What should I expect in a typical day at rehab?

What is treatment like? What are they going to make me do? Will other people there talk to me? Will I be the most messed up person there? Am I doing the right thing?

These and many other questions are probably racing through your mind as you set off on your way to an addiction treatment center. What lies ahead can be mysterious and daunting.

What should you expect during your typical day in rehab?


While sleeping is certainly one way in which your body will heal itself, your addiction treatment center will only allow for so much time of it.

Expect to wake early for a balanced, nutritious breakfast. Many addiction centers will begin a patient’s day with an early morning therapy session, or a meditation class, to help the patients get started with their day with a productive mindset and with peace of mind.

After breakfast, there will be a therapy session that is led by a counselor which focuses on a particular topic in the treatment process, depending on how far along you are in the program.

Developing new habits

A great amount of addiction treatment is about getting rid of old, dysfunctional habits and training yourself to learn new, functional habits. These habits are taught and developed in the treatment center so that they become routine in your life of sobriety after you are released from rehab.

Sessions at rehab will be focused on realizing clarity about your deepest issues, how your environment and the people in your life have affected your addiction, and what you can do to alter these things in order to stay sober after you leave the treatment center.

From now until lunch, you will be participating in therapeutic sessions. These will have the aim of actively working to change your patterns of behavior, from negative to positive, in a safe and controlled setting.

Welcome to the “new normal”

When drug treatment begins, feeling uncomfortable will probably end up becoming the new normal for a while. However, as you continue to progress through your addiction treatment and you learn more about your disease, these symptoms of discomfort are going to gradually fade.

Growing yourself

Each day in rehab, you will be expected — indeed, you must! — develop your personal authenticity, develop your character, grow in-tune with your emotions, practice adjusting thought patterns from negativity to positivity, and learn how to reduce your levels of stress. All of these skills are crucial, the only way that you are going to truly once and for all beat your addiction for good — and provide you with great amounts of relief!

However, if after several weeks you are still feeling high levels of psychological withdrawal, such as depression, you should inform a member of the addiction treatment staff, so that you can receive additional care.



In the afternoon, you will have a balanced, healthy lunch. After lunch, expect to have more therapy sessions. Unlike the morning sessions, however, afternoon sessions tend to be much more involved and deeply effective than the lighter morning sessions.

During the course of your stay at an addiction treatment center, activities in the afternoon will vary depending on how far along you are in your progress. The medical team at the rehab center will generally have you participate in one of these activities every day:

  • Individual therapy: one-on-one treatment sessions with a trained medical professional in order to treat the singular and personal needs of the patient
  • Group therapy: treatment sessions that take place between one or several trained therapists and multiple patients; many people with the same health issue will be brought together so that the patients can work together, learn from each other, and no longer face a sense of loneliness and isolation in their addiction
  • Educational lectures: a teaching session performed in a group setting, it informs the patient about their addiction and equips them with the knowledge needed in order to conquer their addiction
  • Special-focus groups: group therapy sessions that are geared to a particular part of post-rehab life (such as trauma, grief, maintaining healthy relationships, etc.)

Free time

Once your afternoon therapy session is completed, you will probably be given some free time in your schedule. You will probably be given at least several hours to do whatever it is that you please — within the bounds of the treatment center’s policies, of course.

Facilities will offer a variety of different activities for patients to participate in — there might be ping-pong, basketball, soccer, or even a swimming pool. Meanwhile, others will choose to spend their time in privacy reading or journaling, in prayer or in meditation.

Of course, free time is not to be taken lightly. The time spent either in casual activity with other patients or alone in self-reflection and personal growth, will often to prove to be as deeply effective a treatment for your addiction as any of the therapy sessions.


Once you’ve had dinner, you will most likely have one more therapy session. You can expect this session to be shorter and perhaps more toned-down than the afternoon session.

You can expect the evening session to include a 12-step class or another such support group. There might also be a family-meeting session, in which the patients will be able to temporarily reunite with loved ones so they can see how their recovery is progressing — not to mention the assurance of seeing a family member’s face once again.


The addiction treatment center will schedule bedtime at a reasonable hour, in order to guide the patients back into a healthy lifestyle of a good sleep cycle. We emphasized in the beginning that the rehab center is not going to allow you to sleep as much as you wish. However, sleep is nonetheless crucial to your recovery at rehab — patients need to get enough sleep in order to remain effective in therapy and possess the energy to continue developing their bodies and their characters for a drug-free lifestyle.