The Reality of Rehabilitation: What Is a Day in Rehab Like? by Rehab Recovery Centers

Around 31 million people in the world struggle with drug use disorders. If you or your loved one is one of them, then you’ll know just how difficult it is to tackle each day.

There comes a point where you want to turn your life around, but you aren’t sure how to do it. For many, rehabilitation is the key, as you’ll receive fantastic assistance from professionals.

But the idea of going to rehab might feel daunting, and you might’ve even heard some bad stories from others.

If you’d like to know about rehabilitation before you check-in, then read on. We’ll show you what a day in rehab looks like so you’ll have better peace of mind.

Rehab Programs Available

First of all, not everyone stays in rehab for the same amount of time. Every person has their own unique needs, which means rehab isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing.

Rehab programs range from 30, 60, and 90-day treatment programs. These are all usually inpatient programs, which means you’d stay at the rehabilitation center for the entire duration of treatment.

There is also the option for outpatient treatment if you can’t afford inpatient care and/or you have too many obligations to drop for rehab. You can even get ongoing outpatient treatment so you decrease your chances of relapse significantly.

Now that you know what programs are available, here’s what you should know about a day in rehab. For the purposes of this article, it’ll be a day in inpatient treatment.

Do note that there will be slight differences between individual facilities. But for the most part, you can expect to experience most of the things we discuss.

There’s Lots of Structure

One of the first things you need to understand about rehabilitation is that it’s very structured. This might be why some people describe it as “jail-like,” especially if they’re not used to living a scheduled life. But the truth is, the structure is beneficial to recovery; some might even argue it’s necessary, not just for recovery, but stress relief too.

In rehab, you’ll have specific times for various activities, including waking up, eating meals, and participating in different activities such as therapy and meditation. You’ll also have a specific cut-off time for bedtime, which ensures that people get a decent night’s sleep.

Let’s now delve into the details of a typical day at rehab.

Waking Up

Most rehabs will have their patients wake up bright and early. Expect to rise at 7:00 am.

If you’ve been prescribed any medications, then the nurses will come around and dispense them to you.

You’ll then have some time to get ready before you go to breakfast. Not only can you brush your teeth, take a shower, and get dressed, but you might also be able to participate in some alternative therapies, such as meditation or even yoga.


Around 8:00 am, you’ll be able to head to the dining hall to have some breakfast. The facility will do its best to have a menu where there are tasty and wholesome foods so you can be as healthy as possible.

Mealtimes are chances for you to form relationships with other patients, and breakfast is no exception. This gives you an opportunity to create a great web of support for not only inside rehab, but also once you finish and resume a normal life.


After breakfast, you’ll usually go in for an individual therapy session. Most sessions last around 1 hour in length.

In your therapy sessions, you’ll work with your counselor to figure out past traumas and your substance abuse triggers. They’ll also teach you ways to cope so you have healthier outlets other than resorting to substance abuse.

One common therapy used is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It’s highly effective for treating all sorts of things besides drug addiction, such as anxiety and depression.

This is because it’s a talk therapy that helps change the way you view situations and yourself. More specifically, it helps you stop being so negative and correct your behavior to be more constructive.


Again, this is a time for you to refuel and strengthen your relationships with fellow patients. You can even discuss with one another what you’ve done in therapy earlier if you feel comfortable enough.

Group Therapy

In group therapy, you’ll talk about your individual journeys to sobriety. The facility will usually put you together with others who are going through similar things so you get an excellent support group.

Alternative Therapy

Once you’re done with group therapy, you’ll usually have an opportunity to participate in alternative therapies. These are there specifically to help you heal your mind and soul, in addition to your body.

For example, you can participate in things like meditation, yoga, music therapy, and art therapy.


After you’re done with alternative therapies, dinner is served around 6:00 pm. The schedule is usually lighter after dinner.

After Dinner Activities

Many rehab facilities will have some sort of group therapy again after dinner, such as a 12-step meeting. This will be relatively brief and you’ll have some free time before bedtime. You can use this time to reflect on the day or relax by reading or meditating.

You’ll then go to sleep at the designated “lights out” time, which might be considerably earlier than you’re used to. Expect to go to bed around 10:00 pm.

Check Into Rehabilitation for Help With Substance Abuse

Now you know what a day in rehabilitation looks like. If you were anxious about it before, hopefully, this article’s helped to put your mind at ease.

As you can see, rehab isn’t some scary, jail-like place where you’ll have to suffer. Instead, it’s a welcoming place where compassionate professionals work hard to get you on track with sobriety. Also, you’ll more than likely form a wonderful support group that’ll be integral to your life for years to come!

If you’re ready to check into rehab, then you might be wondering about the best places to go. Start your search by choosing a state from our list.

Get Help Today

Don’t go through the process of recovery alone. There are people who can help you with the struggle you’re facing. Get in touch with one today.