If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, then talking about your recovery journey can feel overwhelming. Hiding your addiction and your attempts to get clean may seem like a good way to protect those you care about, but carrying the burden of addiction and recovery alone can make you vulnerable to relapse. Find people you trust and who are willing to hold you accountable for your new life to strengthen your resolve for recovery. Telling your story frees you to live one day at a time to be free from drugs and alcohol.
Being accountable to a person or group for your addiction recovery helps you take responsibility for the past. In the first stages of rehab, it will take time for you to realize what your addiction has done to those you love. While living under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is easy to blame others or circumstances for the choices you made—addiction is your mother’s fault for not being there, your father’s fault for being too hard on you, a teacher’s fault for not understanding you, your spouse’s fault for enabling you and the list goes on and on. But, once treatment and recovery begin, taking responsibility for past mistakes and bad decisions is the way forward. This task can be a heavy burden to bear, and one easy to avoid, but having a support group or accountability partner can help you put past decisions in the proper perspective to avoid getting overwhelmed. Your accountability partner can help you walk through this difficult process one step at a time.
During the second stage of recovery, when you are no longer in a treatment program but are attending meetings and seeing a therapist, accountability is crucial to recovery success. While in treatment, you were surrounded by people in similar circumstances and professionals who were there for you 24 hours a day. In other words, when cravings hit, there was always someone to help keep you from relapse. However, now that you are back home, on the job or in familiar environments, the stressors that drove you to use drugs may still be around, only now you lack help to avoid them. However, having an accountability partner or support group to call is the only way to stay drug free during those trying moments. Accountability partners can remind you how far you have come, and they can be there in a moment’s notice to help get through the craving. Accountability partners can also accompany you to functions where the temptation to use drugs might be too strong for you to resist. No matter the circumstances, accountability partners and support help you make the right choice at your moment of greatest weakness.
Addiction devastates families, so, whether you are able to admit it yet or not, your family members have been on the front lines of substance abuse with you. Accountability during recovery is one way to reassure your family that you are making good choices and are committed to staying clean. It may be difficult to have a family member as your only accountability partner, because family members often turn into enablers just to get through each day. But committing to your family and keeping your word is its own type of accountability: each time you are there when you have promised to do so, and each time you choose the respect and trust of your loved ones over the need to use drugs, you are using accountability to make you stronger. Talk to your therapist, support group and accountability partner about ways to regain the trust of your family, and you will increase your accountability to them.
It may seem like accountability limits your behavior in unrealistic ways, but it actually frees you of the need to hide your past. When you hide your struggle with drugs, you are bound to keeping up pretense, so asking for help is out of the question. On the other hand, when you share your story, you open yourself up to help that was previously unavailable. When your friends and family understand your struggles, they can be there for you in ways you would have never thought possible. At first, accountability may seem overwhelming, but soon you will learn that it is one of the many bridges to freedom from a life controlled by drugs and alcohol.
One of the first steps to ending drug or alcohol addiction is admitting you have a problem. From there, you can find a treatment program that is right for you to build a new life for yourself and your loved ones. If you or a loved one struggles with substance abuse, we are here for you. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to speak to an admissions coordinator about available treatment options.