Taking responsibility for your actions is one of the most important parts of recovery. It’ll help you stay sober; if you feel that your behaviors are out of your control, it’s easier to rationalize drinking or using again. Accountability will help you get the most out of your recovery, because you’ll gain emotional sobriety along with physical sobriety.
One great way to stay accountable is to have a person (or people!) in your life who can serve as an accountability buddy. It’s great if this person is also sober, so you can work towards similar goals and check in with each other along the way. If you don’t have a sober person in your life, you can seek out local support groups where you might make connections.
But don’t freak out if you can’t find a sober person; it’s okay if your accountability buddy isn’t sober, as long as they are 100% supportive of your sobriety. Since I got sober, more of my friends have too; but some of the strongest support I received in the early days were from non-sober friends who didn’t mind staying sober when they were around me.
When it comes to your addiction, try not to keep secrets. If you notice yourself isolating, or keeping thoughts about using substances to yourself, connect even more to your accountability network. As they say in AA “you’re only as sick as your secrets.”
One time when I was romanticizing my active addiction days, I told a friend and she said, “Well you’re telling me, so I think you’ll be okay.” She ended up being right. Of course, it takes a lot of work to stay sober beyond simply being honest, but it really is powerful to talk about it openly.
You need to be accountable to others—but you also need to be accountable to yourself. Try writing two lists: one containing the consequences you experienced when you drank or used, and another of all the ways your life has changed for the better since being sober. Keep these lists to look at if you’re struggling; both will keep you connected to your sobriety.
Being accountable to yourself also means having a strong understanding of your triggers, boundaries, and most useful coping skills. Therapy is an excellent way to become more self-aware. You’ll learn to pay attention to and understand your emotional responses the more time you spend in recovery. But be flexible and willing to change if something no longer serves you.
Taking responsibility for yourself doesn’t have to be all work—it’s important to celebrate milestones and growth. Allowing yourself to feel proud of this huge accomplishment is important. In a similar vein, you might download an app that tallies things like your sober time and the amount of drinks or drugs you haven’t had. Mine is called “I’m DONE Drinking!” It’s awesome to check in and see how much the numbers have increased.
Making sure you’re accountable is an important way to ensure success in your recovery. It means that you are taking control of your life and making decisions actively—which includes committing every day to staying sober.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is hope. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will keep you accountable to your sobriety. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.