Achieving sobriety takes hard work, and even more work to maintain it. Maintaining sobriety requires honesty, humility, and strong accountability structures. Holding yourself accountable for decisions regarding addiction and recovery might not be a common suggestion you hear, but it’s just as important as external accountability.
Recovery experts generally avoid attributing addiction to personal choices given how much social stigma surrounds people with substance addiction. This does not mean that recovering individuals can’t or shouldn’t take responsibility for their progress. On the contrary: personal accountability is key for long-term recovery.
Why Do You Need Accountability?
The word “accountability” means taking responsibility for your actions. For people recovering from substance addiction, accountability is a key ingredient to their success. Like in other challenges, success is near impossible to achieve if you do not accept responsibility for your decisions.
Accountability matters to recovering individuals since it is rooted in deep self-reflection. You are the best person to understand your struggles and agency. To maximize your agency and minimize your weaknesses in post-treatment life, you need self-awareness about your decision-making power and the consequences of your actions.
Accountability can prevent you from regressing or slipping back into bad habits. This virtue is also liberating because it helps carve out a safe, low-risk space for you to build a healthy life back. It can help you learn to thrive in social and professional environments without the crutch of your former addiction. Its positive effects can even spill beyond recovery and into every aspect of your life.
Why Do People Avoid Accountability During Recovery?
People with a history of addiction often avoid personal accountability. Denial and deception are common signs of the absence of accountability. On one hand, people who have struggled with substance use tend to blame themselves. On the other, they may refuse to accept their mistakes and correct them. They may use addiction as a way to excuse or brush off poor behavior and avoid taking responsibility.
Moreover, these people sometimes have trouble being patient with themselves. Partly due to the influence of drugs and alcohol, their actions are not well thought out and often compulsive. Under the grip of substances, people may not have the motivation to keep themselves accountable for the bad choices they make in relationships.
As a result, long-term addiction may have caused some recovering individuals to have no sense of internal accountability, or to balk at and shy away from external accountability. For the same reason, many people do not want to start treatment, which they may find uncomfortable and emotionally challenging.
What Does Accountability Look Like in Recovery?
A commitment to personal accountability begins with absolute honesty with concerned family members and supportive friends about where you are in recovery from addiction. When you confide in people who are closest to you and care about your well-being, trusting them with your updates should be liberating since you do not need to hide from them anymore. Honesty is the first indicator of personal accountability.
Find a few accountability partners you can report to regularly. Give them permission to check on you, and ask for their availability to talk with you when you need them. The ideal accountability partners should be sober themselves and have some knowledge about addiction and recovery. Many recovering individuals stay in touch with their 12-step group sponsors for this reason.
It is tempting to stay in denial and isolation because they protect your pride. Avoid cutting people out or trying to solve issues on your own because, sooner or later, isolation will lead to loneliness and boredom, two major precursors to relapse. Pride must be broken down before you truly discover the importance of staying connected to a recovery-supportive community.
How Do You Keep Yourself Accountable?
Some people write a statement of personal accountability and use it to remind themselves of their goals daily. This statement is like a contract with yourself to stay sober. Keeping this accountability statement close, like in your pocket or stuck to your bathroom mirror can be effective in aligning your everyday goals to the overall objectives of long-term recovery.
Keeping personal accountability means absolute honesty about where in your life you might face triggers. They may include your moods, certain relationships, places, and situations. Accountability means protecting yourself from being exposed to these stressors or temptations that may lead to relapse. Practicing accountability can help you develop strong self-control skills.
Personal accountability can be achieved through relationships with others. Take the 12-step group for example. Participants learn how to open up to the group and share their feelings. They are also encouraged to give updates on their progress regularly. They form new friendships and mentor-mentee relationships. These conversations and connections are the fabric of personal accountability.
If you’re in recovery and lack accountability for your choices and actions, you will certainly face challenges to rebuilding a healthy life. Accountability is key to long-term recovery success. It can be built into supportive peer relationships and a family support network, as well as found within yourself. A web of supportive connections can hold you accountable for your actions. You may struggle to recognize your mistakes and make further progress without accountability structures. If you want to work with health professionals who coach people to be accountable during recovery, visit Laguna Shores Recovery. Here, our licensed mental healthcare professionals and therapists know how to best motivate you to regain control of your life. Our complete medical and residential facility offers a range of treatments, including diagnosis, behavioral therapies, 12-step programs, and treatment plans. Call us at (866) 906-3203. We can help you achieve a sense of agency and take control of your recovery journey like never before.
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