5 Tips For Getting Along with Your Roommate at Your Halfway House
Living in a halfway house means sharing your living space with at least one roommate. This can be fun and very supportive especially for having people in close proximity who are also committed to leading a clean and sober lifestyle. And while there are many benefits to living in a halfway house after completing treatment, there are also difficult aspects to sober living. Here are 5 tips for getting along with your roommate at your halfway house.
Set boundaries and Uphold them
- Be self-aware by identifying your emotional, physical, mental and spiritual needs. Know what behavior you will and will not accept and what you makes you uncomfortable.
- Be direct and assertive – but not aggressive – when it comes to setting boundaries. Be able to stand up for yourself and be direct when it comes to communicating and be assertive by letting someone know if they have crossed a boundary.
- Setting healthy boundaries can be very difficult, so reach out to your support system, such as your sponsor and friends in the program for guidance and advice.
Focus on behavior, not personality
It’s inevitable that your halfway house roommate will annoy you at some point. Even if you hit it off right away. Maybe she’s a slob or talks on her phone all the time. Be assertive by talking to your roommate about these issues, but steer clear of framing the issues as personality traits.
So, for example, instead of saying “you’re such a slob!” (which characterizes them as something negative), say how it affects you, and make a request to modify the behavior, “you’ve been leaving your dirty laundry on the floor and it’s been making me feel anxious. Can you please use the hamper from now?” If making requests and being assertive cause you to freak out, you can rely on the ol’ peace-offering trick: offer to treat them to Chinese take-out to sweeten the deal. After all, who can turn down some General Tso’s?!
Don’t talk trash
Resist the urge gossip about your roommate to others. The recovery community, and especially your halfway house, is a small world. You can bet that your roommate will eventually get wind of all the trash you’re talking. So, be mature, and take it to the source (i.e. directly to your roommate) when something is bothering you. If you need to vent, do so with people who don’t know your halfway house roommate or someone else you can trust, like your sponsor.
Don’t let problems build up. No matter how well you might get along with someone, if you spend a majority of the day sharing the same living space, their “quirks” might start to get on your nerves. If they have a habit that annoys you, or there’s a more serious problem, be willing to have an honest conversation with them. Remember: the first one to know about a roommate conflict should be the roommate. People in recovery need to be careful of holding a grudge because they fear facing an uncomfortable situation such as confronting someone. When that happens, we develop resentments and that can be dangerous territory.
Invest in a pair of good earphones
And use them when you want to actually listen to good music (sorry, I’m totally a music snob) or when you don’t want to listen to something, like your roommate’s annoying (and loud) phone conversations. If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction or substance abuse problem, or is in search of a halfway house or sober living house, please call toll-free 1-888-672-4435.