What To Bring To Rehab
Getting ready to spend the next few weeks in a rehab facility can be a bit frightening and exciting at the same time, but preparing ahead can make the transition a lot more manageable.
One concern you might have is what to pack for your stay. A quick look at your chosen treatment center’s website can provide you with a basic list of what to bring and what not to bring, but an insider’s scoop would really be an advantage. Avoid the feeling of being jealous of your roommate because she packed all the items you wished you’ve thought to bring.
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What Can I Bring With Me To Treatment?
Each rehab center has different guidelines for allowed and prohibited items. Some rehab facilities are stricter than others. Ask the admissions team for a packing list as you prepare for rehab. For the most part, it’s recommended to bring the following:
- A list of names, addresses and phone numbers of those you wish to have involved in your treatment (loved ones, friends, family members, healthcare professionals, 12 step sponsors, etc.).
- Jewelry that you wear every day and consider to be a necessity, like your wedding ring or a watch. Otherwise, leave valuable items at home.
- An alarm clock that does not have a radio. Some centers will supply these, so check with yours before going out to buy one.
- Your current prescription medication in the original pharmacy bottle with the information label intact. Any liquid medications must be new and sealed. You should also bring a list of all your medications and dosages.
- A small amount of cash ($50 to $100 in smaller bills for store runs, vending machines, etc.).
- Your checkbook, credit card or debit card to pay for treatment medications.
- Your insurance cards and a form of identification (driver’s license, passport, etc.).
- A calling card (if your facility requires them for long distance phone calls).
- A notebook or journal.
- Pictures of your loved ones to keep in your room or wallet.
- Your rehab will likely provide reading materials for you. If you want to bring your own, they’re usually required to be recovery, self-help or spiritually oriented. TIP: bring paperback books as they’re easier to carry around than hardcovers.
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The Basics: Rehab Clothing to Bring
It’s a good idea to call your rehab facility to learn what they recommend packing for your stay and so that you’ll know what not to bring. Most facilities are more than happy to provide all incoming clients with a list of recommended items.
Your basic clothing items should be modest, comfortable, and appropriate for the climate and weather where the rehab facility is located. Pack pieces of clothes that layer well so you can adapt easily to areas that are too warm or cool and so you’ll be comfortable during outdoor activities.
How much clothing to bring also depends on how long you’ll be staying in rehab. Remember that the space in your room may be limited, so don’t go overboard. Also, you’ll have access to a laundry room, so don’t worry about running out of clean underwear and other items.
You should plan on packing the following from your wardrobe:
- At least a few long sleeved and short sleeved t-shirts.
- A few sweaters, pullovers, or jackets for layering. Even if it’s the middle of summer, there may be areas of the building where the air conditioning makes you chilly.
- Jeans, sweats, chinos, and other comfortable casual pants
- Underwear and undergarments
- Sleepwear, slippers, and a robe.
- Comfortable footwear such as sneakers or walking shoes—you may be on your feet doing chores such as cleaning or tidying up or participating in physical activities.
- Flip flops for the shower.
- Shorts for a warm weather stay (check with the facility first to make sure they’re permitted.)
- Fitness and outdoor clothing that stretches wicks away moisture, and moves with you when you do, particularly if the facility offers adventure therapy and other physical activities.
- One or two slightly more formal outfits that you can wear for family night or other occasions where loved ones come to visit.
- Sunglasses and a hat to shield yourself from the sun.
If you’re entering rehab in a cold climate during the winter, you’ll want to bring warm winter accessories such as a coat, gloves, water-resistant boots, and a hat in case you venture outside.
Generally, it’s a good idea to avoid bringing clothing that’s too tight or revealing or that displays alcohol or drug paraphernalia. Even if you’re not entering rehab for drug or alcohol abuse, the imagery can remind others of what they’re battling.
Personal Hygiene And Beauty Products To Pack
Obviously, substance abuse treatment is not a fashion show, and your looks will not be under scrutiny, but you need to be relaxed, comfortable and feel at home in your new environment. Just make sure to check with your chosen rehab center before completing your packing list, but this is a good place to start for finding what should be allowed.
It is important to remember that most rehab centers will instruct you to bring alcohol-free products for obvious reasons. The amount of what is needed will depend on the length of stay, but it is a general rule to pack enough of something for a 30-day stay.
- Deodorant and perfume/cologne
- Soap, body wash, shampoo, conditioner
- Hairstyling products as needed
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Feminine hygiene products
- Sunscreen lotion
- Lotion, facewash, or similar products
- Makeup, lip balm as needed
While packing your toiletries, be sure to check the labels for alcohol. If alcohol is in the main ingredients of the product, then leave it at home. Believe it or not, products like hairspray and hand sanitizer are high on the what not to bring list. These banned items contain denatured alcohol, which is ethyl alcohol before it’s chemically modified. During alcohol detox, people have been known to drink spray gel, perfume, or even face wash when the cravings become too overwhelming.
Can I smoke cigarettes in rehab?
If you smoke, most rehab facilities will allow you to bring cigarettes with you. While smoking rules will vary based on where the rehab center is located, complete smoking bans in rehab facilities are rare.
If your treatment center allows cigarettes and you do bring them to rehab, make sure that the package you bring is unopened and that you pack enough to last the duration of your stay.
Can I bring my cell phone to rehab?
While some rehab facilities allow the use of cellphones, others have banned them altogether. Others fall somewhere in the middle and allow the use of cell phones for certain activities.
Treatment centers that allow personal cell phone use emphasize the importance of contact with friends and family throughout rehab. On the other hand, facilities that don’t allow cell phone use do so in order to keep their clients focused on their recovery and free of distractions from outside influences.
If bringing your cell phone to rehab is crucial to you, rest assured that there are treatment centers that allow clients to use their phones. Additionally, make sure you clarify the cell phone policy with your treatment center before arriving on-site, so there are no surprises.
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Can I bring my pet to rehab?
Pets provide unconditional love and support without judgment or expectations. For this reason and many more, it’s understandable that people find the presence of their pet comforting and want to bring a pet with them to rehab.
Unfortunately, finding treatment centers that accept clients and their furry companions can be difficult. The majority of rehabs have no-pet policies and for legitimate reasons, including licensing issues, potential liabilities, and sensitivities to other clients’ allergies.
Clarify the pet policy with your treatment center before arrival and make other housing arrangements for your pet before leaving for rehab that doesn’t allow animals. While your pet may not understand why you’re leaving for a few weeks, remember that you’re getting sober in order to build a better life for you and your animal companion.
Packing for rehab back be tricky when you’re not sure what you’re allowed to bring. While most treatment centers will provide clients with a list of approved items, don’t be scared to ask questions and seek clarification on what you’re allowed to have with you in rehab.
What you should not bring to rehab
All rehabs prohibit certain items and have strict rules. They do so to ensure your safety and to create an excellent environment for your recovery. It varies by center, but the following items are almost always banned:
- Drugs and alcohol
- Narcotics or prohibited prescriptions
- Razors, scissors, knives, or other sharp tools
- Food or drinks
- Toiletries and beauty products that contain alcohol (mouthwash, perfume, etc.)
- Electronic cigarettes
- Unapproved or previously opened OTC medications
- Nail polish, polish remover or synthetic nail related products
- Video games and DVDs
- Sporting equipment
- Revealing clothing (tank tops, sleeveless shirts, midriff bearing tops, etc.)
- Cleaning supplies (bleach, ammonia, etc.)
- Electronics (televisions, gaming consoles, etc.)
- Games and playing cards
- Candles and incense
- Clothing with profanity or references to drugs, alcohol or violence
You’ll also find that outside food and drinks are banned because many centers maintain a moderate sugar and caffeine environment. Three meals a day, snacks and beverages will be provided to you. If you have special dietary needs, notify your rehab before you’re admitted.
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We Level Up Packing List
What To Bring
What To Not Bring
Clothing: 2 Weeks Worth of Clothing
Outdoor Activities Attire
Slippers, Sandals, Flip Flops, Sneakers
Clothing: Inappropriate Clothing
Low-cut shirts, spaghetti strap shirts, tank tops
Short skirts or shorts
Clothing that exposes garments
You may bring an Mp3 Player, Ipod, E-Reader.
Electronics: Internet-accessible and camera devices
are not permitted.
Phones will be locked up after admission
Personal ID and Insurance Card
Credit/Debit Card, Small Amounts of Cash
Large amounts of cash
Toiletries: Unopened or untampered with products only.
Shampoo, Conditioner, Deodorant, Toothbrush, etc.
Hairbrush, Blow Dryer, Flat Iron, Beard Trimmer, etc.
Toiletries: Unopened or untampered with products only.
Products wiith alcohol in first five ingredients.
Aerosol hairspray or hair dye
Non-Narcotic Medications Only
Narcotics and alcohol
Over the counter medications and vitamins
Stamps and envelopes
Contact Information for Doctors
List of written Emergency Contacts
Books for Reading (keep to a minimum)
Guns, Knives, Chains, Razor Blades, etc.
A more promising future is waiting for you at We level Up NJ. Making the decision to come to treatment is step one. Packing correctly for rehab is step two. Use the We Level Up Packing List as a guide for what to pack and what items should be left behind. If you have questions or concerns, please contact our admissions team for answers and more information.
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