You’ve admitted that you have a substance use program and found the courage to seek help – only to find out that the treatment center you’ve chosen is full and has a long waiting list. What do you do?

First of all, don’t give up. It’s not a sign that it wasn’t meant to be, it’s just a part of the sad reality that that millions of people are struggling with substance abuse. In 2015, 2.5 million people received treatment for addiction in the United States alone, and that’s only a fraction of the people that needed it. There are more people seeking treatment these days, thanks to the Affordable Care Act and the insurance marketplace, so it makes sense that spots in treatment are filling up fast.

One thing you can do is get your affairs in order while you’re waiting. Do you have a pet that needs to be taken care of while you’re away? Who’s going to collect your mail? How are you going to make sure that your bills get paid so you don’t come home to no electricity? These are fairly simple, practical things, but they’ll both keep you busy and make life easier when you come home after treatment. If you’re leaving a job, talking to your employer about your options. Will your job be waiting for you when you come back? Can you help train someone to temporarily replace you? If you think you’ll have to look for a new job, now is a good time to start considering what you might want to do.

Consider your physical health. You might be able to start detoxing before you go into treatment. There are detox centers you can go to, and it’s important not to try this alone. If you’re not going to detox, there are still other things you can do to make sure you’re in good health. Try starting an exercise program – which will be very helpful when you’re in recovery, to boost your mood and help fight cravings. If you have mental health problems, you could use this time to start speaking to a therapist.


Spend time with people who will support you. It’s not too late to start making amends, if need be, but just knowing you’ll have people at home supporting you can make a big difference when you do enter rehab. Also, if you’re still spending time with people who enabled your drug use, especially people who did drugs with you or sold them to you, now’s a good time to cut them out of your life. Being around them after treatment is only going to hurt your chances of recovery and increase the chances of relapse.

Don’t give up. It took courage just to ask for help; don’t let a little setback derail you. If you don’t think you can wait, keep searching until you find a facility with an opening.

If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504.