What to Pack for Residential Addiction Treatment

What to bring to rehab is important and strategically planning what to pack can ensure that your stay is as comfortable, productive and positive as possible. While each residential treatment program has its own policies and recommendations regarding the items clients should bring and, just as importantly, what they shouldn’t bring, these guidelines can serve as a starting point for your packing.


You will want to bring picture ID and your health insurance card. Even if you are not using insurance to cover the cost of treatment, certain expenses incurred during treatment (such as medications and lab work) can still be billed to your insurance.


During your time in addiction treatment, you should be as comfortable as possible. That means bringing clothing that is easy to care for, tasteful, and appropriate for the environment.

  • Bring only essential, wash-and-wear pieces. While there will be laundry on site, dry-cleaning services may incur extra charges, or may not be available at all.
  • Consider the location of the facility and pack weather-appropriate clothing. It is always best to bring a range of layers so that you can be comfortable as you change rooms and activities throughout the day. If you’re not sure what is best for a particular climate, call the facility and ask.
  • Pack items that are appropriate for the activities and therapies you will be participating in. This may include workout clothes, sneakers, hiking boots, windbreakers, and rain clothes.
  • To facilitate your and other clients’ healing, avoid revealing and inappropriate items, including anything that depicts substance use, gambling, violence, or sex.


Be sure to pack enough personal care items to last you for the duration of your stay. This includes:

  • Toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash
  • Hair and skincare products
  • Deodorant
  • Cosmetics
  • Feminine hygiene products

Most facilities require that all items, including mouthwash, toners, perfumes, aftershave, hairspray, and cologne be alcohol-free.

Medications and Supplements

Both prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements should be in their original, labeled containers.


Every treatment program has its own policies regarding the use of mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices. Some programs don’t allow phones or electronics at all.

The electronics policy at Alta Mira was designed to provide a process for clients to have access to telephone and computer for personal, and business needs, while establishing and maintaining a healthy focus on treatment goals without the potential distraction of unlimited electronics access.

While clients are in the detoxification and stabilization protocol, they will not have access to electronic devices including the use of house phones or house computers, unless they have obtained approval from their primary therapist. Once a client has been medically and clinically cleared and moves from detox status to residential, they are able to use the house phone and/or computer in the lobby area during designated times for a short period each day.

Questions regarding the electronics policy may be addressed to your admissions specialist or primary therapist.

Personal Items

Bringing personal items can make your stay more enjoyable, but be sure to be thoughtful regarding what you bring.

  • Books: Many programs will have specific policies regarding the type of books you may bring to treatment. In general, consider choosing books related to recovery, therapy, personal growth, and spirituality, so that you are enhancing the work you’re doing in treatment.
  • Valuables: It is generally inadvisable to bring any valuables aside from items you keep on your person at all times, such as a wedding band.
  • Musical Instruments: Music can be deeply therapeutic, and some facilities encourage you to bring any portable instruments that may bring you joy during your stay.
  • Receiving Packages in Treatment: Clients may receive packages from family and friends while in treatment. However, for safety, we do not accept and food or drink products. Also, for your privacy, when you are having something delivered, it must be approved by the clinical team before delivery, or it will not be accepted.

Pets and Pet Accessories

Some treatment facilities allow you to bring a pet with you to treatment. Enquire with the admissions counselor to find out what the program’s policies are. If you are bringing a pet, be sure to pack enough food for the duration of your stay as well as food and water bowls, leashes, crates, toys, and any other accessories you may require.

Cash and Credit Cards

It may be a good idea to bring credit cards and cash with you in case you need to pay for incidental purchases during your time in treatment, as well as to ensure you have financial resources available upon discharge. Different programs have different policies regarding the quantity of credit cards and cash as well as where these items are stored during your stay.

Items Not Allowed in Treatment

Drugs, alcohol, and weapons are not allowed at any addiction treatment program. Cameras, video recorders and playback devices, food and beverages, aerosol products or products containing alcohol, and loose medications are also not allowed in most facilities.

The Next Steps

Upon arrival at the treatment facility, your luggage will be checked to ensure that you have packed appropriately. This is done to keep you, your peers, and the staff safe and comfortable during your stay so that you can focus on your recovery without distractions.

If you have any questions about the specific policies at the treatment program you will be attending, be sure to ask as soon as possible to allow yourself the time to shop for alternative items if necessary. If you have general questions about addiction treatment or are preparing for your arrival at Alta Mira, we invite you to contact us. We are always happy to answer any questions and provide support as you start your journey towards recovery.