My Roommate is an Addict, How Do I Help Them?

By: 
Steve Trevino
May 31, 2022
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It can be tough to deal with a roommate with drug abuse problems. You may feel like you are constantly walking on eggshells and may not know what to do or how to help. This guide will give you some tips on how to support your roommate and help them get the treatment they need.

Challenges of sharing a room with an addict

It's hard to live with a roommate who struggles with drug abuse for several reasons:

1. It can be dangerous. If your roommate is using drugs, there's a risk that they could overdose or have an accident.

2. It can be disruptive. You might not have a good night's sleep if your roommate is up all night using drugs or attempts to stop using and end up with signs and symptoms of withdrawal. 

3. It can be expensive. If your roommate is constantly buying drugs, they may not have enough money to pay their share of the rent.

4. Addiction can also lead to erratic behavior, making it difficult to predict what might happen next. And if there are children in the home, they may be exposed to things that no child should have to see.

5. Finally, it can be emotionally draining. It's hard watching someone you care about spiral out of control, and there's always the worry that they could relapse.

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What to do when your roommate is an addict

Living with a person who has a physical dependence on drugs or alcohol can be difficult. However, it is possible to make it work if both parties are committed to making it happen. Here are some things you can do to make it work.

Have an Honest Discussion

First, try to honest discussion with your roommate about the situation. It can be difficult to bring up the topic, but remember that you're doing this because you care about the person and their wellbeing. Explain how their addiction affects you and see if there is anything they are willing to do to change the situation. Here are some tips for how to approach the conversation:

  • Pick a time when you can talk to your friend without being interrupted.
  • Start by expressing your concerns and explain why you're worried.
  • Listen to what the person has to say without judgment.
  • Avoid lecturing or sounding like you're attacking the person.
  • Encourage the person to get help if they are struggling with addiction.
  • Offer your support and let them know that you're there for them.

If your roommate is unwilling to change, you may need to consider finding a new place to live. However, if they are willing to seek help for their addiction, you can support them in ways we'll discuss in this article.

Set expectations and boundaries

Setting expectations and boundaries with your addicted roommate is key to maintaining a healthy relationship and living environment. It is important to be upfront about your expectations, such as cleanliness, guests, noise levels, etc. This will help to avoid conflict later on.

It is also important to set boundaries, such as not allowing your roommate to borrow money or use your belongings without permission. Addicts can be manipulative, and it is important to protect yourself. Also, don't be afraid to seek help from a professional if you feel like you are struggling to cope with your roommate's addiction. Addiction is a serious disease, and it is important to get help if you feel overwhelmed.

Build trust

People with substance use disorders often have a hard time trusting those around them, making it hard to provide the support they need. However, building trust is essential if you want to be able to help an addict through recovery. Showing that you are there for them, listening to them, and respecting their boundaries will go a long way towards building trust. Once you have established trust, you will be better positioned to provide the support and assistance that addicts need to recover.

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Communicate honestly

Remember that your roommate is not a bad person, and they are likely struggling with a lot of pain and confusion. Try to communicate honestly with them. Let them know that you are concerned about their health and wellbeing, and offer to help them get the resources they need to get better.

Be prepared to listen to them, and try to understand their point of view. Remember that this is a difficult situation for both of you, but honest communication can help to resolve it.

Reach out for help

Trying to help a friend or family member struggling with addiction can be challenging, emotional, and exhausting. It's important to remember that you can't do it alone.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is a chronic disease, and professional help is essential for recovery. Reaching out for support from friends, family, and mental health professionals can give you the strength and guidance you need to weather this difficult journey.

Additionally, there are many resources available to help you better understand addiction and how to best support your loved one. Don't be afraid to ask for help – it could make all the difference in the world.

Convince your roommate to seek treatment

The hardest part of dealing with someone struggling with substance abuse is getting them to admit to using. This is because most of them are in denial about their addiction. Once that is out of their way, it's easier to convince them to seek treatment by letting them know that there are people who care about them and want to help them recover.

Explain that while treatment can be difficult, it is going to be worth it. You should also offer your support and tell them that you will be there for them every step of the way. With patience and understanding, you can convince a drug addict to seek treatment and begin the journey to recovery.

Understand the treatment process

Addiction is a serious medical condition that requires professional treatment. By understanding the treatment process, you can be a valuable source of support for your roommate as they begin their journey to recovery. Addiction treatment typically includes:

  • Detoxification allows the body to rid itself of the addictive substance. This can be a difficult and painful process, but it's crucial for starting the road to recovery.
  • After detox, your roommate will likely enter a rehabilitation program to receive counseling and therapy to help them confront their addiction. This can be an emotionally demanding process, but it is often essential for long-term recovery.
  • Your roommate may then join support groups for ongoing support. These groups offer peer-to-peer support and can be an important part of recovery. They also provide a sense of community and connection, essential for people in early recovery.
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As your roommate goes through treatment, it's important to be understanding and supportive. Remember that addiction is a disease affecting over 23 million people in the United States. But recovery is possible with time and effort.

Addiction treatment works

Addiction is a serious disease that can profoundly affect every aspect of a person's life. If your roommate is abusing alcohol, illicit drugs, or prescription drugs, it's important to know that there are treatment options available. Recovery is possible, but it often takes time and effort.

There are many different treatment programs, and the best option for each individual will vary depending on the severity of the addiction and other factors. Common treatment options include inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient therapy, behavioral therapy, 12-step programs, and medication-assisted treatment. No matter what type of treatment is right for you, the most important thing is to reach out for help. With the support of professionals and loved ones, you can begin the journey to recovery.

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About The Author: 
Steve Trevino
Steve Trevino is married to Julie, his high school sweetheart and they have two daughters. He is the founder and executive director of CrossCentral Church and Recovery Center. With experience in both non-profit and for-profit treatment, he has helped thousands find freedom from addiction through residential programs, recovery workshops and consulting around the world.

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