Addiction Recovery- How Long Is Rehab?

Addiction treatment can seem pretty intimidating. Often times when you are in the active stages of addiction, you are deeply rooted in your daily life. You have friends, family, and maybe even a job that you have to leave in order to get clean.

Exactly how long is rehab? How long will you have to be away from the people you love?

The answer to that question depends on a lot of different factors that we'll discuss here today.

Types of Rehab

Before we say anything else, it's important that you remember that you are a unique individual. Your life is unique, your addiction is unique, and your recovery will be unique as well. There's no way to adequately judge the length of your recovery time because everyone's time is different.

That said, there are a number of different treatment options. For the most part, treatment is divided up into 30-day programs, 60-day programs, 90-day programs, and extended programs.

But you shouldn't choose a program based on the length. Instead, you should choose them based on how likely they are to help you to get and stay sober in the long term. The majority of addicts need a minimum of three months in a treatment facility to get sober and continue their recovery into the outside world.

30-Day Treatment

For the most part, 30-day (or 28-day, depending on the program) treatment facilities will follow the same outline.

First, a doctor will take a good look at you. They will take a detailed history of your drug and alcohol use and get all of the important medical and mental health information that they can from you. This is known as a substance abuse assessment.

From there, you will likely work with a professional that will help you come up with a treatment plan. Every plan has to be different because, like we said, every addiction is different. Your program has to be tailored to meet your needs.

Then comes detox. This is especially important at the start of your recovery because you will clear the drugs and alcohol from your body. You will probably start to feel pretty uncomfortable at this stage of recovery, and depending on your drug of choice it might be extreme.

In some cases, the symptoms of withdrawal can be lethal if they aren't managed. Some places will help ease you through these symptoms with medications, support, and constant monitoring.

Once you've left the detox stage, you'll move through therapy and counseling. There will likely be a mix of individual therapy and group therapy, as well as 12-step meetings or something similar.

Another vital aspect of rehabilitation is working with a specialist to create a program for you to follow after you leave therapy. This involves things like continuing therapy, moving into a sober living facility, attending 12-step meetings and developing a plan for what to do if you feel close to a relapse.

Then, when you have completed the whole program, you will be let go.

60-Day Treatment

For the most part, 30-day and 60-day treatment programs follow the same outline. There's just more time spent in a 60-day treatment center, and studies show that more time in a sober environment can equal a higher chance of continuing recovery.

Month One

During the first month, participants will go through the same things that they would have at a 30-day program. There's intake and evaluation, detox, therapy, and meetings.

60-day treatment facilities have a better chance of addressing issues outside of just addiction. If there is a dual diagnosis, and there usually is, it's usually better handled in these longer-term facilities.

Month Two

During the second month, you'll start to adjust to this new routine. You'll notice that your plans are well patterned and that could bring a feeling of comfort and stability. After something like drug addiction, that little bit of routine can feel like heaven.

During this second month, you'll spend even more time working on what the root cause of your addiction was. You'll be able to go more in-depth and really focus on the trauma that pushed you to drugs.

90-Day Treatment

If you have been dealing with your addiction for a long time, or if your addiction is very severe, a three-month program might be the best option for you. Also, if your duel diagnosis is more severe, you should consider a longer stay.

Most of the other practices of a 90-day treatment center are the same as the 30- and 60-day options, but there's more of a focus on therapy and developing coping skills to stay sober outside of the facility.

The downside of these longer stay facilities is that the cost will be more prohibitive to some people, especially the people who need it the most. However, many programs can offer financing or sliding scale fees, and insurance might cover some of the cost as well.

Sober Living

Rehab typically doesn't end just because you've left treatment. There's often an additional treatment, sometimes called a halfway house or a sober living facility.

These are places for people who want additional support for staying away from their addictions. It's hard to do that without a consistent, stable, well-scheduled environment to live in for the first month or so after leaving rehab.

Sober living isn't just for people leaving rehab, though. Sometimes, people who want an alternative to traditional rehab enter a sober living facility to get clean as well.

This is meant to be a transitional place to live. It'll revolve a lot around recovery and following the steps of each individual program. The people who live there usually have to take random drug tests and attend meetings while proving that they genuinely want to be there and to recover from their illness.

Most of these homes will give individualized plans to recover and they create a place that will let people work on their plans and goals so that they can support themselves later on. Peer support is a pillar of sober living.

Usually, the people in sober living have to pay rent, support themselves, and buy their own food. Professionals encourage them to work or to look for work, but many qualify for government assistance.

You can stay for as long as you want as long as you follow the rules and pay rent.

Resident Expectations

It's incredibly important for the people who live in sober living houses to follow the rules of the house. Those rules are there to protect the sobriety and safety of everyone involved.

For the most part, the rules are pretty standard:

  • No alcohol

  • No drugs

  • Smoking only in designated areas

  • No sexual contact with other residents

  • Pay fees on time

  • No stealing

  • No violence

  • Attend all meetings and therapies

Many houses have no tolerance for breaking the rules, and one violation will be enough to see you evicted. This is especially true for any sexual misconduct.

Are Sober Living and Halfway Houses Different?

In some ways, yes. Halfway houses are usually directly linked to a formal rehab program and there are limits to how long you can stay. They typically get funding from the government, which means that they experience budget cuts frequently. So 12 months is typically the most you can stay at a halfway house.

A Typical Day in Rehab

When you're thinking about the length of rehab, you might find it comforting to know what a typical routine for a day looks like. While many different treatment options exist out there, most of them follow the same standards as far as scheduling goes.

These programs are very structured and well organized in order to limit the stress for the residents there.

Here's what an average day at a typical rehab facility could look like.


You should expect to get up early while in treatment. Generally, sleeping in is frowned upon. You'll wake up early and eat a healthy breakfast and, if your facility offers it, some yoga or other light exercises could help you start your day off right.

This has a lot to do with the healthy habits you're trying to develop while you're in treatment.

After breakfast, you'll likely have a group session that a counselor or therapist leads. You'll focus on a variety of topics, depending on where you're at in your journey.


You'll have a healthy lunch in the middle of the day, and then the intense treatment starts.

Your individual therapy will usually start at this time. Afterward, you'll probably have another group session.

Group therapy is so important to recovering from addiction. You'll gain friends and a sort of camaraderie that you just can't experience with people who haven't dealt with addiction. And sharing stories of addiction is good for people to heal emotionally.

You'll learn to start trusting again, an issue that a lot of addicts have a hard time with.

Some drug centers have family therapy in their programs. Addiction is a disease that really hits everyone in a family, and if you have close family members it's very unlikely that they aren't dealing with codependency, enabling, anger, and resentment. During these sessions, you and your family will talk and try to resolve your issues.

Additional Therapy

Some rehab facilities specialize in different types of therapy. Many of the popular alternative therapies are anger management, art therapy, and spiritual therapy.

Some rehabs also host guest speakers that come to share their stories of addiction and recovery with you. Sometimes these can be directed towards rebuilding a career or relationships after a particularly rough battle with addiction.

Free Time

After the intensive therapy in the afternoon, there is often free time for you to do what you want with. Some facilities will have amenities with some simple sports to play, or maybe a swimming pool to swim in.

You could also use that time to read, journal, pray or meditate. It's just important that you spend this time wisely.


After a healthy dinner, there might be another smaller group session. Most rehabs also offer evening 12-step programs later in the day.

Also, there will likely be a "lights out" time. You're trying to build healthy habits, and getting adequate sleep is so important to that. Also, most relapses happen between 11 PM and 7 AM, so it helps to just sleep through the more difficult hours if you can.

Long-Term Rehab is Best

Don't let the length of the rehab program deter you from going. There are a lot of options out there, but long-term treatment is more effective than all of the different short-term treatments out there.

It might seem nicer to go to a short-term residential program, but they aren't very effective. Most of the time, you haven't even completely finished the withdrawal stage of rehab before you are finished with a 20- to 30-day program.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, NIDA, The Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners Program, and the American Society of Addiction Medication all state that long-term residential stays are the best option for all kinds of addiction and treatment options. Let those institutions guide you in making this decision.

How Long is Rehab?

We hope we've answered the question "how long is rehab" for you. It's not such an easy thing to determine. There are so many different factors that go into treatment and so many different things to consider.

But one thing is for sure: you shouldn't let a long-term treatment scare you away. You want rehab to really help you change your behaviors, right? You didn't develop this addiction overnight, and you certainly won't get rid of it that quickly either. Give yourself the time you need to properly heal.

For more information on drug abuse, addiction recovery, and finding a rehab facility that best suits your needs, visit us today.