Happy family


What is an Average Day in Drug Rehab Like?

what is rehab like

A drug rehab or treatment center is carefully designed to help people suffering from substance use disorders. The goal of rehab is to provide these individuals with the skills, resources, and confidence needed to manage their disorder and live a healthy life long-term.

As you can imagine, the rehabilitation process takes time. In fact, we often refer to rehab—and the larger recovery process—as a “marathon, not a sprint.” This is because it takes time for a user’s brain and body functioning to get healthy again. Treatment professionals recommend at least 90 days of rehab to truly begin the recovery process, though longer stays are associated with better recovery outcomes.

This level of commitment can be intimidating, and a bit overwhelming, for those just starting to explore treatment. If your loved one is struggling with addiction, for example, you may worry how a long-term drug rehab program will affect their schooling or commitments right now. If you are the one battling a drug use disorder, you may be nervous about living at a treatment facility, rather than in the comfort of your own home. These are common hesitations for those early in the process.

Sometimes, knowing what to expect in drug rehab can help ease the transition into a residential (i.e. inpatient) program. Below, we outline what an average day in rehab might look like for you.

A Typical Day in Inpatient Drug Rehab

Inpatient rehab programs require clients to live in sober homes at or nearby the facility in which they are receiving treatment. By doing so, clients benefit from having a safe, stable, supportive, and sober environment in which they can truly heal. Clients also benefit from having a defined schedule each day in their program. This schedule provide structure, accountability, and purpose throughout the day—in turn ensuring there are less opportunities to think about or crave drugs.

Schedules and programs will vary from rehab to rehab, as well as from person to person. The best type of drug rehab programs tailor each client’s schedule to their specific needs. No person has the same story, health status, or reasons for using drugs, and therefore each program must be personalized to provide the best possible outcome for them. With that said, there are consistencies between most drug rehab programs. So, how does drug rehab work each day?

In the Morning:

  • Waking up. Most rehab programs have a set time for residents to wake up and start their days. Usually, support staff will come to each room to ensure you are up and getting ready for the day. Getting ready may include washing up, getting dressed, and making the bed.
  • Setting the tone for the day. Depending on your interests and your program, there may be time set aside for you to indulge in self-care or a healthy activity. For example, some people might choose to start their mornings with a workout, yoga session, or meditation. These healthful activities can help ease you into the day and set a positive tone for the activities ahead.
  • Eating breakfast. Breakfast typically occurs around the same time each day in treatment. Most programs will have residents eat together in a communal setting, allowing you to socialize and form friendships with others in recovery. Breakfast is typically a healthy and balanced meal.
  • Morning sessions. After breakfast, you can expect to attend therapy. This may mean a one-on-one session with your therapist, or a group therapy session, in which a small number of individuals meet with a counselor.  
  • Personal time. After therapy, you can set aside time to do something that interests you. This might be spending time relaxing and writing in your journal. It could mean meeting a friend to walk around the campus. It could also mean playing a game, reading a book, or hitting the gym. This is up to you to determine what will make you happy and feel good.

In the Afternoon:

  • Lunch time. Much like breakfast, clients typically come together in a community setting for lunch. This is another nutritious, balanced meal. In any rehab program, you’ll find that nutrition is a big focus of mealtime. It is important to provide your body with the nutrients that are needed to heal after prolonged drug use.
  • Afternoon therapy. Depending on what you tackled in your morning session, your afternoon therapy session will either be individualized counseling with your therapist, or a group meeting. In a one-on-one counseling session, you may work with your clinician to understand the root of your drug problem, the cause of negative thought patterns, and develop mechanisms to improve your mental health. Other therapy sessions might include ones that focus on relapse prevention, life skills development, family therapy, and/or future planning. Therapy sessions will vary daily and weekly, to help you get the most out of treatment. They will also be individualized to meet your evolving needs while in rehab.
  • Personal time. Once again, you will have time set aside to relax or have fun. While rehab involves a lot of structure, it does account for free time for you to engage in activities that interest you. This might mean playing in a sports league with others in your program. It might mean joining a music group or participating in an art workshop. If you are still in school, this time may also be set aside for homework, tutoring, or academic planning with a mentor. This, again, will be individualized to meet your needs.

In the Evening:

  • Eating dinner. Dinner is usually set for the same time each evening, around five or six o’clock. You can expect a nutritious meal, eaten alongside your friends and peers in your program. 
  • Group meetings. After dinner, you can typically expect to attend a 12-step meeting or other type of support group. 12-step meetings may be held at the treatment facility or off-campus, depending on your progress in your program. These meetings are designed to give you a chance to speak with others in recovery, encourage one another, and find ways to prevent relapse.
  • Fun time. Some treatment programs offer the occasional outing or group activity, typically on weekends, for clients to participate in. This may mean attending an in-town concert or theater production, going to a museum opening, seeing a movie, or heading to watch a local sports game. During weekdays, evenings usually will offer another period of personal time, which you can use to socialize with others, do something you enjoy, or simply wind down for the night.
  • Bedtime. Because of the reliance on routine, most rehab programs will encourage a set time for “lights out.” The goal of having this structured bedtime ensures you get enough sleep at night. Sleep is an essential aspect of the recovery process, as it allows your body to heal and your brain to rest. It encourages good mental health, stability, and motivation throughout the day.

It’s important to note that this is just an average day in rehab, but there may be special occurrences that pop up throughout your stay. Off-site visits, like the outings noted above, happen from time to time. Sometimes, there is time or days set aside for family visits, holiday celebrations, and more.

Starting a Rehab Program

While the thought of rehab can feel intimidating, the days in rehab are something that you can look forward to. The goal of rehab is to help you establish a healthy and positive way of living. Therefore, your days will be filled with activities that are in your best interest: healthy eating, exercise, talking with counselors, establishing sober friendships, and making time for hobbies that you love. In time, you may find that a residential rehab program was the best decision you could have possibly made. Many Turnbridge alumni will tell you that the friends they made in treatment have become family, and the lessons learned are ones they will keep for a lifetime. In fact, many Turnbridge alumni have come back to help as support staff, as they are encouraged to help others through the recovery process!

If you are interested in starting your recovery journey, do not be afraid. Change is uncomfortable, but it is exactly what we need to grow. If you are interested in learning about Turnbridge’s treatment programs for teens and young adults, please do not hesitate to reach out. Call 877-581-1793 to speak with admissions about what an average day in our rehab program might look like for you.

You can also read more, related articles such as: