10 Questions To Ask Before You Join A Drug Addiction Recovery Center

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Written By Charlotte Miller

If you are thinking of going to a drug addiction recovery center (usually called a rehab) then things are probably already pretty bad. That is not an easy choice to make, and we understand that no one makes it lightly. You do not want to rush into it if you are at all uncertain.

For that reason, we have put together this list of questions you should ask yourself before checking into one such rehab. These are not simple yes/no questions. These are complex considerations to make. And some of them will be more important to you than others.

What Level of Intervention do You Require?

Figuring out what level of rehab you need will tell you where you should go and how quickly you should go there. For instance, there are rehabs that are not the live-in facilities that you often hear about. There are also rehabs that offer medical attention to their residents.

If you need medication to get by, that is one thing. But if your withdrawal symptoms are so severe that they are life threatening, then that is another thing entirely.

Know well how bad things are, as well as how bad things can get with your condition.

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Have You Been in Therapy?

One of the biggest components to dealing with addiction is dealing the emotions that it evokes within you. Dependency on an external substance can lead to one feeling helpless, and the obviousness of people’s criticisms (“Just don’t do drugs, idiot”) make it worse.

A person can only help themselves if they are emotionally ready for it. If you have not gotten emotionally ready for it yet, then you need to seek a rehab that provides some form of therapy.

Do You Need a Safe Environment?

Some people go the rehab not because they want to kick their drug habit. Some people go to rehab because it is the only place where their drug habit is welcome. This can mean it is a place they can go to get off the street, as well as a place they can go to get away from abusers.

The kinds of rehabs you are looking for in this case will be very specific. They will have lower barriers of entry as well, meaning that they may be full. But since they know that this is usually the case, they also tend to be easy to access. 

What are Your Goals?

Before you get into rehab, it is important to have goals. In fact, before you even start trying to fight your addiction it is important to have goals. It is often said that relapse is part of rehab. Well, that is true. And that means kicking the habit does not mean going cold turkey.

It means that you might go in and out of rehab. You might spend two weeks sober and relapse after that. Dealing with that event is part of the reason therapy is important. Knowing that two weeks, or a month of sobriety is your goal can make rehab easier to deal with emotionally.

How Personal do You Need Your Treatment to Be?

This is a question for people with other conditions, both physical and mental. If you are a person dealing with a long term illness, or someone that gets sick easily (people colonized by certain bacteria can fit both criteria), then do you need certain medical accommodations for rehab?

If you are sensitive to certain environments, how important is it that other people know that? Think about these things and be ready to communicate them.

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How are Staff Trained at Your Ideal Rehab?

Many types of rehabs are valid, but you will probably have a preference as to how staff behave. Some rehabs will have extremely hands-off staff, while others go the opposite direction.

How are Logistics Handled?

Logistics considers how everything is organized. A rehab with a lot of paperwork and a tight schedule will have strict logistics that you cannot change on the fly. This is important for people who are in unstable situations and find they might stay longer than they need to.

That being said, it is more a problem if you stay longer than if you leave earlier in most places. 

Are You Going to Detox?

You should think hard about this, as the answer might not be as obvious as you think. Essentially, the question is a matter of how far along your addiction is, and not everyone knows how far along their addiction is. Some people are functional alcoholics, meaning that they are quite a long way into their addiction, but it is essentially invisible to them and others.

Are You Interested in Secondary Programs?

Rehab is focused on advancing through one struggle in your life, but that does not mean it has to be all about addiction all the time. Especially large rehabs allow you to take classes and participate in work without leaving the rehab.

And of course, some rehabs focus on this while also not being places where you live.

What is Your “Initial Assessment”?

All rehabs will ask you to fill this out before you show up or schedule anything. This can be the most critical component of getting into a rehab, as they may point out that they are not the right rehab for you. And through the questions they ask, you might find them to be a bad fit for you.

Take a good look at the initial assessment and take it seriously to find what is best for you.


Like we mentioned earlier, getting into rehab is a big decision. And not only that, it is a complex one with lots of options, from individual therapy, to group therapy, to family therapy

That complexity can feel overwhelming, but if you know what to look for then it will just become a plethora of options for choosing the right method of care for you.