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American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory

What to Expect on Your First Day at Rehab

Your first day in treatment, which consists of rehab center intake, is when you get settled in, learn where everything is, and find out what is expected of you. You will be asked many questions pertaining to your addiction and treatment. Be prepared to answer them as honestly as you can and cooperate fully with the staff. However, it can also be a difficult time emotionally since the reality of entering treatment and giving up your addiction is a big one and naturally brings many feelings to the surface, such as fear, anger, and sadness. This is perfectly normal and it’s important to know that, over time, it can get easier. Be patient with yourself, take it one day at a time, and you will see progress.

Now, let’s look at the specific things you can expect on your first day of rehab.

What Is the Rehab Intake Process Like?

woman calling for information on the intake process
The intake process generally begins with the first phone call you make to the treatment facility. Ask as many questions as you can to get a good understanding about what they do and the processes they use. One question many  people ask is: “What is rehab like?”

When you arrive, you will meet one-on-one with a certified counselor. You will be asked about your drug history and what you would like to accomplish while you are in rehab. You can explain when you began using and if you know why you might have started using drugs. Tell your counselor about any underlying health issues that you have, which is especially important if you have a mental health disorder, such as depression or PTSD. The counselor will assess the severity of your addiction based on your answers to these questions. It also helps the treatment center determine the optimal course of action for your treatment—each person’s program is tailored to their specific needs.

After you meet with a counselor, you will be given a physical to assess your physical wellness. You will be required to give information about your medical history. Let the medical professional know if you have any underlying medical issues such as high blood pressure, asthma, or hepatitis. You will be asked to take a detox test, which will determine if you have recently used drugs or alcohol. Regardless if you test positive for a substance or not, if you’ve used drugs recently, your first step in the treatment process will be detox.

The facility will be in charge of your medical care, and they may provide you with additional testing to evaluate any other health problems. Provide them with any prescriptions you have. They will keep the medications in the pharmacy at the facility, and they will make sure you get the required medications each day. You will not be allowed to keep them with you, but will meet regularly with physicians who will monitor your condition.

Your Belongings Inspection During Rehab Intake Process

Once you meet with the required staff for check-in, you will be taken to your room where a counselor will go through your packed bag with you. They will check all your belongings to make sure you do not have drugs, alcohol, weapons, or other items that are prohibited. Many facilities will take cellphones, computers, or other communication devices and allow you to use them at set times. It is best to check beforehand to see what items they allow and what things you should leave home.

What Not to Bring During Rehab Admission

The list of items that you are allowed to have while in treatment varies from one facility to another. There are standard items that most facilities will not allow you to have, however. You can ask someone for this information before you go or during your rehab center intake, though most treatment centers will provide you with a list before you arrive. Examples of things you should leave at home include:

  • Over-the-counter medications that have been opened.
  • Alcohol or drugs.
  • Pornography.
  • Pillows.
  • Bed linens.
  • Weapons.
  • Musical instruments.
  • Electronic devices.
  • Food or drinks.
  • Herbs.
  • T-shirts or other clothing items that promote drugs or alcohol.
  • Fans.
  • Large amounts of cash.
  • Radios.
  • Mouthwash (most contain some alcohol).

Items that you should bring with you include:

  • Seven days’ worth of casual, comfortable clothing (you’ll be able to do laundry if you stay longer than this).
  • Current prescriptions.
  • Hygiene items.
  • Electric razor.
  • Shaving cream.
  • New, unopened, over-the-counter medications.
  • Alarm clock.

Settling Into Your Environment

Once you get checked in, you will be given the opportunity to eat and may have time to relax in your room. You may be invited to join in if a group meeting is in progress and meet the other residents. If you require medical attention, this is the time that it will be given.

You will be provided with a daily schedule and expected to attend the required groups and meetings. Expectations throughout the program should be clearly communicated to help you be as successful as possible in your recovery.

Taking the first step to clean and learn to live in recovery is a major accomplishment on its own. It isn’t easy, but it’s always worth it.

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