Sobriety is not a one-and-done deal. People who have been sober for years may still struggle with cravings. Before you find yourself in desperate need of additional support after completing treatment, it may be a good idea to find an accountability partner to help you maintain sobriety in the long term.
Why Do I Need an Accountability Partner?
Many people with a history of substance abuse have struggled with accountability. Perhaps you failed to accept the severity of the problem even when your loved ones confronted you. Maybe you delayed seeking treatment because you thought you could beat the disease of addiction on your own. These actions show a lack of accountability, which is important as you progress in recovery.
While being accountable in recovery may be new to you, accountability itself is probably not a new concept. The faculty and staff at the rehab facility you attended provided accountability for your health. Without their expertise and support, you could not have quit drugs or alcohol on your own.
Since you cannot stay in treatment forever, and transitioning to a home environment may present many triggers, you need to build other accountability structures to maintain progress. People who retreat into isolation when they are newly sober will have a hard time maintaining that sobriety for long.
What Does an Accountability Partner Do?
Ideally, an accountability partner will motivate you to make changes in life that promote your overall health, especially concerning sobriety and recovery. This person will remind you about your commitment to avoid substances. They will keep you on track with abstinence, especially in tempting situations.
This should be a person with whom you feel comfortable opening up about how daily happenings affect you emotionally and mentally. There needs to be a strong trusting relationship between both of you. If you cannot own up to temptations and cravings or reveal triggers, your accountability partner can’t help you stay on track. They need to know when and how to be there for you.
How Do I Find an Accountability Partner?
Accountability partners come in many forms. They can be peers who are struggling with the same recovery challenges. They could be overcomers who have successfully maintained sobriety for a long time. There are even professional sober companions who are available on call.
If you have been part of a 12-Step program, then you are already benefiting from peer accountability partners or even a sponsor. One of the key aspects of 12-Step programs is finding a “sponsor” or mentor who you can call if you are struggling with temptations to return to drug or alcohol abuse. Forming these relationships and bonds with others can help with sobriety.
Do I Have to Meet With My Accountability Partner In-Person?
While meeting with your accountability partner in person can be beneficial, it is not strictly necessary because technology can connect people wherever they may be. You may find professionals who work in the virtual space. They provide accountability by way of weekly progress check-ins and brainstorming sessions to help you overcome road bumps in your journey.
For example, the 12-Step companion app can track how long you have been sober. It offers a Big Book of encouragement and motivating quotes. This app also provides a support group contact list for you to easily access when you need help outside of in-person meetings. Other popular apps include the Nomo sobriety clocks, recovery meditation apps, Sober Grid, and happiness coaching apps.
The addiction recovery world has several apps and websites that help you connect with an accountability partner. Despite the convenience of virtual accountability structures, you must motivate yourself to reach out. If your motivation is low, it may be better to find an accountability partner who is close by and can physically show up to check in.
How Do I Collaborate With an Accountability Partner?
First, find a person to whom you can commit yourself to honesty and accepting advice. Second, this person should be someone with whom you feel comfortable sharing recovery progress and common triggers. Lastly, both of you should agree on how you can work together for the common goal of helping you maintain sobriety.
Try writing out your accountability statement together. This document should include why you are choosing to be accountable in recovery. It can also list your common triggers or risks you might face. Determine how your partner can best help you in moments when you feel weak and most need to be held accountable to your sobriety.
Your accountability partner should regularly check in on your progress. They should help you identify triggering events. When necessary, you can bring your accountability partner to social events as a sober companion.
Before completing residential rehab, you should have a relapse prevention plan in place. This plan should include a list of accountability partners who can help you maintain sobriety. The importance of accountability in relapse prevention cannot be overstated. If you are looking for health professionals as potential accountability partners, Laguna Shores Recovery has an excellent staff to help. We offer traditional plans that include detox, medication, 12-Step groups, and relationship skills coaching in addition to our stellar aftercare and alumni programs that help you stay on track. Most of our staff are in recovery themselves, so they know the importance of having accountability partners as part of your relapse prevention strategy. Schedule an appointment with a licensed mental healthcare professional or therapist at Laguna Shores Recovery today. Call us at (866) 906-3203 to find out more about how we can help.