Accountability During Difficult Times

What does accountability mean to you? It can seem like a negative word with a harsh connotation to some, but really it means honesty, authenticity and looking at things the way they really are. Accountability can be about consequences, or natural consequences of behavior and actions. However, a deeper way to look at it is being vulnerable and honest with yourself about the state of your life. What do you like about it? What needs to change? How are you impacting, positively or negatively, others around you?

A more effective understanding of accountability is accountability with yourself. Taking ownership of your circumstances and life situation, whatever it may be. This doesn’t mean being ashamed or hard on yourself. This doesn’t mean abusing yourself and putting yourself down that things aren’t different from how they currently are. Rather, this means loving yourself for where you’re at and accepting yourself with where you’re at and going from there. You don’t need to be perfect, and life doesn’t require that from you. But being honest is a very powerful and life-long daily tool that you can implement no matter what is occurring.

With everything happening in the last year, it can be easy to fall back into unhealthy habits and a less healthy lifestyle as a result of COVID-19 and stressors of significant lifestyle changes and the ‘new normal’ we are all living in. Taking accountability also means taking responsibility for the power you do have, and the influence you do have. It means not making yourself out to be a powerless victim that has no influence over anything. Responsibility means looking at what you have the power to change or improve, or what role you may have played in a situation. 

It may be very true that however things turned out, you did the best you could at the time with the tools and ability you had. However, it may also be true that now you are able to see things differently and make improvements. You may know better now and have learned new things, and therefore are in a position to make positive changes that maybe you couldn’t have done before. 

What are some tools and new things you’ve learned? How have you shifted in your perspective? How are you stronger and more capable and resilient than before? All these are important questions to ask ourselves so that when we work to take accountability and responsibility for our situations, we can look at it from a perceptive of self-compassion and self-kindness…not shame, guilt and self-hatred. Shame, guilt, self-hatred and self-blame are understandable when you are upset with yourself over situations, such as addiction for example. However, they also trigger emotions that can easily keep you stuck and do not necessarily help you get where you want to go. They are ultimately destructive emotions, not constructive emotions. 

Accountability doesn’t mean berating and beating yourself up or punishing yourself. And it doesn’t mean looking at something you could improve and making excuses either and dismissing how you could have done things differently. It is honestly looking at a situation, with self-compassion and self-kindness and seeing what is really happening. For example, are you actually drinking 10 beers a night, not just 2 like you tell yourself? Are you actually addicted to marijuana, and not just using it on occasion for anxiety and with a prescription? Do you use cocaine on a regular basis, and ‘not just once in awhile at a party?’ The point is…honesty with yourself and what is actually happening versus the story you may be telling yourself. 

Your life will improve much more quickly, and it will be easier to make changes more quickly with a personal perspective that includes greater self-compassion, self-kindness and openness to change. Being open to seeing things as they really are is the first step to improvement. Being kind to yourself for your situation, all you’ve suffered and how you’ve coped when you look at yourself honestly is the second step to this.  

Then after 1) acknowledging the truth and 2) applying self-compassion, 3) next (third step) have a deeper understanding for why you’re doing what you’re doing. Are you struggling with heartbreak? Stress? A miserable life situation you don’t know how to change? Or is it just unaddressed addiction? What is going on that drives the behavior and harmful habits? This is the next level of honesty with yourself. Looking at what you are really struggling with underneath the harmful behaviors. 

After this, 4) (fourth step) part of responsibility and accountability is getting help. What do you need to most help yourself to overcome and confront these behaviors? Would a rehabilitation facility make a difference? Or regular therapy? 12-step groups? Or maybe something even deeper like 1) making major life changes such as moving to a new city away from negative old influences and making new friends or 2) leaving your romantic relationships, 3) getting away from toxic people or environments, 4) working to get a new job that is a better fit for you… 

The main thing here is understanding what you need for you to improve your life situation and that of others around you. Because your negative habits aren’t in the end only hurting you, they also influence and affect others around you. More than that, they could even be enabling negative behaviors around you. Therefore, your sobriety and well-being matter not just for you, but for everyone you interact with and are influenced by. 

So when you think accountability…what do you think of? Do you think of how you can better take care of yourself and be a better influence to those around you? Or do you think of negative consequences and feeling badly? The choice is yours, but honesty and self-compassion with yourself is very powerful at any phase of life no matter what you are going through.

An important part of managing challenges during COVID is self-compassion and self-kindness. Mindful awareness of harmful habits can improve addiction issues and help you obtain the best help possible. Silver Lining understands that you have spent a lot of time dealing with difficult emotions and triggers during your time using drugs and alcohol. These experiences impact your sobriety and a treatment plan for living your best life in recovery. Our policy of treating small numbers of people in each group allows us to get to know you and the exact type of help you need to learn to be kind to yourself and achieve your goals. We help you flourish now and in the future. Let our Huntington Beach location be where you begin again! Call us today for more information. (866) 448-4563.

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