By: Jay Staples Alumni

Friends, family, and work associates hold us accountable. Accountability is paramount for anyone who is inclined to make a change in his or her life. Accountability is necessary when dealing with addiction. If you have a desire for long-term recovery, you must be willing to accept help. But in that request for help, you must allow loved ones to hold you accountable for past, present, and future thoughts and behaviors. Recovery from drugs and alcohol becomes nearly impossible if an addict is still prone to the same thinking patterns, habits, and behaviors. Comedian and recovering addict, Mark Lundholm, hilariously exclaims, “first thought wrong!”

It has been said that accountability is a form of honesty. Merriam-Webster defines accountability as the quality or state of being accountable;  an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions. Addicts and alcoholics often have a misguided belief that consequences don’t apply to ANY of their actions. Whether it was stealing something or hurting a loved one, the obsession to drink and use drugs trumped any potential consequences.

Addicts and alcoholics run from responsibilities. At Burning Tree, accountability is preached as a life lesson. We believe that accountability and honesty go hand in hand. For an alcoholic and addict to get into long-term recovery, they must be expected to become honest, responsible men and women. Examples of these responsibilities include setting a commitment to do something that day and following through; being five minutes early to group; holding your peers accountable for actions and behaviors and accepting feedback from others as well; being accountable and honest with a sponsor you choose to work the Steps with; and keeping a neat and maintained living area.

Accountability makes it hard to continue old destructive behaviors. Accountability leads to connections with others, who then can ultimately empower you to fight through the tough times that come with early recovery. Create a support circle that believes in you, even when you don’t believe in yourself. With accountability, a person can be made aware of their behaviors even if they don’t yet have the inner resources to do so.  Accountability can help create the sober life that the alcoholic or addict desires.