A Typical Day in Drug or Alcohol Rehab

A Typical Day in Drug or Alcohol Rehab
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Drug or alcohol rehab is an important step on the road to long-term recovery and holistic wellness. But those who’ve never attended an addiction rehab program before may not know what to expect or what an average day in one of these programs will be like.

In truth, your typical day in drug or alcohol rehab can vary heavily depending on the clinic you attend and whether you are part of an inpatient or outpatient program. Let’s take a closer look at what to expect on the average day of a drug or alcohol rehab program. By the end, you’ll feel much more comfortable heading to rehab, no matter which clinic you choose to visit.

Inpatient Rehab Programs

Inpatient rehab programs1 require patients to remain at wellness treatment facilities, like rehab clinics. At an inpatient facility, you’ll be tended to by licensed medical professionals and social workers 24/7. You’ll always have the support you need to stay healthy, and you won’t be at a high risk of relapsing into addictive behavioral patterns while you’re there.

Because of these benefits, inpatient rehab programs benefit those whose addictions are easy to feed or those who have tried outpatient programs before with little success. However, inpatient rehab programs do limit your freedom to some extent. For this reason, many are wary of inpatient rehab programs and worry about what happens on an average day-to-day schedule.

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect on a typical day at an inpatient rehab program.

In the Morning

At most inpatient rehab facilities, mornings begin with healthy breakfasts and some early meetings with fellow patients or supervisors. Indeed, you’ll find that most rehab programs don’t allow you to sleep in.

Inpatient rehab programs are all about building healthy habits for your life in the future. To that end, you’ll be expected to rise simultaneously each morning and enjoy a healthy breakfast that provides your body with healthy fuel.

Afterward, you may be asked to participate in yoga or meditation activities. Some rehab facilities incorporate prayer or spiritual exercises to help you begin the day in the right state of mind.

Around Midday/Afternoon

After breakfast and nearing midday, you’ll attend group sessions or other exercises led by counselors or therapists. For instance, during a 12-step program, you may focus on one of the 12 steps included in the program or specific recovery strategies and techniques.

During this part of your day, a lot of focus will be on acquiring or discovering the clarity and inner strength you need to thrive in your life once again. These daily meetings are very helpful for many inpatient rehab patients. You benefit from a safe, controlled therapeutic environment and are given the tools you need to recognize negative patterns in your behavior that you can change.

Around midday, you’ll take lunch, usually in the company of other patients, counselors, or therapists. In the afternoon, most inpatient rehab programs start a series of therapeutic sessions or strategies. These can include but are not limited to:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on changing your thinking patterns to develop new, positive habits.2
  • Group therapy sessions offer camaraderie and openness.
  • Specialized or one-on-one therapy sessions may be tailored for unique needs like stress management, trauma experience counseling, and more.
  • During family therapy, family members or friends may visit you at an inpatient rehab facility to offer support and to undergo counseling with you under the guidance of a licensed professional.3

The exact treatments or programs you’ll undergo depend on the clinic you choose and the nature of your treatment program. For example, someone struggling with alcohol addiction may have a different therapeutic solution than someone dealing with anxiety.

Free Time Hours

It’s usual for inpatient rehab programs to incorporate a few free time hours for patients. During these free hours, you can enjoy recreation or do what you please, such as reading, watching limited television, going on walks, listening to music, etc.

In the Evening

When the evening rolls around, you’ll have a nutritious dinner and may be asked to attend a 12-step meeting or other rehab meetings on-site with a small group of your fellow patients. Evening meetings are prime times for groups to get together and voice their feelings, concerns, and successes.

Again, many of these meetings will be led by licensed counselors or therapists. Once they’re done, expect to head to bed at a reasonable time so you can get a full night’s rest.

Outpatient Rehab Programs

Outpatient rehab programs don’t require you to stay at a rehab treatment facility. You can stay at your current home, surrounded by friends and family. However, you do need to regularly visit a rehab treatment facility to check in with your support specialist. You’ll also need to regularly complete exercises in person or over the phone to build up healthy habits and prevent relapsing.

Let’s break down what you can expect in your day-to-day routine during an outpatient rehab program.

Regular Visits to Treatment Facilities

To complete an outpatient rehab program, you must regularly visit a local treatment facility. Depending on the nature of your program, you might need to visit once per week or more often. For instance, during intensive outpatient programs – which provide patients with more attention without requiring them to stay at a facility 24/7 – you may be expected to attend 10 hours of treatment per week or more.

Regardless, your supervisor or treatment specialist will check on you regularly to ensure you attend your meetings on time. If you fail to attend meetings, pass drug tests, or complete other necessary exercises, you could be removed from the program or transferred to an inpatient program, depending on what you sign up for.

With an outpatient program, your day-to-day routine will depend on your home routine and job responsibilities. You’ll have to make some schedule adjustments to attend your treatment meetings.

Check-Ins via Phone or Webcam

Many outpatient rehab programs require patients to make regular check-ins using their phones or webcam devices. These check-in sessions help supervisors keep track of patients and provide them with the help and support they need to succeed and thrive without relapsing.

Again, the frequency of check-ins can vary depending on the program you attend. One program may only require you to check in once per week. Another may require a daily check-in call with your supervisor.

Get Started with a Trusted Drug and Alcohol Rehab in California

As you can see, the average day in drug or alcohol rehab will focus on giving you the tools you need to succeed. Whether you attend an inpatient or outpatient program, your treatment specialists will do everything they can to strengthen your daily routines and help you get back on your feet in more ways than one.

Clear Life Recovery’s inpatient and outpatient programs are tailored to your needs and requirements. For example, we have addiction programs for alcohol or addiction programs for members of the LGBTQIA+ community. These are just a few ways in which we put your treatment first. Contact us today to learn more and to ask questions about rehab and becoming healthier.



[1] https://alcohol.org/rehab-centers/inpatient/

[2] https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and-families/cognitive-behavioral

[3] https://dictionary.apa.org/family-therapy