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Preparing For Rehab

Deciding and preparing to go to rehab is a monumental step towards recovery. It is no easy feat but once done; it is transformative. Still, once you do decide to go, how do you prepare? What should you mentally expect? What do you even pack? Below is a guide to help you or a loved one ready yourself for inpatient or outpatient rehab. 

Step One: Accepting And Understanding The Challenges Ahead

Choosing to go to rehab may be a step in the right direction, but committing to the decision is not for the faint of heart. Detoxing and therapy can be difficult. It can unearth hidden trauma or overlooked feelings. Still, it is necessary to get to the root of what led to an alcohol addiction, or an alcohol use disorder (AUD), in the first place. It is crucial to understand that the road to recovery is a long one. 

Deciding to go to rehab requires a commitment to the work in and out of therapy. It also requires acceptance. We are all human, make mistakes, and will fall short sometimes. But that is part of the journey. Give yourself the grace you deserve to move towards a healthy and sober life. 

First things first, take an honest look at yourself and truly commit to your decision. There will be plenty of support within the rehab, but the most important backing comes from you. Support yourself first. It is the best chance you have for a successful recovery.  

Step Two: Get Your Financial, Family, And Work Obligations In Order

Financial Obligations

When preparing for rehab, it is crucial to make arrangements for any financial obligations you may have. For example, if you have bills like a mortgage or rent, do your best to have those payments taken care of. There are several options to help cover costs like scholarships, angel funds, or personal loans. Some companies offer work benefits like short-term disability and paid time off. The most important thing is to make sure that your bills are taken care of so you can focus on your recovery. 


If you have a job, make sure your boss is aware you will be attending rehab. The information you share is legally confidential. As scary as it may seem to let your employer know it is crucial to do so. Anyone receiving addiction treatment is under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Family and Medical Leave Act’s protection. Employers cannot fire anyone for deciding to attend rehab. They also must make accommodations for their employees by allowing them to take 12 weeks of medical leave. Make sure you let your boss know the extraordinary step you have taken towards recovery. Your job is safe.


Once you have decided to attend rehab, discuss your decision with your family. Letting loved ones know is one of the most important steps individuals can take to earn the support they need and maintain sobriety. During your conversations, secure arrangements for children or pets if you have any. Do your best to find a trusted caregiver like a spouse, close friend, or parent. 

If help from friends or family is not possible, there are alternatives. There are nonprofit and government child care options. Organizations like Safe Families for Children help find temporary homes for children. They screen volunteer families to ensure their safety and care. Most importantly, the programs allow biological parents who cannot care for their children to maintain custody during and after treatment. By making sure dependents are safe, individuals are likely to focus on their recovery. Ask for help. The aid will help ease your mind and focus.  

Step Three: Packing For Rehab

Once all of your ducks are in a row, the next step is focusing on what to pack. First, call the rehab you’ve chosen and figure out what you can bring. Every treatment center is different. To avoid having any items confiscated, give them a call first. Most facilities have a packing list available online. If you cannot find a list online, call the rehab’s intake department. If a checklist is not available, ask the employee for a list of what you cannot bring. After you know what you can and can’t take with you, it’s time to start packing. 

Bring items that will support your recovery like:

  • Three to five comfortable outfits. 
  • Two sets of comfortable shoes.
  • An alarm clock.
  • Identification.
  • Printed pictures of family and friends.
  • MP3 player or iPod. 
  • Alcohol-free toiletries. 
  • List of important phone numbers.
  • Journal and a pen/pencil. 
  • Prescription medication.
  • Laundry soap if facilities are available.
  • If you smoke, extra cigarettes. 
  • Soft robe/pajamas and slippers. 
  • A bathing suit.

What a person chooses to bring to a rehab center is up to them. But it is important to remember that over-packing is not recommended. Do, however, take what you need.  

Get Help Today

Deciding to go to rehab is a big step towards a healthier lifestyle. We hope that the guide above helps you or your loved one prepare for the exciting road ahead. If you or your loved one is unsure about rehab, contact a treatment provider today who can discuss treatment options with you. 

  • Author: Suzette Gomez | Last Updated: October 4, 2021

    Photo of Suzette Gomez

    Suzette Gomez

    Digital Content Writer

    Suzette Gomez earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Central Florida. Her desire to help others led her to a Pre-medical track with a focus on psychological and social development. After graduation, she pursued her passion for writing and began working as a Digital Content Writer at Recovery Worldwide LLC. With her background in medicine, Suzette uses both science and the arts to serve the public through her writing.

  • Medical Reviewer: David Hampton

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