A Day in the Life at a Residential Addiction Treatment Center

A residential addiction treatment center is a retreat for those with substance abuse issues. Although each facility differs slightly, the goal of each center is universal: to integrate clients back into society and avoid a possible relapse. Therefore, the environment at a residential addiction treatment center must be safe and structured while fostering a caring and supportive environment.

A Day in the Life

Clients who have never been to a residential addiction treatment center might be overwhelmed at first. They will meet new people who might be dealing with the same issues and others whose issues are more severe. Staff will probably talk in a new language that is totally foreign to them. In addition, clients might feel homesick or lonely due to separation from family and friends. The purpose of a treatment center, however, is to always make the client feel that they are not alone, especially in their battle with drugs and alcohol.

Body searches must be completed on every one who checks into a residential facility. Performed by a qualified counselor, it is a very thorough search that identifies and documents scars, tattoos, piercings, and birthmarks on the body. A counselor will also check any pockets, shoes, socks, and any other easily accessible place for anything that clients cannot have in their room. The purpose of the body search is to ensure that the client does not have anything on his or her person that could contribute to a relapse and, ultimately, to ensure that clients are not a danger to themselves or others.


Clients will meet several times a day for group therapy. Groups are organized meetings facilitated by a counselor that addresses individual goals, addiction issues, and other concerns. It is during this session that clients will meet their peers and learn about each other’s individual issues.

Idle Hands Are the Devil’s Playground

Groups may take the form of activity therapy, in which clients engage in some sort of mental or physical exercise that serves as a metaphor for life. The purpose is twofold: to learn about themselves and their journey to sobriety and to get away from the daily grind of treatment. Expect a lot of different activities, from the name game to volleyball matches.

The Sky is the Limit

Clients might also attend goals group, which are held twice a day. The first group allows them to set a goal and the second is a follow-up session to assess whether or not they achieved it. An example of some measurable goals might be to list five triggers to drinking or list five coping skills that are alternatives to drugs or alcohol. Be prepared to listen to a lot of sad stories as peers talk about their experiences with drugs and alcohol or their present struggle with addiction.

Lastly, be prepared to have a little fun! Yes, it’s okay to have a little fun on the path to sobriety. You will be allowed to lounge around in the lounge room in the evenings after groups, eat some popcorn, watch a movie, and interact with peers. Try to think of your treatment as a job. You wouldn’t be a very productive employee if you worked twelve hours a day. The same applies to treatment. Rest and relaxation is necessary if you want to make day-to-day progress.

Treatment is a two-way street. A residential addiction treatment center will do its best to provide support and educate the client in a caring environment, but ultimately it’s up to the client to get sober. If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, don’t hesitate to contact your local treatment center.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *