Accountability can be a challenging thing for addicts in general, but social distancing can add additional barriers and make it even more difficult to stay accountable. The devil (addicted brain) on your left shoulder is already whispering “sweet nothings” into your ear in the form of seducing messages like, “well, if you act out now no one will know” or “You are all by yourself, now is the time… just like old times”, but help the Angel on your right shoulder to bolster up more power by following these 6 suggestions to stay accountable during the mandatory isolation.
This is a mindset issue. If you let your guard down, you are more likely to slip or relapse. Stay committed to your recovery and keep it at the forefront of your mind at this time of added stress.
Don’t wait to react to triggering situations and don’t wait on your accountability partner to reach out to you or wait from something to push you to reach out to them. Plan ahead and think about the time of day, the method of communication and even how to formulate your report to your accountability partner. By planning your accountability report ahead, you are increasing the likelihood that you will actually go through with it.
Pick a time during the day that works best for you to reach out to your accountability partner and try to stay on that same schedule. Do it every day, the same time! Even if your accountability partner happens to be busy during that time on a future day, you can use other methods of remaining consistent with your accountability. I recommend trying the free Marco Polo app. It is a way of reaching out without feeling like you are bothering them and removes that excuse. You can leave them a video message, like a voicemail or text, but this is more effective than texts or emails because there is more of yourself in the message for your accountability partner to receive and vice versa. Also consistency and structure help heal the addicted brain.
Remain completely honest.
Remember that you can be completely honest with your accountability partner, even if you happen to slip. Don’t only tell them of your successes but tell them of your triggers and of your struggles. If your accountability partner shames you (more likely to happen with a spouse), you might seriously consider a different accountability partner. They should be available to you and not become emotionally reactive if you do slip or relapse. Remember that secrets are the lifeblood of addiction and accountability (being honest with what is going on for you) directly counteracts those secrets.
Tie in your accountability to your sobriety date.
If you can imagine building up a protective fortress against the evils of your addiction and accumulating power and momentum as you extend your sobriety date, think of your accountability reports as essential building blocks to that fortress. As you continue to stay true and active in your recovery by being consistent with your accountability, you strengthen your protection against slips and relapses and your confidence grows in your recovery. When you slip or relapse and your sobriety date is reset, you damage part of your protective fortress and need to spend some time and energy patching that area back up with continual accountability.
Use the accountability report as a form of connection.
While it might not always be possible to have a substantial conversation with your accountability partner as you provide them your report, try your best to set up a few times during the week (at the very least once a week) where you do have time to talk. As you open up to your accountability partner and feel validated by them, you will feel more inclined to continue sharing your accountability with them.
LifeSTAR of the Central Valley helps individuals, partners, and families to heal from the effects of pornography and sexual addiction. Complete our Self-Evaluation today to discover if LifeSTAR is right for you.