Most people do not know what to expect when they sign up for alcohol rehab, which can even keep them from going. Alcohol rehab may not be a vacation, but it is safer than trying to detox by yourself or living with an alcohol abuse disorder. If you are thinking about taking an alcohol rehab program for a loved one or yourself, you might have many questions about what it entails. What rules do they have? How long does the entire program take? What is an alcohol rehab program like?

Residential/ Inpatient Alcohol Rehab

Alcohol RehabInpatient Rehab is an exhaustive mode of addiction treatment where the patient stays at a rehab facility for a specified duration as they engage in family, individual, and group therapy. For an individual to go for inpatient treatment, they will need to take some time off school or work to stay at the alcohol rehab facility to recover. Outpatient and inpatient addiction treatment may have similar therapeutic methods, such as attending regular individual and group therapy sessions a few times a week. You will typically stay in a sober living facility or at home when you are not in scheduled therapy sessions for those in outpatient addiction treatment. Outpatient addiction treatment allows patients to keep taking care of their other commitments such as work or school as they continue with treatment.

How Long Does Alcohol Rehab Take and How Does It Work?

A typical stay in alcohol rehab can last for 28 to 30 days, but it can also last for 90 days or longer, depending on the severity of the patient’s addiction. A short inpatient rehab stay lasts for at least 28 to 30 days. Other treatment programs provide 60 days for treatment, with some long-term facilities providing 90 days or longer. Different rehab programs offer a regulated plan requiring a minimum stay. Other alcohol rehab programs provide an individualized method by analyzing the person’s severity of addiction, physical health, mental health, and other factors in assessing the best duration of stay.

Knowing what to expect before going to alcohol rehab can lessen some of the fear or worry that accompanies the rehabilitation process. Inpatient alcohol rehab programs typically incorporate the following components.

Rehab Intake

Alcohol RehabIntake typically starts with a short phone consultation with a counselor who analyzes whether you are a good fit for the rehabilitation program. This introductory conversation gives you a chance to learn more about the treatment program and ask any questions. If the counselor determines that the program is a suitable match for you, they will establish a time to do the intake face-to-face. An intake is a comprehensive analysis of the individual’s previous treatments, social life, family life, mental and medical health history, and past alcohol and drug use. The intake counselor then gives you more information about the alcohol rehab program and its rules. You will then fill out some consent forms, and legal documents then develop recovery goals and a treatment plan with the counselor’s help. The intake can go for several hours or even a few days, particularly if the client is undergoing detox.


This is usually the first step of alcohol rehab. Most rehab programs provide supervised detoxification for individuals withdrawing from all kinds of substances ranging from stimulants, opioids, sedatives, and alcohol. Medical nurses and doctors give medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms during detox. This detoxification process aims to reduce any discomfort experienced during withdrawal while preventing potentially fatal and deadly side effects like seizures. After completing detox, the patient moves into the community on the daily treatment plan.

An Average Day in Rehab

An ordinary day at alcohol rehab includes regular doctors’ appointments, recovery meetings (i.e., 12-step meetings), group therapy, and individual therapy sessions. Meals are provided thrice a day, and there are short breaks between the therapy sessions. There are also periods set aside for self-reflection, exercise, yoga, journaling, and completing school assignments. Most alcohol rehab programs also provide sober activities during weekends, such as family visits, movies, or beach visits.


There are also rules for alcohol rehab programs to ensure the environment is safe and free from any alcohol and drugs. Typical rules to expect in rehab include:

  • Alcohol RehabMandatory attendance at all recovery meetings and therapy sessions
  • Clients should comply with the facility’s drug testing procedures
  • Not leaving the facility property without approval from a staff member
  • No threats or acts of violence from clients
  • No inappropriate behavior with staff or other clients
  • No alcohol, drugs, or inappropriate materials.

Once you get to the alcohol rehab facility, a staff member searches your belongings for any potentially dangerous materials, paraphernalia, alcohol, or drugs, which are taken away if they find any. The client is also assigned a room and possibly a roommate, but some facilities can also provide private rooms, especially high-end and luxury facilities.

Rewards and Privileges

Most alcohol rehab facilities give clients privileges and rewards as they go through the program, depending on their sobriety progress and whether they meet treatment goals. After some time, clients can be allowed to take unsupervised trips or given weekend passes. Such benefits encourage clients to keep going with their recovery and establish a good example for other clients.

Preparing for Rehab

If you want to have a higher chance for success and long-term recovery, you must prepare before going into alcohol rehab.

The things you can bring along for your stay include:

  • Clothing
  • Alarm Clock
  • Identification of a Driver’s license
  • Laundry soap
  • Past medical records and insurance information
  • Toiletries
  • A list of your current medications
  • Writing and reading materials
  • Precious items and pictures of loved ones to remind you of your home
  • A list of addresses, phone numbers, and names of close friends and family
  • Activities to pass the time such as puzzles, crossword books, or musical instruments

Ensure you check with the facility before bringing items such as mouthwash (containing alcohol), chewing tobacco, cigarettes, razors, nail clippers, and electronic devices.

Alcohol rehab can be very effective for addiction treatment and recovery as long as you are willing and ready to change for the better. If you are prepared to look into treatment for alcohol abuse, explore different rehab centers with the help of an admission counselor to see which is a suitable match for you.

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