Everything’s set and you’re about to go into treatment. But it’s not down the street, perhaps not close to your home environment. Even if this is by choice, it’s understandable to feel a bit of anxiety traveling someplace new. Plus, this is an important decision that you’ve made to enter treatment and you want to do it right. What should you bring? What should you leave home? Take the worry out of packing for rehab with these tips.
BRING YOUR COMMITMENT
Before thinking about anything else, keep in mind that the most important item in your travel kit is an internal one: your commitment. This decision cannot have been easy. A lot of thought went into making the decision to get help to overcome dependence on or addiction to alcohol or drugs, or dual diagnosis, even poly-drug addiction.
Besides being removed from temptation, experiencing a relaxing atmosphere, the freedom to explore a healthy new lifestyle, and meeting new people, another huge benefit to going away for treatment is freedom from distractions. There’s no need to worry about taking the kids to and from school, sports and extracurricular activities, satisfying the demands of your boss, tending to routine errands and chores, even bill-paying. The focus is right where it should be: on learning how to overcome addiction.
CHECK WITH REHAB FACILITY
Depending on the treatment facility you’ve selected, much of what you’ll need during your stay will already be provided for you. It’s best to check with the rehab center first to see what amenities and activities are available so that you have a better idea of any special clothing, accessories or other items you want to bring with you. Also, check the types of alternative therapies used during treatment, including yoga, massage, mindfulness meditation and other holistic services.
It’s worth noting that some treatment facilities permit you to bring certain items, while others do not. And some items, such as cell phones and laptops, may only be permitted at specific times. If you are a cigarette smoker, you may be allowed to bring cigarettes with you, although the facility will likely limit the number of cartons.
Start by checking the facility’s FAQs, descriptions of amenities and activities. Call the admissions office with any specific questions about what to pack and what to leave home. Remember that your focus should be on healing, not stressing out over packing. Keep to essentials and you can’t go wrong.
PACK APPROPRIATE SEASONAL ATTIRE
If the rehab facility is in a different climate, or it’s a certain season, bear this in mind when gathering wardrobe choices to pack. Once you know what activities are offered, especially ones you’re interested in, include appropriate clothing that will accommodate leisure, workout and other activities. This includes pajamas, bathrobe, slippers, belt, bathing suits, walking shoes, hats and sunglasses, light sweater or jacket – whatever you normally wear for activities. Be sure to pack comfortable clothing that will give you enough choices throughout your stay. How much you bring will, of course, be dictated by the length of your treatment program. Longer stays may require more clothing choices. Ask about laundry facilities or options for cleaning so that you don’t pack more than you need.
BRING CURRENTLY PRESCRIBED MEDICATIONS
After your arrival and check-in, your medical condition will be immediately assessed. While detox medications will be prescribed, it’s important to bring with you any currently prescribed medications you are taking. Make sure to bring them in the original prescription bottles.
What about vitamins and over-the-counter medications? Again, this is worth checking with the rehab center to see what is permitted and what is not.
INCLUDE PERSONAL HYGIENE ITEMS
While your primary focus during rehab is on healing, it’s also important that you have with you any personal hygiene items you normally use. These include deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, toothbrush and toothpaste, brush and comb, hair dryer, curling iron, feminine hygiene products, shaving cream, makeup, lotion and sunscreen. This provides a measure of comfort, familiarity and security and reduces feelings of stress from trying to get used to something other than your preferences. A quick check with the rehab center might be in order, since some essential items, such as a hair dryer, may be included among the provided amenities.
DON’T FORGET SPENDING MONEY
For weekend, after hours and optional activities, be sure to include a small amount of spending money to have on hand. The point isn’t to carry around a stack of cash, just to have some funds to use for discretionary purchases. The treatment facility likely has guidelines on the recommended amount to bring, if you so choose, so don’t be afraid to ask.
CARRY YOUR PHOTO ID
As with any medical service or procedure, photo ID is required upon arrival and check-in, so be sure to pack this with your other travel essentials. Depending on the mode of travel to and from the treatment facility, you’ll probably need your photo ID anyway.
Traveling for treatment is, in a sense, like traveling for any important reason. Any trip requires planning, packing, and making decisions for while you’re away. Smart travelers know to pack light. It’s less hassle, reduces stress, and paves the way for focusing on the purpose of the trip. In this case, it’s healing from addiction.