Living in Recovery Mental Health Relationships

My Roommate Relapsed… Now What?

One of the more difficult things about finding a roommate in sobriety is hedging your bet on whether or not they are going to stay sober. Read More

roommate relapse

One of the more difficult things about finding a roommate in sobriety is hedging your bet on whether or not they are going to stay sober. While it is impossible to tell beyond the shadow of a doubt who will remain sober and who will unfortunately relapse, it’s something that many people looking for sober roommates have to take into consideration. They have to think about whether or not the person they are planning on living with is attending meetings, calling their sponsor, and whether or not they have worked the Steps. They have to look at all of this information and then make an educated guess as to how well the person will fair during the course of their lease and hope that they do not fall off the wagon or cause other issues.

Unfortunately, though, there are times when people in recovery will be living with a roommate and even though they weren’t expecting it and even though they didn’t think it could happen, their roommate will relapse. It sometimes comes out of nowhere, seemingly without warning, while other times the writing may have been on the wall for quite some time. Regardless of how it arises, when your roommate relapses, it now puts you in an awkward situation as to how to proceed.

On the one hand, you have a lease and your landlord will possibly not care that you want to break it due to the fact that your roommate relapsed. They may or may not understand this idea and so financially, you may be on the hook, even if you do not want to continue living there. There is also the possibility that now because your roommate relapsed, they are no longer able to afford rent, which forces you to pick up the slack, and causes further financial strain. There is also the possibility that you really like the place you are living and do not want to move out just because your roommate relapsed. You may want to attempt to get them to leave and find this difficult to do because their name is on the lease and technically they are entitled to live there. But no matter what issues may arise due to the fact that your roommate relapsed, there are solutions to all of them, and while it may not play out in the most advantageous manner, dealing with a roommate who relapsed does not need to break your sobriety, or your spirits.

What Should You Do If Your Roommate Relapsed?

The best way to deal with this situation is to handle it before it even happens. I know this may sound ridiculous now that your roommate relapsed and you are left running around trying to figure out what the next step is, but for further reference, if you are living with someone in recovery and you want to avoid an issue later on, then write up a formal lease agreement between the two of you and have a stipulation in it that says if they relapse, they have to move out. Be sure to have a notary make the document official, and even though it may cost you a little bit of extra money, it can be worth it in the end.

Talk To Your Roommate

The first thing you should do if your roommate relapsed is talk to them. Find out what is going on and see if they are willing to get help. Try to find out where they are mentally and if they are receptive to the idea of receiving help and trying to get sober again, then their misstep does not need to really affect your life. You can help them get back on track and then move past the whole thing without much drama or consequence. However, if they are not receptive to this idea, then you have to start thinking about your other options.

One such option is having them move out of the apartment so that you can find a new roommate. They may or may not be on board with this idea and it may take some time to work it out, but for the most part, people who are using do not want to be around people who are in recovery, so that may play to your advantage in the end.

If they are not receptive to receiving help and they are not receptive to moving out, then you may have to turn to other measures to deal with the situation. You could always continue to live in the apartment, especially if you’re lucky and the lease is almost up, but living with a person who is actively using is never really a wise choice.

Talk To Your Landlord

Many times, landlords will be understanding of the situation you are in and if you live in a city or state where there is a high rental demand, then you should be able to work something out with your landlord. Tell your landlord what is going on and see if they can rent the apartment to someone else so that you can move out without having to be responsible for the monthly rent. There is a pretty good possibility that you will have to forgo your security deposit, but sometimes this is worth it in the long run.

Remember, Everything Will Be Okay

It is never a fun situation to have deal with a roommate and friend who relapsed, but remember that nothing in life is so final that you can’t overcome it. The whole problem may not resolve itself instantly and it may not even resolve itself in the way you want it to, but in the end, if you just remember that everything will be okay, you will avoid a lot of emotional turmoil and stress. Deal with things as they come and try to map out the best way for you to get out of your living situation, and believe me, everything will turn out just fine.