Day-to-day life during inpatient drug rehab

What can you expect during inpatient drug rehab? A daily calendar and answers to your most FAQs about inpatient drug rehab here.

minute read

For addicts and alcoholics that are still actively using, the thought of attending an inpatient drug rehab program can seem more than a little intimidating. After all, checking into an unfamiliar clinic with strangers for therapists and other drug users as roommates is usually the last thing an addict wants. But as it turns out, attending residential treatment for drug addictions  isn’t only the most effective way to surrender your addictions, it’s also usually relaxed, inviting and completely non-judgmental.

So what can you expect during inpatient drug rehab? The following is a brief overview of what you can expect if you go to an inpatient rehab. Then, we invite your questions about inpatient drug rehab at the end.

The basics of inpatient drug rehab

An inpatient rehab is one where you will live full-time in the same facility where you’ll receive therapy. Most inpatient rehab centers house anywhere from 10-30 patients with staff ratios that are often as high as 2:1. For many people in recovery, a residential treatment addictions program will last around 30 days or longer; this is widely considered to be the most intense type of drug addiction treatment available.

Day-to-day life at an inpatient treatment center

Where will I sleep and eat?

In most cases you’ll be provided with a private room if available and your insurance covers it, or you’ll live in a room or apartment with one or more roommates. These roommates are also in recovery and will attend many of the group therapies and other programs with you. Many people in recovery develop important lasting relationships with the people they go to rehab with.

In many cases, you’ll be provided with funds to go grocery shopping, which means you’ll be responsible for your own cooking and cleaning. If you have roommates, these tasks may be shared.

What are the therapy programs like?

Most types of therapy at an inpatient rehab center will consist of the following type of treatment:

Individual Therapy – Private one-on-one sessions with an addiction counselor.

Group TherapyGroup therapy for addiction includes counseling sessions where some or all members of the inpatient program will collectively share their experiences. A moderator will help guide the group and impart valuable knowledge about controlling urges to use.

Family Therapy – When appropriate you will attend therapy with your key family members. These sessions will be moderated by an addiction professional, with the ultimate goal of repairing damaged relationships, uncovering the triggers and other issues that caused your drug abuse in the first place, and development of an ongoing recovery plan that includes your family members.

Depending on the inpatient center, other types of therapy may be available and can range from adventure therapy to biofeedback therapy to animal therapy. Find out whether your stay will be covered by the ACA, the Affordable Care Act, or not.

What are the Staff members like?

Staff at an inpatient rehab range from behavioral technicians who will assist you with daily activities and ensure that medications are provided on time, etc., to doctors, primary therapists, clinicians and nurses, depending on the level of care offered at the rehab. Often many of these staff members are also addicts in recovery and have dedicated their lives to helping other people – like you – get clean and stay clean. They understand what you’re going through because many of them have lived through the same things.

Will I do nothing but therapy?

In many inpatient rehab centers there is much more to do than attend therapy. Some of this includes going on shopping trips or medical/therapeutic appointments, but special events are regularly planned at many treatment centers. This can consist of recovery-oriented events like community AA and NA meetings, recovery-group-sponsored charity events and functions, or simple group gatherings to help gain solidarity between members of the inpatient rehab.

Most treatment centers and staff understand that relaxation and recreation are an important part of any recovery program and take specific steps to help ensure that your treatment stay is well-balanced.

The following is an example of a typical day in many inpatient rehab programs:

7:00 AM – 8: 00 AM – Wake-up, breakfast, basic chores

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM – Morning medication & nurse checks

9:00 AM – 9:30 AM – Daily activities session

9:45 AM – 10:00 AM – Break

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM – Group therapy session

11:00 AM – 11:45 AM – Journaling time

11:45 AM – 12:00 PM – Clean up & prepare for lunch

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM – Lunch

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM – Individual counseling session

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Group exercise & outdoor time

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM – Afternoon medication & nurse checks

4:00 PM – 4:30 PM – Drug screening

4:30 PM – 5:30 PM – Medication management meeting

5:30 – 6:30 PM – Major daily chores

6:30 PM – 7:30 PM – Family therapy sessions

7:30 PM – 8:30 PM – 2 Group therapy session

8:30 PM – 9:00 PM – Social time, phone calls, etc

9:15 PM – 9:30 PM – Nightly medication and nurse checks

10:00 PM – 11:00 PM – Quiet time, reading, homework, etc

11 PM – Lights out

The preceding is an example of a limited daily schedule at an inpatient treatment facility. In some cases a schedule like this may be broken by shopping trips, meetings that are held off-site, special events and recreational outings.

What do I need to do to graduate?

In most cases as long as you participate in therapy and do not use drugs or alcohol during your stay at an inpatient program, you will be considered to have “graduated.” However, drug use during your stay can result in your expulsion in addition to potential police involvement.

The tools and education provided during an inpatient stay will teach you early on that once you graduate after roughly 30 days or so, your path to recovery has really only just begun. Fortunately, most inpatient centers offer aftercare and sober living programs that will help you stay clean for years after you leave rehab.

Questions to ask before attending inpatient drug rehab

The best thing that you can do if you’re planning on going to an inpatient rehab center is to ask questions before your intake assessment. Ask the questions that are most important to you first:

  • What kinds of therapy are used?
  • Will I have a roommate?
  • Can my treatment be shortened or extended based on my needs?

Overall, daily life at an inpatient program is comfortable, safe and 100% dedicated to helping you get clean and stay clean for life. Some people compare it to summer camp, while others appreciate the security and supervision that is provided, which ensures a clean environment is maintained at all times. But regardless of your expectations, spending a few weeks at an inpatient drug rehab is much better than being dead in the gutter from an overdose.

Inpatient drug rehab questions

Still have questions about a stay in drug rehab? Please leave your questions in the comments section below. We do our best to respond to all queries personally and promptly.

About the author
James F. Davis, CAS is a Board Certified Interventionist and the founder of Recovery First, a prominent inpatient drug treatment center in South Florida. Mr. Davis is also the founder of a website dedicated to Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, and celebrated his 32nd year of sobriety in early 2013.
I am ready to call
i Who Answers?