Preparing to enter an inpatient drug or alcohol rehab program is, in many ways, akin to preparing to go off to college. Getting the most out of both experiences require a fair amount of pre-planning, follow through, and earnest effort. Just like the decision to pursue higher education can benefit your future, beginning your journey toward a clean and sober life brings you closer to the life you want and deserve. If you’re ready to take that step into getting the help you need to overcome addiction, here are 4 tips for preparing for rehab.
#1: Create a Plan
When you’re preparing for rehab, don’t fall victim to assumptions about what treatment will be like and what you can expect. Doing your own thorough research helps you get to a mental and emotional space for the journey ahead. Your commitment to the total life transformation of addiction recovery is the key to your long-term success.
Part of securing your future is creating a plan for the new life that lies ahead. You don’t have to have all the answers, you going into rehab, you should have general goals and aspirations for your new life. Knowing what you want beyond sobriety helps to keep you focused during vulnerable, challenging moments. During your time in treatment, the team of mental health professionals and case managers will help you to determine what steps you should take to achieve those goals. We’re all behind you, every step of the way.
#2: Pack Wisely
As you’re preparing for rehab, packing wisely may seem like the last thing you should focus on, but arriving unprepared makes for a rough start to your recovery. Be sure you check with your chosen rehab before packing for a list of what is allowed within the facility grounds. Pack efficiently for your time in treatment; leave the excess at home. This is your time to focus inward and healing, not being flashy and trying to impress.
Some essentials to pack are:
- About two weeks worth of casual, therapy appropriate clothes (laundry services are available). NO: revealing tops or attire depicting drugs, alcohol, sex, or violence.
- Work out appropriate clothes for physical activities. Swimwear should be suitable swim trunks or one piece suits.
- Identification: driver’s license or state ID
- Necessary insurance documentation and pharmacy card (if applicable)
- Non-narcotic prescription medication. Must be surrendered to medical staff upon admission for proper medical monitoring.
- Positive reading material, including inspirational text, recovery-related books, etc.
- Cell phones for communication during travel. Phones may be confiscated during admissioned and safely secured.
#3: Start Planning Post-Rehab Goals
You don’t have to wait for therapy or meetings with your case manager to start thinking about your future. The things you want to achieve through clean and sober living may seem out of reach now, but having something to strive for helps make it easier to stay committed to your journey. Be sure your goals are personal to you and what you want. While others can be great sources of support and encouragement, they cannot replace your own earnest desire to better your life for you. Relying on outside motivators opens the door to stagnation and discouragement should things go awry.
Beyond just thinking about what you want for your future, begin the planning process to make it happen. Break down the larger goals into smaller, achievable tasks that you can begin tackling during your stay in treatment. Preparing for rehab is important; preparing for life after discharge is more so.
#4: Start Thinking About Your Social Circle
While this is a time meant for you to focus on yourself, thinking about the people you have around you is important to your successful recovery. Under the guidance of mental health care professionals, you will learn to evaluate these relationships and determine rather they suit your new lifestyle. However, even before you begin this portion of your treatment, you have to come to terms with the fact that everyone who was with you in your active addiction can be a part of your sober life.
The bonds formed in active addiction may seem like the most important relationships to your life, but through sobriety we come to realize that those connections are hinged on a shared affliction, and once recovery has begun they no longer serve their purpose. It’s okay to let people go for the sake of your own health and well being. In order to protect your own interests, you have to break ties with the toxic people in your life. Even though we may wish we could, we cannot bring everyone along into our new life.