What to Bring to Rehab

It can be a process to prepare mentally and emotionally for entrance into a drug rehab program. A shift in perspective is often warranted as is opening oneself to the possibility of embracing new ideas and options with an open mind.

One of the first steps in this process is packing up to go. The process of choosing what to bring and what to leave behind can be very therapeutic and the first opportunity to take charge of one’s life in sobriety.

Here’s how to do it with an eye toward promoting health and wellness and avoiding unwanted conflict at the start of treatment.


Most people pack clothes first, and it’s important to note that the outfits chosen should not only be comfortable and appropriate to the season but also appropriate in general. No pictures of any drug-related items or phrases or sexually suggestive words/graphics.

Along that same line, the clothes chosen should be modest and loose fitting – nothing too tight, suggestive or uncomfortable. Additionally, physical exercise may be a part of therapy so it’s important to make sure that you have clothes that are appropriate for that purpose.


  • Three or four outfits that are appropriate to the season and also comfortable
  • A couple pairs of comfortable shoes, plus shower shoes
  • Personal hygiene products (e.g., toothbrush, toothpaste)
  • A jacket or sweatshirt
  • A couple books, a journal and a magazine or two to read during downtime
  • A couple pictures of family
  • Medications in original bottles with prescription instructions from the doctor

Most inpatient rehab programs will provide most of what you need in terms of towels and linens, but you may want to bring a bathrobe to wear back and forth to the shower or a bathing suit if swimming is available. Every drug rehab will provide you with a list of what you will need while you are in residence, so make sure you have a copy of that and ask questions if anything is unclear.

Leave at Home

There are a number of things that should leave at home when packing up for rehab, including:

  • Jewelry
  • Cash
  • Expensive items of any kind, including clothes or shoes
  • Electronics, including iPods, smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc.
  • Certain personal hygiene products (e.g., no alcohol-based products, no aerosol sprays)
  • Pornography or products of a pornographic or sexual nature
  • No drugs or alcohol

Because the focus of drug rehab is on health and wellness, patients are asked to avoid bringing anything that detracts from that focus. Each day is usually structured around therapeutic intervention, group sessions, and other activities designed to promote growth in recovery. Though there is downtime, it is suggested that patients use that time to decompress rather than engage in pursuits that may be out of synch with their recovery goals. It may be helpful to bring a couple of little things from home – a favorite picture or a book – but in general, the rehab program will offer activity options and provide for almost everything each patient needs unless it is otherwise stated in their guidelines.

Ask Questions

Make sure that medications are easily marked and that instructions for use are clear; these will be turned over during intake. At the same time, intake personnel will go through all personal belongings to make sure that they are in line with guidelines. This process will be easier if you plan in advance and ask questions if you are unsure if something you’d like to bring is allowed.

Need help? Contact us today to find the right rehab program for your needs and to begin the intake process.

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