A lot of buzz surrounds the difficulty of going to rehab. Detoxing is challenging and residential treatment gets deep into intense problems, but in the wake of these stages, most people in recovery start to break down and return to their old ways. Sober living tries to combat this tendency to relapse by slowly phasing people toward a greater degree of independence. With this transition comes a caveat: you have to deal with other people in recovery who have similar weak spots. Once you start mixing in challenging personalities and maturity issues, you may find problems coping with roommates in sober living. So, how do you cultivate a positive experience in a sober living home?
At New Start Recovery, we understand that living with other people can be challenging, with much fewer roommates in sober living. However, transitioning to the outside world after addiction treatment may require the more structured environment of a sober living home. If you have questions about sober living houses and how they can help sustain your recovery, give us a call at 833.433.0448.
Managing Bad Experiences With Roommates in Sober Living
Bad roommates are everywhere, but they pose a particular threat in sober living environments. Your support network should consist of people you get along with reasonably well. Unfortunately, you do not have 100% control over that in a sober living home.
Butting heads with people you do not get along with can be a major relapse trigger. High-stress environments tend to flip bad switches for people in recovery, and these types of situations need to be managed with care and vigilance. While it is an option to switch homes to get away from bad fits, it is a simple truth that most shared living arrangements run into problems.
Rather than expect complete harmony in your sober living home, which may be impossible to find, consider the following:
- Appreciate the value of tolerance and damage mitigation.
- Do not allow others to get a rise out of you when you are otherwise having a good day.
- Realize that some battles are just not worth disturbing an established peace.
These interpersonal life skills translate well to other cruxes of life, especially the workplace and difficult family situations.
Look for Positive Influences and Role Models in Sober Living Houses
Keeping one another accountable is the primary purpose of sober living. Identifying positive role models and housemates willing to keep you accountable takes maturity and experience.
People who are new to sober living dynamics can fall into the trap of rolling along with toxic interactions. Too much structure can create an urge to push back, but engaging in questionable behavior creates more problems in the long run. For example, you might get away with coming back 30 minutes after curfew with your buddy, but pushing that boundary opens up the door for relapse. That is where positive affirmations step in.
Here are some examples of seeking positive affirmations that are helpful in a sober living environment:
- Inviting roommates to call you out when you start making excuses to fall off the wagon. People in recovery may recognize that they became master manipulators to support their former habit. When you throw a handful of these people together, they tend to recognize when you make excuses that can be detrimental to your sobriety. Nipping that behavior in the bud helps keep you on a positive trajectory and holds you accountable.
- Befriend roommates with positive qualities you wish to embody. These roommates will set an example and bring out the best in you rather than the worst.
- Participate in more house meetings. Most sober living homes hold house meetings to keep everyone on the right track. These meetings can begin to feel like a chore, and you may find yourself disengaging or tuning out. Make an effort to participate in house meetings regularly to continue building positive momentum.
On the other side of the coin, it is just as important to distance yourself from and discourage toxic influences that threaten your sobriety.
Identifying Toxic Roommates in Sober Living
Living in a house with people around your age provides many opportunities to bond. Unfortunately, some of these interactions can prove toxic and hurt your recovery progress. Befriending roommates who lack maturity and resolve to stay sober can be one such toxic dynamic. Spending any prolonged period with people who do not care about their sobriety becomes a temptation to stoop to their level. No matter how fun it may seem, engaging in questionable behavior while in sober living starts to cripple all of the progress you have made up to that point.
During these times, it can be helpful to play the tape as you are taught to do in treatment. “If I agree to do [potentially harmful action], I will start getting lax in my program, and I will stop going to meetings outside the house. Eventually, a beer will find its way into my hand, which may become a few beers. Once I have established that I am okay doing that, I will pretty quickly pick up [your drug of choice] again. And then I am back where I started.”
Go over that scenario again and again until the temptation to make poor choices fizzles out. You know yourself well enough by now to understand why these behaviors need to be avoided.
New Start Recovery: Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Sober Living Home
If you need help finding sober living houses to support your recovery, reach out to New Start Recovery. We can connect you with the right environment for your needs so that lasting sobriety can be your reality. If you or a loved one needs help with a substance abuse problem, our addiction counselors are available 24/7 by phone at 833.433.0448