Written By: Katie Schipper

Why Does Choosing a Good Roommate Matter?

choosing a roomate

Early recovery can often feel like a constant onslaught of suggestions, advice, appointments, therapy, outpatient, meetings, step-work, and so on. The list of things that must be considered can seem never ending!

Why, on top of everything else, does choosing the right roommate matter? Of course, certain qualities are obvious. It’s probably not a great idea to move in with someone who’s getting high or drunk. And maybe avoid moving in with the boy you met in rehab. There’s more to choosing a roommate than just the obvious though, it deserves some attention and thought.

Learning how to live sober is a process. Finding a roommate and building a home (that isn’t a recreation of the chaos you lived in during active addiction) is more than just not using in that home. Finding the right roommate matters because finding a roommate can be one of the first steps in achieving balance. It can be one of the first steps towards living in harmony as a sober woman, outside of an inpatient treatment center, a halfway house, or even a Florida intensive outpatient program.

The following suggestions are based on the assumption that you’re leaving a halfway house after finishing a commitment.

Does quality substance abuse treatment still exist?

Things to Consider in a Roommate

Like any other individual choice, the following qualities to look for in a roommate are only suggestions.

Sometimes, the easiest thing to do is pick a friend and roll with it, regardless of who she is or where she’s at in her recovery (if she’s even in recovery). Often, the easiest thing leads to a lot of extra anxiety and stress! So, before choosing someone just because, consider a few ideas.

  • If you’re moving in with someone who’s not in recovery, is this something that will interfere with your recovery?

  • If the answer is maybe or yes, it’s not worth the risk it poses. Also, do you know that their drinking/using is that of a normal, social user? If you can’t say yes to that question with certainty, it’s a good idea to find someone else.

    Now if your potential roommate is in recovery, consider a few things, things that have been found to be largely true across the board.

  • Is your roommate through her steps?

  • If not, consider finding someone who is. If you aren’t through your steps, consider getting through them before leaving your halfway house. Steps completed = some level of sanity has returned. This results in less likelihood of drama in your home!

  • Can you find someone who has taken the time to build her recovery through treatment, IOP, and step-work?

  • Find someone with whom you can be honest

  • Honesty usually isn’t a strong point for addicts, so building a roommate relationship based on honesty and openness is a really great foundation for future relationships.

  • Find someone who is employable and employed

  • Find someone who has similar values or requirements in a roommate as you

  • For example, if you’re cool with having overnight guests regularly, but your potential roommate isn’t, that’s going to become an issue.

     Are you an alcoholic with an anxiety disorder? This article is about you!

    What Makes a House a Home?


    All of the above are starting points for finding a roommate. If the right roommate isn’t immediately in front of you, don’t pick a random girl! It’s not always wise to jump into a living arrangement with your best friend from IOP, or with someone you’re just getting to know. Be patient and wait until you find someone who you believe you could live with harmoniously.

    Having a sober home, a harmonious home, a home instead of a house, is new to most addicts. It’s definitely something worth seeking.

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