What to Do When Preparing for Rehab

photo of man in grey shirt, smiling at cameraIf you're struggling with addiction, making the choice to go into rehab is a great first step on the path to getting well. But often, there's some delay between the time the decision is made and the day you can actually check into rehab. Take a look at what you should do in the meantime to prepare for your rehab experience.


It's not uncommon for addicts who are planning to go to rehab to binge on their drug of choice in the days leading up to their check-in day. You may be nervous and trying to calm your anxieties, or you may think that it only makes sense to go all-in before you give up your substances for good.

However tempting as it may seem, bingeing before rehab is always a bad idea. You increase your risk of a dangerous overdose by binge-using, and you also increase your risk of an accident or another incident that leaves you or somebody else hurt. You also run the risk of legal trouble, which can complicate your ability to enter rehab at the time you planned.

What's worse, it may be easier for you to change your mind about rehab when you're bingeing. Under the influence, you're more likely to back out.

Depending on your situation, you may want to continue using your regular dosage during your wait. If you have serious withdrawal symptoms, it's better that you withdraw in rehab where you can be kept comfortable and monitored for your health. But taking more than your regular amount of the substance you use will only make that withdrawal harder.


Everyone's situation is different, but everyone has some kind of life unconnected to their drug use. You'll want to do what you can to tie up any loose ends in this part of your life before you go to rehab. For example, if you have a job, you should talk to your human resources department about your situation. You may be able to take the time off under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and if so, your employer will be required to hold your job.

Try to pay bills ahead of time, or make arrangements for someone else to do it while you're gone. Make sure that you'll have a place to stay–away from any substance-using friends–when you get out of rehab. If you'll be returning to your own home, ask a sober friend to clean any substances and drug paraphernalia out of it while you're away.

Make sure that you have storage for your vehicle or any possessions that need to be stored while you're gone. Make arrangements for any pets that you have.

Reach out to family and sober friends. Tell them what you're doing, and request their support. You'll need them during your recovery.


Your treatment center will provide some things, but you'll need to bring things to rehab too, beyond just your clothes and personal hygiene products. Bring your insurance card, a checkbook or credit card, and some cash. Pack a list of names and contact numbers for family and friends who will support you during your recovery. Bring a journal, envelopes and stamps, and pictures of loved ones.

You probably guessed that you shouldn't bring any drugs, alcohol, or paraphernalia to rehab. But there are some things you may not guess that you shouldn't bring. Over-the-counter medications like aspirin are off-limits. You'll need to avoid any mouthwash or perfume that contains alcohol.
You'll also need to avoid packing things like cleaning supplies, nail polish or polish remover, and anything that could be used as a weapon, like scissors. You should also make sure all your clothes and shoes meet the rehab's dress code. Ask your facility for a list of allowed items and disallowed items.

If you have questions about things you should be doing to prepare for rehab, call the Lakes Treatment Center. We will be glad to answer your questions and help make sure you're prepared for a successful stay.

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