Updated on February 6, 2024
7 min read

What Is Rehab Like? | The Daily Routine and Life in Rehab

Key Takeaways

Hi, I’m Adam. I’d like to share a little bit about my experience with my inpatient rehab experience in Florida. 

It can be a bit scary to make the jump, so hearing the experience of someone else might help you make your decision. Keep in mind that not all rehabs are the same. 

Rehab might be the drastic positive change you need in your life. When you’re stuck, detox and a supportive environment removed from your normal routine could be the reset button to set you on the path to success.

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Why I Recommend Rehab 

Rehab often comes from the final straw or rock bottom moment in one’s life. But it’s even better if it’s a conscious choice you’re making to improve your life.

Maybe you’re considering rehab for yourself or a loved one because you or they have reached this point. Rehab, whether it is a desperate or long-planned option, will help you to get your life back.

Trying to detox and avoid your addiction is an extremely difficult change. A rehab center will have the staff and tools to help you reshape your life without the temptations and distractions of the outside world. You’ll meet experienced, caring staff who will take care of you while you undergo a personal transformation.

If you’re like me, rehab might be the best thing that will happen to you. Rehab was like a reset button that provided me with a clean slate and the tools I needed to start a new life.


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How Long Do Rehab Programs Last? 

Rehab programs can vary depending on the length of the commitment you make. A common length of stay is 30 days. 

When you get to the rehab center and start detoxing, they will often recommend you stay longer. This is because people who stay longer have higher success rates. 

The unfortunate statistic is that 9 out of 10 rehab stays result in a relapse. But those who stay longer than one month are more likely to stick to the program.

In my own experience, my inpatient rehab program lasted 28 days, or 4 weeks. But many of my cohorts stayed for 6 to 8 weeks.

Certain rehab programs can last even longer. There are in-house living programs that can even last 6 months or more.

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Rehab Together

Daily Routine

Morning Routine

Like many structured programs, daily rehab programs often start early in the morning. 

For mine, we woke up quite early at 6 AM. We didn’t have a choice in the matter. Rehab attendants come into each room around 5:55-6:05 AM to wake everyone. (My rehab included both men and women, in separate dorms).

Once awake, we were given some time to get ready—shower, shave, dress, etc. 

Immediately, we were required to have our health vitals taken to make sure that we were healthy (blood pressure and other vitals). 

After that, depending on the day, we would usually meet together in the group hall for a daily 12 Steps Reading and check-in. 

Breakfast was usually at 8 a.m. and there was a little bit of time before we had to head to our first group. One to two group classes or meetings (such as Grief Support, Counseling, Coping Skills, and many other options) are required each day. 

The great thing about rehab programs is that there are many classes and groups to attend to fill the day.

Afternoon Routine

After lunch, there was generally some free time. For myself, this often included going to the gym or walking around. This was a privilege we had to earn by being in the program for at least two weeks.

This is often how the programs work. The longer you are in there, the more freedoms you’ll earn. 

The first few weeks will be more closely monitored because of the detox period. Rehab patients are generally more physically and emotionally vulnerable in this period. I recommend you use it to rest and attend groups.

Groups will occupy most of your time spent in rehab, and the afternoon is no different. Groups generally occurred between 1 and 6 p.m.

Evening Routine

Dinner usually starts around 6 p.m. and again ends with a bit more free time. 

After we spent at least two weeks in the program and had good attendance in groups and classes, we were afforded the privilege of being able to attend outside Narcotics/Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Before that point, every night there was usually an NA/AA speaker in the cafeteria.

After nightly activities, we would retire to our group housing to watch TV and relax. The nights usually ended pretty early, around 9 to 10 p.m. 

Throughout the day, there will be medication time and night time is no different. Before bedtime, patients are administered any medications they are taking. This is especially important during detox. If you missed a medication time, you often had to wait until the next day.

The Best Parts of Rehab

Rehab is often looked at as a negative, scary experience—but it doesn’t have to be like that. The rehab experience will be what you make of it, possibly even fun. 

Let’s talk about some of the good moments from rehab:

  • Getting to know yourself: During rehab, you’ll come to learn a lot of new things about yourself. More than anything, you’ll recognize that you have the potential for change and to change your life. The group classes will teach you a lot about how to embrace your new self.
  • New friends to support you: When I was in rehab, I met many new friends and acquaintances that I still communicate with to this day. You’ll find that programs are full of super supportive, caring, empathetic people.
  • Getting back to healthy habits: My rehab program gave me access to a nutritionist, coach, and healthy food. Each program is what you make of it. I kept my mind healthy and body busy by getting back into working out and feeding myself good food. This all made detox so much easier.

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The Worst Parts of Rehab

Going to rehab can be an extremely jarring experience, but it’s often the change one needs in their life to get better.

Here are some things you should be mentally and emotionally prepared for before going to rehab:

  • Social isolation: During rehab, you may not be allowed to interact with your family and friends on the inside. This can be hard, especially at first.
  • The detox phase: Unless you go into rehab already having detoxed, this is a burden you will have to bear. Detox can be emotionally, physically, and mentally difficult (even painful) but it must be done if you want to get better.
  • Rigid schedule: When you commit yourself to a rehab program, you won’t have much if any control over your schedule. Even your breaks are usually planned. At first, this will be difficult to cope with. But I think you’ll learn that a busy schedule will keep your mind off things and get you on the right track.

What to Bring to Rehab

When you go through your intake at the rehabilitation center, they will go through what you can and can’t bring in. 

I recommend only bringing:

  • Some books to read
  • Enough clothes for a long stay
  • Any mementos from your home that will comfort you.
  • If you have a hobby like drawing or painting, you may be able to bring your materials with you. 

It’s best to check with the program before you go. Depending on the rehab center, some of your items will be confiscated until the end of the rehab program. This includes any sharp objects (including certain pens, knives, needles, etc) and your own food.

Obviously, your belongings and person will be checked for drugs and drug paraphernalia before being admitted. Even though it doesn’t seem fair, anything that their rehab admittance team deems to be dangerous or potentially used for drugs will be confiscated.

Most rehab programs don’t allow you to keep your own money (cash) and sometimes even cell phones are stored away. This makes it harder for you to gain access to drugs and alcohol, even though it seems harsh.

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Updated on February 6, 2024

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