Here’s How a Typical Day in Alcohol Rehab Looks Like

Last Updated: August 8, 2019

Typical Day in Rehab

Making the decision to go to Alcohol Rehab is usually under an intervention or a rock-bottom situation. The alcoholic wants help, but is frightened at the thought of losing control- losing mental control, losing bodily control and losing control over the alcohol, which was never there in the first place. It might be helpful if the alcoholic knows what really happens when entering rehabilitation to lessen the anxiety.

How does rehab for alcohol addicts work?

Rehabilitation for alcohol addiction is designed to help a person recover from substance abuse. This rehab includes therapies, group meetings, counseling sessions, and lectures about the dangers of drinking alcohol.

Here is a typical schedule for the recovering alcoholic in rehab on a weekday:

Typical Rehab Schedule:

  1. 6:00-7:00 am        Wake up time for everyone in inpatient alcohol rehab. No one is allowed to be in their beds past 7 a.m., no matter how late they might have been up the night before. Yeah, it’s hard, but worth it at the end of the day.
  2. 7:00-8:00 am       Breakfast. Breakfast is a community meal where the individual goes through a line, picks up a tray, and selects breakfast from the hot bins of cooked food. The resident gathers their own food and disposes of the empty tray. Each person takes care of their own self. No pajamas are allowed for attire.
  3. 8:00-8:30 am       Clean up the room and shower. Everyone has to be dressed for breakfast but depending on how early one arises makes a difference in how long one might wait for a shower. The room is required to be cleaned, the bed made, and the person dressed by 8:30. At no time until bedtime is anyone allowed to take a nap or lounge on the bed, unless they are seriously ill, at which time they will be in the nurse’s area.
  4. 8:30-10:00 am     Group time. The first day of meetings will depend upon the facility, but if it is a 12-step facility the group will be introduced to the principles of AA. This will only happen in the introduction to the program, after this point it is entirely up to the individual if they wish to participate in the AA program.
  5. 10:00-10:30 am   Break and Social time. People move around to get something to eat, bathroom breaks, and smoke breaks. Some places allow phone privileges, others don’t.
  6. 10:30 -11:59 am   Group meeting with a lecture about the dangers of alcohol. There will be speakers with specific information about the health issues that result from alcoholism. Persons that have just completed detoxification will still be visibly shaking. Those that have completed the first two weeks or so will be listening attentively, as they were less than alert the first time they heard this information.
  7. 12:00-1:00 pm     Lunch and break. This is another situation of eating in a group, along with a few minutes to study the materials that have been suggested.
  8. 1:00-2:30 pm        Group meeting about living sober. This will be the first of many group meetings regarding how to stay straight and sober. Issues of social changes, friends, and triggers will be discussed, along with the basics of hygiene and cleanliness.
  9. 2:30-3:00 pm       Break for smoke, coke and bathroom
  10. 3:00-5:00 pm       Group meeting about relationships. This group with learn about healthy family dynamics and have the opportunity to discuss real situations and their consequences. The group will use this time to learn coping skills and communication skills, how to identify toxic relationships, and how to see the signs of trouble brewing.
  11. 5:00-6:00 pm       Dinner in a group. Not every table is assigned seating, some places let people sit with whomever they desire.
  12. 6:00-7:30 pm     Personal time with a therapist, doctor, nurse, or counselor. All of these staff members rotate so that each individual sees someone every day, but they do not all serve the same function or discuss the same issues. The individual is constantly being evaluated for progress and setbacks.
  13. 8:00-9:00 pm     A meeting. Someone from outside the facility will come in and lead an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. AA starts at 8:00 all over the world and the meeting lasts exactly one hour. Attendance is not compulsory, but those who do not attend will be required to stay in their rooms for quiet time.
  14. 9:00 pm Free time until wake-up call. There is no particular “lights out” time, so it is left to the individual how early they want to go to bed after planned activities.

What Else to Expect

There are basketball courts usually available for those who wish to play, and there is often an assortment of games in the common area. There will be specific rules regarding reading materials, some places only allow recovery materials and a religious book, but others do not limit anything as long as alcohol or addiction is not promoted in the materials. How long is rehab for alcohol addiction depends mostly on the severity of the case and the willingness of the addict to recover.

Rehab centers can have amenities such as basketball courts available for those who want to play, common areas for socialization, and places with specific rules like libraries with recovery reading materials and religious books.

How do group sessions work in rehab centers?

Group sessions are held not only in residential treatment facilities. Patients of outpatient alcohol treatment centers can also attend such sessions. The meetings mainly focus on the consequences of alcohol addiction for the overall well-being of a person. Open-ended questions will be asked to the participants to begin the discussion. Visiting speakers may also come from the outside the facility to lecture patients about the dangers of drinking alcohol.

The group meetings throughout the day will focus on the physical, the mental, the emotional and the spiritual consequences of addiction. The individuals will be asked open-ended questions to start discussions in the groups. The pattern for the groups are 30 minutes of information, or lecture, and one hour of group conversation, or therapy.

On the weekends, the schedule is different. The wake-up and meal schedule is the same, but there are no one-on-one sessions with therapists, etc. There will be group meetings also. Often a Saturday night AA meeting will be a Speaker meeting, where someone who has recovered comes in and shares their strength and hope with the group. Speaker meetings always have refreshments and usually family can be invited to the open meetings that anyone can attend. Sunday will be the same schedule unless a church is invited to bring a worship service. Again, attendance is not required but the individual must stay quietly in their room during this time if they do not attend.

Continuous intake of alcohol takes a toll on the individual by lowering their immune system, causing depression, anxiety and possibly paranoia, repressing emotional maturity, and leaving the person without spiritual support.
In rehabilitation program, the alcoholic is reintroduced to the healthy lifestyle every day, with each lecture and group meeting building a foundation for sobriety. By the time the person leaves the rehab facility, the will know how to take care of themselves, the tools to stay sober, the beginning steps to mending relationships among their friends and family, and how to find an alcohol support group within their community.


Gregory Okhifun

Dr. Gregory Okhifun

Medical Reviewer

Dr. Okhifun is a passionate medical doctor, with over five years’ experience as a general practitioner. His passion for medical education led to his journey in medical writing. He has a wealth of experience writing for hospitals and medical centers, health organizations, telemedicine platforms, wellness organizations, medical tourism publications, addiction websites, and websites focused on nutrition and nutraceuticals.
He also serves as medical coordinator and content writer for Gerocare Solutions, for which he also volunteers as a health advisor/consultant for the elderly.
Dr. Okhifun enjoys traveling, meditation, and reading.

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