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What if I Get Waitlisted for Treatment?

It’s so frustrating: you reach a point where you know you have a problem, you’re so sick of using, and you want to get better. So you work up the nerve to call a treatment center and they put you on a waitlist. This is a common problem in the US. Even states that take treatment seriously can’t get to everyone right away. Programs are underfunded, beds are scarce, and there aren’t enough addiction specialists to go around. Most people will have to wait at least two or three days. For many people, addiction is an emergency and being waitlisted is a serious problem. Here’s what to do if you get waitlisted.

First, don’t give up after the first one. Call every reputable treatment center you can get to. If they don’t have any openings, get on their lists too, even if they give you a longer wait time than others. The idea is to give yourself as many options as possible because you never know when you might get lucky. Also, don’t be afraid to be a pest. Call back every few days just to check. It’s normal to be frustrated if you need help and they won’t let you in, but remember to be polite. Getting angry won’t help your case. If you can, try to stay flexible. You don’t want to get a call and not be able to start treatment because you have other commitments.

Second, do what you can on your own. Although inpatient detox and treatment is the best route for most people, there is plenty you can do yourself. If nothing else, you can reduce how much you use, if only a little. The difficulty is keeping yourself accountable, so you might need some assistance. If you are quitting benzos, opioids, barbiturates, or heavy drinking, you should consult a doctor before you try quitting or tapering. You can also go to AA or NA meetings. You don’t have to be sober to attend. At the very least, it can keep your motivation up until you can get into a program.

The most important thing is not to give up. Wanting help is a big step and having to wait for it is a minor inconvenience. Do what you can to get in faster, and in the meantime, try to stay safe. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox safely and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at to learn more.