Many people who contemplate going to a treatment facility wonder what treatment will be like. Fear of the unknown tends to spark our creative imaginations and we start inventing problems before they start. Having an idea of what to expect at rehab is a good way to ease some of these fears. This blog will explore what one can expect while they are at rehab. Luckily, in-patient treatment centers across the country typically operate with similar models.

Rehab centers are extremely structured residential treatment centers. The structure allows for uniformity on a day-to-day basis and allows the treatment center to treat multiple people with varying issues at the same time.

Wake Up!

People who are in active addiction often report having difficulty sticking to a regimented schedule. In an effort to help integrate patients into healthy and productive lives after treatment, rehab centers will often require patients to wake up early in the morning. Every weekday morning will begin by eating a healthy breakfast. Since many people enter treatment in some form of malnourishment, treatment centers will provide a range of healthy foods like fruit and higher fat foods like peanut butter. Weekend morning will be similar but many treatment centers will allow for an extra thirty minutes to an hour of sleep. They try to stick so a tight schedule. Knowing what to expect at rehab helps you focus on why you are really there – to recover.


What to expect at rehab after breakfast is simple. No matter where you are in the country there will be one or more groups after breakfast. Usually, these will be led by someone on the rehab center’s clinical staff. They will focus on teachings based on various twelve step programs or a particular skill. While in rehab you will be taught certain skills that will help you deal with the stresses that come with living life on life’s terms. Many people use drugs and alcohol because they do not have the tools they need to deal with life’s problems. Some of the classes that may be offered to help on this front are meditation, stress management or even anger management.


Rehab centers usually offer an extended mid-day lunch. By the time lunch times rolls around patients are often physically and emotionally exhausted. At rehab, lunch is more than just a time to get a bite to eat. The food offered at the best rehab centers include selections from world-renowned chefs. You will be able to hand select from a variety of foods based on your dietary needs. Some people often worry that they will be forced to eat sub-par cafeteria style food, but this is far from the truth. The chef is likely to prepare some of the best meals of your life. No matter how draining your morning program may be, a fabulous lunch break can always be expected at rehab.

Don’t push yourself too hard!

It is recommend that any person who is a patient at an inpatient rehab center take advantage of any breaks or relaxation time they are offered. Getting sober takes a lot of mental strength. It is important to take it slow and put in a consistent effort over a long period of time. Many people express feelings of guilt while they are in treatment. It is really easy to feel like you are failing to contribute to the success of your family. While you are in inpatient treatment, you might begin to think about the bills you are not paying, the job you are not working, and the dishes you are not helping clean. But the truth of the matter is that what you are doing is important. You are ensuring that you form a solid base to your recovery so that you can do all of those things and more well into the future. Remember to love yourself and give yourself room to grow. Re-focusing your thoughts to the positive will make your residential addiction treatment experience more successful and more enjoyable.


Something that you may not expect at rehab is to make new friends. While going to treatment is not a popularity contest or a place to go to make people like you, you just might end up making lifelong friends there. As a person with long term recovery, I can tell you that most of my very best friends are people I met in the first few days of recovery. I remember feeling so uncomfortable in my own skin. I met a tribe of people who felt the same way. We trudged the road together, got through treatment together and stuck together. They understood me at a level that no one else did. Now, many years later, I still lean on these people. They have become more like family than friends.

12-Step Meetings

Twelve step programs are proven to work. They are known to lead to long term recovery by those who follow the recommendations of the programs. Twelve step programs will also be a major component of your aftercare program once you leave treatment. Most evenings the best rehab centers will arrange for a 12-step meeting to come into the facility. Take advantage of this and make connections with those people early. They will be there to lean on when you get out of treatment. If these people are taking time out of their day, it is likely because they want to help.

Knowing what to expect at treatment can help make it less scary. Try not be afraid of going to treatment. Take the first step now and get help. The rest of your future is waiting.