What To Expect During Residential Treatment

November 24, 2022

The prospect of residential treatment can be intimidating for those looking to begin their sober journey. Moving away from family, friends, or the comfort of one’s home and daily routine can be difficult to process. However, residential treatment is designed to help each individual make the most of their time in recovery, with dedicated programs helping each individual focus wholly on their sobriety and sober efforts. Knowing what to expect during residential treatment and dispelling any myths that may surround these programs can ensure that each individual is making the most of these transformative treatment programs. 

What Is Residential Treatment?

Residential treatment is a dedicated recovery program where those looking to overcome their use of addictive substances can congregate and challenge their urges, cravings, and any other effects of substance use in solidarity. Those attending residential programs live on-site at a recovery facility, benefitting from access to trained professionals and wholly engaging in a recovery-focused atmosphere. 

The duration of any particular residential program may differ from person to person. One’s time in a residential program will typically last between seven and 28 days, depending on one’s needs, goals, progress, and more. However, residential treatment programs are not simply hotels for those overcoming substance use disorder (SUD). Rather, they are entire programs dedicated to providing active support, education, and therapeutic programming each and every day. 

The Benefits of Residential Treatment

While navigating one’s sober journey in a new space can be difficult, it may also be necessary. It can be difficult to distance oneself from previous lifestyles, stresses, and routines if one is still exposed to trying environments each day. One’s home life may have a number of unidentified stresses, from complex familial relationships to photographs or memories of one’s time using that may romanticize one’s use. Pursuing one’s sober journey in a new, dedicated, sober space can help an individual physically, mentally, and emotionally separate themselves from previous lifestyles, stresses, and anxieties

Consistent Care

Even the most supportive of friends and family are not professionals in overcoming addiction or SUD. By living on-site at a recovery facility, one has constant access to professionals prepared to help guide an individual through these intense times of change, all while providing support and education each step of the way. There can be many unforeseen stresses and challenges that riddle one’s recovery journey. Continuous access to professional care, medical support, and more can be instrumental for one’s recovery journey. 


Addiction is an isolating experience, and it is common for those struggling with addiction to feel alone in their challenges. Residential treatment is crucial for introducing an individual to a community of like-minded and understanding peers. Having peers who can sympathize with one’s challenges without judgment or stigma is essential to challenge and overcome the use of drugs or alcohol. This feeling of acceptance and camaraderie can birth new, lasting relationships in sobriety. 

New Routines

One’s use of addictive substances can be tied to, and even inform, how each individual constructs their daily schedule. One may be used to engaging with drugs at certain times or feel like the use of alcohol is necessary to start off one’s day. By engaging in a residential program, an individual is prompted to create an entirely new routine, with new expectations and structure devoid of addictive substances or connotations that previous routines may contain. Not only does this allow an individual to further distance themselves from the use of drugs or alcohol, but it also empowers those in recovery to create a truly new and sober daily life. 

Demystifying Residential Treatment: What to Expect

While residential treatment may initially seem like a sterile environment, residential facilities are instead constructed with comfort and amenities in mind. A focus on a comfortable, homey atmosphere with spaces dedicated to self-care, community, and proven therapeutic outlets are all common, and an individual may still have their own space and degree of privacy throughout their stay. 

However, an individual should be prepared to bring only the essentials to residential treatment, and one may have to leave behind many personal belongings. While things like clothing, toiletries, journals, and other essentials will be permitted, an individual will not be permitted to bring any unnecessary items, such as video game consoles, clothing, or iconography that may be tied to the use of addictive substances. 

Many of these comfort items will be provided for an individual, including food and entertainment avenues. In residential treatment, one’s day will also be entirely constructed, and one may find their day filled with regimented activities, therapies, and more. Keeping busy and making sure that one’s activities are all conducted with a  sober focus in mind are tenants of an effective residential program, establishing new practices and lifestyles in sobriety that are wholly different that one’s previous life. 

While residential treatment can be intimidating, it is an effective and practiced approach to recovery. Being able to practice new coping strategies, engage in self-care, meet peers, and partake in dedicated therapeutic outlets in a safe and supportive environment is crucial, all helping to not only distance oneself from stresses but also navigate urges, cravings, and any other challenges that present themselves on the path to a new, sober life.

Residential treatment is an effective and comprehensive approach to treatment, with peers and professionals alike helping you establish an entirely new lifestyle in sobriety. At Buena Vista Recovery, we champion the idea that each individual can find their own best practices, and our residential programs and facilities are prepared to help you explore new communities and treatment modalities in sobriety alongside peers and professionals alike. We also can help you transition from our effective residential programs to ongoing support, helping you navigate your sobriety with support and care. For more information on how we can personalize your time with us, or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your needs and goals, call us today at (480) 741-9414.