What Do I Bring to Drug & Alcohol Rehab?

by Balboa Horizons | May 29, 2018

Choosing to admit yourself to rehab is a huge decision. This time of transition is a stressful one, but it shouldn’t have to be! Wherever you choose to start your recovery, your treatment center is committed to making this period of change as easy and comfortable as possible. They’ll take the guesswork out of things like your meals and other essentials, but there are some things you’ll need to bring with you. In this post, we’ll be covering what you should and shouldn’t bring with you to rehab so you can focus on what’s most important: your successful recovery.


This one’s easy. Choose modest, comfortable outfits that don’t require dry cleaning. Balboa Horizons is located in Orange County so be prepared for the warmer climate, but it doesn’t hurt to bring along some winter apparel as well since our treatment programs include a diverse assortment of activities. We recommend bringing along comfortable, everyday shoes, active shoes for sports, and flip-flops for the shower. Also, bring along any jewelry you can’t live without, such as wedding rings or your favorite necklace. Laundry services are usually on site, and you can find travel-sized containers of laundry detergent at most stores. The most important thing is that your clothing not feature logos, symbols or imagery of intoxicating substances. Even if a particular brand of alcohol or a specific drug isn’t your drug of choice, it’s best to leave it at home.


The majority of life’s essentials will be covered by your treatment provider, but it’s a good idea to bring a small amount of cash or a credit card with you just in case. Most rehabilitation centers have shops and vending machines where you can purchase snacks and other items. In some cases, you may need to purchase additional services and medicines or cover the costs of certain activities and outings. We recommend bringing under $100, and your friends and family are free to bring you more if you need it.

Identification & Insurance Information

Drug and alcohol addiction treatment providers must confirm the identity of each patient. Make sure not to forget an unexpired photo ID, ideally issued by the state or federal government. It’s also not a bad idea to bring along your insurance and prescription cards.

Reading Material

Reading is an important part of recovery, and you’ll be encouraged to spend some time with some reading material of your choice. Some people bring religious texts like the Bible, Torah or Quran, while others bring their favorite novels, historical works or magazines. What you bring along is up to you, but try to choose positive and inspirational materials; depressing stories could undermine your confidence in your ability to recovery from addiction. The only thing we ask is that you not bring sexually explicit or drug-related material.

Writing Supplies

Plan on bringing your favorite pen or pencil and notebook or pad of paper with you. Many treatment centers encourage clients to periodically reflect on their recovery. Furthermore, most programs don’t allow those in recovery to use email, but you can write letters to your loved ones if you so choose. If you’re planning on sending letters, bring some envelopes, an address book and stamps. While this isn’t the fastest means of communication, this minimizes distractions that could negatively impact your recovery.

Phone Card & Numbers

If your loved ones are outside of your treatment provider’s area or you need to make international calls, bring a phone card with you. You can find them at most convenience stores or pharmacies. Also, bring a list of phone numbers for the most important people in your life. We recommend having numbers for your relatives, close friends, employer, landlord, doctor, and pharmacist.

Prescription Drugs

Make sure to pack your doctor-prescribed medications before admittance as well. Keep the original bottles and don’t remove or alter the labels in any way. If you bring a fluid medication, please keep it sealed until our team inspects them. Rehab centers don’t allow samples, so please leave those at home. No recreational intoxicants are permitted, as rehab programs require the immediate cessation of all drug and alcohol use.

Hygiene Products

If you have a favorite shampoo, body wash or toothpaste, by all means, bring them with you! Most treatment programs allow clients to hold onto their normal hygiene products as long as they don’t contain alcohol or aerosol. If your aftershave or mouthwash is alcohol-based, you can find natural substitutes at most stores. Feel free to bring along your favorite makeup, hair products, lotion, and sunscreen as well.

While addiction treatment providers supply most of the necessities, it’s important that you be equipped with all of the tools to make your recovery a success. There’s no need to worry about food, drink, bedding or hand soap, and if you forget something, no worries! Your friends and family can bring or send you forgotten belongings at any time. The most important thing to remember is that your recovery should be your number one priority. If you have questions about whether or not you should bring a certain item, please don’t hesitate to give Balboa Horizons a call. We are happy to walk you through the process and answer any and all questions you have about addiction treatment. We’re available 24/7 at (866) 316-4012.