Guide for when your roommate relapses (5 things you must do)

Guide for when your roommate relapses (5 things you must do)

My roommate relapsed shortly after I had moved out of a sober house and it brought up a lot of emotions for me. I was angry, sad, scared, and frustrated. I was newly sober myself, and since I was renting a room in her house, I knew I’d have to find a new place to live. I didn’t know what to do or where to go. Luckily, I had a sponsor with experience in the program, and she helped me figure it out. So here is my guide for when your roommate relapses:

1. CALL YOUR SPONSOR: This is the first and most important step when your roommate relapses. Your sponsor usually has experience with situations like this or can direct you to someone else with experience. They are the best resource when making decisions and arrangements when your roommate relapses. For example, whether or not you or your roommate are on the lease, whether or not you have a signed agreement for such situations dictating what you will do if one of you relapses, or whether or not you are living in a sober living environment will dictate the next step you should take.

2. Go to a meeting: When things go wrong in my life, my go-to place is always a meeting.  It gets me out of my head, and it’s a great place to meet newcomers. My sponsor’s advice is always the same when I’m feeling angry or helpless: Go help someone else. Get out of yourself. Pray and meditate. Do what you need to do for your own sobriety so that you are able to be helpful to everyone in your life, including a roommate who has relapsed.

3. Assess the risk: If your roommate relapses, and does not want help or is too intoxicated to really listen, you may want to think about staying somewhere else until you can decide what to do. If you are newly sober, it’s usually best to put some distance between yourself and your roommate.

4. Take the next step: Often when two people in recovery live together, they will have some sort of agreement about what should be done if either one relapses. Usually, one will have to go to detox for a few days, or the one who relapses will have to find a new place to live. If you live in a sober house, you should let your house manager know.

5. Take precautions for the future: If your roommate does want help and does go to detox or halfway, make sure that you set clear ground rules if she moves back in and relapses again. Have a plan in place to protect yourself. If you end up moving out, take some precautions with your next roommate. While you can never say for sure who will stay sober and who will not, it’s best to live with someone who has worked the 12-steps and is sponsoring others.