After coming to terms with having an addiction, figuring out how to get into drug rehab, and committing to getting help comes preparing for rehab. Before checking into rehab to receive treatment, one should be as prepared as possible.
It’s hard to know what to expect from rehab if you’ve never been before. Putting things on hold in your daily life can seem daunting, but by taking the right steps, the transition into a facility can be a smooth one. Starting your recovery journey in the right state of mind is essential for your success. If you are about to attend a rehabilitation treatment program for the first time, here are a few tips to prepare you for the next step.
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1. Tell Your Loved Ones Before Checking into Rehab
Telling your loved ones that you’re going to be checking into rehab can be difficult. They need to know where you’re going, though, and how long you’ll be gone. Feelings of shame or embarrassment are common, but your family and friends will likely be proud of your decision and support you.
If you have children, they deserve to be a part of your recovery journey. You don’t need to get into all the details, but telling them that you’ll be gone to undergo treatment will prepare them for time away from you. They also need to know who they will be staying with and for how long. This will help prepare them emotionally and keep them from being blindsided by your sudden absence.
During your time in rehab, it is likely that you will be able to keep in touch with your family and friends. Phone calls and video conferences are common ways you’ll be allowed to reach out to relatives and friends. Some centers even offer visiting hours, so that your family can check in on you. This can be especially helpful for children who may be upset by their parent’s time away from home.
2. Take Care of Any Work Obligations
In life, we have many obligations. There are obligations to family, friends, or our jobs. When entering rehab, these obligations can weigh heavily on anyone’s mind. Before checking into rehab, it’s important to take care of any obligations you may have.
When you decide to start treatment and have a job, letting your employer know that you need time off for recovery is essential. Not telling your employer can have serious consequences such as being terminated from your position at work. Fortunately, your job is legally protected as Americans are entitled to 12 weeks of medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Further, your employer should be supportive and happy that you want to seek help. Any employer that appreciates you as a person or appreciates your work ethic will support your recovery journey. Likely, they will also value your transparency. Knowing that you’ll be out of work for some time will allow them to make temporary adjustments or find someone to cover your shifts until you return to work.
3. Tie Up Legal or Financial Loose Ends
Once you’ve started treatment, thinking about loose ends, whether legal or financial, can be stressful. You need to be fully present while in recovery, and that can’t happen if you’re distracted by worries. Tying up loose ends before you go to rehab is one of the key ways to prepare for treatment.
Thinking about bills isn’t fun. In fact, it can be downright stressful, which is why it’s imperative to have all financial obligations taken care of before checking into rehab. If there are bills that will be due during treatment, making sure they are taken care of will help with your peace of mind. Putting bills on autopay or asking a trusted friend or relative to make the payment for you will ensure no pesky thoughts of overdue bills disturb you during recovery.
Legal loose ends are also vital to tie up. If you have a parole officer you need to check in with, a court date coming up, or any other legal obligation, the proper arrangements must be made. Missing visits or court dates can have legal repercussions. To avoid leaving rehab with legal repercussions on your plate, make sure you check in with the appropriate entities and take the measures necessary to put legal responsibilities on hold until after treatment.
4. Make Sure You’ve Packed the Essentials
Whether you’re going to attend a long-term inpatient treatment program or commute between home and an outpatient program, packing the essentials is key. Before entering a treatment facility, check what you’re allowed to bring into the building. Most rehab facilities have rules that must be followed, which include what you are and aren’t allowed to bring with you.
When packing, make sure you have only the essentials. Having enough clothing is more important than bringing every little thing that reminds you of home. Instead of bringing the entire album of family photos, pack a couple of your favorite pictures. Some essentials when you’re packing for rehab include:
- A notebook or journal
- Paperback books if you enjoy reading
- Any medications you’re currently taking
- Enough toiletries for the duration of your stay
- The names and addresses of important people in your life
Also, keep in mind that receiving treatment is for you. When checking into rehab, it’s important to focus only on your growth and recovery. Whatever favorite items you leave at home will be there for you when you get back.
5. Spend Time With People You Love
If you’re attending an inpatient program, you may not see your family for at least a month. Before checking into rehab, you may want to spend some quality time with the people you love. This is especially important as addiction, however unintentionally, can greatly affect the people closest to you. Spending time with them before you enter rehab can show them that they are a major priority in your life.
Bonding with your friends and family before your stay can also be beneficial for your mental health. In a rehab facility, there will be many unfamiliar faces. Spending time with loved ones can help prepare you for time away from them. While you navigate your time in a treatment program, the recent memories of time spent with your family can ease some of the homesickness that comes with being in an unfamiliar place.
6. Write a Letter to Yourself
As time progresses, we are constantly changing as people. By the time you complete a treatment program, you will hopefully find yourself in a totally different state of mind. This is a great thing as rehabilitation provides patients with therapy to change negative thoughts and behaviors.
Before checking into rehab, writing a letter to yourself can be a great reminder of how far you’ve come. You may find that you no longer connect with what you find in the letter once you revisit it. This can signify how much your state of mind has changed.
7. Make a List of Things You Want to Accomplish After Rehab
Making a list is another great way to prepare for checking into rehab. When you conclude your stay, it’s easy to feel a little lost. You’ve already asked yourself so many questions: Do I have an addiction? How do I get into drug rehab? What treatment is best for me?
Rather than having to ask yourself what’s next, you can have your next steps prepared. Perhaps there is a trip you would like to take with family or friends. Or maybe you’ve spent time brainstorming or researching sober activities. Having a list to reference after rehab can be a wonderful tool to utilize when you feel overwhelmed or lost in your new drug or alcohol-free life.
8. Practice Self-Care
Deciding to go to rehab is one of the greatest acts of self-care in which a person can engage. Checking into rehab is a decision that comes from a need to heal from the negative impact of drug and alcohol abuse. Before starting your treatment, it’s important to get a head start on that healing process.
The many types of therapy you will attend in rehab may bring up unpleasant topics or feelings. Before you work through these feelings, intending to reach a better state of mind, you want to make sure that you’re not adding additional stress to your life. Rehab can also be a nerve-wracking prospect for some people. Take time to de-stress and remember, life can only get better after treatment.
9. Dispose of Any Substances
It should go without saying that you should dispose of all substances before checking into rehab. Unless you have been specifically instructed not to stop taking substances by a medical professional, you should remove all drugs or alcohol from your home. While you may not be able to cease taking drugs before rehab, don’t leave any in your home to return to once you’re in recovery.
After rehab, you want to come home to a clean house. Your environment should facilitate sobriety. This can’t happen if any illicit substances are lying around. If there are drugs or alcohol in the house, you may be tempted to reach for them when you’re feeling stressed. To make the most of your stay in rehab, you should set yourself up for success once back in your own home.
Prepare for Rehabilitation with Northern Illinois Recovery Center
No matter what kind of addiction you’re trying to overcome, checking into rehab doesn’t have to be an imposing and stressful process. Before you take your first step towards recovery, try these tips to ease into this new chapter in your life. Here at Northern Illinois Recovery Center, we are ready to answer any questions you may have about rehabilitation. Whether you’re about to start rehab or are considering it, contact us today with any questions you may have.