How Does Drug Rehab Work?

How Does Drug Rehab Work

How does drug rehab work? If you’re currently in the throes of a substance use disorder, you might be asking just that. You’ve seen rehab portrayed in movies and read about it in books, but you never considered the possibility of needing it one day. Whether it’s you or someone you love who is struggling with substances, learning what to expect from the process can help you prepare.

Preparing for an Inpatient Stay: How Does Drug Rehab Work?

Packing and making other preparations for rehab can be overwhelming. These basic guidelines can help, but if you have any doubts, don’t hesitate to contact your treatment center to ask specific questions.

What Does it Cost?

The financial expense of rehab can vary quite a bit. Statistics from 2021 show that the price for residential treatment can range from $5,100 to $80,000. Some treatment centers offer only the basics, and others feature luxury amenities. Look at your budget and recovery needs to decide what’s best for you.

How Will This Affect My Career?

Every situation is different. You’ll need to look at the specifics of your employment situation along with questioning “how does drug rehab work?” It’s impossible to work during an inpatient rehab stay, so you’ll need to request a temporary leave of absence.

You may qualify for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). However, the criteria are strict.

The qualifications include:

  • Working for a private-sector employer with a minimum of 50 employees for at least 20 weeks in the previous or current year.
  • Working for any public agency, elementary school, or secondary school regardless of the employee count.
  • Being employed by the qualifying employer for at least a year.

If you meet the above qualifications, you can approach your supervisor to request leave under the FMLA. If you’re employed by a company that doesn’t qualify, you’ll need to figure out another plan.

In most situations, honesty is the best policy. Depending on the severity of your substance use, your boss and other colleagues may have noticed something is wrong. Showing that you’re taking steps to help yourself is admirable.

What Should I Pack?

Rehab is emotionally taxing. You’ll want to counter that by being comfortable as possible. There’s no need to be fashionable at rehab. Pack comfortable clothes like sweatpants, jeans, and athletic wear. Pack sneakers for outdoor group activities and daily exercise. Also, bring comfy slippers or sandals for relaxing around the facilities.

Some inpatient treatment centers allow phones and other devices, and some do not. Most will allow music devices, so be sure to load your mp3 player with songs that comfort or inspire you. Books and crossword puzzles are great for relaxing during your free time. Also, consider bringing a few blank journals and some pens. You will use these for writing down feelings and notes during the healing process.

Consider bringing a few items of sentimental value. Whether it’s a childhood teddy bear, a copy of the Holy Bible, or a picture of your daughter. Having something comforting nearby can be helpful during rough moments.

You should avoid bringing the following items to any treatment center:

  • Drugs, alcohol, or paraphernalia
  • Outside food and drinks
  • Alcohol-based toiletries, such as mouthwash
  • Weapons
  • Expensive or unnecessary items, such as fine jewelry

Do I Need to Make Any Other Preparations?

A typical inpatient drug rehab stay is usually 90 days. Your stay could be longer or shorter. You’ll need to prepare to have someone cover any duties or tasks you would’ve been responsible for during that time. This could include things like picking up mail, watering the garden, or looking after pets. If you care for children or elderly family members, arrange to have their needs covered during your stay.

Another thing to consider is paying the bills. Autopay services can help you arrange to pay your mortgage, rent, or other bills ahead of time.

During Your Stay: What Should You Expect?

Detox and residential care are the two major phases of inpatient treatment.


This is usually the first step in the rehab process. Before you can start the hard work of getting to the root of your substance use disorder, you’ll need to cleanse your system. Getting your body clear of chemicals will help the professionals at the treatment center assess your condition.

You may require medically supervised or assisted detox if you were using addictive substances, such as alcohol or opiates. To learn more about what to expect from detox in your particular situation, contact your treatment center.

Residential Care

Once your system is clear of substances, you’ll join the community at the rehab center. You’ll adhere to a strict daily schedule while following the rules and guidelines of the center.

Daily Life at an Inpatient Treatment Center: Getting into a Routine

Rehab is designed to bring structure to your days. Most people who struggle with substance use disorder lose the ability to structure their daily lives in a healthy way. Instead, their lives become centered around obtaining and using their substances of choice. Residential treatment is the first step in implementing a structure that will help you enjoy a life without substances.

Where Will I Stay?

Most treatment centers put residents in a room with one or more roommates. If you’re used to living alone, this might seem a little uncomfortable, but you will get used to it quickly.

While we can’t promise you’ll make friends during your inpatient stay, it’s a common occurrence. The other residents will be facing the same struggles and challenges, which creates a natural bond. If you do your best to be kind and supportive to your roommates, you’ll likely receive the same in return.

What Will the Meals be Like?

Substance use disorder can interfere with proper nutrition. Eating healthy meals on a regular schedule is part of that valuable daily structure we mentioned in the section above. For that reason, most rehab centers employ chefs and other kitchen staff to serve meals. Some facilities may offer a shared kitchen where residents can make their own meals and snacks.

Will I Have Daily Therapy Sessions?

Therapy will be a huge part of your rehab experience. Your schedule will allow time for different types of therapy, including individual, group, and family sessions. Some treatment centers also utilize contingency management, a type of therapy that offers residents incentives for completing therapy sessions and remaining sober.

Will the Staff be Nice to Me?

Treatment centers employ a wide range of staff, from therapists to nurses. You can trust that they will all treat you with kindness and respect. Regardless of the staff member’s individual duties, they all have the same goal of helping residents thrive. Staff members are there to support you, so if you ever have a question or need someone to talk to, don’t be afraid to ask.

Can I Leave the Facility if I Need a Break?

Rehab provides residents with a safe environment free of substances. It’s therefore quite important to remain at the facility during treatment. Each treatment center is different. Some completely ban leaving the premises, and others allow for restricted or supervised time away. You’ll also likely get to do some excursions as a group.

What About Contacting Friends and Family Back Home?

Treatment centers usually allow for limited outside communication. The supervising staff understands there will be temptations during a rehab stay. They want to help you avoid contacting your former drug dealer or other problematic people from your past. If it’s important that you remain in contact with family members during your stay, discuss the situation with a representative from the center ahead of time. They’ll be able to give you a realistic idea of how often you’ll be able to talk.

Addressing Your Worries About Treatment: There’s Nothing to Fear

You’ll likely face a plethora of fears while preparing to enter rehab. Along with worries about your career, you might wonder if friends or other loved ones will turn on you. Please know that anyone who cares about you will support you during this challenging time. Choosing to enter rehab is a respectable and courageous move. Anyone who doesn’t understand that isn’t for you.

Are you ready to enter rehab and change your life forever? Long Island Treatment Center offers world-class care for people struggling with substance use disorder. From our state-of-the-art facilities to our compassionate staff, we provide a supportive environment in which to recover.

If you’re ready to free yourself from the grip of substance abuse once and for all, please reach out to us. A representative will be available to answer your questions day or night.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Long Island Treatment Center

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