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What to Bring/Pack

What to Bring/Pack

What Can I Bring With Me to Treatment?

When preparing for recovery, one of the more stressful things a person can deal with is knowing what they can bring to rehab. Review the policies and worry about one less thing going into treatment.

Rehabs have very strict policies about what you can bring with you to treatment. Most centers provide a recommended packing checklist and a list of prohibited items.

Treatment centers allow you to bring the necessities. Policies on extra items vary by center.

When you arrive at rehab, you will check in and begin the admissions process. During this time, your center’s admissions team will inspect your bags to ensure safety and that no prohibited items are brought in. Some centers will also catalog what you bring to make sure you don’t leave anything behind when you leave.

What Most Rehabs Recommend You Bring

Each rehab’s policies are different and some are stricter than others. 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, healthcare professionals, 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 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.
  • Stamps and envelopes if you wish to mail letters.
  • 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.

What Clothing You Should Bring

Most rehabs have a very strict dress code, so be aware of any restrictions while you’re packing. If you’re unsure about how to pack for the weather, pack layering options, like T-shirts, sweaters, cardigans and jackets. Keep in mind, space in your room may be limited, so try not to overpack.

You should have access to a laundry machine at your center, so a week’s worth of clothing should be enough. Be sure to pack clothes that are easy to wash and do not require special care, such as dry cleaning.

Be sure to bring seven days worth of comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing, including:

  • shoes: comfy shoes for everyday wear, tennis shoes for activities/sports and flip flops for the shower
  • shirts: if bringing tank tops, make sure you also pack cardigans to wear with them to comply with your center’s dress code
  • pants
  • shorts: may have to be a certain length to comply with your center’s dress code
  • one or two “dressy” outfits for special occasions, like Family Night
  • socks
  • undergarments
  • a bathing suit: a one piece is usually required for women, trunks for men
  • pajamas
  • a coat/jacket
  • a bath robe
  • a belt
  • a hat: your center may not allow hats indoors
  • slippers

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Personal Hygiene and Beauty Products to Pack

Most rehabs require all toiletries and beauty products to be completely alcohol-free. Others will allow you to bring products that do not have alcohol listed in the first three ingredients. Do not bring aerosols.

Bring thirty days worth of toiletries and beauty products, including:

  • deodorant
  • toothbrush and toothpaste
  • shampoo and conditioner
  • hair styling products (pump hair spray only)
  • comb/brush
  • feminine hygiene products
  • shaving cream
  • lotion
  • sunscreen
  • makeup

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Items 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 the best environment for your recovery. It varies by center, but the following items are almost always banned:

  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Narcotics or prohibited prescriptions
  • Weapons (guns, knives, scissors, sharp objects, etc.)
  • Pornography
  • 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.)
  • Aerosols
  • 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 may be surprised by some of the items on this list, like games and playing cards, video games and DVDs and sporting equipment. These items are prohibited to help you avoid distractions and allow you to focus on your recovery. Your center will have items like these available to you during certain times.

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.