Two people at coffee shop practicing accountability in addiction recovery

Accountability plays an essential role in addiction recovery. By having a community or close friend to support you in your sobriety journey, you are encouraged to remain transparent in your struggles, forego shame, and get help when intervention is needed.

Is it time to get help with addiction recovery? Contact Georgetown Behavioral Hospital to learn how we can help you on your journey.

What Is Accountability in Addiction Recovery?

Accountability in addiction recovery refers to your willingness to be honest about your addiction and the choices you make concerning it. When you are accountable, you take responsibility for your actions, even when you give in to your addictions. 

One of the best ways to ensure you are holding yourself accountable is to have a recovery partnership in which the other person or people help you recognize when you are heading for trouble. Accountability partners can be:


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  • A sponsor who has been through what you are going through now
  • A mentor who has already learned through experience the best ways to stay clean.
  • A friend who understands and listens.
  • A support group, such as AA or NA

How Accountability Helps with Addiction Recovery

The Benefits of Accountability with Addiction Recovery infographic

Scientific studies have shown the value of accountability in addiction recovery. For example, in one research project, two-thirds of the participants had sponsors. Those who had contact with their sponsors engaged in their 12-step programs on a higher level. In addition, those who had strong support from their sponsors had more success in remaining abstinent.  

There is no doubt that accountability can have a profound impact on many people’s ability to abstain from addictions. Yet, why is accountability so beneficial? How does it help? Here are some ways having accountability can aid in your addiction recovery.

Take Ownership of Your Addiction

By being honest and transparent about your addiction, you accept responsibility for it. Owning these responsibilities through your conversations with a sponsor or friends helps you cement your commitment to sobriety. This ownership of your problem also puts you in a position of power. That is, when you recognize your poor choices, you give yourself the ability to choose better the next time. 

Rather than waiting for someone else to fix you, you can take the right steps to deal with your addiction yourself. It is no longer completely in someone else’s hands, and you are no longer just waiting and hoping for your addiction to go away on its own. 

Instead, you are aware of what you need to do for yourself and of your responsibility for it. In some cases, taking ownership might mean making better choices at home or work or asking for help from your sponsor or friend. In others, it might mean seeking help at a drug and alcohol detox center.

Build Self-Esteem

For many people, having an addiction brings feelings of shame and inferiority. However, when you are held accountable by yourself and others, you learn to make better decisions. The more positive outcomes you create through your efforts, the better you feel about yourself. 

As your self-esteem rises, you begin to care about yourself and your health. This leads you away from addictions that would damage your body, mind, and relationships. You see yourself as someone who can overcome your addiction, so you feel encouraged to keep headed towards sobriety. In addition, you build self-confidence in other aspects of your life.

Recognize Signs of Trouble

Being honest with yourself allows you to clearly see when the ways you are thinking or behaving could lead to addictive behaviors. A sponsor or support group can also help you see signs that you may engage in your addictive behaviors again. 

Once you see that you are headed for trouble, you may be able to shift to a more positive path. What’s more, your sponsor or mentor can help you with tips on how to maintain your sobriety despite this challenge.

Support in Making Changes

People with addictions usually need to make many changes if they want to live a clean and sober life. Unfortunately, many of these changes are painful or difficult. However, when you have accountability in addiction recovery, you can recognize that you need support through this transformation.

You might look for support among family and friends or turn to a sponsor or support group. Once you recognize the need for support, you can reach out to get it. Also, having an accountability partner helps you see when support is needed and gives you a ready source of it.

Realize When Your Environment Threatens Your Sobriety

Most people first trying to overcome an addiction learn that they need to avoid certain types of environments. After all, if you go where other people are engaging in your addiction, it could be very hard not to join them. Or if you go to places where you used to give in to your addictions. It might feel natural to make the same choices again. It’s easy to see why people with addictions need to avoid such environments.

Yet, many people find they are attached to those places and situations. They don’t want to admit that they need to stay away. However, when you maintain your accountability in addiction recovery, you realize the advantages of choosing environments where you feel more natural staying sober and clean. 

Objective Perspective on When to Seek Help

Perhaps the most important part of having accountability in addiction recovery is that you know when to seek help. You may be honest enough to recognize your need for professional help. Or, a supportive sponsor or community group might point it out to you. Either way, you can address significant problems before they become devastating. 

How to Recognize the Need for Intervention

How do you know when you or someone in your life needs professional intervention for addiction? The best way to recognize that moment is to stay alert and notice red flags associated with an out-of-control addiction.

  • Skipping work to use
  • Staying away from family, friends, and anyone else in their life who doesn’t use
  • Becoming hostile or negative
  • Not taking care of your hygiene or physical appearance
  • Not wanting to eat
  • Getting angry or bitter when someone asks about your health
  • Denying that you ever had an addiction

Accountability in addiction recovery means that you or someone else is holding you responsible for all these choices. When someone else sees you doing these behaviors, they can talk to you about it and point out why you need help. They may encourage you to get treatment or even help you take the first steps.

Where to Find Treatment for Addictions

Suppose you are ready to be accountable for your addiction and all the behaviors you choose surrounding it. Near Cincinnati, Ohio, you will find Georgetown Behavioral Hospital, a mental health facility offering dual diagnosis treatment programs for people with addictions and mental health issues. 

At GBH, one of our goals is to remove barriers that would otherwise prevent you from seeking help. Therefore, we provide transparent billing and accept Medicare and most other major insurance. We provide detox services as well as longer-term residential addiction treatment programs. Our program also includes 12-step groups, where you can find support and accountability partners to encourage you on your path to sobriety.

Could you benefit from treatment for an addiction? Call or come into Georgetown Behavioral Hospital to set your course for sobriety.

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