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[ Opinion ]

What to Send in a Rehab Care Package

While I was in recovery, there were very few things that made me happier than a care package. It was always the best kind of physical reminder that there were people thinking about me outside the center. It didn’t really matter much what they sent because I knew that they had put love into it. Whatever came in that box had to be carefully thought of, not only because of the regulations each rehab center has but also because they couldn’t do it every day or every week, since they were living in another city. I still remember the first care package I ever got. It was from my younger sister. She sent a book she knew I loved. At that point, it wasn’t really about what the book was about, but more the fact that lots of people thought of me when they saw that book. It meant so much to me because I used to read it repeatedly when I was much younger, before starting to abuse substances. I knew it was a little token of the past my sister tried sending me, to remind me who I was and what I really wanted in life before becoming an addict.

Sending care packages is always a great idea, as long as it follows the regulations. It’s always surprising how much love and caring a simple box with carefully and well-selected items can show. If you’re thinking of sending one to a loved one in rehab, here’s what I’d suggest.

Personal gifts

Whether you’re in rehab or not, we all know how good it feels when we receive a personal gift. It shows how much people care about us and how well they know us. Obviously, anything will be appreciated no matter what it is because it’s showing love. But items such as letters, books, quotes, paintings or framed photographs can carry a very emotional and motivational value that can and will help an addict to look forward to the next day. Also thinking of your loved one’s’ favorite things will be of great help when trying to decide what to get them.

Simple things work well too

You don’t have to come up with an elaborated master plan that involves complicated arrangements to show someone how much you care for them. When I was in rehab, simple things were also always welcomed. Sending a new couple of sweatshirts, or sweatpants might be of great help considering most rehab centers have workout facilities and it could be taken as an encouragement to get healthy and fit. Clothes will never be a bad gift. I’m one to firmly believe that there is no such thing as enough socks and pairs of underwear. The more the better.

Aim to the senses

One of the most romantic notions of emotional perception is strictly attached to our senses. Sending snacks to tease and please the taste, a room spray that makes us feel like at home or a lotion that helps us to take better care of ourselves by noticing we smell better. Pictures, photographs, and posters that please the sight and inspire dreams of a not so distant future that could also motivate to have new goals in life. Music that works as the best time machine to evoke the happiest memories we cherish or show a glimpse of the emotions that will be felt when things get better and better. We all work very strongly bonded to what I like to call sensual memories. When our senses are somehow stimulated with something specific, it will very likely bring those memories back letting feelings of hope, nostalgia, and love flourish again to motivate on a daily basis. As Nietzsche said: “Life would be senseless without music.”

Do your research

It is very important to know exactly what we can and cannot send. For that, it’s necessary to get in touch with the rehab facility and ask about what set of rules they have regarding care packages. Once we’ve learned all of them, it’s easier to work with that frame to start finding what we might want to send. It would also be a good idea to get in touch with one of the staff members and ask for recommendations, normally they know what might be appropriate to send or they could just simply advice based on what the patient requests or needs.

It is also of extreme importance to avoid at all costs anything that reminds of the addiction, substances or hurtful memories that are linked to our past as addicts. While a picture can tell more than a thousand words, it is entirely up to us what those words tell.

Care packages will always be checked by the staff before being actually delivered to your loved one. Which is why is very important to stick to their rules and regulations and to think very well through what we want to send. Keeping in mind that we probably shouldn’t send very personal items since it could cause potential embarrassment or discomfort. Sending a well-thought package turns out to always be a ray of light in the day. Of course is not the only way to show love and support to someone we love who’s going through recovery. There are many other ways we can help out during the process and each one of those will be greatly appreciated in the end.

If you’d like to ask a question or would simply like to suggest other ideas or tips for a care package we might have forgotten to mention, leave a comment below.