Accountability in Recovery: Importance of Remaining Accountable and Helping Others to Do the Same
During an individual’s time in treatment, accountability will play a key role in the healing and recovery process. Once the individual leaves treatment, accountability continues to play a role in whether or not they remain sober. But who will hold you accountable day-to-day?
What is Personal Accountability?
Accountability is all about sticking to your plan and recognizing the rules of your plan in recovery. However, it is also about taking responsibility for your actions and behaviors – every time, not just when you want to.
Remaining personally accountable in recovery is one of the greatest challenges you will face because accountability is often the first thing to be let go when you are struggling with addiction. You begin to hold yourself less accountable for your actions, and your family or friends may also hold you less accountable—thus you slip into the pattern of behaviors in which you do not take responsibility for the things that you do.
How You May Have Avoided Accountability in the Past
Using drugs or alcohol may be done as an excuse for other behaviors. Maybe you used drugs to make yourself feel better or to not have to deal with different scenarios in your mind. Often those who are in the early stages of addiction or who may be new to recovery are avoiding accountability as follows:
- Using drugs that they are not in treatment for so that they can make up a different excuse as to why they are using a substance.
- Failure to accept responsibility for actions while under the influence.
- Denying any previous substance abuse when it is brought up.
- Failure to accept the severity of the drug problem despite the fact that it truly is bad.
- Blaming others when relapse occurs.
- Avoiding important treatment steps that are known to facilitate recovery.
- Acting out when recovery doesn’t go YOUR way.
How Others Can Help You Remaining Accountable
Part of recovery is about working with others through the steps of healing. Many find 12-step programs to be highly effective because of their ability to promote fellowship and accountability in recovery. A sponsor in a 12-step group can hold you accountable for your actions, checking in with you regularly to make sure you remain on a healthy, sober path.
But, what happens if your sponsor is not available or doesn’t check in as frequently as you may need? In situations like this, you may require further assistance such as that offered in an app like Pocket Rehab. Through the app, you can be held accountable for your behaviors at any time of day—the app will check in with you and you can connect with others in recovery that will also frequently check in with you to help you remain accountable. Even better, if you are feeling like you may relapse, you can come to the app for immediate support—no matter what time of day, or night, it may be.
Using Technology to Build Accountability
Pocket Rehab offers the tools you need to be accountable for your sobriety. This technology offers person-specific data that allows you to make better decisions. Not only are you able to speak with others in the recovery community at any time, or place, but the app also allows you to avoid situations where you may otherwise be led to relapse. For instance, maybe a 12-step meeting puts you too close to individuals who are still abusing drugs or alcohol. Using an app like Pocket Rehab, you can get instant phone support or text support from someone in recovery without being face-to-face with the individual. Therefore, you are not in a meeting with a group of others who are still in the lower stages of recovery, or who are still actively using drugs or alcohol which may otherwise trigger you to use.
Pocket Rehab also lets you maintain your own personal journal where you can make notes about your behaviors. If you notice a pattern in your behaviors and your struggles with possible relapse, you can evoke a pattern of change—holding yourself accountable and changing your behaviors before you slip up. Steps to Embracing Accountability
So, since you know you have to be so accountable and that you should be working to hold others accountable in their recovery, you probably need to know exactly what to do to BE accountable. What steps can you take to be accountable and to hold others to their accountability standards?
Step 1: Find a partner in accountability
Fellowship groups such as NA or AA call this a sponsor. If you aren’t part of a fellowship group, or if your sponsor doesn’t always answer when you need support, consider finding a couple accountability partners on Pocket Rehab. The partner will be someone who understands your struggle and can recognize the negative patterns in your life that could lead to relapse. They will refuse to be an enabler of your addiction and commit to actively participate in your recovery. – to help others be accountable, consider being an accountability partner for them.
Step 2: Write Out Your Accountability Statement
You may have already done this in treatment, if so—add it to your Pocket Rehab journal, keep it with you, remember it! If not, here’s how you can write your personal accountability statement:
- Include why you are choosing to be accountable in recovery.
- Mention briefly the risks that will happen if you choose not to be accountable.
Keep your accountability statement with you everywhere you go. When you feel like you may relapse, or like times in recovery are challenging, look at your statement. To help someone else write their accountability statement, provide them the above guidelines.
Step 3: Learn Your Triggers & Create Coping Strategies
Triggers may be your mood, your environment, people, places, or things. Figure out what triggers your desire to abuse drugs or alcohol and what you can do to avoid the triggers. In situations where you cannot avoid a trigger, develop effective, healthy, coping strategies to face the trigger head on. Be prepared to remain accountable for any actions should you allow a trigger to get the best of you.
Step 4: Celebrate Milestones and Successes
When you remain accountable, and you effectively overcome triggers, you must celebrate. Rejoice and reward yourself for remaining on your plan and for doing what you set out to do. Small successes are worth a reward too—if you made it through a trying situation that has led to relapse in the past—celebrate!
If you made it to one of the many important milestones in recovery such as 7 days, 30 days, longer-celebrate! Just remember, you must celebrate safely and in a healthy way. See a movie with a friend, go to lunch, or enjoy ice cream. Keep in mind that there are great things in life without drugs or alcohol clouding the view.
Consider Accountability in an App
If you’re feeling triggered, consider the help of an app such as Pocket Rehab to get immediate support. Your accountability partners on Pocket Rehab are there for you whenever you need. Even if you can’t find one of your standard partners, consider reaching out for immediate support from someone else in recovery—chances are, they will understand what you’re dealing with and help you to overcome the trigger safely, without relapse.
Helping Others Remain Accountable
Now that you know what it takes to hold yourself accountable, you can also help others in their recovery. Teach others what it means to be accountable. Offer to be an accountability partner, through thick and thin, for someone in the early stages of recovery—you will gain great joy from seeing others get through addiction and heal. When helping others, remember:
- Stay honest. Be true to yourself and to them. If it’s too much, consider stepping down and asking someone else to help the individual remain accountable—don’t leave anyone hanging, but also don’t put your own recovery in jeopardy.
- Tell others. Explain to your recovering friends the importance of involving family and friends in their healing process.
- Keep a list of what could be lost. Remember that accountability is all about not losing what is important in recovery. Keep a list of what you have to lose and remain close to that list.
- Stay connected. Remain connected with others in recovery. Accountability is about remaining true to yourself and to the others in the recovery process that you are working with.
Stay accountable. Stay sober. Do it together!
Consider Pocket Rehab to help you find accountability partners or others who are seeking someone to hold them accountable for their recovery behaviors. The gratitude from others when you help them through a trying time may be just what you need to remain sober each day. Many in long-term sobriety find extreme joy in the ability to help others remain sober and accountable.
Tags: accountability in recovery, accountability, being accountable, addiction recovery, relapse prevention, relationships, recovery apps, rehab apps, sobriety apps