What to bring to rehab for drug or alcohol abuse

The Hader Clinic
The Hader Clinic
May 30, 2023
minute read

An essential checklist of things to bring when going into rehab

If you’re at the stage of wondering what to pack for rehab, then the first thing we want to say is: good; you’re taking an important step towards a happier and healthier sober life.

We’re sure emotions are running high. This is likely your first time in rehab, or at least at a Hader Clinic rehab facility, and you may not know what to expect. Well, packing to go into rehab is just about the easiest part of the process. And you’ll feel a lot better about heading in once you’re packed.

In this guide, we’ll give you a full checklist of what you can and cannot bring to our inpatient treatment program. Our checklist will broadly apply to most rehab facilities in Australia, so you can use it as a starting point wherever you seek addiction treatment.

If you’re concerned that you or a loved one need to enter residential rehabilitation for drugs and alcohol, The Hader Clinic can help. Get in touch with our support team to get started.

What you can bring to your rehab facility

Personal items

Personal items will remind you of the essential relationships in your life and help you focus on why you want to get and stay sober. Rehab facilities encourage bringing emotional keepsakes, but we also recommend you bring a number of practical personal items as well.

  • Personal identification. This could include driver’s licences or passports. Facility staff will help you keep important documents locked safely away.
  • A credit or debit card.
  • Cash. We recommend only bringing a small amount of cash in low denominations. You can use cash to make small purchases, like at vending machines.
  • Insurance paperwork.
  • Prescription medication. Ensure your medication is in its original package with up-to-date information. Once you’re in our facility, our medical staff can refill your prescriptions as needed.
  • Family and friend contact details. We suggest you write out the names, phone numbers, email and addresses of those you wish to stay in contact with while in treatment.
  • A personal diary or journal.
  • Photographs of family members, friends, pets or anything that will make your room feel safe and familiar.
  • Reading materials. Most rehabilitation facilities provide reading material that has been screened for common addiction triggers. They may reject reading material you bring, so please only bring what you feel is essential.

Can you bring cigarettes to rehab?

Yes, you can. Recovering addicts often smoke to relieve stress and ease their nerves as they struggle with sobriety. 

At The Hader Clinic, we focus on breaking your addiction to your primary and secondary substance addictions, and we understand that allowing our patients to smoke can help. Of course, we do hope that the addiction-breaking skills you learn with us will help you kick your nicotine habit, too.

Clothes to pack for rehab

The Hader Clinic provides laundry facilities, so you’ll be able to keep your clothes fresh and clean instead of having to pack your entire closet. 

Otherwise, plan to pack 30 - 90 days' worth of clothes as you enter inpatient rehab. Most drug and alcohol rehabilitation inpatient programs run for one to three months, so that’s a good benchmark for how long you need to be prepared for.

When deciding what clothing to bring to rehab, consider which seasons you’ll be in. Pack more warm clothes if you’ll be in during the colder months, and vice versa. 

You also must not bring excessively revealing clothing.

Here’s a list of basic clothing items to pack for your stay in inpatient rehab.

  • Short-sleeve tops.
  • Long-sleeve tops.
  • Casual pants and shorts, including jeans, chinos, and track pants.
  • Dresses and skirts.
  • Underwear.
  • Pyjamas and house slippers.
  • Activewear, gym clothes and swimsuits. The Hader Clinic has a gym and offers a variety of outdoor classes and sports sessions.
  • Shoes. We recommend a comfortable pair of indoor shoes as well as a pair of outdoor runners.


Though it seems like a simple enough task, you must be careful which toiletries you pack for rehab. Some items, such as mouthwash, perfumes and deodorants, may be prohibited as they contain alcohol. 

You should always ask your rehab centre for a specific list of toiletries you are allowed to bring. 

Toiletries you may be able to bring include:

  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste.
  • Shampoos and conditioners.
  • Soap.
  • Hygiene products.
  • Disposable safety razors and shaving cream.
  • Moisturising lotions.
  • Makeup.
  • Sunscreen.

What you cannot bring to your rehab facility

Rehab staff must ensure that their clients do not bring in any items that may trigger anyone in the facility. Some prohibited items are obvious; others, less so. You must always check with your preferred facility for a list of items you cannot bring.

As a guide, things you can’t take to drug and alcohol rehab include:

  • Alcohol of any kind. This includes toiletries and makeup that may consist of alcohol.
  • Illicit drugs.
  • Drug paraphernalia. This includes approved items with drug or alcohol-related images on them.
  • Prescription medication that has been removed from its original packaging.
  • Over-the-counter medications.
  • Weapons. This includes pocket knives and multi-tools.
  • Sharp or dangerous objects. This includes shaving razors, scissors, sewing needles, matches and candles.
  • Expensive items. This includes most jewellery (although everyday jewellery like wedding rings are allowed) and large amounts of cash.
  • Games and playing cards. These can be triggers for those with gambling addictions. The rehab facility will provide appropriate games.
  • Personal electronics. Rehab needs to be free of all triggers, and cellphones, laptops, tablets, e-readers and smartwatches can be used to access triggers. Your facility will allow you access to their phones and computers as you need them.
  • Food and drinks.
  • Cameras. Privacy is critical for all clients.

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