Going to rehab means you get professional help that makes it possible to finally regain control over your life. While there are many different types of treatments offered through rehab programs, one principle that applies to all of them is that remaining in the program is critical for your success.

The amount of time that you need to stay in rehab varies according to the different factors that affect your recovery. For instance, you may need to stay longer if you use drugs that require supervised detox or if you have had a relapse before. Having to leave the program too soon due to problems at home hinders your ability to achieve the best possible long-term recovery.

Your success in rehab is also affected by your ability to focus on correcting the underlying causes of your addiction and let go of everything else. This means that you do not want to be stressing out over whether your pet was fed or if a bill got paid.

Since life is naturally going to continue on no matter where you are, it helps to take some time to prepare for rehab. Now that you’ve made the decision to get your life back on track, just follow these steps to ensure that you can direct all of your attention to your addiction treatment program.

Notify Your Employer of Your Absence

People sometimes worry about telling their employer that they need time off to go to addiction treatment. While it is normal to feel nervous about revealing that you have a substance use disorder, you should also know that your job is protected in most instances.

According to the Family and Medical Leave Act, employers cannot take negative action against someone who requests time off for substance use treatment and fits the requirements to receive this type of leave. However, your employer could terminate you if you break their policies about using drugs or alcohol on the job, and this becomes more likely to happen if your addiction worsens.

Most employers would prefer that someone seeks addiction treatment before their behaviors lead to issues in the workplace that affect everyone’s safety. You will also feel better knowing that you still have a job to come back to when you go home from rehab. Always make sure to follow your company’s policies for requesting leave. While some employers are fine with verbal notice, you may still want to get your request in writing so that you have proof that you followed the right procedures for making sure everyone was notified about your need for time off.

Arrange for Someone to Care for Your Family

In addition to work, you may also have other responsibilities to make sure are covered. For instance, you may have young children whom you care for every day. You might be a caregiver to an elderly or ill family member. There may be pets in your home that need someone to check in on them regularly.

Reach out to people who will help out with your family obligations. For instance, the other parent or a grandparent may be willing to watch children while you attend rehab. You may have a neighbor who will feed your pet, or you may need a pet sitter to handle their daily needs. Professional caregivers are an option if you cannot find someone to take care of an aging loved one. Since your family is one of the biggest factors that influence your happiness in life, handling your obligations to each person and pet should be one of the first things that you do to prepare for rehab.

Manage Your Financial Responsibilities

Paying bills may not be on your list of things that you enjoy doing, but it feels good to know that they are all handled while you begin your recovery. Grab a calendar and check to see which bills will be due during the dates that you plan to be gone. Ideally, you should pay any bills that fall within a few days before you leave and after your return. This way, you won’t forget one during the transition periods.

Once you know which bills need to be handled, you can then pay them ahead of time. Alternatively, you can set up automatic payments to keep them covered while you are away. If possible, you may want to appoint someone you trust to handle any unexpected bills that arise. This is especially important if you plan to go to rehab for several weeks or more than a month.

A family member or roommate is often the best person to pay a bill that may show up while you are working through your treatment program. Just ask them if they will check your mail, and give them the information that they need to pay the bills or reach out to you if they find something that requires your attention.

Handle Any Legal Obligations That You Have

If you do not have any legal obligations, then you can go ahead and skip forward to the next step to prepare for rehab. However, it is fairly common to have legal issues when you deal with addiction for a period of time. For instance, you might be on probation for a DUI, or you may have a court date scheduled in the future for a possession charge.

In most cases, authorities within the legal system prefer for people to get help with their addiction. Therefore, you will likely find that everyone you encounter encourages you to go to rehab, but they may require you to follow specific protocols. For instance, you may need to notify the judge that you need to reschedule an upcoming court date due to your treatment. Alternatively, your parole officer may need to know where you are so that you do not get charged with not following the regulations regarding your release from jail.

Put Together Your Support Network

With all of the tough work out of the way, you can now begin to focus on some of the easier preparations that you need to make to go to rehab. While you are in treatment, you need to know that you have friends and family members who support your decision to get help. You will also need these people to support you when you return home. In some cases, these same people may attend family or group therapy with you to address issues that were caused by your addiction.

Reaching out for support can sometimes be challenging, especially if you have done things that harmed your relationship in the past. As you contact each person, let them know about the decision you’ve made. If necessary, you may apologize for your past actions. Then, let them know how they can provide you with support. For instance, you can ask them to spend time with you doing sober activities until the day you leave for rehab.

These next few days or weeks are a great time to begin finding out how good it feels to spend time with your loved ones sober. Watch some movies, go to the park and enjoy phone calls with your family. They’ll love being able to see that you are serious about getting sober, and you’ll enter your treatment program with a relaxed state of mind that increases your success.

Find Out What You Need to Bring

Every rehab program is different, but you can expect that a  facility will provide you with a list of items that are suggested for you to bring to treatment along with things that should be left at home. Before your admission date, ask about important items such as your medications.

Treatment programs tend to regulate which types of medications are allowed to be brought to the treatment center. Typically, non-addictive medications that are used to treat a known medical condition can be brought with you. However, you may need to do things such as get a note from your doctor that explains the importance of the prescription. You may also need to stock up on medications that you normally refill on a monthly basis.

Once you have the medications that you need, you can find out how to pack them. For instance, you may need to leave them in their original prescription bottle. You may also only be allowed to bring exactly as much medicine as you need for your stay.

In addition to medication, there are other things that you need to bring to rehab. For the most part, comfortable clothing that does not advertise drugs or alcohol is allowed. While you may want to lounge in sweat pants most of the time, be sure to bring other types of clothing that will make you feel good when you have visitor days or family therapy.

The amenities that are available at the drug treatment center can also guide your packing decisions. For example, you might want to take a swimsuit if the center has a swimming pool. Alternatively, some workout clothing will be perfect for recreational therapy such as yoga or playing basketball.

As a final note to the packing process, find out if it is okay before you bring electronics. While some rehabs are fine with laptops and cellphones, other programs prefer you to leave them at home so that you can focus on your recovery. If this is the case, you will still have opportunities to use a phone at the center to talk to your loved ones and handle any business that arises in your absence. Just keep in mind that it is best to limit your involvement in outside activities to only what must be done. The rest of your time in treatment should be spend learning strategies that help with your recovery.

Write Down Your Goals

You will likely create goals to track your success once you enter treatment. However, you have a unique opportunity to begin documenting your journey now. Consider starting a journal that you can use to remind yourself of your goals as well as your progress. Later, this tool will be an important resource that you can rely on to reduce cravings and overcome challenges that lead to relapse.

Practice Relaxation Exercises to Relieve Stress

The prospect of getting sober is exciting. However, all of these preparations can also be stressful. After all, you are about to go to a new place and spend time with people that you do not know well in the beginning. Be sure to carve out some time to implement relaxation strategies that relieve stress. For instance, you could try meditating in the evening before you go to sleep to let go of the day’s worries.

If you find yourself feeling stressed by your preparations, you can also use affirmations to remind you of why you are going to rehab. For example, you can tell yourself that your decision to seek help allows you to regain your health and heal your relationships.

Finish Your Final Arrangements

As your final step, you need to figure out how you will get to rehab. While some people drive themselves, you may prefer to leave your car at home. Make sure to arrange for transportation to and from the treatment program so that you can finalize your plans to start your journey toward sober living.

Taking the time to prepare for rehab allows you to enter your treatment program with full confidence that everything will be fine at home until you return. While it does take some effort to do things such as notify your employers and set up automatic payments for your bills, you’ll be glad you did when you can finally focus on helping yourself get the best start on a lifetime of sobriety.

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