By Tim Myers

How to Deal with a Relapsing Roommate

The number one phone call us people in recovery get goes a little something like this – “my roommate is using…what do I do?” This happens every day in recovery communities like Delray Beach and, if you’re living with a recovering alcoholic, it can 100% happen to you!

relapsing roommate

If three people move into an apartment, one of them will most likely use. Those are the facts. I’m not being pessimistic, just realistic. So, for all of you out there who may find yourself in this predicament, here’s a handy guide.

If your roommate is drinking, you should…

STEP ONE: Have a House Meeting

Confront your roommate together, never one on one.

Bring along someone with more time than you and someone who’s been in this situation before. Ask your roommate if they’ve been using. Point out several things that you’ve noticed about their behavior that makes you believe this.

If the deny it, you can ask them to take a drug test. You can pick these up at any local drug store. Once you have confirmed that they are using, move to step two.


“I can’t do that, they’ll have no where to go!” or “I can’t do that we have rent to pay.” These are poor excuses to kick someone out.

100% of the time the situation gets 100% worse if you don’t make the using roommate leave. Never ever has it worked out. Never.

Tell them they can’t live here anymore and they have to leave right away. Now, you don’t have to be a jerk about it. They’re sick and suffering, so be compassionate and helpful. You can do this in step three.

If your roommate is accepting help and wants to be sober move on to steps three to five. If not, stay away. Ask them to leave, call the cops if they won’t, and above all else, keep you and your home safe.

STEP THREE: Help Them Find a Halfway House

Your relapsing roommate is broken and scared right now. Help them get on the phone and help them find a place to stay. There are many halfway houses and many will work with your roommate on payments if they have a job. Once you have a place that your roommate has committed to, move on to step four.

STEP FOUR: Take Them To A Meeting

By taking them to a meeting you’re showing your roommate that you still care about them and their recovery. They’ll remember this and hopefully they’ll do the same thing for another person if the situation arises.

This will also put them in a good mood and get them back on the right path before they even step foot in the halfway house.


This is the most important step because it’s showing God that you care for your friend and that you’re grateful that you’re still sober.

Take this time to reflect on all the blessings in your life and ask for help for your roommate. In trying times like these, it’s easy to forget to pray, but praying is probably why you’ve stayed sober. It’s probably what your roommate should have been doing.

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