What should I bring to rehab?

BRING: Appropriate and comfortable clothes. LEAVE: Jewelry. More tips on how to pack for rehab here.

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5 Things to Bring to Treatment and 4 Things Not to Bring

Going to rehab is a scary experience! Not only are our lives in utter turmoil, but now we’re uprooted and thrown into a new environment. There are new people, new places, and new things! Us addicts don’t deal well with new. Us addicts don’t deal well with people, places, and things! Here are some general suggestions about what to bring, and what not to bring, to rehab.

DO BRING #1: Appropriate and Comfortable Clothes

I can’t say this enough, comfortable clothes make a huge difference! This is true whether you’re in detox, residential treatment, or some form of step down program. Day to day life in rehab involves a lot of group work, lectures, and static positions.

Imagine sitting in a group, when you’re already crawling out of your skin, in tight or reveling clothes. That sounds like a nightmare to me! Now imagine sitting in a group in your favorite sweatshirt. Sounds a lot better, right?

DON’T BRING AT ALL: Inappropriate Clothes

Ladies, I get it, you want to look hot. You want male attention and validation. I know. I’ve been there. Guess what though? That type of thinking is part of what keeps us sick! We shouldn’t be looking for validation from a guy. We should be looking inside ourselves and building self-esteem.

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We came to treatment because we’re sick! Why feed that sickness with old behavior? Wouldn’t you rather stare fearlessly into a bright future?Besides, it’s a lot easier to work on yourself in a residential rehab for substance abuse when you don’t have every boy in rehab ogling your butt. Yeah, it’s not an instant ego boost, but it’s much healthier.

DO BRING #2: Pictures of Your Family or Loved Ones

Being away from family is hard! Double that statement if you have children. I can’t imagine what leaving your children and going to treatment must be like.

Bring pictures of your family. Bring pictures of your friends. Bring pictures of your pets. You’d be surprised what a few pictures will do to your stereotypical rehab room. They’ll change it from someplace you’re staying to someplace you’re living.


While it’s tempting to bring jewelry to rehab, it’s not really a good idea. The reason behind this is simple: addicts steal! Do you really want to risk getting an expensive piece (or inexpensive but loaded with sentimental value) of jewelry stolen? I didn’t think so.

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DO BRING #3: Spiritual Literature

Bring a Bible, a Torah, or a Qur’an. Bring the Big Book, the Basic Text, or a book of aphorisms.

It doesn’t matter what religion, or lack thereof, you are, treatment is a chance for you to grow as a spiritual warrior. Plan accordingly and bring some spiritual literature.

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DON’T BRING AT ALL: Sex Toys/Pornography

This should go without saying, but you’d be surprised!

Don’t bring sex toys or porn to alcohol or drug rehab. They’re both ways to escape the present moment. Treatment is all about embracing the present. It’s about learning to love what’s happening right now, in all its perfect imperfections. Sex toys and porn will distract you from growing. Besides, trust me, they’ll be around when you get out of rehab!

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DO BRING #4: A Journal

Treatment is a time to learn about yourself. It’s a time to find out what makes you tick. It’s a time to grow. What better way to grow than to keep track of your thoughts and emotions? Besides, your therapist will be impressed!

DON’T BRING AT ALL: Excessive Electronics

While one iPod, MP3 player, or CD player is okay, don’t go overboard!

Do you really need your laptop, your tablet, three iPods, and a graphing calculator? Of course not! All they’re going to do is take your focus away from where it should be on yourself.

Besides, much like jewelry, your electronics might be stolen. Do you want to go to rehab to change your life and end up with having your computer stolen? I didn’t think so.

DO BRING #5: Hope

This is the most important thing you can bring to rehab. Hope, as Emily Dickinson once said, is a thing with feathers. What does that mean? I have no idea!

What I do know is that hope is important. We enter treatment as broken little girls, as scared little boys. We leave treatment as productive members of society, as healed men and women.

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Rehab is a step forward

How do we get from point A to point B? Simple. We work on ourselves and we hope. We hope that things will be better tomorrow. We hope that we can overcome addiction. We hope that our lives can become full and rich.

Guess what? With a little bit of elbow grease, those hopes come true. So bring some hope with you to rehab.

About the author
Fiona Stockard is a writer and media specialist for Lighthouse Recovery Institute. She’s been in recovery since 2008 and finds no greater joy than helping other young women achieve and maintain long-term recovery.

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  1. Quarters!! You will want to do laundry and buy snacks
    Your favorite wayer bottle/coffee mug
    Comfy pajamas, bathrobe and mug
    Fuzzy warm socks
    Any favourite movies for DVD–you may have to get them cleared eith personnel
    Favourite music
    Favorite toiletries–deodorant too
    Body spray/lotion that doesn’t contain alcohol
    Nail polish/remover pads
    Nail file
    Light reading; you’ll have 12 step reading but you will want a break
    “” “” sheets
    Comfy blanket
    House shoes
    Hair clips, elastic bands
    A list of important phone numbers; they will take your phone.
    Make sure all bills are paid up ahead of 30 days; rent, utilities, phone, wifi/cable….avoid late charges.
    Liesure activities: crafts if you’re into them.
    Any favourite snacks that you can’t buy from vending machines

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