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Should I Agree to Cosign on Loved One’s Housing?


help4t reports on some positive efforts her Loved One has been making. She writes in with a question about navigating a housing agreement with her LO’s roommate for the next few months.

It's been awhile since I have updated, so I thought I would, and also ask for additional guidance. My daughter has been having many more good days than bad. The good news is that her alcohol use has reduced greatly in the past month. She has applied for many jobs and taken a couple of part time jobs until she can find the right full time job. Best news is that she found out that the court is requiring her to attend a 6 month out patient for her 2nd DUI at the Eliot Center which also provides mental health and addictions services and is one mile from her apartment. We are still waiting to hear back on her insurance acceptance. The not so good news is that her primary care dr. has give her prescriptions for Adderall and klonopins (although smaller qty and strength than she had been prescribed from her psychiatrist). I am at a loss as to how she can continue to obtain these drugs, especially when she has a cocaine addiction as well. She did give them to her roommate to hold for her and only dole them out as prescribed. The not so good news is that she is unable to get herself up in the morning, it takes a village to get her out of bed. This has been an issue for a while and I thought it was due to the alcohol. Her roommate says she is home most times and very limited alcohol and thinks it's the lack of Adderall that her body is used to?.. So to my question – her lease is up and her roommate is concerned with renewing with her. She is behind in rent but has jobs and is catching up. He is happy to see her doing much better and does not want to put her out. He has asked me to cosign for her for 3 months to see if she continues to improve. If not, he will get a new roommate and she will need to move out. I am not sure how to handle. She is unable to get an apartment on her own I imagine due to lack of income. she comes up fine in a CORI, but if someone were to google her, not so much. should I agree to this 3 month, with stipulations that she needs to be fully enrolled in the Eliot Center programs and continue to have her meds doled out, or should I let her find her own place to live as home is not an option. Her lease is up in 2 weeks. Thank you.

It is very good to hear your daughter has reduced her drinking and is finding work. While she is doing better, her roommate is unsure whether to renew the lease on their apartment together. He has asked you to cosign for three months.

The housing for a LO is so tricky as a reinforcement/reward. You daughter is doing better, and you want to reinforce that. Having the turmoil of being put out and needing to search for another place to live is stressful. You can look at the posts we’ve written about housing by going to the tab on the right.

I like that your daughter’s roommate has stipulated a time period of three months. This would be something we might suggest: help her but make it for a limited time. You won’t be able to take this away from her should she fall into a relapse; it would be her roommate throwing her out if needed. You would get to stay out of it.

We suggest you make it very clear to her that this is a three month trial period and that it is being done to reinforce her solid attempts at lowering the alcohol and drugs, getting treatment, and getting work.

In terms of the drugs prescribed by the primary care physician… What incredibly frustrating news after you were finally successful in getting the psychiatrist to stop prescribing these to her. Adderall picks you up and the klonopin puts you to sleep. Your daughter has asked the roommate to hold and dole out the pills. This is good. I hope it lasts and doesn’t put them at odds. The Adderall may help your daughter manage symptoms that have been formerly addressed by the cocaine. It will be up to her to see if this is so or if she just starts abusing the Adderall. Keep in mind that the Klonopin (a benzodiazepine) is dependency producing. Stopping abruptly can bring on serious side effects like seizures that are dangerous. If she ends up abusing the Klonopin and wants to stop, she may need a detox.

Pulling out of long-term addiction is sometimes done in steps, possibly by reducing the alcohol and cocaine with a plan to eventually cutting those out entirely, or successfully moderating if possible. The prescription drugs would be the next step. By getting positive reinforcement from having a home and a job, the contrast between use and non-use grows further apart. Get up and go to work or use and lose the job(s).

Overall, this can be seen as progress for your daughter. Moderating is hard, maybe impossible. She is trying and therefore she is hopefully aware of the pull addiction has on her, which may make it difficult to succeed. Hopefully she is able to see what works for her and what doesn’t. This can lead to her becoming more and more willing to put down what doesn’t work as she sees it threatening the good stuff going on in her life.

It’s great to hear of her progress and her positive efforts. Working out this plan with the roommate is a good way to approach this as a time of transition that encourages her to keep up the good work. You are doing a great job navigating territory as well.  We know it isn’t easy. Let us know how this goes.



In your comments, please show respect for each other and do not give advice. Please consider that your choice of words has the power to reduce stigma and change opinions (ie, "person struggling with substance use" vs. "addict", "use" vs. "abuse"...)

  1. UPDATE –

    So things did not go well as far as the apartment. They were unable to renew for a short time and the roommate could not apply on his own. So after my daughter had a dramatic meltdown, her off and on bf got on the lease with the roommate. This did not go well as the BF felt control over my daughter, and didn’t allow her in his room etc when she was visiting her roommate.
    My daughter ended up staying in hotels and Airbnb’s. I knew the downward spiral was only a matter of time. I was right, she started drinking, doing coke and ultimately fentanyl. She OD’d and called me at 2 in the morning to let me know that she was in the hospital but ok. We went to see her soon after and she was not remorseful at all. She said she just didn’t care what she did because she had nothing anyway. After a week, she called to tell me she was admitting herself to Detox (from alcohol). Not sure why the sudden turn around although I heard a new friend who was in recovery himself talked her into it. It was a great week for her. She stayed for 6 days and only called us a couple of times. She then said she would go for extensive outpatient at the Eliot Center. I let her come home after Detox providing she did that. First couple nights she was ok but the 3rd night was drinking and smoking pot. She said she had nothing and no one. etc. Felt horrible about herself. I tried with the same old pep talk but like I said, it’s old. She saw her primary care who had been prescribing her Adderall and he said because of her OD (I had contacted them)that he could no longer prescribe. She ended up leaving after 4 days to stay with the friend who talked her into detox. I am not a fan for so many reasons. He has a lot of drama and she wallows in this as it makes her feel good about her life, so I asked her to keep the drama to herself I did not want to hear anything except about her recovery. I had told her I would find her an apartment and pay for 3 months till she go on her feet. This offer was now off the table. I tried to convince her to go into inpatient, but she said she doesn’t need it. Needless to say having no idea exactly where she was staying and what she was doing. I asked her to please let me know and to facetime and call me so I could stay in touch. She did not. I did the only thing I could think of and contacted her PO to let her know that she had OD’d and was not living back at my house as she had told them. I asked her if at all possible to get my daughter on testing for drugs and alcohol. I basically told her I was afraid for my daughter’s life. When I hear my daughter having a good day, I feel bad that I did this, but when I don’t, I am happy I did. What a way to go through life.

    1. Your entire post and the one before can be summed up in two words: Safe Housing. Without safe housing, it is hard to keep heart and head together. It is frankly depressing to be couch surfing or beholdened to a “boyfriend” for housing access. Your daughter and you are really going through it.

      You are working hard to get and keep her housed. You are setting time limits for this help.

      Overdosing is a predictor of overdosing again. Your daughter is accessing and using fentanyl. This is very dangerous. You contacted her probation officer and asked that she put more controls around your daughter like urine tests. Very good thinking.

      It may feel like you are tattling or inappropriately in your daughter’s business, but this isn’t a fair fight. You need to pull in the protections that are available to you to access, and this includes the criminal justice system.

      What is your daughter’s thinking about Suboxone or Methadone, AND Naltrexone for the drinking? See our posts that describe using Naltrexone and the link in the supplement: (

      The ideas we are discussing are community services, but, you are right, your daughter would benefit from some long-term residential treatment. She needs more support and structure, and help with her mental health.

      Can you find something that would be long’ish term….90 days+. A woman’s residential program? The program would be suggested at a low moment, maybe the next alcohol detox. Right now, she wouldn’t be eligible. These programs often want some drug and alcohol free time before being admitted. Inpatient rehabs, on the contrary, take people who are still using. They typically work with their own detox or collaborating detox.

      It seems looking and getting jobs may be premature. She is still too unstable both in her drug use and housing to be successful. Your daughter so needs to be successful at some thing. I feel for her and her poor self-worth. It reinforces relapses.

      Thank you for letting us know how it is going. You are really working hard and well on your daughter’s behalf. Don’t forget to do something for yourself today. Best wishes.

      1. Thank you for your reply. So happy to know I did the right thing. I did hear back from her PO. She suggested a Section 35 which I did on Tuesday. I am not sure where she is staying, but the thought was the PO would call her in due to the OD and change her probation terms. My daughter guessed that I told her and was furious. As of today she has not gone to report to probation. The plan is they will take her from there. I think she is afraid she will be drug tested and that is why she’s not going in. I am hoping she will be waiting till she feels she’d test clean and go. But who knows. So unsettling waiting each day. Not to mention my daughter is no longer talking to me or her dad.

  2. Dear Help4t

    This is always a tricky problem…my family has struggled with keeping that balance. One thing that is said over and over again is that your LO has reduced her use of alcohol and drugs…How do you know that? She is not in your home? For my LO she does not do well living on her own…if fact the minute she is in a apt she starts the relapse pattern…this is a pattern we have seen over and over again. I think having a time limit is good..otherwise you will be stuck supporting her and enabling drug use. Good Luck…I hope your LO continues to improve.

    1. Dear Shelleybobelly,

      I talk and or text with my daughter every day. I know her very well. I can tell immediately when she is under the influence of alcohol or anything else for that matter. I am also in contact with her roommate who confirms this. Even on the last several Friday and Saturday nights, which is a big accomplishment for her. As far as her living out, she was much worse when she lived at home, which is why she no longer does. Having bills to pay and responsibilities are a big help for her. She has picked up a very good part time weekend job and has been offered one full time job for a local company. She is holding out for a job she interviewed with yesterday as it is more of what she would really enjoy doing full time. I decided to not co-sign, but I did pay her June rent and offered to pay half of July and August providing she was working and paying down other bills to get her in good enough shape to take over fully in September. She is so proud of her recent accomplishments as am I. I just pray it continues. One day at a time. I wish you all the best with your LO as well. It is so hard when they are not doing well, but encouraging when they are. Thank you for reaching out.