What to Expect and What to Bring to Addiction Treatment

First, congratulate yourself for making this life-changing and life-saving decision. Second, realize that it’s normal to feel anxious or worried about going for addiction treatment. You may be concerned about what you are permitted to bring into your treatment program. Treatment facilities usually have rules about the types of items that can be brought and those that can’t. As a result of this, many centers provide a checklist of items that are allowed as well as those that are not.

Although there are differences between facilities, many items are commonly recommended. If you aren’t sure, you can call your inpatient facility to find out. Additionally, if you forget something, the center might allow friends or family members to bring forgotten items. 

what to bring to treatment

What You Should Bring to Treatment

Once you arrive and check in to your program, your bags might be searched to make sure no restricted items have been packed. Plus, staff members may take an inventory of your belongings to make sure you don’t leave anything when you leave treatment.

Commonly Recommended Items:

Some treatment facilities have guidelines on the type of clothing to pack. Consider packing clothes that are easy to care for and that you can layer as the weather changes are helpful. Also, pajamas, a sweater, and a swimsuit if the facility has a pool.


What NOT to Bring

Even though some items add to a positive experience in treatment, others can have a negative effect on your recovery including:

It should be noted that some things allowed at one facility might be prohibited at another. You should make sure you know the specific rules at your treatment center.

What to Expect in Residential Treatment


Most people start with detoxification with a medically managed withdrawal. This is considered the first stage of treatment.  Detox is the process in which the body clears itself of drugs. This is a safe, medically supervised way to go through the withdrawal symptoms that come from quitting the drug or alcohol use. 

What to Expect and What to Bring to Addiction Treatment


Residential, or inpatient treatment provides 24 hours a day care, with medical supervision, usually in a non-hospital setting. You will live in a secure facility with no distractions or triggers from the outside world. 

Your treatment will focus on developing personal accountability and responsibility as well as a socially productive life. Treatment is highly structured and your day will be filled with therapy sessions and other activities. 

In behavioral therapy, you will examine your emotional beliefs and how they affect your behaviors. You will learn new ways to manage your emotions and beliefs and more constructive ways to interact with others. 

During individual therapy, you and your counselor will explore your underlying reasons for your substance use disorder. In group therapy, you will share experiences with group members and learn strategies to prevent relapse.

It is possible that you also have a co-existing mental condition. In this case, it must be treated at the same time. This is called a dual diagnosis. People with SUDs frequently have an underlying mental disorder and have been medicating themselves with drug or alcohol use.


After completing your residential program, you might not feel confident enough to be on your own. If that happens, it’s beneficial to step down to a less intense program such as an outpatient program where you attend sessions at the facility during the day and go home at night.

6 Key Inpatient Treatment Rules

While you’re in treatment for a SUD there are some critical rules that must not be broken during your recovery. Although treatment facilities can vary in the treatment plans, staff teams, activities, and treatment approaches, they almost all require that individuals follow these 6 key policies:

  1. No Drugs or Alcohol

It should go without saying that treatment center rules do not allow any type of drug or alcohol possession. This is a serious offense. By bringing substances on the grounds or entering while intoxicated, you are putting other people at risk for an emotional episode or a relapse.

The limitations on drugs and alcohol also include:

  1. No Relationships/Sex with Residents or Staff

Residents in the treatment facility are not to have romantic relationships with staff members or other residents and sexual relationships are strictly prohibited. However, there is an exception when couples enter treatment together. In addition, relationships between staff and residents may cause serious professional penalties for the staff member.

  1. Maintain Confidentiality

Those who attend a treatment program want their records and experiences to be kept confidential. All residents and staff are required to keep the information disclosed in the treatment private. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issued regulations as guidance for confidentiality requirements in substance abuse programs.

  1. No Harassment or Violence

Threatening, abuse, bullying, name-calling, and other verbal harassment will generally not be tolerated at most treatment facilities. Even though residents occasionally don’t get along, they are still required to remain calm and learn to express their frustration in a healthy way. Also, any kind of violence is grounds for immediate dismissal from the program along with any legal complications.

  1. No Weapons

In agreement with #4, no guns are authorized on the grounds of rehab facilities. This includes small knives, box cutters, multi-gear, and any other possibly risky items. This is a major rule to follow considering that occasionally facility residents are suicidal or can be driven to violence if given an opportunity.

  1. No Unexcused Absences

Your location should always be accounted for. The reason for this is that if a resident can’t be found, then the soundness of their treatment program can’t be assured. Therefore, must be with personnel or get approval before an absence.

Why Rules Are Important

The rules in a residential program are an important part of the success of the treatment program. A person struggling with addiction needs the structure that rules create. It helps them keep committed each step of the way.

When Your Loved One is In Treatment

If you have a family member or someone else you care about in treatment, you’re probably feeling some uneasiness, and have questions about how professional inpatient treatment works. You can relax and take a deep breath. Your loved one will not be held against their will and they are not locked up. The truth is that they have a substance use disorder (SUD) and made the right decision to get help. In this case, they are right where they need to be. 

He or she is being cared for by professionals, including experienced medical and nursing personnel. These staff members have received specialized training and education to help people with drug and alcohol problems. Frequently, there are staff members who have been in the same situation as your family member. This peer support is a valuable aid along the way to recovery.

In most situations, they will receive group and individual therapy, medical supervision, and a healthy diet. Your family member is in a health care facility. Because of confidentiality matters and federal privacy laws, the staff of the facility is legally prohibited from giving you any information. But remember, they are exactly where they should be.

Start Packing Your Bags for Sana Lake BWC

Now you have some answers, but we know you are probably still anxious. Making any big change is frightening, even if it is for your benefit. It is always easier to do nothing. 

At Sana Lake, we have experienced, certified professionals that are here only to help you. There is no issue that you might have that we haven’t dealt with before. You have questions and we have answers. Contact us now. We are available to you 24 hours a day.