Sober Living With Accountability

Two hands fist bump.

Sober Living With Accountability

You may have heard the term “accountable” when listening to the news or reading about the government’s responsibility to its citizens. Having accountability means you are willing to accept responsibility for your actions and the outcome that follows. 

Learning to hold yourself accountable can be challenging, especially if you’ve always blamed others for your mistakes. Accepting the role you play in directing your life’s outcomes will require a reorientation in the way you think about yourself in relation to others. Holding others accountable for their actions is also important as it can empower them to make the right decisions. 

Accountability Is a Key Theme in Recovery 

Individuals battling addiction can be stuck in an emotional state of self-pity and helplessness. Even if they know they are making things worse by not getting help, they can still find a way to rid themselves of responsibility by blaming others for their current position. Such tactics justify their continued substance use, fueling the cycle of addiction.

Accountability is a prevailing theme in addiction recovery because it is a quality that is frequently lacking in those who are addicted to substances. Therefore, learning to be accountable is a necessary step to help an individual recognize their faults and identify solutions that will help them heal and pursue a healthy lifestyle. 

The Role Blame Plays in Addiction 

Some people start using drugs or alcohol because their lives are miserable or they have serious issues still gnawing at them from their youth. Others suffer from mental illnesses such as depression or personality disorders. Blaming others (or your mental condition) for the unsettling thoughts and emotions you are experiencing or the state your life is in is a way to rid yourself of personal responsibility. 

Maybe you did have terrible experiences throughout your childhood, and your parents are to blame. Perhaps you were bullied in school, so you’ve developed low self-confidence and a poor image of yourself. Maybe your mental disorder drives you to do things you wish you didn’t. 

These pains that you are struggling with are not your fault, but getting help for your addiction and any mental health problems you’re struggling with is your responsibility. Trying to find a target to blame wastes the energy you could be spending on coming to terms with your problems and planning how to move forward.  

Sober Living Can Help You Become Accountable

Sober living homes are residences that provide clients with a safe, substance-free environment to help them transition to independent living after treatment. The overseeing facility enforces rules such as curfew to give clients the structure to stay on the right track. 

Sober living homes also provide a space in which social support and accountability are cultivated. Peers are encouraged to spend time with one another, share their thoughts and emotions in regular house meetings, and hold each other accountable for their actions. Peer accountability is a guiding principle that keeps clients focused on their recovery goals and reduces their chance of relapse. 

Learning to Be Responsible Alongside Peers 

Housemates can hold each other accountable by confronting a member when they’ve broken their end of an agreement or when they’ve broken a house rule. There are many duties that may be expected of individuals during their time in a sober living home. Disregarding them either intentionally or by mistake can stir up conflict in the household and undermine one’s progress toward living successfully on their own. 

Although rules may differ between sober living households, the following are common: 

  • Visitors are discouraged
  • Internet access is limited 
  • Drugs and alcohol are prohibited
  • Everyone must pay their bills on time 
  • Pets may not be allowed in the house 
  • Housemates may have travel restrictions
  • Members must find a job and/or volunteer
  • Curfew and quiet hours must be respected
  • Housemates determine how to split chores 
  • Housemates and staff should be respectful 
  • Regular attendance at house meetings and support groups is required

When a Housemate Breaks a Rule

House rules are established early on in a client’s stay in a sober living home. The process of discussing and agreeing to rules in house meetings creates a shared understanding of what is expected and how individuals will be held accountable if rules are broken. Every resident becomes accountable to the household, not just an abstract list of rules. 

Bedrooms and other living spaces are shared, so it’s hard to get away with breaking the rules. Nevertheless, it happens sometimes. If a housemate gets caught by other housemates, they may be issued a warning or be asked to leave the house by the house manager. The consequences are not meant to punish the individual or make them feel bad but to teach them that they are responsible for their decisions.

Set Yourself Up for Success by Choosing Sober Living  

By choosing to live in a sober living home, you are demonstrating your willingness to take your recovery into your own hands. Learning to hold yourself accountable for the decisions you made that led to your addiction is a major accomplishment, and sober living can help you get there.