Restorations Therapy Blog

Accountability and Addiction: Several Ways to Foster Accountability While in Recovery

by on Wednesday, June 24th, 2020

Accountability is accepting responsibility for one’s actions. In the case of individuals suffering from substance use disorders (SUDs), accountability is a significant value to cultivate to maintain sobriety. Accountability leads one to make wise and responsible decisions. Furthermore, no one can achieve success if they do not accept responsibility for their actions in that success. Engagement in personal accountability is crucial to lifelong recovery.

         Accountability is the understanding that our life decisions impact us and the people around us. We are responsible for our decisions; every single one of them. Unfortunately, when we wish to escape our realities and responsibilities, drugs and alcohol may become a means to do so. These means of self-medication suppress responsibility and instead foster feelings of depression and helplessness. Additionally, they impact communication and social skills, as well as cultivate excuses related to self-denial. Thus, maintaining accountability is significant to the process of recovery.

         In recovery, accountability is directly related to responsibility. Still, it is more complicated than just responsibility in that the SUD to drugs or alcohol created dysfunctional mental and physical patterns that may be difficult to break. Thus, establishing innate responsibility during treatment and then into recovery takes time and patience, as those in recovery may find it challenging to cultivate patience for themselves and keep their motivation on the benefits of recovery.

Ways to Support and Maintain Accountability

  1. It is crucial to find someone to help you maintain accountability. Being responsible for your actions may require someone else as a sounding board or reflection of yourself. Having a sober support system with someone who supports your sobriety, your efforts to maintain recovery, understands your story and struggles, and who is not a negative enabler is vital to programs fostering sobriety. When you feel triggered by a specific event, rather than returning to substance use, you may turn to this accountability partner. Furthermore, they can help you deal with and overcome the harmful effects that isolation and secrecy may create during recovery.
  1. You should create a statement of your accountability to yourself and write it down so you may be reminded of it daily. A statement is a contract with yourself, in which you describe why you choose to be accountable, responsible for your actions, and what risks you may incur if you do not maintain this promise of responsibility to yourself. The decision to be accountable is a personal part of recovery that only the one suffering from the SUD may make. Making a personal choice is an intimate and internal process. Keep your statement of accountability with you at all times, in your pocket, purse, or wallet so that you may refer to it in difficult times or share it with your accountability partner.
  1. Learn and understand your triggers so you can cultivate healthy strategies in which to handle them, should they arise. Triggers may include your moods, certain situations, or specific people; however, this does not mean you must avoid all situations — it is about recognizing the circumstances that may endanger your sobriety. For example, in some instances, you may still attend events or parties and partake in them while substituting healthy non-alcoholic beverages to imbibe. Other cases may require complete avoidance of a specific individual, situation, or event.  
  1. Utilizing technology may help one maintain accountability. Smartphone applications and online support platforms create easy and economical ways in which one may track their sobriety and stay connected to a support group. Online support groups and accountability circles become much easier to discover with the support of web-based applications and websites.
  1. Formal programs involve consistent participation and exist in most areas of the developed world. The most well-known of these programs is the 12-Step program offered by Alcoholics Anonymous. Often, one can find meetings any day of the week, in multiple locations, so they may engage in personal accountability with ease. The most vital thing is to find a program that fits you personally, and participate in this program regularly.
  1. Even the small strides you make in your road to recovery require celebration. If you utilize technology to monitor your progress, celebrate sobriety dates. Rejoice in your willpower of going to a social or work gathering and not drinking alcohol. Having a tracking application in which you can physically see your progress makes your sobriety real and tangible, while also allowing you to keep track of successes.
  1. Share these successes with others, such as your accountability partner and your support system. Whether it be speaking about your accomplishments at a formal program meeting, or while conversing with a friend or family member. Sobriety and recovery is a lifelong process, which requires continuous effort. Sharing your successes may help another person on their road of recovery.

Looking for Help with Accountability         Overcoming a SUD is difficult in and of itself. When an individual lacks accountability for their actions, they may find it challenging to lead a healthy life. In recovery, we achieve accountability through relationships with counselors, sober friends, and family members. This personal network of connections allows us to be held accountable for our actions, as they act as a reflection for us to see ourselves through. Remaining responsible may not be an easy task, but it is vital to do so during treatment and throughout recovery from a SUD. Lacking accountability, someone may not recognize their faults or take responsibility for their actions. Maintaining sobriety during and following treatment is a hard road, but it is possible. If you or someone you know is battling a SUD, call us today at (720) 446-6585.

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