Written By: Katie Schipper
Dealing with a Relapsing Roommate Isn’t Easy
One of the first things you’ll hear in treatment or a twelve-step fellowship is that not everyone stays sober. There are a lot of reasons people relapse into active addiction, but it usually comes down to whether or not someone’s ready and willing to give recovery as much focus as they gave getting high.
In a place like Delray Beach, where the recovery community is huge, chances are high that you’ll know a lot of people who relapse. The longer you stay sober, the higher that number will be. So, what happens when a relapse hits close to home? What’s there to do if you know your roommate is getting high or drunk?
If you’re living with someone who starts using, it isn’t always easy to pack up your things and walk out the door. It’s probably just as hard to try and force someone else to leave. While it’s wise to go into any roommate situation with a recovery contract, once someone relapses that contract becomes pretty worthless. So, what do you actually do?
The first thing to do, and continue doing, is working your program. You’re safe from the first drink, as long as you’re doing the right thing and not coasting along. If you have a sponsor, go to meetings, help other women, and do what’s suggested you’re not going to magically get drunk or high. At that point, you’d have to make a conscience decision to go out. So, the real question is a bit more complicated than simply “what do I do?” The real question is how to live with someone who’s relapsing, whether that’s the right thing to do, or how to get out of the situation.
Most sober women aren’t going to choose to stay in a living situation where someone is getting high or drunk. Sometimes though, there isn’t another option. If your roommate is using and you have no way out of the lease, make it that much more difficult for your roommate to continue “getting away with it.” At this point, there’s no reason to protect your roommate, harsh as that may sound. Trying to save face is also a waste of time. Tell people in your life, and in her life, what’s really going on. They might be able to help her. If she threatens to hurt herself or anyone else, tell someone that too, probably the police. The worst possible thing to do is to sit back and pretend like nothing’s happening. Addiction articles and stories repeat this truth. Simply put, if you know something isn’t right, say something.
Leave if You Can
If you’re able to get out of your living situation, do so. Part of getting sober is recognizing that you no longer have to live the way you used to. You don’t have to settle for a subpar, painful existence. You don’t have to stay in situations where you no longer belong. You’re allowed to move and grow. You’re absolutely allowed to remove people from your life who don’t serve a positive purpose.
If your roommate is relapsing, bring extra focus to your own recovery. That’s where the answer lies and it’s where your solution is found.