What to bring to rehab?

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Most rehab facilities will allow you to bring the following items: 

  • Driver's license 
  • Phone numbers of loved ones or those you want to be involved in treatment 
  • Appropriate clothing & accessories 
  • Unopened personal hygiene products and toiletries 
  • A book or journal (check with the clinic involved)
  • Pictures of loved ones or photos of your pet. 

Each treatment centre has its rules about what to bring to its rehab centre.

Most treatment centres will provide you with a checklist of all the items allowed vs. all the disallowed items.

Some facilities make this list available on their website. 

Other treatment centres will require you to ask the admissions team. 

Each rehab centre has rules about the style they allow. They have rules about mobile phones, entertainment, permitted toiletries, cigarettes, and so on. 

What's important to note is that your rehab from alcohol abuse is for treatment. You are going there to overcome the alcohol or drug abuse and build a healthy, drug-free life. 

That's why centres prohibit alcohol or drugs or any drug-related items. 

Bring clothing 

Your first step should be to inquire about the centre's dress code. Many centres offer limited space for patients. 

Therefore, rule one is to carry light and don't carry clothes that need special care, e.g., dry cleaning. Instead, bring along a week's worth of clothing. There are laundry facilities at the treatment centre, so carry light. 

Pack clothes that are comfortable, easy to wash, and suitable for all weather. Layering options such as t-shirts, sweaters, cardigans, and jackets are acceptable.

Pack comfortable clothes and avoid revealing clothing or any outfit that's out to impress. Also, avoid clothing containing drug-related references or offensive language. 

Make sure you pack your pyjamas, a bathing suit (if a swimming pool is available), undergarments, and socks.

Most treatment centres have requirements concerning the swimsuit (one-piece swimsuits for men and knee-length board shorts for men). You should also carry appropriate gym clothes. 

Quick tip: Consider the weather at the place the facility is located. 

You will need more than one pair of shoes at the rehab facility. You are allowed to carry one pair of athlete shoes for outdoor activities. You'll also need slippers or a pair of flip flops. 


Most alcohol and drug rehab centres permit you to carry jewellery that you consider necessary, e.g., wedding ring or a watch. You should leave other valuable items at home. 


You are allowed to bring to rehab personal hygiene items such as toothpaste shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc, on the condition that they do not contain alcohol.

Remember also to pack a hairbrush, basic make-up, and a hairdryer if you need one. 

Most facilities will have requirements on the type of hair styling products allowed. The centre may only require you to carry a pump hair spray only. 

The treatment centre will ask you to bring these items unopened.

You'll need to carry toiletries that will last you for 30 days. 

Prescription medications 

You can pack your doctor-prescribed medications to the addiction centre. Be sure to carry your: 

  • Prescription medication (unopened, with their original label). 
  • If you have liquid medications, they should be in unopened packaging. 
  • You can carry vitamins (unopened). 

You should inform the medical team about your medical needs. You can also provide them with a list of medications you were previously taking. Remember to carry your prescription card as well. 

Over the counter medications, any medication containing alcohol or narcotics, are prohibited at the treatment facility. 


Books and a journal 

Check if it's ok to bring a book to read during your spare time. Reading and writing help manage stress, lower anxiety, and cope with depression. 

Most rehab facilities have guidelines about the type of reading materials you're allowed to bring. Be sure to enquire with the treatment centre first. 

You may find that the centre only allows books related to self-help, recovery, or spirituality. 


Most addiction treatment centres allow you to bring some cash (around £50 to £100). You should bring this amount in small cash for use at the vending machines at the facility. 

Other items that you can bring include: 

  • Your credit or debit card to pay for medications used at the treatment centre. 
  • Stamps and envelopes if you'll be writing letters to loved ones. 
  • Insurance cards 
  • Pictures of family members or your animal companion. 
  • Feminine hygiene items. 
  • Lotion 
  • Shaving cream 
  • Comb/brush 
  • Alarm clock 

Items you should NOT bring to rehab 

Many facilities will not allow you to bring to rehab the items below: 

  • Weapons such as sharp objects or any item that can be used to harm others. 
  • Pornographic content 
  • Food or drinks 
  • Alcohol 
  • Electronic cigarettes 
  • Drugs and alcohol 
  • Sports equipment 
  • Excessive money, jewellery, or outfits 
  • Drugs and alcohol 
  • An item containing alcohol, e.g., nail polish remover 
  • Excessive make up 
  • Revealing outfit (tank tops, sleeveless shirts, 
  • Video games and DVDs 
  • Unapproved or already opened over-the-counter medications. 
  • Electronic devices, e.g., gaming consoles, TVs, tablets, smartphones. 

Other items such as playing cards, candles and incense are also not allowed. Some of the items on the list, such as DVDs, playing cards and video games, are not allowed so that you won't get distracted from seeking treatment. 

Some rehabs allow these items, others do not. 

You can find a specific treatment centre that allows these items. Note that not all rehab centres allow you to have them, and you'll have to inquire from the addiction centre. 

  • Comfortable bedding & pillow. Some centres allow you to bring to rehab comfortable bedding. This allows you to modify your room at the centre to feel like home. 
  • Outfits for special occasions. You can find a rehab centre that holds special events for their clients, e.g. family night. Such centres will allow you to bring outfits for such occasions. 
  • Some rehabs will provide basic toiletries. 
  • You can also find an alcohol and drug rehab centre that allows you to bring cigarettes. Most treatment facilities that allow cigarettes have a limit on the number of boxes you can bring. 
  • Some rehabs accept nail clippers and disposable electronic razors. 
  • Cell phone, tablet or laptop. There are treatment centres that allow you to bring your cell phone and laptop. Some centres may have restrictions on the time you're allowed to use these gadgets. 
  • Treatment facilities allow you to bring vitamins and over-the-counter medications, but they must be unopened. 
  • Camera. Some residential facilities allow cameras. 
  • MP3 or CD player. There are rehab centres that allow you to bring entertainment gadget that does not require internet access. 

What a rehab centre should provide 

A rehab centre provides accommodation, amenities, a team of professionals, kitchen staff, plus so much more. Each treatment facility has its unique offerings.

If you go for a luxury residential rehab program, you are likely to get your room. You can also get internet access and can use your tablet to read books or browse online. Luxurious centres provide a dedicated chef to prepare your meals. 

A standard rehab may provide accommodation, utilities, medical professionals, utilities, and rehabilitation services, e.g., a gymnasium, a swimming pool. These services are like those provided in a luxury rehab.

But the only difference is that in luxury alcohol and drug rehab, you get more extensive, high-end services. 

Overall, a rehab centre provides you with accommodation, food, a treatment plan and services, recreational services, security, and support. Most rehab centres allow you to make special dietary requirements. 

There are two main treatment options for drug and alcohol rehab. There's outpatient, who allows you to visit the facility for several hours a week, and there are no overnight stays. 

Alternatively, inpatient care permits you to live within the facility for some time. Outpatient is cheaper than inpatient, but it is not recommended in chronic drug or alcohol use cases. 

If I bring something prohibited, will I get it back later? 

As a general rule, most rehab centres will withhold anything that you bring that is prohibited. Alternatively, they may give the prohibited item to the person who brought you to the centre.

Other rehab centres may withhold the item for 24 hours until someone comes to pick it up. 

If you are going to be admitted to a centre far from home, it is best to counter-check what you're carrying. Call the centre to confirm that you are only bringing what is allowed.

If you arrive at the centre and find out that you've carried something prohibited, you may request them to have it shipped to your loved ones. 

Most treatment institutions want you to have the rehab experience. Therefore, bring light clothes and avoid anything that will distract you.

Packing for rehab can be a stress-free experience. All you must do is follow the centre's policies and ask questions if there's anything you are unsure about when packing. 


The national institute on alcohol abuse advises addicts to inquire from the institution about their relapse strategy [1]. Indeed, overcoming addiction is no easy feat.

You need to ensure that you're working with a rehab facility to support you even after treatment. Most rehabs are open about their services, and you can contact them to learn as much as you can about them. 

Above all, go for rehab with the right attitude. Do your best to work with your treatment providers and be positive. You are on the right track. 

Abbeycare Pricing Bot

About the author

Laura Morris

Laura Morris is an experienced clinical practitioner and CQC Registered Manager with over twenty years experience, over ten of which have been as an Independent Nurse Prescriber.

She has held a number of senior leadership roles in the substance use and mental health sector in the NHS, the prison service and in leading social enterprises in the field.

Last Updated: October 31, 2023