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Sober Roommates: How to Choose the Right One

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Finding a roommate under normal conditions can be a difficult task. You have to make sure that your personalities will match, that the person isn’t messy, or if you’re messy that the person will be okay with it, that the person has a stable job and will continue to be able to pay the bills and any other number of imaginable concerns. It can be stressful under the simplest of conditions because at the end of the day our home is our safe haven. Having adequate shelter is one of the few natural instincts that human beings have, so anything that can possibly disrupt this, is a cause for alarm.

Now include in this scenario the fact that you are in recovery and the algorithm for coming up with success just got a lot more complicated. You now have to take into account how involved this person is in their recovery, do they attend meetings regularly, do they have a sponsor, have they worked the steps or are they dragging their feet, which all point to the real question at hand, how likely are they to stay sober? This is not always an easy thing to determine because addiction or alcoholism is not an illness that is curable; we are only offered a daily reprieve contingent on our spiritual maintenance. This means that all of us in recovery, whether we have one day or forty years, are susceptible to relapse. That being said, choosing the right sober roommates is not an impossible task if you know what to look for. Nothing in life is guaranteed but following the few simple suggestions below should help in mitigating any future problems that could arise from having sober roommates.

What to Look for in Sober Roommates

Many people who are looking for sober roommates are coming from a halfway house, three-quarter house, or some type of treatment facility. Many times they are in a new city, with new people, and many times this is the first time that they have been on their own. This can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be, if you listen to your gut, and ask yourself a few simple questions before taking the plunge. Also, if are coming from one of the above-mentioned types of transitional housing options, then you are surrounded by people that could possibly make good roommates and have interacted with many of them to the point where you are aware of their current standing in sobriety. So, before making the decision, take a deep breath, think about some of the people you would like to live with, and ask yourself the following questions.

Will Your Personalities Clash?

This is not always an easy question to answer as people who initially get along could possibly after moving in with each other find that they are not compatible. This question and answer could also make the difference between having an enjoyable year or having a year where you home is just a place you sleep. So think about the person that you’d like to move in with. Does your sense of humor match up? Do you like the same things? Even if the answers to these questions are no, do you think that you two will be able to get along because having a roommate with a compatible personality is important to having the security necessary to feel comfortable at home.

Does This Person Attend Meetings Regularly?relapse statistics

This is an important question especially early on in sobriety. Those who do not get into a rhythm of regular meeting attendance usually do not stick around for more than a couple of years. So does
your prospective roommate attend meetings regularly and do they initiate the going to a meeting, rather than merely just attend when someone asks.

Does This Person Have A Sponsor?

If the person is very newly sober than the answer to this may be no, and you may also want to think about why you are moving in with someone who has a week sober, but regardless, if the person has a few months and they do not yet have a sponsor, then this might be a red flag.

Has This Person Worked Their Steps?

While completion of the Steps is not also a prerequisite to being a good roommate, it can definitely help. If the person you are moving in with hasn’t finished their steps, are they at least working on them, and moving towards completion? Many people get stuck in a 1,2,3 shuffle, where they just work the first 3 steps and then never move on. Is the person who you want to move in with doing this, or have they already completed their 5th step, moving towards the backend of the steps.

How Likely Is It That This Person Will Stay Sober?

Taking into account all of the previous questions will help to answer this question. While it is not a guarantee that they will, if they are doing all of the things that they need to in order to ensure sobriety, then more than likely they will be fine for the year of your lease.

Does This Person Have A Job That Can Cover The Rent?

Many times, especially in early sobriety the answer to this is no, but many people who are younger in sobriety also have help from their families, which offsets their expenses. So can this person afford to live with you, because if they cannot, then it will make the year all that more difficult as you struggle to pay the bills month after month.

Now that you have asked yourself these questions in regards to your prospective roommate, take a look at how they stack up. Will they be a good fit or is it too risky of a move? If it is too risky, don’t get discouraged, you will surely find someone who can room with when the time is right.

Seeking Treatment for Drug Addiction and Alcoholism

If you are not at the point where you are looking for sober roommates but are merely looking for a place to get sober then call First Steps Recovery today by dialing 1-844-489-0836. Our recovery specialists are standing by to help you start your road to recovery.

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