Drug Rehab centers | What to Expect

I am a recovering drug addict who recently completed a 21 day inpatient program. I remember the feeling of stress that would overcome me when i thought about what rehab might be like. Where would I sleep?, what should I bring? The anticipation was killing me! If you are about to enter rehab, or you are the family member of somebody entering rehab, I hope this gives you some peace of mind.

What to Bring With You

You will be spending the next 30-90 days away from home, so it is important that you bring items that will make your stay more comfortable. That last thing you want is to arrive at rehab bummed out about forgetting an alarm clock, or not knowing that you would need a phone card. Here are some suggestions:

  • Pictures of family, friends, and pets
  • Extra blankets and pillows
  • Weather appropriate clothing
  • Slippers
  • Gym Clothes
  • Recovery books
  • Journal
  • Phone cards
  • Toiletries/towel
  • Mp3 player or CD player
  • Alarm clock
  • Calender

The first couple days

The first couple of days at rehab are always the hardest. Possibly you are still withdrawing from drugs. Don't be afraid to ask the staff for things that might help withdrawal symptoms such as Acetaminophen, or Clonadine. It is likely in the first three days or so, you will experience an overwhelming feeling of wanting to go home. Maybe you feel as if you are not ready to get clean and sober, or you are homesick. Know that this feeling of wanting to leave will only last for the first couple of days. My advice for anyone wanting to leave rehab early is to try to remember the feeling you had when you hit bottom and made the choice to go to rehab. If you are like me, your life was unmanageable, and drug use ruled your existence. Don't worry, once you become comfortable with your surroundings you will want to stay. It's not easy knowing that you have 30 days of hard work ahead of you. Try to just concentrate on settling in, getting use the the daily routines, and regaining your health. Your rehab facility has a plan for every day you are there. Here is an example of how your day might be scheduled.

7:00 Wake up

7:30 Make bed/clean up

8:00 Breakfast

9:00 Lecture

10:00 Group Therapy

11:30 Lunch

1:00 Lecture

2:00 Group therapy

3:00 Dinner

4:30 Free time/gym/book study

6:00 Lecture

11:00 lights out

It seems like a lot, but rehab facilities keep you busy on purpose. By following a schedule and arriving to activities on time, you will start to regain a sense of control in your life. You are expected to follow the daily schedule and participate in activities. The idea behind it is that you will gain confidence through accountability.

Daily Activities

Group Therapy for Chemical Dependency is a powerful therapeutic tool. Usually, group therapy with be with the same people each day so you can build relationships and support each other. A counselor will guide you through the group and keep everybody on track by offering expertise and advice. Your counselor will typically be somebody who has abused substances in the past and is now living a life of recovery. Most addicts have experienced a lot of the same things, and you are encouraged to share those experiences with other group members so that may identify with your struggles. You will find yourself becoming very attached to the people in your group as you get to know their personal lives and history with substance abuse.

12 Step meetings are not a part of every rehab program, but I recommend finding a rehab facility that educations their patients about programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Rehab centers that partake will most likely conduct meetings at the facility, or you will be transported to a meeting in town. A.A. and N.A (Narcotics Anonymous) are support groups for those suffering from the disease of addiction. By going to meetings in rehab, you will learn the importance of Finding 12 Step Meetings in your area, and utilizing them on the path to recovery from substance abuse.

Lectures are designed to inform you about all different aspects of drug addiction. Some topics that will be focused on are:

  • How drugs effect the brain
  • How drugs effect your physical health
  • Family struggles
  • 12 step information
  • Learning about the disease of addiction
  • Rehab after plans

Free time is an opportunity to complete any assignments that your counselor assigned to you during group therapy. If your rehab is guiding you through the 12 steps, you will want to use this time work on your step work. Free time can also be used to call family members, write letters, or write in your journal. Sometimes snacks are available to patients, and games are provided.

Common Rules

Most rehabilitation centers have the same basic set of rules. It depends on where you go. When you break rules in rehab they usually put you on "contract", meaning if you are caught breaking a rule again you will get privileges taken away, your stay will be extended, or you will get kicked out.

Common rules of rehab include:

  • No drug use
  • No sharing prescription drugs with other patients
  • No talking to members of the opposite sex / No sex
  • Following the rules of your counselor
  • Participation in mandatory activities
  • Staying on the rehab premises
  • Staying in your room after curfew
  • Keeping your sleeping area clean and organized


It is the duty of your rehab facility to set you up with an after care plan when you leave rehab. You should expect your rehab to set you up with the following aftercare tools

Comments 1 comment

George 6 years ago

thankyou that was a very well written article

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article