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Admitting that you have a substance abuse problem is the first step on the road to recovery. Once you are at that point, you will be ready to look for the assistance that you need, and actually go to rehab. Some people don’t get to that point until their family organizes an intervention, or until they are court ordered to go to rehab. Either way, actually being admitted is often very overwhelming for people, not in the least because they don’t know what to expect.

The first thing you will notice during your admissions process is that they are there to help you, as an individual. They will design a treatment package that is designed to give you the best chance of success and that places you as the patient in the center. They can also help with interventions if you are looking for help for a loved one. The goal is to make sure that the transition process of going into treatment is as comfortable and seamless as possible, so that patients are ready to start getting healed.

The First Phone Call

Admissions generally start with a phone call. This call will be answered by a knowledgeable admissions representative who can walk you through the entire process, starting with admissions and ending with you being sober. They are ready to listen to what your issues are, can answer questions on insurance, help you to determine what you need to bring with you, tell you what treatment options are available, and more.

That first phone call to the rehab center is generally a lengthy one. It is also an important one, as it will help to determine the treatment that you actually require. You can also make arrangements for travel plans so you can get to the facility, give you information about the length of treatment, what the center looks like on the inside, what type of therapies are available, the credentials of the staff, how detox is organized, and so on. Rehab facilities care about your personal situation and will do everything they can to make sure you get the treatment you need. This could be inpatient treatment, but it could be outpatient as well. You may need gender-specific programs, programs for people with mental health issues, or programs for young people, for example.

What About Insurance?

How to pay for treatment is a significant barrier to many people looking at getting help. Under the Affordable Care Act, however, substance abuse is a mental health disorder and treatment must therefore be covered under your plan. Exactly how your insurance carrier will cover you varies, however, and the admissions counselor will be more than happy to discuss this with you and give you a clear picture of how much you will have to pay yourself. If your insurance provider does not cover all of your treatment, they will also direct you to other funding options that exist. There are, for example, low interest loans for people requiring drug treatment, as well as grants for specific demographics offered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Furthermore, the center itself may offer payment plans to help you cover the cost of your treatment.

What Should You Bring to Treatment?

A key factor that will be discussed during your first telephone call is a list of things that you need to bring with you when you check in. These generally include:

  • A valid form of identification, such as a photo ID car, passport, or driver’s license.
  • A list of any medication you have been prescribed and at what dosage, as well as a list of any over the counter, supplemental, or herbal drugs that you take. If you receive medication on prescription, you must bring enough to cover you for a few days and hand it over to staff, so they can ensure you are not tempted to exceed your dosage.
  • Addresses, telephone numbers, and names of your family and friends, as well as of your health care professionals, so long as you are happy for them to be involved in your treatment. A big element of rehab is to rebuild support networks with those who care about you. Additionally, you may want to have contact with them during your treatment, which may or may not be allowed during your stay. If it is allowed, it is generally monitored.
  • Casual, comfortable clothing such as pants, sweaters, and shirts that you can easily layer. This is so that you can always be warm and comfortable.
  • Workout clothing, particularly if the center you choose offers physical therapy such as yoga, gyms, or other forms of exercise.
  • Sleepwear
  • Your personal toiletries, including hairspray, body wash, shampoo, makeup, and so on. These toiletries are not allowed to contain any alcohol.
  • Shoes for exercise, outdoor activities, and every day wear
  • Payment methods as agreed during the intake conversation
  • Some money

Getting to Rehab

It is important that you have travel arrangements in place for getting to rehab. During your admissions conversation, your coordinator will help you with making arrangements such as airline or train tickets, as well as transfers from airports or stations to the center. You will not be expected to have your own car present at the rehab center, but if a friend or loved on is dropping you off, directions will be provided. Some rehab facilities also provide financial assistance for travel to qualifying individuals, so do make sure that you ask about that.

Arriving at Rehab

Most people feel incredibly anxious when they arrive at rehab. The staff members are well aware of this, and they will do all they can to make you feel comfortable, introducing you to the team and other patients. Your path to recovery will start straight away, beginning the moment you walk through the door. Before being shown to your living quarters, you will have a full assessment with a coordinator. This is where you will discuss what your current health is, and what substance you abuse, how you abuse, whether there is a family history of addiction, and so on. It is vital that you are completely open and honest at this point. You will then be shown around the facility and to your room, and details about where to go next will be provided.


After admission, you will start to go through detox. This is often a frightening experience for most people, but you will be fully supported by medical staff to make this process as comfortable as possible. After detox has been completed, you will be ready to start counseling and heal from your addiction.