Addiction Recovery Checklist

Everyone who has felt the heavy hand of addiction in their lives, be it a personal struggle or that of someone you love, knows the power of external resources. No matter what stage of the process you find yourself in, you are not alone in your fight for sobriety. Our team at Better Addiction Care has decades of experience to share. Our addiction recovery blog offers tips on how to navigate the journey to sobriety, as well as accurate and necessary information to help understand addiction and raise awareness. Check out some of our newest addiction care tips here!

Checklist for What to Look for in a Rehab

With thousands of addiction recovery programs to choose from, the search can quickly grow overwhelming. But you don’t have to worry—an easy way to narrow down your rehab choices is to make a checklist for what to look for in a rehab.

Some rehabs are more reputable than others, and we want to make sure you choose a treatment program with high standards of care. Here’s a checklist of what to look for in an addiction recovery program:

  • Individualized treatment plans: The best quality rehabs create individualized treatment plans for each and every patient, based on their addiction, mental health, history, and more.
  • High staff-to-patient ratio: This means you get more individualized care, and the treatment staff aren’t stretched too thin.
  • Accreditation: Look for accreditation through Joint Commission Behavioral Health, which is the highest accreditation level for addiction treatment services available.
  • Treatment success: Ask the rehab what their treatment success rates are and choose one with a high rate of treatment completion. Also check if the facility does follow-up research to gather data on relapse.
  • Evidence-based practices: Research what sort of interventions and therapies the program utilizes and make sure they are evidence-based practices, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), motivational interviewing, contingency management, and more.1
  • Credentialed staff members: You’ll want to look for a rehab program that staffs a treatment team with specialized credentials related to addiction treatment, such as addiction counselors, marriage and family therapists, social workers, psychologists, nurses, doctors, and more.

How to Prepare for Rehab

Once you choose an addiction recovery program, you’ll need to prepare for rehab. Here’s everything you should check off before you leave for treatment:

  • Tie up any legal or financial loose ends
  • Take care of family and work obligations
  • Enjoy time with sober friends and family before leaving
  • Start a journal, if you find that helpful
  • Take time to relax
  • Pack only the essentials

What to Pack for Treatment

Every addiction treatment program has different rules about what you can and cannot bring, but some general things to pack include:

  • Comfortable, appropriate clothes
  • Comfortable sneakers for walks or hikes or working out
  • Swimsuit, if there is a pool
  • Toiletries and personal hygiene products, such as toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, sunscreen, and hairbrush
  • A notebook or journal
  • Your insurance card and information
  • A small amount of cash for vending machines and store runs
  • Credit card or debit card to pay for addiction treatment medications
  • Your prescription medications, in their original bottles
  • A list of names, addresses, and phone numbers of those you want involved in your rehab program (family members, 12-step sponsors, doctors, etc.)
  • Envelopes or stamps if you want to send letters
  • Books approved by the treatment facility

Many treatment programs don’t allow you to bring your cell phone or other electronics like a laptop, tablet, or smartwatch. These items can distract you from your recovery. You also may not bring narcotics, drugs, alcohol, weapons, pornography, unapproved medications, electric cigarettes, among other items.

Daily Schedule at Rehab

When you’re in inpatient rehab, you will have a structured routine and recovery environment that the treatment team creates for you. Your daily addiction recovery checklist during treatment will include activities and therapies, such as:

  • Group counseling
  • Family therapy
  • Individual therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • 12-step meetings, such as AA or NA
  • Non-12-step meetings, such as SMART Recovery
  • Scheduled mealtimes
  • Free time to exercise, take walks, read, participate in creative arts therapy

Without any distractions, it’s much easier to focus on your sobriety and utilizing all the skills you learn in a group and individual therapy. However, once your treatment program nears an end, you will collaborate with your treatment team to create an aftercare plan for relapse prevention once you return home and re-integrate into your everyday life.

When you return home, you will encounter more relapse triggers, stressors, and opportunities to use drugs or alcohol. It’s important that you create a daily checklist for your life at home to help foster a healing and sober environment.

Daily Addiction Recovery Checklist

Recovery is a lifelong process, and the work is never truly done. It’s important to create healthy daily habits during recovery. What we do on a daily basis affects our overall wellbeing—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Having a daily addiction recovery checklist is essential no matter where you are in your recovery process, but in the early stages of recovery, it is particularly important.

A daily addiction recovery checklist can help you stay on track, especially when you are feeling lost, out of control, or are having trouble adjusting to your new sober life. Without a structured schedule, your free time could lead to drug or alcohol cravings and even relapse. The idea behind creating an addiction recovery checklist is that you have a myriad of sober activities and relaxation techniques to choose from instead of drug use.

Here are some things to include on your daily addiction recovery checklist:

  • Accept that you have a substance addiction
  • Avoid high-risk situations
  • Ask for help if you need it
  • Practice gratitude by writing down or discussing what you are grateful for
  • Become involved in 12-step or non-12-step support groups
  • Begin opening up in meetings
  • Find an AA or NA sponsor and do the step work
  • Cut off drug using friends
  • Celebrate your small victories
  • Develop healthy sleeping and eating habits
  • Find and engage in relaxing activities, such as walking, meditating, reading, or listening to music
  • Make new sober friends
  • Make sure to check in with yourself
  • Use the coping strategies you learned in rehab
  • Distract yourself with something you enjoy when you are craving drugs or alcohol
  • Integrate some sort of physical activity into your lifestyle
  • Continue attending individual and group counseling sessions
  • Develop a strategy for social environments involving drinking
  • Remember to always be compassionate and understanding with yourself
  • Give back to others in recovery

A sample daily schedule may include:

Morning Afternoon Evening
Wake up and meditateEat healthy breakfastTake medicationsState intentions for the dayStep work LunchCall sponsor or attend therapyHobbySocial timeExercise Attend a support group meetingPositive self-talkDinnerAdd to gratitude listJournal

Recognize Warning Signs for Relapse

An important part of any addiction recovery checklist is knowing how to recognize warning signs for relapse so you can seek extra support during that trying time. A few common relapse warning signs include:

  • Romanticizing past drug or alcohol use
  • Minimizing the negative impact of past drug or alcohol use
  • Severe mood swings or sudden behavioral changes
  • Negative thoughts about your treatment or 12-step meetings
  • Isolation
  • Poor sleeping and eating habits
  • Avoiding 12-step meetings or not sharing during them
  • Being preoccupied by places, people, and situations associated with past substance use
  • Lying and bargaining

When you recognize these warning signs in yourself, it’s important to reach out for help. Call your sponsor, schedule additional therapy sessions, meet up with your sober support system, or attend additional 12-step meetings. In the event of relapse, you may want to return to an inpatient treatment program where you can get back on track, away from triggers. If you need help finding a rehab, call our helpline at 1-800-429-7690 to speak to a treatment support specialist.

Addiction Recovery Weekly Checklist

In addition to establishing a daily routine, you’ll want to keep an addiction recovery weekly checklist on you. Make sure that it’s readily visible to you. Write your weekly checklist on a whiteboard or hang the list on your wall or above your desk. You’ll want this list to serve as reminders to you throughout the week and throughout your addiction recovery process. If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, you can always consult your weekly checklist, which serves as a schedule that includes your therapy sessions, AA or NA meeting schedule, coping skills that work for you, and more. 

You can always adjust your checklist as time goes on and you figure out what works and doesn’t work for you. It’s meant to be an evolving set of guidelines to help you maintain abstinence in the long run.

An example of a weekly addiction recovery checklist:

  • Monday: Attend therapy
  • Tuesday: Practice saying positive statements about myself
  • Wednesday: Practice self-care, such as yoga, meditation, or a relaxing bath or massage
  • Thursday: Meet up with sober friends or loved ones
  • Friday: Attend an NA or AA meeting
  • Saturday: Enjoy a new hobby or activity, such as hiking, swimming, painting, or learning an instrument
  • Sunday: Practice spirituality, in whatever way that means for you

As always, relapse prevention is the ultimate goal, but you also want to practice compassion and forgiveness with yourself if you do wind up having a slip or relapse. Since substance addiction is a chronic condition, relapse is, unfortunately, a normal part of the recovery process. If you have a slip or relapse, don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-429-7690 to find a rehab immediately.

Addiction Resources

At Better Addiction Care Rehab, we strive to provide leading addiction treatment resources for everyone looking for an extra helping hand. We provide drug and alcohol resources for every step of the sobriety journey. Whether you are looking for PHP programs, treatment therapies, or literature about how to stage an intervention, Better Addiction Care is working diligently to provide the best situational knowledge and expertise. Check out some of our top drug addiction resource pages and addiction recovery blogs here!

More Addiction Checklist Resources

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019). Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction DrugFacts.
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction: Treatment and Recovery.
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