Packing for Rehab? Here’s What You Can, Can’t Bring

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If you’re taking your first steps toward addiction treatment, an inpatient or residential treatment program may be just around the corner. When individuals are researching rehabs, one of the most common questions involves what you can and can’t bring to treatment. After all, you may spend a week in detox and over a month in a residential program. So most people want to bring as many of the comforts of home as possible.

In most cases, the facility will be able to provide everything you need to feel comfortable. However, rehab centers may have very strict policies about prohibited items, as they’re responsible for the safety of all the residents.

So knowing what to bring can help you prepare for your stay and ease some of the anxiety that may accompany this step toward recovery. When you speak with an admissions counselor, they’ll let you know about all prohibited items, but some individuals forget or ignore this information.

When you first enter treatment, you’ll go through an admissions process, and your admissions team will check the items you have with you. They’ll remove any prohibited items and return them to you when you leave.

Prohibited Items

If an items would jeopardize your safety or the safety of others, you should leave it at home.. Since you’ll be sharing spaces, it’s important to be aware of the patients around you.

Here are some specifics about prohibited items:

  •     Leave all weapons at home, even if they’re decorative.
  •    Drugs and alcohol aren’t allowed in a treatment center. Even seeing paraphernalia can trigger some users.
  •     During withdrawal, your brain and body are desperate for the substance you’re addicted to, even if it comes from unlikely sources. So you shouldn’t bring mouthwash or hand sanitizers that contain alcohol.
  •     You’ll probably have a roommate. Pornographic imagery or sexually explicit material could trigger them, or it could make them uncomfortable.

Unnecessary Items

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You may need certain items on the way to treatment, but you won’t need them after you get there. For instance, it’s important for you to have your phone, so you can communicate with the people that will be helping you travel to the treatment center. You may also need cash or credit cards to buy food along the way.

However, once you get to the facility, you won’t be allowed to have any device that can connect to the internet. When you’re going through tough cravings, you may be compelled to call or text your former dealer or “running buddy.” For the same reasons, you won’t may be able to carry credit cards or large amounts of cash.


You’ll want to be comfortable throughout your stay, especially during detox. The majority of people are most comfortable wearing their own clothes. If you don’t bring enough clothing with you, you may have the opportunity to buy more or have someone bring or ship them to you. Also, nonprofit organizations could provide you with clothing to help you fill out your wardrobe.

Throughout your stay, you’ll have opportunities to do laundry. But if you have high-level medical or psychological needs, it may be done for you.

Here’s a list of clothing you’ll want to bring to the facility:

  • Comfortable shoes are the most important items. At California Highlands Addiction Treatment, you won’t spend much time doing activities that may jeopardize your health, but you may want flip flops for showering.
  •    Never leave the house without clean and comfortable underwear and socks.
  •    Sleeping is an important part of recovery. If you tend to get cold at night, ask your admissions specialist about the temperatures you might experience. Then you’ll know the best kind of pajamas to bring. You’ll also want to factor in your roommate when choosing sleepwear.
  •    Depending on when and where you attend treatment, you may need certain types of weather-appropriate clothing. For instance, it’s warm during most of the year at California Highlands, but sweaters and sweatpants may be more appropriate at night during the winter months.
  •    Are you most comfortable wearing pants or shorts? You should wear your most comfortable clothing throughout the treatment process.


There will be plenty to do at most treatment centers, but many clinicians recommend bringing some sort of entertainment, such as an mp3 player and books. When you have downtime, your own music or reading materials can help you relax.

However, it’s important to remember that all electronic entertainment can’t be able to connect to the internet. But many cheap mp3 players can store songs without connecting to the internet. Similarly, there are video game devices and book readers that can’t connect.

Other Items

  •   Since you won’t be carrying your phone with you, it will be helpful to have a list of the names, addresses, and phone numbers of healthy people you might need to contact, such as family members, sponsors, and healthcare professionals.
  •     Contacts who will support your recovery.
  •     Essential accessories, such as your wedding ring
  •     Since your phone will be locked away, you’ll want to bring an alarm clock.
  •     Bring your current prescriptions in their regular bottles, as well as information about other prescriptions you may need.
  •     When you first arrive, it’s important to bring your insurance information and identification, so the treatment center can verify everything.
  •     A notebook or journal
  •     Stamps and envelopes
  •     Pictures of loved ones.

Taking The First Steps

Is your loved one struggling with substance abuse or addiction? Are you? If so, it’s important for you to treat it with the seriousness it requires and get help before it’s too late.

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