My Close Friend and Roommate Relapsed - What Should I Do?



It is an unfortunate fact that relapse is common among those in early sobriety. Due to this frequency, it is more likely than not that you will eventually be faced with a situation where a close friend, perhaps even a roommate at your sober home, has relapsed and disclosed this fact to you. How can you best help your friend recover from this slip while protecting your own sobriety in the process?


First and foremost, if the individual who relapsed is a roommate of yours in a sober living facility, you need to advise them to own up to their mistake and confess to your house manager. You may be hesitant to insist on this point, and your friend will certainly be resistant to the idea, but it is important to both of your success in sobriety that you practice rigorous honesty in this moment. Any attempt to sweep this relapse under the rug can easily cause both of you to spiral out of control and destroy the progress you’ve made in recovery thus far. While it is true your friend will have to depart the sober home, albeit temporarily, yours and their honesty will contribute positively to your respective recovery programs, and most house managers tend to be forgiving of those who own up to their mistakes rather than wait for a failed drug test to be found out.


Now that we’ve addressed the integrity of your sober living environment, the next step is getting your friend the help and support they need to return to a path of sobriety. Depending on the severity and duration of their relapse, a return to detox and inpatient residential treatment may be advisable. Your sponsor likely has the requisite experience and knowledge necessary to offer an opinion regarding whether or not this is necessary, so you should absolutely engage with him or her regarding this issue. You are also likely feeling emotional as you do not want to see your friend suffer at the hands of active addiction, so a conversation with your sponsor is even more important. Have your friend call their sponsor as well so they can receive advice and support from this trusted advisor and confidant. Remind your friend that everyone has his or her best interests at heart, and all you want for them is a happy life in sobriety.


Relapse is often a part of recovery, and because of this prevalence you should prepare yourself to handle the relapse of a friend or roommate during your early recovery. These events do not have to be devastating to you or the person who used, so long as you take decisive action early on and nip the behavior in the bud before it blossoms into full-blown daily substance abuse. You should not feel disloyal to your friend for disclosing their relapse to those who should be aware of it such as your sober house management - this action could end up saving your friend’s life as they will be confronted with the reality of their mistake and encouraged to correct it. Above all else, remind your friend that your actions come from a place of caring and concern, and that for the sake of your sobriety and for their well-being this relapse cannot be kept secret. Once their sobriety is restored and they are thinking clearly again, it would not be surprising if they thank you for taking action and saving them from the horror of active addiction.


If you are ready to take this first step, whether you are still in residential treatment or have recently completed treatment, call our Admissions Counselors today at 833-818-3031 and continue building on your progress in recovery.


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