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Your First Day at an Addiction Treatment Center: What to Expect

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Medically Verified: 2/1/24

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All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Your First Day at an Addiction Treatment Center: What to Expect

Going to treatment is scary. The thought of getting sober if you have relied on drugs or alcohol for any period of time is scary enough, but leaving the environment that you know and jumping into the unknown can be absolutely terrifying. However, it is a crucial first step towards achieving sobriety. 

If you have never been to treatment before, you might not know what to expect. It is completely normal to experience some fear and anxiety before treatment, but a good addiction treatment center will help calm your nerves. In addition, knowing what to expect during your first day in rehab can help make you better prepared for this experience. 

The first day can be exceptionally nerve-wracking. After all, it is the very beginning of your opportunity at a new, sober lifestyle. Getting sober takes a lot of work, but it is completely attainable. Although you may feel discomfort at first, rest assured that you will benefit greatly from addiction treatment later down the road. 

On your first day, you will meet with medical professionals, licensed mental and behavioral health counselors, and some of your peers who you might be in treatment with. Everything addiction treatment entails can be overwhelming at first, which is why you take it one day at a time. 


The intake process is mainly a lot of questions and answers. You will be evaluated by a medical professional who will get some background information on your mental and physical health as well as your drug or alcohol use. This process is crucial to your safety and success in treatment, so it is important to be honest with the person evaluating you. 

A trusted medical professional will speak with you about any personal or family history of mental illness and other medical issues. They may inquire about what substances you take, how often you take them, and whether or not you have had any time sober in the past. They may also check your blood pressure and draw blood to test for any blood-borne illnesses and ensure that your vitals are stable. Some further testing and examinations may be required, but know that these medical professionals are only trying to ensure your safety and make sure that you are taken care of properly. If a medical professional determines that you need medical attention, that will be tended to immediately.

On your first day, you will also meet with a therapist. They will enquire about your drug or alcohol history. In addition, you will discuss with them what your goals are and why you sought out addiction treatment. Your therapist might speak with you about the underlying issues or mental health conditions that contributed to your addiction. Although it may be difficult to discuss these things, it is important to your recovery because it will help your therapist formulate an individualized addiction treatment plan that is tailored to meet your specific needs. 

During intake, you can also expect to fill out and sign some paperwork. This will keep your information documented and outline the treatment plan that you and your therapist have agreed upon. Paperwork may also include rules and expectations to be adhered to during your stay at the addiction treatment center. 

Personal Items Check

If you’re thinking about sneaking in one last drink or drug, it might be time to think again! A counselor or staff member will look through your suitcase and personal belongings. Remember, it isn’t an invasion of privacy – it is for your safety and the safety of others around you. They will be checking to make sure that you didn’t bring any drugs, alcohol, paraphernalia, weapons, or other items that are forbidden. If you are unsure of what you should bring to treatment, you can call and speak to a staff member beforehand to find out what is acceptable. 

In many cases, you will have to let go of your cell phone and other electronic devices because these can distract from therapy and your treatment plan. You may be hesitant to give up your cell phone, but these devices will be available to you at certain times. If not, you will be given the opportunity to make phone calls when the treatment center allows you to. Staff may also confiscate any prescription or over the counter medication that you have. However, an onsite medical center or pharmacy will dispense your medication to you when it is needed. 

Residential Tour and Settling In

Once you have completed the intake process and have had your bags examined, you will take a tour of the treatment center and begin to meet people. You will view the residence where you will be living over the course of treatment, the clinical center where group and individual therapy is held, and any amenities that the addiction treatment center has to offer. You may be introduced to other staff members or other clients of the facility. 

When your tour is done, it’s time to settle in. You can unpack your things, become familiar with the facility, and begin to meet your peers. If it is early in the day and time permits, you may be instructed to join a therapy session, meeting, or group discussion.

Your First Day at Carolina Center for Recovery

At Carolina Center for Recovery, we know that your first day at an addiction treatment center can be overwhelming. However, our compassionate staff and medical professionals will do what we can to make you feel comfortable and welcomed. 

“When you first arrive at Carolina Center for Recovery, you will have the opportunity to participate in a medical and psychiatric evaluation. Once our team maps out your treatment plan, you will take the first step in your journey towards recovery with the guidance of Carolina Center for Recovery’s clinical, medical, and holistic teams.”

Begin your journey to lifelong freedom from addiction today by contacting our addiction specialists in North Carolina.