What is a Typical Day in Drug Rehab Like?

Deciding to seek out treatment for an addiction to drugs or alcohol is just the start of your journey towards a happy and healthy life. Read more to find out how to plan for a typical day in rehabilitation.

A Typical Day in Drug or Alcohol Rehab

When considering addiction treatment, you may be wondering what you can expect during a standard day at the rehabilitation center. There are many types of drug abuse treatments out there, but most follow a standard framework of therapies.

Residential inpatient treatment centers are very structured and organized. The activities and therapies are very similar in most centers. This minimizes stress and uncertainty among residents, and also allows for the safest and most supportive environment for healing and recovery. Depending on the setting and the amenities offered, daily activities may vary.

Here is an example of what a typical day in treatment might look like:

Mornings: A Healthy Breakfast and Early Meetings

Patients are expected to rise early in the morning to enjoy a healthy breakfast. Some programs offer morning classes such as yoga or meditation to help you begin the day in a relaxed state of mind. Part of the treatment and recovery process centers on developing new, healthy habits that are intended to become routine in post-discharge life. Therefore, sleeping in is not an option.

There are generally group sessions following breakfast led by a counselor or therapist that focuses on topics related to the treatment process, the 12-Step program, addiction, and recovery. A significant focus during treatment is on achieving clarity about the issues, people and surroundings in your life that have fueled the desire to abuse drugs or alcohol.

These daily meetings will help you to begin to recognize patterns of behavior you can change or certain triggers to avoid post-treatment.

Afternoons: Daily Therapy

The middle of the day provides the patient with the most intensive treatment. After a healthy lunch, it is typical to begin a series of therapeutic sessions.

These often include:

  • Individual behavioral therapy.Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective methods used in addiction treatment centers. CBT focuses on your behavioral responses to specific triggers. Once those triggers have been identified, the therapist will guide you toward new, healthier responses. The one-on-one sessions provide a safe environment for you to feel free to open up and share your fears and concerns, allowing the therapist to provide tools and alternative behavioral responses to these sources of anxiety.
  • Group therapy. Participation in group sessions provides camaraderie among the participants. It can be beneficial for the participants to share their personal stories with one another to allow for emotional healing. The group members often develop a sense of fellowship during the weeks in rehabilitation. As trust grows, they become more open in their sessions and develop a sincere compassion and understanding for each other’s battles.
  • Specialized Sessions.Some treatment centers provide specialized therapy sessions. These could be tailored for anger management, stress management, or grief counseling. Each session offers coping techniques to help improve your ability to handle issues in a controlled manner rather than feeling the need to use drugs or alcohol.
  • Family therapy.Family support can be crucial in the recovery process, which is why most drug treatment centers include it in their programs. Addiction affects the entire family, often culminating in destructive codependency, enabling behaviors or intense anger and resentment. During the family therapy sessions, many issues are resolved and feelings are addressed.

In addition to therapy, rehabilitation centers may also host speakers who share their own stories, offering residents a sense of hope about their own future. Sometimes the speakers delve into practical issues like rebuilding careers post-treatment, or simply offer inspirational speeches to help lift spirits.

Some drug and alcohol treatment centers have various supplemental therapies available, offering more of a variety of options. Alternative therapy forms may include:

Questions about treatment?

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Free Time in Rehab

There are usually a few hours of free time available in the afternoon to be used however the resident chooses. Activities like pool or ping-pong, basketball, soccer, and volleyball may be offered, and some facilities may have a swimming pool. Some residents choose to spend free time reading or journaling; others may use the time for prayer or meditation.

  • Evenings in Rehab: 12-Step Meetings – After dinner, there may be another short group session. Typically, a 12-Step program is available and attendance is highly recommended, though not mandatory. The meetings provide a safe, respectful and anonymous environment in which fellowship can be fostered.


Bedtime is encouraged to be at a reasonable hour, as healthy habits are being cultivated during the inpatient program. By getting enough sleep, clients are more alert and have more energy to experience peak participation in daily treatment.

Get Into Rehab Now

Now that you know what to expect for a typical day in drug rehab, it’s time to find the perfect place to start your treatment. Speak with a treatment specialist and let us help you find the right treatment center for you.