How to Stay Sober While Living with Someone Who’s Still an Addict
Addiction is a very serious problem and is a complicated disease to overcome. Even the most dedicated and well-intentioned patients can find it hard to stay sober – especially if they are in a vulnerable situation like living with someone who is still participating in addictive behaviors.
Studies show that those with a substance use disorder have a high risk of relapse, with the average rates lying between 40-60%. When living in a toxic environment, those numbers could increase substantially.
That’s why it’s crucial that if you’re living with someone still battling with their addictive behaviors, you prioritize your sobriety over all else.
Living With an Addict Is Challenging – But Not Impossible
Living with someone who participates in addictive behaviors can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. You can still maintain your sobriety in a situation like this if you prioritize and honor your commitment to yourself.
Think of it this way – you worked so hard to get to the point you are today. You worked hard to recognize the signs of a relapse in yourself and implement strategies to prevent them. You have been working hard to build a life worth living. It’s time to work just as hard to protect the life you have worked so hard to build.
This means taking a stand and setting up boundaries with the person in your life who is continuing to participate in addictive behaviors. This is not about being a bad person or being a bad roommate. This is about prioritizing your well-being and doing what is best for you and your sobriety.
5 Ways to Maintain Your Sobriety While Living with An Addict
In an ideal situation, after you’ve completed your treatment program, you would want to set up residence in a place that eliminates the chances of relapse. Unfortunately, millions of recovering addicts find themselves living with family or spouses that still participate in addictive behaviors.
This can often lead to feelings of isolation and depression, common triggers for relapse. The good news? There are several steps you can take to maintain your sobriety even if you find yourself living with an addict, including:
1. Initiating and Maintaining Positive Relationships
It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of living with someone who still struggles with addiction. It can be hard to find the time or energy to maintain healthy relationships. But you must make the time.
Research suggests that it’s crucial to maintain positive relationships with peers and family members when trying to abstain from addictive behaviors and protect oneself from being influenced by negative relationships.
These relationships can be formed through peer support groups, 12-step programs, and even amongst family and friends who only want to see you succeed.
2. Maintaining a Structured Schedule
By keeping to a structured schedule, you can minimize your exposure to toxic environments. This can often prevent a relapse even before it occurs. It’s also essential to set up boundaries and not participate in behaviors that can trigger a relapse, such as having a casual drink at dinner time or attending gatherings with your roommate/partner. Maintain a schedule of work, self-care, and the things that make you feel productive and happy.
3. Separate Yourself from Addictive Substances at all Costs
It can be tempting to allow yourself to be swayed by the actions of the person in your life who is still struggling with their addiction. This means spending time with them, watching them participate in their addictive behaviors, and being available to answer their questions or listen to them vent.
If you’re going to set yourself up for success, you need to put space between yourself and the substances that your partner or roommate is using. Even better, separate yourself from them whenever possible to reduce your exposure to these scenarios.
4. Stay Open and Honest with Yourself
Are you walking the walk, or are you just talking the talk? This is critical to your sobriety. You need to stay open and honest with yourself about your feelings and actions to ensure that you’re staying on the right track.
5. Have an Exit Plan
Finally, if you find yourself struggling with maintaining your sobriety, then you need to have an exit plan at the ready. This can include finding a sober living environment, talking to your friends and family about your intentions, or even finding a new roommate. Do whatever is necessary to protect your sobriety and keep yourself motivated in a healthy direction.
Maintaining Your Recovery is More Achievable Than You Think
It can be daunting to think about maintaining your recovery in the face of living with an addict. But remember, you’re stronger than you think. With the right tools and strategies, you can maintain your sobriety even if you find yourself living with an addict.
If you or a loved one are struggling with maintaining sobriety due to living with a fellow addict, then we can help. Contact us today and let our staff help guide you on your options.
Author – Chris Howard
Chris Howard is the Founder and Director of Ethos Recovery. He has a B.A. in Psychology from UCLA and has served as a community advocate/mentor for men and women in recovery since 2010.