Average Day in Inpatient Rehab at Desert Hope

Desert Hope Treatment Center  in Las Vegas, Nevada offers inpatient and residential rehab to help newly recovering individuals experience 24/7 support from staff and peers in a completely drug- and alcohol-free living environment. An inpatient program provides therapeutic treatment combined with a peer-to-peer connection that can relieve the isolation and stigma of addiction. This combination provides a safe place to recover and helps patients to build sober, supportive relationships that will help to support lasting sobriety.

Patient stays at Desert Hope typically last between 30 and 90 days. After an initial assessment, a comprehensive program will be developed that meets each individual’s specific needs. Thus, a daily schedule might have both similarities and differences between residents.

An Average Day in Rehab at Desert Hope

average day in rehab at desert hope starts off in patient rooms for wake up

Residential treatment centers for substance use disorders are designed to keep clients focused on their recovery. While there is free time, it is often used in engaging in healthy activities that promote reflection such as journaling, reading, exercising, etc. For the most part, the schedules are designed to keep the individuals busy and involved in treatment from the time they get up until the time they go to sleep.

A typical schedule for an average day at Desert Hope might look like this:

6:00 a.m.7:45 a.m.: Wake up and get ready for the day. The resident is expected to do any early morning chores, clean their room, get ready for the day, and take any medications (under the supervision of medical personal). Residents may use the gym during this time.

6:30 a.m–7:45 a.m.: Breakfast.

8:00 a.m.–8:20 a.m.: Town hall meeting. Any important announcements or issues can be discussed at this time.

8:30 a.m.–10:00 a.m.: “Fundamentals.” These sessions will focus on basic and foundational therapy skills taught within the contexts of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).

10:15 a.m. –11:45 a.m.: Various classes focused on developing life skills that are important to recovery such as assertiveness, forgiveness, boundaries, and relationships. Specialized treatments for veterans/first responders may also occur during this time.

11:45 a.m. –1:00 p.m.: Lunch and gym time.

1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.: Process groups. Patients can share experiences and process emotions and struggles with their peers under the guidance of a therapist.

2:45 p.m.–4:15 p.m.: Elective sessions. Options may include classes on various topics such as self-esteem or decision-making. The elective each individual participates in will be tailored to their individual needs, and there are specialized programs for different groups of people such as those who identify as LGBTQ, have a trauma history, or are first responders/veterans.

5:00 p.m.–7:00m.: Dinner and personal time. During this time, medical staff members may also check in on residents and dispense medication that is taken on an as-needed basis.

7:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.: Evening patient-centered activity.*

8:00 p.m.: Evening medication distribution.

9:30-10:00 p.m.: Residents have quiet time for journaling, reading, etc., and getting ready for bed. Depending on the day, there may be special evening activities.

10:00 p.m.: Lights out.

*Evening Activities

Desert Hope offers fun activities and opportunities for you to connect with your peers each night between 7 and 8 pm. Below are the daily offerings:

  • Monday – Monday night football, wings/pizza.
  • Tuesday – Movie night.
  • Wednesday – Sports activity night that includes volleyball, basketball, and cornhole. (Pickle ball coming soon!)
  • Thursday – AA/NA and LGBTQ pride.
  • Friday – Ice cream social.
  • Saturday – Game night/board games.
  • Sunday – Worship services offered for various faiths.

How Does Inpatient Rehab Work?

The rehab schedule will be tailored according to each person’s needs. The schedule above is simply a sample of what a typical day at Desert Hope may look like.

There are more standard therapies that are provided, as well as alternative or experiential therapies. The patient will participate in different therapies as they pertain to their goals or needs.

The First 30 Days

The first 30 days of treatment are designed to equip the recovering individual with the basic tools to support their sobriety. In addition, the first 30 days also allow individuals to begin to explore their own personal issues with substance abuse and how drug use served as a maladaptive way for them fulfill certain needs. This helps patients begin to:

  • Understand their triggers.
  • Develop strategies to prevent relapse.
  • Build a strong foundation for long-term recovery.

Therapies in Rehab

therapy session in rehab treatment program

Here is what you might expect from the different types of therapies that Desert Hope offers:

  • Psychoeducation: A big part of psychoeducational classes is didactic, meaning a trained professional will be teaching about a topic, skill, or therapy. Although there might be an experiential component, the main focus will be gaining knowledge. For example, residents might learn more about the process of addiction and recovery.1
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This therapy focuses on helping people gain insight into how their thoughts might be negatively impacting their feelings and behaviors. It rests on the assumptions that a person’s reactions to things are based on their interpretations of them vs. the events/situations themselves, and that it is helpful to focus on how we can change our thoughts, which we can control. CBT will help residents increase awareness of their thought patterns, identify how their thoughts might be irrational or distorted, and then work to challenge and reframe them so they can feel and behave a different way.2
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): This therapy shares some similarities to CBT, but it focuses on exploring contradictions, developing acceptance, and building competencies in 4 main areas: mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotion regulation.3
  • Motivational Interviewing: This method helps individuals explore their ambivalent feelings about change, as well as the impact addiction has had on their lives. This exploration can help foster positive changes.4
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): Mainly for those suffering from trauma-related stress, this therapy is more of a mind-body approach and uses eye movements to reduce emotional distress.5
  • Group Therapy: This type of treatment can be more psychoeducational or process-oriented, but it is an important component of a comprehensive treatment program. More specifically, it helps residents feel less alone and support each other’s recovery.1,6
  • The Matrix Model: Mostly for recovery from stimulant abuse, this treatment is an integrative approach that incorporates several of the above therapies with 12-step approaches and other elements such as relapse analysis and periodic drug testing.7
  • Family Therapy: Addiction often involves and affects the entire family, so this component helps residents work through issues with their loved on to support the health of the family unit and promote recovery.8

The discussions that occur in therapy, groups, and other sessions are designed to educate patients on the basic principles of recovery and to allow patients to learn from and share with their peers. As a person moves through the recovery program and becomes more familiar with the basic principles, they can help to instill some of these principles in newcomers. This results in patients learning to listen to one another, confiding in each other, and developing important relationships and supports that will aid them as they move on to life after treatment.

The Importance of a Daily Schedule

An average day in inpatient rehab at Desert Hope Treatment Center is designed to keep patients involved in treatment-related activities throughout the day. Residents stay focused on their goals and gain an increased sense of personal responsibility by attending to chores and completing required assignments on a set schedule. There is very little downtime in inpatient treatment, and all activities and sessions are focused on the goal of recovery.

A set schedule is incredibly useful to those newly in recovery.9 Patients whose lives have been in chaos will know what to expect each day, and this routine can help restore a sense of stability and teach them skills to structure a life without substance abuse. Since everything is in one place and a lot of typical daily concerns are taken care of, such as what to eat or where to exercise, residents can focus all of their attention on recovery.

Getting used to operating on such a structured schedule will also help after the individual completes rehab and returns to their regular life. Maintaining some structure will help them stay on track and keep their mind and behavior focused on what they value rather than their addiction.


  1. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Substance Abuse Treatment: Group Therapy. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2005. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 41.) 2 Types of Groups Commonly Used in Substance Abuse Treatment.
  2. American Psychological Association. (n.d.). What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
  3. Chapman A. L. (2006). Dialectical behavior therapy: current indications and unique elementsPsychiatry (Edgmont (Pa. : Township))3(9), 62–68.
  4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) (2010). Spotlight on PATH practices and programs: Motivational Interviewing. Rockville, MD: Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  5. EMDR Institute. (n.d.). What is EMDR?
  6. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of Effective Treatment.
  7. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). The Matrix Model (Stimulants).
  8. Mayo Clinic. (2017). Family therapy.
  9. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Client’s Handbook: Matrix Intensive Outpatient Treatment for People With Stimulant Use Disorders. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 15-4154. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2006.