You did it. You decided to check into a long term alcohol rehab to help you overcome your addiction. It’s a fantastic step on the road to recovery, but before you throw your bags in the car, there are a few things that you should know about packing for an extended stay at rehab. Here are just nine tips for making the process a little easier.
- Consider the Length of Your Stay
First things first: How long is your treatment program? If you’ll be staying for months rather than weeks, your luggage will need to reflect that. While you can always have your friends and family bring you any toiletries that you run out of, you don’t want them to have the responsibility of re-stocking your entire wardrobe.
- Pack Layers, Not Outfits
Speaking of wardrobes, you’ll want to be careful and practical about the clothes that you bring. You probably won’t feel like putting on any fashion shows, so don’t worry about looking stylish. Stick to comfortable things like hoodies and sweatpants, and make sure to pack clothing that can be layered. Layers will allow you to get the most versatility out of your wardrobe.
- Ask About Banned Items
You might be surprised at what you’re not allowed to bring to rehab. For example, anything alcohol-based is usually forbidden, even if it’s something basic like mouthwash or nail polisher remover. You might also be discouraged from bringing certain books or DVDs if they contain triggering content related to addiction. You’ll definitely want to ask about the rules before you pack.
- Bring Mementos From Home
You’re going to need a lot of motivation for getting sober. This is particularly important when you’re checking into a long-term facility; since you won’t be able to dash home whenever you’re missing your spouse or your kids, you’ll want pictures, albums or trinkets to tide you over. It can make all of the difference in your emotional well-being if you have your daughter’s stuffed animal to watch over you after a difficult day.
- Pack a Pen
Journaling can be a healthy way to express your emotions while you’re in rehab. You might also enjoy the use of a notebook when you’re tracking days, listing symptoms, writing letters to loved ones or doing research on addiction. Your therapist might ask you to consider something like the effects of long term alcohol abuse, and with a pen and paper, you can organize your thoughts in a structured way.
- Include Some Workout Gear
Many people in rehab find themselves drawn to physical activity even if they weren’t an active person before. The endorphins from a round of exercise can be a great way to clear your head. In addition, your rehab might offer fun but messy activities like pottery, painting or horseback riding, and you’ll want clothing that’s appropriate for the occasion.
- Pocket Some Cash
This is something else that you’ll want to ask about; some rehab facilities don’t need or want you to bring money, especially if they’re trying to draw you away from the bad influences that caused your addiction in the first place. On the other hand, some rehabs will have vending machines or allow you to take off-site visits to convenience stores. A few funds might come in handy.
- Include a Comfort Item or Two
These might be the same as your mementos from home, or they might be something entirely different. Do you have a piece of jewelry that means a lot to you? Did you earn a sobriety chip from a support group before you left? Do you take comfort in spiritual or religious artifacts? Put a couple of these objects in your luggage. Use them as touchstones to get through the entire program.
- Don’t Forget Your Paperwork
Last but not least, you’ll want to include a compartment in your luggage for things like your driver’s license, insurance card and inpatient forms. You might also want to stuff a few stamps and envelopes in there so that you can mail things to your loved ones later. Consider this your “documents” or “fundamentals” compartment. You don’t want to lose anything from it.
These are just a few things to keep in mind as you pack for an extended stay at a rehabilitation clinic. Whether you’re checking yourself in for three weeks or three months, it’s important to have all of the tools that you’ll need for your recovery. Good luck!