When you’re struggling with alcoholism, it’s incredibly difficult to reach out for help. The idea of rehab can be frightening, especially if you’ve never been to rehab before. It’s hard to know what to expect, and it’s natural to want to know what level of comfort and care will be provided.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to the question of what will be provided, because every rehab center is slightly different. Usually rehab centers will have a packing list and prohibited items list available on their website or in their informational packet. You’ll also be able to find information about the specific services provided on the center websites. If you have trouble finding the information you need, you can also call or email the rehab’s admissions department with your questions.
That said, there are some things that you can expect most treatment centers to provide, and some things you can expect you’ll need to pack yourself.
When you check into rehab, you’ll be given a room. Generally basic bedding is provided for you. You might have a roommate, or you might have a single room, depending on the center.
Most rehab centers will provide reading material for you, so you don’t need to bring books from home. If books are allowed, oftentimes they’re encouraged or required to be related to self-help and recovery. They might also need to be paperback rather than hardcover.
You’ll need to bring seven days worth of your own clothing. Rehab centers tend to have strict dress codes, so you should review these while you pack to make sure you don’t accidentally bring any prohibited items.
The center will provide access to laundry facilities, so you shouldn’t need more than a week’s worth of clothing. You’ll also be provided with three meals a day. Most of the time, outside food is not permitted because the nutritional content at the center is regulated.
The center will also provide entertainment during recreational periods of the day. You most likely won’t be permitted to bring playing cards, movies, or sporting equipment. This is to eliminate distractions and allow a greater focus on recovery. When you have recreation time or you’re exploring these things in a therapeutic way, the rehab center will provide you with everything you need.
Different rehab centers will have different available treatments and scheduling. You’ll discuss your treatment needs with your doctor and create a personalized plan to suit those needs. Many rehab centers have hiking trails, gyms, sports equipment, and even spas. You’ll be able to access these areas when your schedule and your doctor allow for it.
Your exact treatment plan will vary depending on your unique situation. You’ll work with your doctor to identify your problems, set positive goals, and learn healthy coping mechanisms. You may also have family therapy sessions with your loved ones in order to build a healthy support network for when you leave treatment.
What to Pack for Rehab
Rehab centers will usually provide a packing list. That said, the following items tend to be essentials:
- Contact list of the addresses and phone numbers of loved ones you want involved in the treatment process
- Current non-addictive prescription medications in their original bottles with intact labels
- Cash for toiletries and store runs
- Credit or debit card for medication payments
- Medical insurance cards
- Drivers license or passport
- Envelopes and stamps (if you want to write letters)
- Photos of loved ones
As for clothing, familiarize yourself with the dress code. You’ll need a week’s worth of clothes:
- Comfortable shirts and T-shirts without potentially offensive labels
- Sweatpants or yoga pants
- Workout clothes
- Comfortable sneakers
- Outerwear (sweater, coat, or spring jacket depending on the time of year)
You can generally bring your own toiletries, but they’ll need to be sealed in their packages. You also won’t be permitted toiletries with alcohol in them (such as mouthwash).
What Not to Bring
Most rehab centers will ask you not to bring the following items, either because they’re already provided or because they’re potentially harmful to recovery:
- Drugs and alcohol
- Addictive prescriptions and narcotics
- Outside food and drink
- Alcohol-containing toiletries
- Open over-the-counter medications and toiletries
- Nail polish
- Video games
- Sporting equipment
- Any kind of aerosol spray or cologne
- Cleaning supplies
- Playing cards
- Any clothing or outside media that references sex, drugs, or alcohol
If you have any dietary needs or allergies, you should tell your rehab before your intake.
Some centers ban the following items, while others do not:
- Laptops and cell phones – when they’re allowed, usually it’s only during certain prescheduled times
- Cigarettes – some centers will allow you to bring cartons of cigarettes, while others will not
- Unopened vitamins and over-the-counter medications
- Sealed gum
- CD or MP3 player — some centers allow devices without internet access
- A camera unconnected to the internet
- Disposable razors — some centers ban them as dangerous items, others do not
- Nail clippers
- Personal items like your own bedding and household decorations
If you aren’t sure about your center’s policy, it’s best to check with admissions before you pack. That way, you can avoid the potential of accidentally losing your things.
Our counselors are available 24 hours a day. Call 888-380-0342 to ask any questions and to take the first step in your recovery. You don’t have to suffer alone; our caring professionals are ready for you to reach out.