Top 5 Tips for Rehab Newbies

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Deciding to check yourself into drug addiction treatment for the first time can be intimidating. The good news is the decision to get help is often the most difficult one. Here are some tips that will help prepare for drug or alcohol rehab.

What comes next? Mentally preparing for treatment, securing your finances, and providing for your family in your absence demands careful consideration. It may feel overwhelming at first but taking it step-by-step and giving yourself time to get everything in order will remove a lot of unnecessary stress as you begin the road to recovery

Preparing To Leave

Reaching Out to Your Job

One of the larger concerns people have while contemplating drug addiction treatment is how it will affect their relationship with their employer. Any good employer should be understanding and supportive of your choice to seek care for addiction, but it is still best to give them as much notice as possible.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMA) “provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year while maintaining their health benefits” (US Dep of Labor). It also covers people seeking leave for drug and alcohol addiction.

Before you pay out of pocket, consult your employer: they may offer additional leave support for full time or even part-time employees.  If you are working part-time, you may also be eligible for the FMA leave. For more information, click here. (Hyperlink:

Family obligations

Many people entering rehabilitation will be leaving behind loved ones. If you have any dependents, ageing parents, children, or pets make sure provisions are made for them before you enter treatment. Most rehabilitation centers allow family visits. Figure out when those are and set aside that time; you will be happy you did.


What to Bring

  • A weeks’ worth of clothes: Most rehab clinics provide laundry services so no need to overpack but be sure to bring comfortable clothes like sweatpants and hoodies as they will help keep you in a more positive mood.
  • Current prescriptions: You may end up having to take medication to manage withdrawals. Make sure the medical staff knows what you are taking so that they can safely prescribe to you.
  • Medical insurance information: Upon checking in, avoid any confusion by determining upfront what costs will be covered by your insurance provider.
  • Hygiene products and other toiletries: Visits to the store will be less common. By bringing what you need, you will be better prepared and save some money in the long run.
  • Grab your old music player: Since most rehab facilities don’t allow cell phones, laptops or anything with an internet connection, your old iPod from 2009 that’s packed in the back of your “everything drawer” just became super important again.
  • A credit or debit card: Even while staying in a sober living facility you may be expected to pay for groceries and other consumables.
  • Running shoes and gym clothes: Exercise is a healthy way to blow off steam while promoting a healthy mindset. Many rehab facilities have gyms and courts so why not take advantage?
  • Books: Books are great for downtime or at night when you have trouble sleeping. Try to bring some reading that is inspiring or motivating to you.


Reach Out to Your Rehab Center

Every rehab center is different. You want to make sure that everything that you are bringing is approved. The best way to do this is to call or email your chosen facility and ask for a list of acceptable and non-acceptable items.


Preparing for Detox

After arriving at the facility an assessment will be run to guide the detoxing process. Detox is the first step of rehabilitation and your journey to recovery. It presents unique challenges for everyone as dependency has its origins in both the body and the mind.

How Long Does Detox Last?

Based on the type of substance, the frequency and the length of use, detox can last a few days or a couple of weeks.

If you are seeking treatment for a particular substance, do some research (Hyperlink: This way you can get a feel for how long it may take and what symptoms to expect. Remember, you can also call your local rehab center if you have any questions.

Most importantly, take some time to mentally prepare for the process ahead and don’t lose heart. You are taking the first step on your road to recovery; a step that many others have taken, and you are in good hands. During your stay, you will be detoxing in the safest possible environment. Medical professionals are available 24 hours a day and ready to assist you if withdrawal symptoms get out of hand. You got this.

Staying Occupied

This is crucial especially during the detox process where you will be dealing with physical withdrawal symptoms and fending off the urge to use.

As disused briefly in tip #2, bringing things like books, music players and journals can be a great way to pass the time.

Psychical Activity

Others may enjoy exercising. Whether that’d be lifting weights in the gym or playing a game of tennis with your housemates. Don’t forget those shorts and running shoes.

In any case, the best way to ensure you will be able to keep busy is to be prepared¬– you won’t be at home surrounded by all your favorite distractions and that’s a good thing! Pack plenty of approved items to keep you occupied and make good use of what is made available to you at your rehab center.

Be Willing to Make Friends

Opening up to people around you who are also on the front lines of addiction will help you as you meet the challenges of rehab experience and remind you that you are not alone. You may also meet veterans of this process. These people can fill you in, keep you out of trouble and help you acclimate to your new environment.

Social Support Systems

One of the fundamental aspects of recovery is how to build and maintain social support systems. While in group and individual therapy, these and other skills are developed.

A large part of what empowers addiction is fear. Fear of change, fear of not being good enough and fear that what’s inside won’t be accepted by others. The choice to seek treatment is a rejection of the life-defining fear which pushes others away.

By showing and being willing to learn, listen and contribute you will get the most out of your recovery. You will also gain the opportunity to forge life-long friendships.


Nobody should have to go through addiction alone. Contact us now at (866) 609-7314 to learn about a variety of recovery resources available to you.


Bezrutczyk, D. (2021, June 15). How long does detox take? Find a detox program. Addiction Center.

Family and medical leave act. United States Department of Labor. (n.d.).



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