If you're seriously thinking of entering an inpatient alcohol rehab program, it's important to understand why rehab centers don't allow clients to bring certain items along. There are differences among the centers, but there is a general theme to the guidelines. Rehab centers want clients to focus entirely on recovery during the weeks they spend in the program. Guidelines are intended to prevent distractions, temptations and anything else that could be detrimental to the recovery process -- not only for you, but for other participants as well.
Make a list of your must-have items before you start looking into these programs. Then you can consider this list as you decide which rehab center is best for you.
Medication and Supplements
If you expect to need substances such as over-the-counter pain relief medicine, allergy relief products or vitamin pills, you may be allowed to bring them if the container is still sealed. Not all centers allow this, however. And you can assume that anything containing alcohol, such as liquid cold medicine or mouthwash, is prohibited.
Rehab facilities understand that some patients need prescription medication, but you may not be able to keep it with you. You may need to retrieve a specific dosage from a staff member at designated times.
Books and Other Reading Material
Rehab centers naturally don't want patients to be reading books or magazines that promote alcohol and drug use. They also prohibit pornographic materials of any kind.
Some treatment centers may not allow you to bring any reading material at all. A primary problem is that it's easy to hide drugs between the pages of books. However, it's common for rehab centers to have a bookstore or library where you can get things to read.
Certain Types of Clothing
No matter how comforting you find a particular T-shirt or sweatshirt, if it has an inappropriate quotation or other message, you can't wear it at a treatment center. Examples include even subtle promotion of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs; sexual remarks or images; and quotations that could be seen as offensive.
You also probably won't be allowed to wear clothing that is considered too sexy or revealing. Although this guideline is typically geared toward women, men also usually are required to refrain from wearing clothing such as tank tops, very short shorts or pants that are noticeably tight.
CD players, MP3 players, radios, tablets and laptop computers are typically not allowed. The same is true of DVDs and video games. You may be allowed to bring your cell phone, but phone time is typically limited, and you'll need to retrieve your phone from a staff member. Cameras are problematic because of privacy considerations.
Snacks and Soft Drinks
You may feel that you need a certain type of snack food or soft drink every day, but many rehab centers don't allow patients to bring foods or beverages.
Anything That Could Easily Be Used as a Weapon
Obviously, nobody is allowed to take firearms or knives to rehab. However, you also won't be allowed to have items such as bleach, straight razors, curling irons or metal nail files. Regular laundry detergent and disposable razors usually can be brought along, but some facilities may require you to buy them at the center's store.
Inpatient rehab centers generally keep their clients busy with a full schedule every day, so you won't have a lot of time for reading, listening to music or using the Internet in any case. However, if you truly want a particular item that some treatment centers prohibit and other centers allow, you have the option of choosing a facility that will let you bring it along.