5 Tips on How to Prepare for Rehab

Kim Vytell
Medically Reviewed by
Dr. Jefferey A. Berman MD, DFASAM
Last Updated
March 9, 2023

Part of the complete guide to understanding addiction

Table of Contents
  1. How to Prepare for Rehab Mentally
  2. Focus On Yourself
  3. Arrange Leave From Employment
  4. Don’t Worry About Lengthy Rehab Programs
  5. View Rehab as a Beginning
  6. Don’t Try to Find a Mate
  7. What to Bring to Rehab
  8. Summary

Entering an addiction recovery program is a huge decision, and it is important to approach it in the right way. It’s a life change that will make you happier, healthier, and more free if the experience is successful. Read on with Avenues Recovery to find out what you need to know about how to prepare for rehab.

How to Prepare for Rehab Mentally

The key to success in drug rehab is to approach it laser-focused on your goal, and do everything you can to prevent getting side-tracked. Having a positive outlook on rehab is critical in order to succeed, as that will increase your motivation. These five tips will help you to establish the right approach and give rehab your all:

1. Focus On Yourself

Recovery is a full-time job, and requires you to focus on yourself. Don’t worry about everyone else. Working toward recovery takes all of your energy and effort, and you don’t have the capacity to worry about how anyone else is doing. Arrange alternative care for family who you are responsible for, and notify friends that you will be preoccupied for the duration of treatment. Of course you can speak to friends and family, but the burden of responsibility should be lifted so that you can channel your energy towards recovery. That may sound selfish, but it’s not. Family and friends want the best for you and they will understand that focusing on your recovery is the best thing you can do—for them and for you.

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2. Arrange Leave From Employment

Your case manager or counselor can help you to apply for family leave from work [1].

You may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave from employment, and your counselor should be able to guide you through the process of applying. If you’re eligible, taking approved family leave is a great way to leave work behind without worrying what you’re going to do after treatment. It also gives you one less thing to worry about during your program.

3. Don’t Worry About Lengthy Rehab Programs

Truthfully, in terms of your health and recovery, the longer you’re away from “normal life” and in a recovery program, the better. You’ll build deeper relationships with doctors, mentors, and new peers; you’ll learn new habits and skills; and you’ll be in a much better position when you leave your program.

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Related Rehab Reading

A change as big as recovery takes time and if you’re ready to put addiction behind you, the longer you’re in a program, the better. Being away from home may be hard, but it will be worth it. The amount of time you’ll be away is something to acknowledge as you make a decision to work toward recovery, but is not an issue to fixate on.

4. View Rehab as a Beginning

Recovery is a big life change, and it might seem like the end of life as you know it. That’s understandable; you’ll have to leave some things behind, like possessions, relationships, or maybe a whole lifestyle. It’s important to recognize and mourn that if you need to. But an important part of emotionally preparing for rehab is realizing that recovery is a beginning—a start of a whole world of freedom and opportunities.

5. Don’t Try to Find a Mate

It’s not uncommon to find someone in an addiction-recovery program, but it’s never a good idea. More likely than not, starting a new relationship while in recovery will end up harming the recovery of one or both parties.

Supportive friendships are important [2], but no one in a recovery program is in a healthy position to find a partner. Recovery from addiction takes everything you have, and starting a new relationship, no matter how much you may think it will help, will just distract you from the real work that needs to be done.

What to Bring to Rehab

Now that you know how to prepare for rehab emotionally, we’ve collated a helpful packing list so you know what to pack for rehab.

  • Personal Identification- driving license, passport or state-issued ID
  • Insurance policy information and contact details
  • Prescription medications
  • Names and addresses of important people in your life
  • Enough toiletries for the duration of your stay
  • Reading material and music
  • Stationary and a journal
  • Photographs of your loved ones

Summary: Important Things to Know When Preparing for Rehab

Preparing properly for drug or alcohol rehab goes beyond checking off items on a packing list. For a successful treatment experience, you need to be free to focus on your goals and give recovery your all. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it.

If you have any questions or want to get started with rehab admissions, please contact us online or call us at Avenues Recovery 603-212-1702.

Learn more about different types of drug rehab on our website.


[1] www.dol.gov

[2] www.samhsa.gov

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