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What is Rehab Like?: A Typical Day in Rehab

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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

December 19, 2023

Table of Contents

Addictions to alcohol, prescription medications, and illicit drugs are chronic and incurable conditions, but they almost always respond positively to treatment.

ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine) categorizes addiction treatment according to five levels of care. The most intensive of these is inpatient rehab, also known as residential rehab. This involves remaining at a treatment facility for 30 to 90 days or more, typically beginning with a supervised medical detox.

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For those who require a more flexible pathway to recovery, outpatient treatment is available at several levels of intensity. With outpatient rehab, you can access the same evidence-based treatments as you find in residential rehab, returning home between therapy sessions.

What is Inpatient Rehab Like?

If you’ve come to the conclusion that you need rehab and you’re wondering “what is alcohol rehab like” or “what is drug rehab like”, programs for alcohol use disorder (alcoholism) and substance use disorder (drug addiction) unfold along similar lines.

Inpatient treatment programs will vary in terms of duration, but most will offer broadly similar and highly structured days. Here’s what to expect from a typical day at a residential treatment center.


One of the primary aims of an inpatient treatment program is to help you to develop and implement lifestyle changes. Most people with active addictions have unstructured lives. Residential rehab helps you to put these changes into practice gradually and with expert guidance.

Many people in the early phase of recovery find that their sleep patterns are still disrupted. You will go to bed and get up at the same time each day during an inpatient program, promoting better sleep hygiene.

You will eat a nutritious breakfast among peers, setting yourself up for an intensive day of structured therapy sessions.

Many inpatient rehabs offer access to holistic treatments like meditation or mindfulness after breakfast, allowing you to start the day feeling focused and clear-headed.

Group counseling sessions typically form the backbone of the morning in a residential rehab. One or more therapists will lead group discussions on a variety of topics associated with addiction and recovery. Topics may include:

  • Grief and loss
  • Trauma processing
  • Relapse prevention
  • Breathworks
  • Meditation
  • Harp therapy
  • Future planning

A balanced lunch with program participants will set you up for the rest of the day.


During the afternoon at an inpatient rehab program, you can expect further group sessions, as well as one-to-one sessions.

Individual therapy allows you and a therapist to work closely together, exploring the specifics of your addiction. After the session, you will have some time for reflection.

You will also have access to psychotherapies like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). A therapist will help you to identify your personal triggers for substance abuse. The therapist will then guide you to create healthy coping techniques.

Many rehabs provide access to holistic therapies and activities during the afternoons. These include:

  • Yoga
  • Hiking
  • Beach activities
  • Hiking
  • Guided meditation
  • Workouts with a personal trainer
  • Harp meditation


After a healthy and balanced dinner among peers, you will have some time for journaling, preparation, and relaxation.

Some rehabs will offer evening group sessions or access to peer support groups.

Early bedtimes at residential rehab help you to feel as rested as possible for more structured therapy.

What is Outpatient Rehab Like?

If you engage with an outpatient program, you will have access to the same therapies. The structure of the day depends on the type of outpatient program.

PHPs (partial hospitalization programs) are the most intensive form of outpatient treatment, with therapy sessions scheduled on five days of the week, typically from 8:30am to 3:40pm. You can expect to attend the same therapy sessions as outlined above with a catered lunch midway through the day.

Those with less severe addictions may benefit from an IOP (Intensive outpatient program), with therapy sessions scheduled on five days of the week, typically from 8:30am to 12pm. The focus of an IOP is on helping you to transition back into daily living. And it is this transition into sustained sobriety that means all levels of care should be accompanied by proper aftercare.

What Happens When You Get Out of Rehab?

The goals of addiction aftercare are threefold:

Helping you to maintain a sustained recovery from addiction.

Encouraging you to prevent relapse, or to manage relapse effectively if it occurs.

Creating a purposeful life filled with rewarding sober relationships.

An aftercare plan may involve:

  • Stepping down from residential rehab to a less intensive form of outpatient treatment.
  • Engaging with counseling sessions.
  • Participating in an alumni program.
  • Moving to a sober living community.
  • Building a sober support system.
  • Attending a peer support group, whether 12-step or non-12-step.

Addiction, like all chronic health conditions, has high relapse rates, so make sure you choose a treatment center like Renaissance Recovery Center for support from detox to discharge and beyond.

Addiction Treatment at Renaissance Recovery

Here at Renaissance Recovery Center, we can help you to combat the alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder that’s holding you back, and you don’t necessarily need to head to residential rehab.

Research indicates that many mild or moderate substance use disorders respond effectively to outpatient treatment. At Renaissance, we also offer more intensive outpatient programs, including IOPs and PHPs.

All our programs offer an evidence-based combination of MAT (medication-assisted treatment), psychotherapy, and counseling. We also offer access to many holistic therapies for a whole-body approach to recovery.From streamlining detox and withdrawal to managing cravings and building healthy coping mechanisms, you’ll leave Renaissance with a firm foundation for a rewarding sober life. Equipped with the right level of aftercare and a solid relapse prevention plan, you can soon embrace life substance-free. To make this possible, reach out to Renaissance today at 866.330.9449.



At Renaissance Recovery our goal is to provide evidence-based treatment to as many individuals as possible. Give us a call today to verify your insurance coverage or to learn more about paying for addiction treatment.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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