The Importance of Accountability in Recovery

The term accountability refers to being held responsible for your actions. At Waypoint Recovery Center’s South Carolina drug and alcohol addiction treatment program, we stress that accountability is a vital part of building the foundation for a lasting recovery.

A Victim Mentality Keeps You from Moving Forward

Often, a lack of personal accountability is associated with a victim mentality. A person with a substance use disorder needs to learn to see themselves as a survivor and not a victim. Being trapped in a victim mentality prevents them from dealing with the effects of past trauma and leaves them acting as an observer in their own lives.

Breaking free of the trap of seeing oneself as a victim of circumstance sets the stage for a growth mindset. Someone with a growth mindset sees themselves as the hero of their own story. They view challenges and setbacks as a chance to refine their strategies for achieving their goals. They own up to their past mistakes and seek the help of others to continue a journey of self-improvement.

Blaming Others Is a Classic Sign of Addiction

Blaming others for your actions is well recognized as a sign of addiction. For example, someone with a substance use disorder may claim that they drink or use drugs because it’s “in their genes” or all they know after growing up with a parent who struggled with a substance abuse problem. Although it’s true there are scientifically recognized genetic risk factors for addiction, they present only about half of a person’s total risk. We all have the power to choose to get the help we need to move forward.

Sometimes, blaming others takes the form of claiming a person “needs” to drink or use because of stress or a past injury that resulted in chronic pain. While stress and pain are real factors that must be dealt with, substance abuse isn’t the answer. Drugs or alcohol might temporarily mask the problem, but they do nothing to fix the underlying cause. As part of a comprehensive, evidence-based addiction treatment plan, someone with a substance use disorder will learn what coping mechanisms they can use to manage their feelings without drugs or alcohol.

How Enabling Behavior from Friends and Family Creates an Accountability Crisis

Friends and family often contribute to the progression of a loved one’s addiction by enabling them to continue to drink or use without consequence. They may loan money, provide a place to stay, babysit children, or swoop in to resolve legal problems that arise from substance abuse. Their intentions are good, but their desire to protect their loved one prevents the person with an addiction from realizing how their substance use has spiraled out of control.

If you have a loved one with an addiction, the best thing you can do is to set firm limits on your relationship and continue to stress the need for treatment. Tell your loved one that you care about them and will support any efforts they make to seek addiction treatment, but you will not allow them to treat you poorly, and you will not continue to “save the day” when they are experiencing negative consequences from continued substance abuse.

How Addiction Treatment Promotes Personal Accountability

Accountability is integrated into every step of Waypoint’s evidence-based addiction care. Our clients are encouraged to:

  • Openly and honestly address past mistakes without passing judgment or blaming others
  • Apologize and try to make amends to those they’ve hurt with their past addiction-related behavior
  • Set short-term and long-term personal goals, such as getting a sponsor, finding a new job, renting an apartment, or reconnecting with family members
  • Participate in 12-Step support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
  • Keep a journal that records recovery progress
  • Work with a therapist to replace destructive coping mechanisms with healthier thoughts and behaviors

Credited to: Way Makers


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