • Sunscreen

Be sure to avoid bringing any toiletries that contain alcohol, such as mouthwash.

Additional Items

You don’t need to bring a lot of outside items to rehab with you, other than clothes and toiletries. You may need the following items at some point during your stay, though:

  • Contact information for loved ones you want to visit you or whom you want to be involved in your treatment
  • Any prescription medications you need, with their label still intact
  • Some cash ($50-$100 or less) to handle any purchases you want to make
  • Copies of your insurance card and ID
  • A journal
  • Stamps and envelopes for mailing letters

You may wish to bring some reading material with you. If you do bring anything, make sure it’s self help-related or contains uplifting content. Other types of books may be confiscated.

What Not to Bring

In addition to knowing what to bring, it’s important to know what not to bring as well. The following are some items you’re going to want to leave at home:

  • Outside food or drinks
  • Pornographic material
  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Unapproved medications
  • Weapons
  • Inappropriate clothing
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Electronics
  • Candles or incenses

It ought to go without saying, but you cannot bring any drugs or alcohol with you. If you’re caught with these items, you could be dismissed from the program.

Bonus Preparation Tips

Knowing what to bring and what not bring can help to relieve a lot of anxiety around going to rehab. If you’re still anxious, though, here are some additional tips that can help you prepare for your stay:

  • Take care of work and family obligations before you leave
  • Pay all your bills and tie up any loose ends (apartment leases, utility bills, etc.)
  • Spend time with loved ones (but avoid those who might encourage you to drink or use drugs)
  • Eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water to aid in the detox process

It’s also helpful to write yourself a letter that can serve as a pep talk during your stay. You can open it when things get hard and use it as motivation to keep going.

Find a Rehab Program Today

You now know much more about how to pack and prepare for rehab and what to expect during your stay. 

With all this information in mind, do you feel more prepared to go and start changing your life for the better? Or, are you still having a hard time figuring out which rehab program you should choose?

If you haven’t found a rehab program that seems like a good fit for you yet, contact us at The Discovery House today.

We offer a variety of rehab programs, as well as groups for family and loved ones, so you’ll be able to get the support you need to take your life back once and for all.

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About the Reviewer: Chris Barnes

Chris BarnesChristopher Barnes has worked in health care for over thirty years. He is a graduate of Alabama State University where he earned a double Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and Psychology in 1982. Christopher Barnes is currently the Director of Clinical services at The Discovery House where he has been employed for the past five years. Because of his extensive experience in health care & substance abuse he has an excellent rapport with constituents, clients, and other professional organizations in the counseling/social service community.