Rehab is tough, but it is also good. This is an essential truth that actually points to the efficacy of a quality addiction-treatment program. Good things take work. You’re going to have to physically wean your body from the substances you’ve been giving it. You’re going to get into some serious life-changing psychological and relational stuff. You’re going to be constantly asked to get out of your comfort zone to usher in personal healing.
It’s a going to be hard. But it will also be one of the best experiences of your life.
Hard work, success, friendship, and a safe place to find out who you are once again—these things will be the groundwork for your fulfilled life in recovery. However, some trepidation about everything that’s going to be involved is natural. So here’s a short rehab checklist to help you get yourself prepared.
Bring a few casual comfortable outfits that make sense for the season and your location. There will be laundry available, so no need to bring your whole wardrobe. Don’t forget pajamas and your socks and underwear.
Keep in mind, most treatment centers offer various activities that might be part of your program, so be prepared. Here are a few that you might find:
- Equine therapy (horses) – bring closed toed shoes
- Exercise – shoes and outfits
- Swimming or other water activities – bring a swimsuit (one piece for women and board shorts for men)
- Hiking, adventure, or wilderness – bring walking/hiking shoes and comfortable shorts for movement.
Sandals and tennis shoes and running shoes if you are a runner.
Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shaving items, feminine hygiene products,
Do not bring mouthwash.
- Notebook or journal
- Small amount of cash for incidentals
- Permission to use tobacco or vape products will vary from location. If this is important to you, make sure you ask the specialist at the treatment center you are considering.
What about phones and computers?
Most treatment centers do not allow these devices. However, some permit storage of personal electronics for limited use during aftercare.
Addiction treatment gets deep. Your life’s story will be part of your recovery process. In fact, many people find that full recovery requires some sort of “spiritual awakening.” If you are affiliated with a particular religion, even if you have lapsed from it, you may want to bring something that roots you to that experience.
Rehab Checklist: Life Stuff
The most effective recovery program is a long-term residential one (30 days minimum). However, sometimes that’s just impossible. If that is your situation—where your kids or professional or scholarly life simply can’t stop—you may want to investigate an IOP option (high-level addiction treatment where the client still lives at home).
That said, think of the long-term positive effects of a healthy parent, employee, or student. Full rehab, full recovery, full healing makes just about every sacrifice worthwhile. You need 30 days to keep yourself alive and to be fully present for all aspects of your life. Here are a few things to get lined up as you prepare to make the brave move to long-term addiction treatment.
Legally, you can’t get fired for going to rehab. You are covered by the ADA and the Family and Medical Leave Act. “Addiction Disorders” falls under the FMLA, and qualified people get up to 12 weeks medical leave per year. Of course, it’s always a good idea to check with your company’s extended sick leave policies. Then make sure you sit with your manager/HR and do these two things:
Let them know what has brought you to the point of making this life-change. Honesty about your situation and the fact that you are taking steps to get recovery is typically the right choice. You can also tell them you expect privacy protection (you don’t have to say it, but it’s nice to let them know).
Give them adequate time.
Put together a plan on what loose ends will need to be taken care of while you are gone. Remember, though they cannot fire you for getting addiction treatment, they are within their rights to get your work covered.
You probably won’t get paid while you are away, so consider taking accrued vacation time. This way, you’ll get paid, and there is no need to disclose anything to anyone about where you will be.
Here is a good resource on your rights, put together by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).
There may be some guilt or perceived stigma for a caregiver taking the time required for addiction recovery. And sadly, women face an even greater degree of the social stigma. If you are in a situation where you are the primary caregiver to your children, here is the easy-to-say-but-tough-to-do reality: It’s time to get clean. Your kids deserve it.
You are trading 30 days for the priceless gift of a parent in lasting recovery.
Childcare is a big deal, but it’s time to start relying on your support community. You may be surprised at how many people will come beside you when you tell them you are ready to change your life. As well, if you are in a situation where you are in danger of losing custody of your children, remember, achieving sobriety is the best way to prove to a court that you are a responsible parent who can offer their kids a safe and drug-free home environment.
If you simply have no family or community support, try these options:
- Talk to the treatment facility; they might have resource connections
- Talk to a Local church
- Talk to a local school or daycare for partial daytime care to ease the load for your temporary childcare option
Bring Your Best Attitude
Entering rehab is a big commitment. It’s a commitment to yourself and to your future. The best things to include on your rehab checklist are the things that are going to help you succeed on the road to recovery. It starts now.
God only knows what brought you to this point, but here you are—considering the possibility of addiction treatment. Broken relationships, personal safety and health, spiritual awakening—whatever brought you to this point, congratulations. This is only the beginning. But the future is full of possibility.
If you’re still not sure long-term rehab is the right treatment for you, here are 10 Reasons to Choose Inpatient Addiction Treatment that might help you decide.
Or you can simply call us right now. Our assessment is free and encompassing. We are here to answer your questions and see what treatment is the right fit for your individual needs. Call First Steps Recovery: 844-244-7837.