What Can I Bring to Rehab?: A Packing Checklist

Once you’ve chosen the right drug and alcohol rehab for you, you will need to prepare to attend inpatient treatment by tying up loose ends, such as taking time off work or school, or arranging for other responsibilities to be fulfilled. As you prepare for addiction treatment, you will want to create a list of what to bring to rehab, based on the rehab’s rules and policies as well as your personal needs.

In this article:

What to Bring to Rehab: A Checklist

Every rehab has different rules for what you can bring to inpatient treatment, but generally, the items below are permitted and will be helpful for your stay:

  • A journal or notebook to process emotions or record notes from treatment
  • A small amount of money for vending machines or store runs
  • Your credit card, debit card, or checkbook to pay for treatment medications
  • Your current medications in their original bottles as well as a list of these medications
  • Your health insurance card(s)
  • A form of identification, such as license or passport
  • A list of names, phone numbers, and addresses of loved ones, 12-step sponsors, or healthcare professionals
  • An alarm clock without a radio
  • A calling card, if needed to make long distance calls
  • Envelopes and stamps to mail letters
  • Pictures of your loved ones for your room
  • Recovery-oriented books or reading materials

You may find it helpful to create a rehab checklist so that you don’t forget anything—this is especially important if your rehab doesn’t allow visitors as no one will be able to bring you the forgotten items.

Personal Hygiene Products

When considering what to bring to rehab, you will want to choose your hygiene and beauty products carefully. Make sure that none of the items contain alcohol (e.g. mouthwash) or aerosols. Make sure to pack enough products to last for your entire treatment stay—for some, this may be 30 days while others may attend treatment for 90 days or even longer.

Below is a checklist of personal hygiene products to bring to rehab:

  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Comb or brush
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Makeup
  • Sunscreen
  • Face and body lotion
  • Shaving cream
  • Menstrual products
  • Hair styling products (no aerosols)

Clothing to Pack for Rehab

Most alcohol and drug rehabs have a dress code, so you’ll want to make sure you know the rehab’s policy before packing your suitcase. You’ll also want to consider the weather forecast for the area where your rehab is located, and when in doubt, pack with layering in mind. Your treatment program will offer washers and dryers at the facility so no need to overpack. With laundry in mind, make sure you pack clothes that are easy to wash and don’t require special care.

Clothing items you should bring to rehab include:

  • T-shirts
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Sweatshirts and sweaters
  • A jacket
  • Comfortable pants
  • Shorts (make sure to check the required length)
  • Comfortable shoes, such as sneakers
  • Flop flops for the shower
  • Socks and undergarments
  • A bathing suit (if the rehab has a pool)
  • A hat, if permitted
  • Pajamas
  • A belt
  • Slippers

What Not to Bring to Rehab

Regardless of what treatment program you’ve chosen, it will likely forbid the following items:

  • Alcohol and drugs
  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Products containing alcohol, such as perfume
  • Weapons (scissors, knives, guns, and other sharp objects)
  • Food and drinks
  • Prohibited prescriptions or prescriptions not properly labeled
  • Prohibited over-the-counter medications (check with your specific rehab)
  • Candles
  • Incense
  • Clothing promoting violence, drugs, or alcohol
  • Nail polish or nail polish remover
  • Pornography
  • DVDs
  • Video games
  • Video game consoles
  • Televisions
  • Aerosols
  • Cleaning supplies, such as bleach
  • Playing cards
  • Sports equipment

At first glance, this list may seem strict, but many rehabs forbid these items to reduce distractions and to provide you with the structure and time to focus on your addiction recovery. Some inpatient rehabs may offer games or playing cards during free time in the common area. And if they integrate recreational therapy into their treatment plans, then you may have access to sports equipment during that time.

Many rehabs forbid you from bringing outside drinks and food because they want to ensure you are getting the healthy, well-balanced meals you need to support your recovery from drug and alcohol use. The treatment facility will provide you with three meals per day, as well as drinks and snacks. If you have special dietary needs, such as due to a medical issue like gluten intolerance, then notify your rehab so they can adjust your meals accordingly.

Items You May Be Able to Bring

Some items may fall into a gray area when it comes to taking them to rehab—some treatment programs will permit them while others will not. Here are some items that may be permitted at certain addiction treatment centers:

  • Vitamins and OTC medications (new and unopened)
  • Gum (new and unopened)
  • Cigarettes
  • Laptop
  • Cell phone
  • Mp3 player or iPad
  • Camera
  • Nail clippers
  • Disposable razors
  • Books unrelated to recovery

Additionally, you may be planning to bring some cozy items to decorate your room and make you feel more at home. These items may include pillows, blankets, and your own bedding. Some rehabs allow you to bring these types of items while others may not.

How Do I Know What is Prohibited?

The best way to create your rehab checklist of what to bring to rehab is to contact your rehab directly to learn about their policies and rules. Their rehab admissions department should be able to provide you with the information you need.

Some treatment centers may have a section on their website devoted to how to pack for their facility so you may also want to investigate their website. This may be under an information tab or frequently asked questions (FAQ). Other facilities may offer printable rehab checklists to aid you while you pack and prepare.

What Happens if I Bring a Prohibited Item?

Packing for rehab can understandably be a bit overwhelming. If you accidentally bring a prohibited item to rehab, that’s okay. Some treatment centers will confiscate the item and keep it for you until it’s time for you to leave the rehab. Others may send the forbidden item home with the person who brought you or will hold it until someone can pick it up. How they handle the situation may also depend on what type of item it is. For instance, if you bring drugs or alcohol, they will dispose of these substances.

Find an Alcohol or Drug Rehab

Everyone has different treatment preferences and needs. If packing a certain item, like a cell phone, is important to you, you’ll want to do your research before choosing the right addiction treatment program for you. You can browse our treatment facilities directory to find programs in certain areas or you can call 800-914-7089 (Info iconWho Answers?) to get help today.

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