Why Accountability Matters In Recovery

Why Accountability Matters In Recovery

Accountability matters because it is a part of overcoming obstacles. However, regarding substance use disorders (SUDs), accountability is integral for a person in order to remain on their path of sobriety. The way substances alter a person’s brain makes it hard to resist the temptation of using drugs or drinking. Due to this, and the trauma a person may have experienced, there needs to be accountability in recovery.

Substance Abuse and SUDs

If a person abuses drugs or alcohol to help them through difficult moments or memories, that is substance abuse. Yet, when a person cannot function through their day without using such substances, that is a SUD. People experience a mix of joyful and sorrowful moments in life. Unfortunately, due to negative incidents and moments, a person may turn to intoxicants to cope with their life experiences, leading to substance use to cope with everyday stressors.

The Development of SUDs

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has identified biology, environment, and development as three risk factors for developing a SUD. Examples of these risk factors include:

  • Growing up with a parent who has a mental health disorder or SUD
  • Being exposed to substances in the womb
  • Being raised in a home where violence is common
  • Having basic needs not met in childhood
  • Being raised by a parent with low education or understanding of childcare

These experiences can be traumatic and have lasting effects on a person. Trauma that occurs from birth until age 17 has come to be known as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). This is because trauma can happen throughout life, but ACEs occur during the brain and body’s crucial physical and biological growth stages. 

When a person experiences ACEs, they may learn to cope negatively or block out the memories and thoughts by turning to substances. After long-term substance abuse, the brain becomes dependent and chemically altered, so such things as judgment, decision-making, and behavior are affected. Due to altered decision-making, help and often professional intervention is required to keep a person accountable for sobriety. On their own, a person may not be able to stop their substance abuse.

What Does Accountability Mean?

According to the Young Leaders of America Initiative, accountability is when a person can “account for their actions and accept responsibility for them, no matter the results.” When someone is accountable for their actions, they can usually make amends or correct their behavior. 

When you are accountable for your actions, that means you can recognize and acknowledge missteps or relapses. By acknowledging your actions or behavior, you can change in the future. That is being accountable for yourself. For example, if you put yourself in an environment with temptations, like a house party, you are responsible for your actions. By being accountable, you can take responsibility for putting yourself in that position and any temptations you gave into and accept the consequences.

Accountability Matters for Yourself

If you have chosen sobriety, then that means you have made a healthy and positive step for yourself. A decision to get clean, to figure out what caused you to develop a SUD in the first place, and heal those parts of yourself.

Laguna Shores Recovery Center understands that this means that you need to be accountable to yourself first. You have to be honest about relapses or temptations and cravings. You have to acknowledge your feelings and be able to sit with them. If you do not acknowledge your feelings and just push them away, they will build inside you. Unresolved feelings and unprocessed thoughts can lead to hyper-focusing on those feelings and thoughts. This, in turn, can lead to behavior like a relapse.

However, especially when you start detoxing or first enter treatment, you cannot only be accountable to yourself. You will need help from family, therapists, clinical staff, friends, or peers to keep sober.

Accountability Matters in Recovery

While in recovery, it can feel like you are accountable to every person you tell about your SUD. It may feel like people judge you or question you based on the places you go or the people you surround yourself with. Accountability in recovery is not about being held accountable for behavior and words with every single person you disclose your disorder.

A part of accountability is trust. For someone to hold another person accountable, there has to be trust between the two. Trust that either person will be honest and open about their journey to obtain sobriety. This means accountability only needs to be between you and those you trust. Hopefully, this will come to include doctors, therapists, peer counselors, and family.

Accountability Matters from Others

Trust is hard, especially if yours has been broken in the past. However, trusting someone to hold you accountable can feel more comfortable if you establish rules and boundaries. Such as what are you being held accountable for? Do you need to be accountable for the places you go to or the people you talk to? Are you far enough in your treatment that you do not need to account for your actions, but you need accountability for your thoughts and cravings? Rules and boundaries are important for people to know how to help you.

Remember, you are never under any obligation to tell others about your SUD. It is your choice when and who you tell. That being said, you need people. Either peers and therapists or friends and family. People matter, and having care, understanding, and acceptance from professionals at Laguna Shores Recovery Center is important for recovery. 

Do you need help staying sober? Have you been trying to do it alone and wondered, “Why does my sobriety matter?” Accountability from loved ones, peers, and therapists can mean having someone else who cares and holds you responsible for your sobriety. At Laguna Shores Recovery Center, we value accountability. Throughout treatment, you will be held accountable for your healing and your treatment goals. However, do not be afraid. Our supportive staff will be right there to help hold you responsible for your recovery. Our staff knows what it is like to manage a substance use disorder. With kindness and understanding, you will have the support you need to stay sober for your healing. Call us today at (866) 774-1532