How Do I Prepare For Rehab, What Should I Take With Me?


Understanding the Rehab Process

Many people are afraid of going to rehab because they don’t understand how it works or what to anticipate; learning about the treatment process can help you relax and psychologically prepare for the path ahead. Treatment programmes are designed to educate you on managing normal life without using drugs or alcohol. Being honest with yourself and exploring the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that fuel your addiction is a big part of addiction rehabilitation.

Many people avoid going to alcohol or drug rehab because they are afraid of what they may find. They want to start the rehabilitation process, but they’re reluctant to enrol in treatment centre programmes. They are unwilling to seek help because they are unsure of what to expect. Understanding how the treatment works relieves anxiety and calms the individuals who are there. It also makes it easy to plan for the days and weeks ahead.

Drug or alcohol rehab is to teach someone with a substance use problem how to function in daily life without relying on these substances. This includes detoxification and understanding one’s ideas, feelings, coping mechanisms, and support system.

The specific daily routine varies with every programme. Still, the majority are scheduled, and most treatment facilities provide individual and group therapy sessions, personal care, chores/community tasks, and free time.

Patients can anticipate going through the following general steps if they are enrolled in a rehabilitation programme:


The initial few days of treatment are spent helping the patient adjust to the programme and informing the medical staff about the patient’s specific needs. To construct a successful treatment plan, doctors and therapists must be aware of a patient’s drug, mental health and medical histories. This procedure requires completing a pre-intake evaluation with the treatment facility over the phone, followed by providing additional information after admission by completing a biopsychosocial assessment.

Medically-Assisted Detox

If a patient has a physical dependence and is experiencing withdrawal symptoms, detox is the first step after the initial diagnostic evaluation. Patients may be prescribed medication by a certified addiction professional to help them cope with the severity of their withdrawal symptoms and begin the process of psychotherapy treatment. It’s essential to receive professional treatment advice during the whole rehab process, but it’s during the detox stage where it can have the most impact, preventing future relapses and helping build the foundations for the desired long term sobriety.

Therapy and Counseling

Patients will be cared for after detox through individual and group treatment sessions. From traditional to holistic therapies, this type of care will determine the majority of the rehab experience. Patients begin working on the trauma and mental health issues (including co-occurring disorders) that may have led to their addiction in the first place.

Recovery and Aftercare

After patients have been discharged from rehab, aftercare programmes keep them in touch with their peer groups. Aftercare may include continuous counselling, participation at support groups, and treatment services such as acupuncture.

What to Know About Rehab Preparation

While entering addiction treatment is the most significant step on your road to recovery from substance abuse, there are a few practical things you can do ahead of time to prepare for it.

Many people who are going to rehab for the first time have no idea what to expect or how to inform their family and friends that they are going to a treatment centre.

It’s important to realise that it’s natural to be worried about this new process and to put work and/or other commitments on wait, but these concerns can be quickly alleviated by properly planning before entering a treatment program.

The Right State of Mind: Tips for Rehab

Here is some helpful rehab preparation advice:

Avoid binging.

It’s tempting to plan a binge before quitting a drug, but it complicates the detox process. Also, quitting cold turkey might be fatal with some medicines (such as opioids and benzos).

Focus on keeping good overall health.

Whether you continue to use your substance of choice before going to treatment or not, make an effort to get enough rest, eat nutritious meals, and remain hydrated. This is difficult for those who are battling addiction. The more you do to improve your health before going to rehab, the simpler it will be to cope with withdrawal symptoms.

Concentrate on the positives.

It’s challenging to make the transition from addiction to recovery. The more positive thoughts you focus on, the better your experience will be.

Spend time with those you care about.

Some recovery programmes separate patients from their friends and family for some time. Spend time with your children, spouse, close friends, and other loved ones in the hours and days leading up to your admission to rehab.

Take some time to relax.

Why not get a head start on rehab preparation? You’re going to treatment to go on a healthy path to taking care of yourself, so why not get a head start on rehab preparation? Consider something that calms you. Is it a simple stroll around the block? Soaking in a hot tub? Do you have a favourite show that you’d like to watch? Dedicate the time to do whatever it takes to put you in a relaxed state of mind and allow you to start getting eager about this new chapter in your life. It’s natural to feel anxious about entering treatment, but try to keep your thoughts as calm as possible in the days leading up to your departure.

Addiction is a serious problem that requires immediate attention. Call our 24h admissions line to get help – 0800 999 1083.

Sorting Your Obligations: Family, Work And Financial

Before entering rehab, all family, employment, and financial commitments must be addressed. If you’re a parent, this could mean arranging for suitable child care or alerting your employer that you’ll be out of work for a few weeks. It’s natural to be cautious about telling others why you’re going to rehab or even that you’re going at all. Still, it’s critical to keep your surroundings informed about your present situation. Obtaining support from coworkers and family members to attend treatment is an essential part of getting the fortitude to cope with a significant lifestyle change.

There are various child care options available to parents who are going to rehab. The best person to choose is someone the child or children already know and trust, such as a significant other, relative, or close friend. However, if that is not an option, some treatment centres offer child care or enable children to stay with their parents while they are in treatment. If you’re concerned about pet care, require the assistance of a family member or seek boarding facilities and listings for local pet sitting services. Make sure to set up automatic payments for any expenses that need to be paid while in rehab.

If you’re a working professional, you should be aware that you have the right to take sick leave or time off under certain circumstances. Some businesses would also give you extra time. Unfulfilled duties can distract while in treatment, so knowing that your loved ones and career will be safe is critical to a healthy recovery.

Packing: The Essential Items

Packing for rehab is all about keeping things light and straightforward for the duration of your treatment. The following are some of the essential items that should be on everyone’s packing list:

  • Any prescription medications you’re taking right now
  • Legal ID
  • Important contact information list
  • Products for grooming and hygiene
  • Clothing that is both comfortable and appropriate
  • A reloadable debit or a credit card

The previous list includes the essential; a person may require more items for their stay, especially if they want to stay in a rehabilitation facility for more than a month. Bringing an old iPod or MP3 player without a camera is an excellent idea, as listening to music may be soothing and help people relax. Most treatment centres do not allow patients to bring a mobile phone or any other device with an internet connection since these gadgets can be used to invade other patients’ privacy, flee against medical advice, or introduce drugs into the facility. Books are a fantastic addition to your packing list because they can provide an escape for the reader or serve as a connection to the outside world while you’re in recovery. Photographs of loved ones can also be beneficial in providing motivation and reminding you of why you opted to seek therapy in the first place.

Support System: The Importance of Relationships

Going away for rehab might be a scary prospect. This is especially true when you undergo inpatient treatment, considering that you’ll be there by yourself, going through one of the most complex transformations of your life. It’s important to remember that you’re never really alone; rehab patients face many of the same challenges, and people often establish lifelong friendships with those they meet in treatment centres. As you progress through treatment and accept sobriety as a new way of life, the connections you make in rehab can give invaluable support. There are also defined periods when you can call your loved ones, and family visit is typically permitted on weekends. Family therapy can also help you create relationships.

Even after you leave the facility, your relationships in rehabilitation provide you with a solid support network. There’s a good chance that some of your relationships outside of rehab aren’t the best influences, and you may need to take them out of your life since they can compromise your recovery. Rather than worrying about being alone during the difficult times ahead, you can rest confident that the friends you make in recovery share your battle with alcohol or drug addiction and can offer mutual support as you continue this path together. Loneliness is one of the most significant triggers for relapse, and having healthy relationships in recovery has a significant and long-term impact on treatment outcomes.

Write Letters or Keep a Journal

Journaling or keeping a regular record of experiences and feelings can be a valuable tool in advancing your recovery process during rehab. Journaling is a sort of expressive writing. The main purpose is to use the process of putting thoughts and feelings down on paper to help you understand and cope with those ideas and emotions instead of generating a “product.”

Writing letters to loved ones might be beneficial as well. Writing down and articulating your emotions, whether you send them or not, may be highly helpful, especially when it comes to your rehabilitation. A letter or notebook, for example, can be used to keep track of your rehab-related problems and successes and identify feelings or events that may be obstructing your recovery. It also serves to hold you accountable for your own decisions and behaviours, which may be highly beneficial once you leave rehab and face real-world temptations.

Here are some helpful suggestions to get you started with your journaling if you’re stuck in a rut or don’t know where to start:

  • My preferred method of passing the time is…
  • If I could talk to my adolescent self again, I’d tell them…
  • The two events in my life that I will never forget are… (explain them in detail, including what makes them so memorable)
  • What were my day’s highs and lows?
  • What did I get done today?
  • Is there anything I’m remorseful about?
  • What could I have done differently to make my day more productive?

Journaling can be a very useful tool in your healing process. It can help you realise when and under what circumstances you are most vulnerable to relapse and situations that empower you and help you stay strong in your commitment to sobriety.

Start Getting Ready for Rehab

It might be stressful to prepare for rehab, but it’s vital to understand that the better prepared you are, the better your experience will be.If you take the time to do the necessary preparations, you will get the most out of therapy and have a faster recovery.

Addiction can take many different forms. Find out what you need to know to help you overcome yours.

Addiction is a serious problem that requires immediate attention. Call our 24h admissions line to get help – 0800 999 1083.

Last Edited: September 14th, 2022
Clinically Reviewed: April 1, 2022
Compare Rehab UK | How Do I Prepare For Rehab, What Should I Take With Me?
Clinical Reviewer


BACP accredited psychotherapist with 16 years experience working in mental health specialising in psychodynamic person-centred therapies treating those with a range of mental health disorders including anxiety, depression, OCD and Addiction.