What is a Typical Day in Drug Rehab Like?

Getting into rehab may sound like a difficult commitment, but the process is easy to understand once you know what to expect. See a typical day in drug rehab and know how you can get started in this post.

Rehabilitation of any kind can be an intimidating thought. Some create an idea in their mind that getting into rehab means wearing a straight jacket, staring at blank walls, and being lodged into rooms where all freedom is lost. The truth is, drug rehab is far from that–it can even be a pleasing, revitalizing experience for many.

A part of maximizing the benefits in rehab is knowing what to expect. With the help of addiction specialists, you can have a personalized treatment plan that is both enjoyable and helpful in your current situation.

To better understand what is rehab like, below you will see a typical day as someone in an addiction recovery center.

A Typical Day In Drug Or Alcohol Rehab

Mornings: A Healthy Breakfast and Early Meetings

How does rehab work in the mornings? Whether you’re in the initial, middle, or final stages of inpatient rehab, mornings should always start with a healthy breakfast. A balanced breakfast will usually consist of:

  • Whole grains and other healthy carbohydrate sources: Whole wheat bread, brown rice, flaxseed, barley, or oatmeal are some of the top choices for carbohydrates in the morning. These are a great source of energy, keeping you full while preventing you from feeling sluggish throughout the day.
  • Protein sources: High-quality rehab centers have a thoughtful menu that boosts their patients’ mental health. These include placing protein sources rich in Omega-3 such as fatty fish, seafood, and nuts. For weight management, a recommended protein source would be lean meats such as white meat from chicken, turkey, or fish.
  • Vitamins and minerals: Many people who have gone to rehab initially have a lot of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Thus, having breakfast with a load of tasty vegetables, succulent fruits, as well as recommended supplements will help them regain lost nutrients during their former health under substance use disorder.

Some rehab centers will have meal combinations to choose from, and other luxury facilities can create custom breakfasts according to the patient’s preferences. The common denominator is getting maximum nutrition from the first meal of the day.

After breakfast, participants are encouraged to participate in the early morning meetings. Some meetings can be religious or non-religious–but the main essence of having these meetings is to “check-in” on each other, talk about the things they learned from the previous day, and to share helpful principles. These meetings will usually end right around lunchtime.

Afternoons: Daily Therapy

What do you do in rehab during the afternoons? Depending on the custom treatment program for each rehab participant, afternoons are usually reserved for various kinds of therapies. Some patients prefer talk therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Family Therapy, or many others.

These types of treatment interventions mean sitting down with a mental health specialist and discussing thought patterns, events, behaviors, and responses. They help the patient think about all the elements of their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, while the therapist guides them to have better ways to think and act on their life’s circumstances.

Others may prefer a different kind of therapy, such as holistic treatments. Participants can also opt to have:

  • Massage therapy
  • Aromatherapy
  • Reflexology
  • Nature therapy
  • Meditation

These are also forms of therapy which do not necessarily include talking or processing information, but rather promoting a sense of relaxation and a stabler mind.

Free Time In Rehab

Many who are wondering what happens in rehab may assume that a patient’s schedule is jam-packed with activities. The reality is, free time in rehab is also a priority. After the afternoon therapy session, participants need to unwind and choose the activities they would like to enjoy.

Within the confines of the treatment center, they are free to do recreational activities such as sports, reading, watching the sunset, exercising, or swimming if a pool or beach is within the premises. Having this dedicated leisure time allows patients to recharge and get ready for the evening sessions after dinner time.

Evenings In Rehab: 12-Step Meetings

What does rehab look like in the evenings? After dinner, participants who are under the 12-Step treatment have one final meeting with their group. The evening sessions are mostly reflections within the day, and following the 12-Step protocol within the given time frame. There will be the main discussion with a leading facilitator, and everyone will be given enough time to share their thoughts about the current topic.

For participants who are not under the 12-Step program, some activities to wind down include non-religious meetings, meditation, art therapy, or holistic treatments.

Get Into Rehab Now: Find A Rehab Center

Now that you have an idea of what is drug rehab like, it can be comforting to know that the first step is usually the hardest. The decision to commit to addiction recovery may be the biggest obstacle you’ll ever face and not the treatment per se. Addiction treatment isn’t painful, uncomfortable, or long-winding as some may quickly assume–it can be an enjoyable, life-changing experience if you allow it to be.

To get started with addiction treatment, you can verify your insurance with top-notch rehab centers. Substance use disorder specialists are on stand by to answer any questions you may have.


  • Health.harvard.edu – “Do Omega-3s protect your thinking skills?”.
  • Medium.com – “The Importance of Making Time for Leisure”.
  • Canr.msu.edu – “The benefits of art therapy can have on mental and physical health”.

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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