What Does a Typical Day in Rehab Look Like

For some, the fear of the unknown keeps them from seeking treatment. Inpatient rehab is highly organized and structured to keep those in recovery too busy to think about using. But no one is forced to be there, and they can leave at any time. But honestly, the hardest part is walking through the front door, so everything after that is a positive step toward a life free of substance abuse! So let’s ease the fear by taking a look at a typical day in rehab looks like.

A Day in Rehab

Every center may offer its own unique programs, but the typical day in rehab looks like this. 

Mornings: Positive Energy and Food for the Spirit

Mornings start early in treatment, watching the sky as the sun starts to rise is a positive way to start the day. It’s a good time to focus on the goals for the day, what forward steps will you make today? Also, take this time to reflect on how far you have come and allowed yourself to be proud and happy. Even if it’s your first morning in treatment, be proud that you took the hardest step, seeking help.

Some centers offer early morning classes such as yoga and meditation. Yoga is a great way to stretch your muscles and get the blood flowing while being calm enough to clear your mind. Meditation is an alternative treatment that concentrates on the mind-body connection. Meditation is known to improve a person’s mental and physical health. It teaches a person to focus on being aware of feelings, thoughts, and physical sensations. And how to accept and acknowledge these feelings without judgment. 

Healthy eating is important in repairing a body damaged by addiction. A healthy breakfast gives you fuel to tackle the morning and helps the brain focus and be ready to meet the challenges thrown at you. When you eat healthily, it also keeps your spirits lifted. Some days are harder than others to stay positive, so eating a healthy breakfast is one thing you can do to help stay upbeat.

After breakfast, most centers allow a little free time to gather items needed for therapy sessions or journaling. Some patients like to take a short walk to get the blood flowing and burn some calories after breakfast. It is a good time to stop, take a deep breath, and mentally prepare for the counseling sessions about to happen.

If you have been prescribed any medication, it is normally given out after breakfast. Some medications are best taken with food, but for those needed to be taken on an empty stomach, they will be dispensed after you wake up. 

Mid-morning: Therapy Sessions

Therapy sessions are an extremely important part of treatment. After breakfast, group sessions usually start. Group sessions are designed to help addicts build healthy friendships and provide support from people who have been through the same situations. As more time is spent with this group of people, trust is built, and it is easier to be open about your feelings and thoughts.

No one can beat addiction alone, but with the support given in group therapy, an addict will learn ways to help them stay sober.

What to Expect in Group Therapy

What are the Benefits of Group Therapy

After group therapy, it is important to take a few minutes and write down what you learned and what you can use in your everyday life to help you stay sober. Journaling is a good way to get the thoughts out of your head. With all the information, feelings, and thoughts running through your head, it is easy to forget things. Journaling is a great way to keep all these things organized. And one day, you may want to go back and read what you were going through and celebrate how far you have come. 

Noon: Lunch Time

After a morning of emotional and sometimes draining therapy sessions, it is time to sit down for a healthy lunch. Besides the healthy nourishment for your body, the free-spirited social hour is good for the soul. Addiction is a hard battle to fight, so it is important to enjoy social time to make new connections and just have fun.

Afternoons: Therapy Sessions

Afternoons in rehab are when the most intense therapy sessions take place. Some therapy programs are common in most rehab centers, but some rehabs also offer some not so common programs. Everyone’s addiction is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. 

Treatment Centers May Offer Some of the Following Programs

Individual Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT, has been proven to be the most effective program in addiction treatment centers. CBT is a short term program that is based on the theory that if you change the way a person thinks, it will change the way the person behaves. Negative thoughts produce negative behaviors in the same way positive thoughts produce positive behaviors. With the help of a licensed therapist, negative behaviors, and what leads to these behaviors will be identified. The therapist will provide tools to change the way thoughts are interpreted and turn negative thoughts into positive responses. 

It is always important to be honest about all aspects of your addiction while in treatment. In CBT, it is extremely important to be an open book, or the chances of successful sobriety are drastically reduced. One-on-one sessions allow for a safe, nonjudgemental environment to be honest and vulnerable and to receive individualized lessons on how to handle what life puts in the participant’s path. 

Rational Emotional Behavioral Therapy

Rational Emotional Behavioral Therapy or REBT was developed in 1955 by Dr. Albert Ellis. It is based on the theory that if you change the emotional reaction to an event, you change the behavior. Focusing on the present, patients are taught to change their thinking, which changes their emotions and finally changes their unhealthy behavior. 

REBT is a practical approach that requires patients to examine the following unhealthy emotions:

REBT makes patients focus on manipulative behaviors such as:

REBT uses a method called “disputing” to change dysfunctional beliefs into healthy, realistic ones. It helps recovering addicts develop a plan and approach to a successful and healthy life and relationships. 

Family Therapy

Addiction affects all members of the family. Because of the damage addiction does to the family relationships, it is important to rebuild these connections. And maybe it is the lack of family connections that led to addiction, so it is also important to start connections from the bare bones and rebuild the trust and the support system needed to achieve healthy relationships. In many cases, loved ones build co-dependant relationships and enabling behaviors that need to be addressed and corrected. 

Family involvement is crucial to successful sobriety. A recovering addict needs a positive support system in place before they leave rehab or their success rate diminishes. The enabler in the family will learn to become the strong shoulder to lean on and will build tools to help the addictive stay on the sober road.

Trauma Therapy

Starting to be used in addiction therapy, EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a combination of different treatment programs. EMDR was developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in 1987 when she noticed that eye movements in certain situations reduce the intensity of unhealthy thoughts. EMDR became extremely helpful in treating victims of traumatic stress. Victims of traumatic stress relive the event or events in such vivid detail that it is like it is happening all over again. This type of treatment does not erase the traumatic event from their memory, and they will still remember details, but the emotional response is reduced. 

Some addictions begin because of a traumatic experience. Learning to control the emotional reaction to memories will help find healthy ways to respond to the memories of the traumatic event and will help with staying on the path of sobriety.

EMDR helps with the following conditions that lead to drug and alcohol abuse:

There are eight phases of EMDR:

  1. Client history and treatment planning– 1-2 sessions, will identify specific problems and behaviors, develop a treatment plan, generic question and answers/not in-depth sessions
  2. Preparation– 1-4 sessions, taught specific tools to deal with emotional issues, the main goal is to build trust and a connection between the therapist and the patient
  3. Assessment– focus on changing negative thoughts and beliefs to positive, healthy ones, also focuses on the emotional and physical aspects of trauma and how to control them in a positive way
  4. Desensitization– focuses on the unhealthy emotions, sensations, and responses, uses eyes movement, taps, and sounds to decrease the intensity of the reaction to change the focus mentally and physically
  5. Installation– the focus is on solidifying and strengthening positive emotions, thoughts, and behaviors
  6. Body scan– will recall events in detail to measure the level of emotional, physical, and behavioral intensity, not considered successful treatment unless there is no response to the memory
  7. Closure– happens at the end of each session, the patient should feel better leaving than when arriving, will be taught self-calming methods
  8. Reevaluation– performed at the beginning of every session, a review of the effect of the treatment and if any other areas need to be treated 

Relapse Prevention

A well-supervised relapse prevention program is crucial to a continued path of sobriety. The chances of relapse are significantly higher if someone leaves rehab without a strict guideline to follow and a strong support system to reach out to. If someone does not have a strong support system on the outside, or the risk of relapse is high, they can transition to a halfway house so they can build a sober life in the “real” world while still having to be accountable every day for their actions. Relapse prevention programs like the one at Coastal Detox is designed to give the highest chance of continued sobriety. 

A typical relapse plan offers the following:

Continued treatment with a therapist is a crucial part of recovery as it holds the recovering addict accountable for their actions. A therapist will be able to notice signs that lead to relapse and can help stop it before it happens. 

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing was developed by Dr. William R. Miller, an Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico. He first wrote about the effectiveness of this technique in 1983.

Motivational Interviewing focuses on building motivation to stay sober. It can be scary to face life’s problems and obstacles while staying sober, but this technique believes motivation can be taught and instilled into normal daily life. Drugs and/or alcohol has always been a crutch to lean on when life gets hard. Making a healthy decision is very intimidating in the beginning, but with the right motivation, continued sobriety is achievable. If someone in recovery loses the motivation for sobriety, it will be easy to fall back into old routines. 

3 Key Components of Motivational Interviewing:

  1. Sessions are called Interviews. It is a joint effort between the therapist and the patient. 
  2. Patients set their own goals instead of a therapist forcing goals on the patient. 
  3. The patient’s autonomy stays intact. The patient is encouraged to be responsible for meeting their goals, and their confidence in themselves is built up with each one met. 

Motivational Interviewing inspires patients to change when they are still unsure if they can stay sober. There are 4 client-centered processes that help patients get started. 

  1. Engaging- establishing trust
  2. Focusing- the main focus of recovery
  3. Evoking- bringing up all the arguments why not to stay sober
  4. Planning- envisioning change will make it happen

Wellness Groups

When treating addiction, the whole body needs to be treated. Addiction treatment needs a nice balance of work and fun. Each center offers different programs to stimulate the artistic side and the active side. Some people use art or music as an outlet and an escape while other people enjoy hiking or outdoor activities. Some people like the peace of meditation and yoga. While for some, these passions have been there all along, and for others, they discover talents they never knew they had. 

Wellness Programs may include:

Evenings: Dinner 

After a long afternoon of intense therapy, it is time to sit down to a healthy dinner and some social time. After a healthy dinner, it is a nice time to find a quiet spot to watch the sunset. Looking back at the goals set in the morning, did they get met? If the answer is yes, then take a minute to be proud of the accomplishment, and if it did not, then think about how to reach the goal tomorrow. 

Evenings: 12-Step Meetings

12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are a good way to end the day. Sharing the struggles and successes of the day allows an addict to receive support from others while being inspirational to others. Continued attendance in these programs helps build a trusted circle and friendships. A lifetime commitment to these programs increases continued successful sobriety.  

Evening: Bedtime

A part of developing healthy habits includes a reasonable bedtime. Rehab can be mentally and physically exhausting, and a good night’s sleep allows the body and the brain to recuperate and prepare for the next day. What is the saying, “Nothing good happens at night”? So it is a healthy way to avoid the temptation of relapse. 

Get Into Rehab Now

Now that you know what a typical day in rehab is like, it is time to take control of your life and contact Coastal Detox. Our addiction treatment specialists are waiting to guide you toward your best life.




Real Client Testimonials

  • Thank you Costal Detox, 9 months sober now and loving every bit of it! I hate how mean I was while detoxing but then again it’s all part of the process. The staff were so caring and kind - helpful in so many ways! The environment was so comfortable and pleasing to be in!

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    Addison R.
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    kelly d.
  • Thank you Costal Detox, 9 months sober now and loving every bit of it! I hate how mean I was while detoxing but then again it’s all part of the process. The staff were so caring and kind - helpful in so many ways! The environment was so comfortable and pleasing to be in!

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