Navigating Addiction Recovery with Roommates

Shared living spaces can be a challenge while in recovery, but with some considerate selection, it is a worthwhile experience.  

Many people in addiction treatment find themselves in communal living situations, whether in inpatient facilities or renting a place with roommates. Sharing housing with other people can have a tremendous effect on the recovery journey, and making decisions surrounding living arrangements is a crucial step that needs careful consideration. 

Two roommates in recovery sit in chairs reading together, enjoying each other's company.

Establishing a Safe Home for Recovery with Roommates

Homelessness or inconsistent housing while struggling with untreated substance use disorder isn’t uncommon. So, for many who are looking to turn their lives around, establishing a safe place to call home is a big confidence booster that can strengthen dedication to the recovery process.  

Securing housing and reentering the workforce often go hand-in-hand for individuals entering treatment, leading many to search for roommates to reduce living expenses. However, finding like-minded roommates can be a challenge, which is why building a support network in recovery through group substance use counseling is a major asset.  

While finding roommates during addiction recovery can offer valuable support, it may not always be a seamless process, even when personalities are compatible. Weathering troubled waters with caution can make living with roommates a more positive experience. 

  • Choose wisely. Although not everyone is lucky enough to find the perfect roommate, choosing to live with someone with similar, well-matched energy levels can help avoid clashes. Although introverts and extroverts may get along very well in a social setting, it doesn’t mean that they will enjoy sharing a living space. 
  • Pick your battles. Disturbing the peace between roommates over a harmless annoying habit or instance is usually more exhausting than productive. Some arguments simply aren’t worth having. 
  • Don’t ruin a good day. Coexisting in the same living space has many challenges, but a good day should remain a good day despite what a roommate may have going on. 
  • Practice tolerance. It would be ideal if everyone were exactly to our liking, but it’s not reality. Finding ways to handle loud chewers, trombone nose-blowers, and elephant feet walkers takes patience and a quality pair of noise-canceling headphones. 
  • Guard recovery. Two people who are in recovery and living together can be the ultimate partners in reaching recovery goals and keeping the home substance-free. Still, the pairing can be a double-edged sword when struggling with relapse or becoming a negative influence. A relapse prevention plan should be set in place between roommates should the event arise. 
  • Have an out. If a roommate becomes particularly toxic, a plan needs to be implemented before things escalate to a dangerous degree. 
Two friends share a moment of encouragement as one friend listens attentively, offering support on their friend's journey to recovery.

Dealing with Relapse Prevention with Roommates 

One crucial aspect of rooming with individuals in addiction recovery is the need to actively maintain relapse prevention. Those in recovery know that their abstinence from substances is the thread that holds their journey together. However, sometimes, it can be difficult when living in shared housing.  

A great benefit of dormitory housing for those in addiction recovery is that it requires tenants to submit regular drug tests and adhere to specific rules. The prohibition of illicit substances is highly enforced and keeps the community free from exposure to potential triggers.  

Unfortunately, housing areas focused on abstinence from substances aren’t always accessible to everyone. Many people have to find their own roommates, which makes building a support network in recovery so important. Seeking out people who are as committed to recovery can sometimes be a challenge.  

A person searches online for roommates who share their values and commitment to recovery.

Tips for Finding Roommates in Recovery

Sharing a home with someone who has shared values about recovery is a must. But how do you find them? There are some ideas: 

  • Join an online matching community. There are several online databases and apps that can help match those in recovery with roommates in their area. Many of these services are free and heavily moderated to ensure everyone enrolled is who they say they are. 
  • Establish a vetting process. When putting out a personal ad for shared housing, having an iron-clad list of “musts” is essential. This will help weed out those who are not the best fit.  
  • Look to support groups. Group counseling is a great place to meet people who are also seeking housing while in recovery. Especially with the current housing shortage, many people are looking to split the cost of rent while maintaining their recovery.  
  • Ask family and friends. Even if someone isn’t in recovery, they can be a great roommate who will accommodate any potential sensitivities and triggers. Family friends and those who share a community will also have much more in common.  
  • Work housing programs. Various vocational programs also offer housing assistance. Although a roommate in recovery cannot be promised, it’s a much more regulated and controlled environment than most other options.  

Looking into the Future 

While some people in recovery cohabitate with roommates for a short period before moving on, others will opt for long-term recovery in shared housing. Everyone’s needs are different and provided that the living environment is peaceful and conducive to long-lasting recovery, some roommates can become lifelong friends! The most crucial factor is that recovery remains a priority. 

Shared living arrangements don’t have to last a lifetime. Usually, this is a step for many people who are making a transition between treatment and rebuilding their lives. Regardless, everyone who is working hard on their recovery deserves to find a roommate with whom they can feel safe sharing a home for the time being.  

Three friends enjoy a happy moment together outdoors, sharing smiles and camaraderie.

Medication-Assisted Treatment with Middlesex Recovery 

Middlesex Recovery provides outpatient addiction treatment in private office-based settings. The convenient and private recovery programs are managed by specialized medical providers and nursing and administrative staff to ensure each patient is comfortable and has their needs met. All programs include substance use counseling, helping patients navigate their recovery journey. For more information, message or call a nearby Middlesex location today.