Preparing for Rehab:  5 Things to Do Before You Go

Embarking on the rehabilitation journey is often rife with anxiety.  If you require treatment for alcohol and drug addiction, you likely feel some hesitation about going to rehab.  Preparing for this new sobriety experience can offer a sense of ease and comfort during an insanely stressful time.  When life feels like it is spinning out of control, making some simple plans can help ease the small fears that are naturally present when a stay in treatment is looming.

Arrange for a Friend or Loved One to Clean Your Home While You are Away

Let’s face it.  Addiction breeds secrecy and hiding behaviors.  Most addicts have a fear of running out of pills, booze or whatever chemical they use to soothe the savage beast.  Thus, sometimes stashes can be found all over the home.  Allowing a trusted friend to come in and clean out your home during your in-patient stay can be extremely helpful.  Items can even be kept in a box for later disposal upon return.

Here are a list of items to consider removing:

  • Alcohol
  • Pills
  • Paraphernalia:  pipes, rolling papers, etc.
  • Items with alcohol or marijuana logos
  • Spray Cleaners
  • Paint

Buy a Journal

Preparing for Rehab

Journaling during rehab can be a great recovery tool.

Journaling is recommended by most rehabilitation treatment specialists.  Having a nice journal to begin the process of self-reflection, record notes and write down helpful suggestions can be a great tool.  Looking back through a journal from the very beginning of the recovery process can offer a sense of how far one has come during the sometimes arduous journey.

Call the Facility and Ask Questions

It is perfectly natural to have questions.  Not only is the patient dealing with the idea of a new life without drugs and alcohol, they are also anticipating what the rehabilitation experience will be like.  Call and ask questions.

Here are some things that may be of concern:

  • Will I have a roommate?
  • How often will I see a therapist?
  • Can I smoke?
  • What toiletries am I allowed to bring?
  • What sort of recreation is offered?
  • Can I bring my own pillow, blanket, etc.?
  • What is the structure of the group?

How Will Socializing in Rehab Help Me Recover?

Set Up Friends and Family Visits

Some addicts have driven away friends and family.  Reconnecting and scheduling visits during an extended stay in rehab can add a measure of hope for what life will be like after commencing a sober way of life.  Setting up visits in rehab with counselors at the ready provides a safe place for everyone to express feelings.

Addiction tears families apart and destroys trust in relationships.  If family members are willing to be a part of the recovery process, scheduling visits in advance may be a helpful way of connecting in a healthy way.

Change Your Cell Phone Number

Most addicts have a host of friends and acquaintances who can be detrimental to recovery upon exiting rehab.  Changing cell phone numbers is one simple way of moderating risky contacts after coming back from rehab.  While contact with people who are drinking or using is sometimes unavoidable, keeping your drug dealer’s number on speed dial is probably ill-advised.  A new number will allow time and space to add contacts back in after an extended time in recovery.


Melemis, S. (2015). Relapse prevention and the five rules of recovery. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. 88(3): 325-332.  Retrieved on March 12, 2017 from:

DEA (2014). How to identify drug paraphernalia. Get Smart about Drugs: A DEA Resource for Parents, Educators and Caregivers. Retrieved on March 12, 2017 from: