How To Pack For Rehab

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration‘s National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that of over 22.5 million people who suffer from addiction, less than 20 percent get treatment.

So while going to rehab for addiction treatment can be scary, it’s important to keep your eye on your long-term goal — reaching sobriety and learning to live without drug abuse. This is a new beginning, and you’re not allowing yourself to just become another statistic. In order to get the most out of your experience, it’s important to know what to expect and pack appropriately.

Now, all treatment programs have their own specific set of rules and lists of items you are permitted to bring, so it is important to reach out to yours before going. That said, this is a general packing guide you can follow:

Bring the Essentials

While many rehab facilities are indeed luxurious and designed to help you relax, it’s important to remember that you are not at a spa retreat. You’re there to focus on detox and addiction recovery, and any personal items that do not help facilitate that can get in the way. Because of this, most treatment centers prohibit many personal items that are not deemed essential to your wellbeing or everyday care.

Essential items are general categorized as the following:

  • Toiletries – These include essential bathroom and personal care products like  toothpaste, deodorant, mouthwash, shampoo and conditioner, body soap, basic makeup, etc. All items must be alcohol-free.
  • Comfortable clothing – You’re not going to rehab to dress to impress. Wear whatever will help you stay calm, relaxed, and receptive to treatment.
  • Sunscreen / sunblock – You may be outside for longer periods of time than you realize, and many rehab programs offer plenty of time in the sun.
  • Cozy pajamas – It seems like a no-brainer, but be sure to pack for comfort at all times, not just during the day!
  • Extra underwear – Especially if you are going through detox, you may sweat more than usual and will want to change more frequently to stay comfortable.
  • Some cash and/or a debit card – You may have opportunities to purchase snacks or make other small purchases. 

Other Items You May Want to Bring

There may be some items considered “essential” to rehab that you may not consider in everyday life. During most programs, you will spend time both inside and outside, and you will also have opportunities to exercise and focus on health. It’s also perfectly normal to want to bring along at least some small items for comfort and inspiration. 

With these things in mind, other items you may want to bring include:

  • A workout outfit and sneakers / tennis shoes – Entering addiction recovery is the perfect time to start practicing overall health. Many rehab centers offer fitness classes or have a gym on-premise for your wellbeing.
  • Sandals / flip flops – Not only may these options be more comfortable for you, but you may also be taking shoes on and off more frequently. 
  • A modest swimsuit – For most rehab facilities, this means swim trunks for men and a one-piece for women. 
  • Bathrobe and slippers – Just another way to keep comfortable!
  • A journal – Some addiction treatment centers will give you a journal to write in, but either way, it’s a good thing to bring. Chronicling your progress and exploring your thoughts will help keep you on track. 
  • A small photo or encouraging letters from family and friends – Contact the facility first to ask what is and isn’t permitted in this area, but a reminder from home that you are loved and cared about is usually acceptable.

Things to Avoid Bringing

Again, all facilities have their own sets of rules. However, you will generally want to avoid bringing the following items. Not only can these get in the way of your treatment (and that of others), but you may also not have an opportunity to use them in the first place:

  • Entertainment devices – Most electronics are prohibited in the first place, so don’t bring any entertainment devices that require charging and/or internet connection. Many rehab facilities even require you to leave items like phones and tablets at the front desk when you check in to prevent any distraction during treatment.
  • Aerosols, alcohol or chemicals – Make sure none of your toiletries should contain these items as they may invoke drug abuse urges. 
  • Opened vitamins or supplements – Many places will allow you to bring these in for health reasons, but only if they are unopened. If you have any medication you need to take, disclose it upfront while you’re checking in.
  • Weapons – Even if you are legally carrying the weapon, it will not be permitted inside for your safety and that of others.
  • Candles or incense products – This is usually for safety reasons, but other people in the program may also be irritated by these scents.

 

Still Looking for an Addiction Treatment Program?

It’s not too late to confront your drug abuse and go to rehab. At Footprints of Serenity, we help individuals from all walks of life find the addiction treatment program that works for them. Get in touch with us today to learn more about your options and what to expect in rehab. 

How to Support an Addicted Loved One

Addiction is a crisis on a national level. Odds are that you have a loved one who needs addiction treatment. But finding ways to help your loved one get the treatment they need isn’t easy. They may feel like they don’t have a problem, or that they don’t want to stop. The addict may be afraid of stopping and uses excuses like they’ll lose their job or home if they seek treatment. How do we, as family and friends, help our loved ones get the treatment they need? It starts with understanding addiction as a mental illness, becoming aware of our actions, treating our loved ones with compassion, and finding help for ourselves to heal.

Understanding Addiction

Addiction isn’t a character defect or a moral failing. It’s a mental and physical illness. When a person becomes addicted, the neural pathways in the brain change. It rewires itself, and the body adjusts to relying on the substance to feel “normal.” The addict no longer has control over the substance. They experience a compulsion and mental obsession to use regardless of consequences.

Along with the physical and mental changes that happen with addiction, your loved one is also dealing with a lot of emotional issues around their substance abuse. Addicts start using because they are covering up feelings and emotions they don’t want to deal with. Many have a trauma they have experienced. When they come down, those feelings bubble up again, and they need to use to make them go away. Their substance of choice has become their coping mechanism for life. They’re afraid of giving it up because it’s the only thing that has ever worked for them. They experience incredible shame and self-loathing with their using.

Co-Dependency & Enabling

We can’t get our loved ones sober or into addiction treatment, but there are things that we can do ourselves to help. Many people who love addicts engage in codependency and enabling behaviors. They take responsibility for the addict’s actions. They ignore their own needs and focus on their loved ones. Family members may focus on “fixing” the other person and not have boundaries. These habits and behaviors keep our loved one sick.

You can stop enabling your loved one. Allow the addict to take responsibility for their actions. If they get arrested, don’t bail them out. If they run up a debt, don’t pay it off for them. These actions enable the addict to continue with their substance abuse. You should set boundaries that you feel comfortable with. For example, don’t participate in situations where your family member is using. Set an example by not indulging in recreational drugs or alcohol yourself, otherwise, they may see you as a hypocrite.

Compassion

While some of these suggestions may sound harsh, it’s important to use them with love. The most important thing when dealing with a loved one who needs addiction treatment is to treat them with compassion. People who suffer from addiction often feel like no one cares about them. They’re full of self-loathing and believe they’re worthless. Instead of reinforcing the shame they already feel, try non-confrontational and supportive techniques. Recognize that your loved one is suffering and listen to them so that they feel heard. If they don’t want to talk about it, that’s okay – tell them that you’re there for them and will listen when they’re ready.

You want to validate any feelings or emotions they have and make sure that they know you care about them and will be there to comfort them. If you come to the addict with anger, you’re reinforcing what they already feel about themselves. Instead, let them know that you’re there for them, that you love them, and that you recognize that they’re suffering. Offer help and resources for addiction treatment. Be there for them when they’re ready.

Take care of yourself

As family and friends of an addict, it’s no surprise that addiction is actually a family disease and that you too will need treatment to recover. You need to deal with your feelings and emotions in healthy ways, otherwise trying to treat your loved one with compassion isn’t going to work. You need to take care of yourself, recognize your own emotions and needs, and meet them. You may not think that you are helping your loved one seek addiction treatment by taking care of yourself. But, if your world centers around the addict in your life and you put your feelings and needs first, you create healthy boundaries. Seek the help of a therapist or support group like AL-ANON. Learn how to detach with love and compassion. Learn how to take care of yourself and your family.

Loving an addict can take a lot out of you. But you need to remember that you didn’t cause the disease of addiction, and you can’t cure it or control it. What you can control is your actions, reactions, and the way that you interact with your loved one. Communicate with them lovingly and compassionately, and let them know that you’re there for them – that you see them, you hear them, and you love them. And hold onto the hope that they will seek the addiction treatment they need.