One of the most powerful strategies for overcoming opioid dependence is to create a strong sense of accountability. I’ve realized that one of the main reasons I receive a steady stream of coaching clients is due to so many individuals realizing the benefits of having someone hold them accountable.
Of course, plenty of people can quit opioids without accountability.
But I’ve found that accountability significantly increases opioid recovery success rates.
In this article, you’re going to learn:
- What accountability is
- Why accountability is important
- Ways to create accountability
- How to choose the right type of accountability for you
So let’s dive right into this fascinating topic!
Table of Contents
What is Accountability?
Accountability is “the fact or condition of being accountable.” Accountable is an adjective which means “answerable for actions or decisions.”
Basically, to hold someone accountable means the person is being asked to explain why they did (or didn’t do) something.
Employees are held accountable for what they do and don’t do at work.
Whenever I had jobs where my boss was out of town and there was no one holding me accountable, I tended to slack off and do the least amount of work possible.
But whenever my boss was there and working with me, I made sure I was working hard and doing my best!
I had someone to answer to, and I didn’t want to let my boss down… or get fired.
Why is Accountability Important?
As humans, we are biologically wired to seek comfort and avoid discomfort. We typically look for and take the path of least resistance in all that we do.
When setting goals and implementing action steps to achieve them, without being accountable to someone, most people end up putting their goals on hold or quitting altogether.
This is easy to do because we don’t have anyone to answer to.
We can rationalize our way out of it with effortless ease.
However, when someone is holding us accountable, our chances of achieving the goal skyrocket.
Here are common reasons this happens:
- We don’t want to let the person down
- We don’t want to look like a failure
- We want to be seen as the type of person that keeps their word
- We want to avoid looking like a flake
- We want to avoid feeling guilt and shame
- We want to act congruently with our decisions
Having accountability is a very helpful resource when it comes to quitting opioids, and it can be the magic ingredient that makes everything else fuse together.
My Story of Accountability
For years I hid my opioid addiction. My parents didn’t know, my friends didn’t know, and my girlfriend that lived with me didn’t even know!
Due to this, every time I tried to quit I failed — or I succeeded — only to relapse weeks or months down the road.
It was just too easy to keep using because no one knew and I didn’t have a single person holding me accountable to quit and stay clean.
This all changed almost 8 years ago.
At the time, I was single and unemployed and had moved back in with my parents.
My dad suspected something, so one day he searched through my phone while I was taking a nap on the couch.
Within a few seconds, he found text messages between me and my heroin dealer!
The gig was finally up.
My parents told me if I wanted to live there, I had to quit, and they said they’d help me with whatever I needed.
I was sneaky and still used a few more times after that, but then I overdosed and almost died, which scared them and me shitless.
At that point, I finally gave up.
Having to get a naloxone shot by an EMT to prevent me from dying was my “ultimate wakeup call.”
Now I embraced the process of quitting opioids for myself, for my daughter, and for my parents.
They held me accountable all day every day while I was detoxing from opioids, and without my parents knowing what I was doing and holding me accountable for quitting, I guarantee it would’ve been much harder for me to quit.
Ways to Create Accountability
There is a superabundance of ways to create accountability. The important concept to learn is to use a method of accountability that you feel would help YOU the most.
We are all different, so what works for one person won’t work for everyone.
Here are some examples of accountability to choose from:
- Have your spouse hold you accountable
- Go to an inpatient treatment program where the doctors and counselors hold you accountable
- Hire a recovery coach to help you come up with a plan to quit and to hold you accountable
- Ask your doctor to hold you accountable
- Ask your psychiatrist to hold you accountable
- Have a best friend that you love and respect hold you accountable
- Go to self-help meetings and ask the group to hold you accountable
- Have an AA or NA sponsor hold you accountable
- Have your church pastor hold you accountable
- Join a Facebook recovery group and ask the members to hold you accountable
- Do a social media post announcing your plan to quit opioids and the date you intend to do it
- Find another person that wants to quit opioids, and see if they want to be your accountability partner
- Have your parents hold you accountable
- Have your children hold you accountable
Along with this comprehensive list, there are also many other ways you can create strong accountability.
Exercise: Write down all of the methods of accountability from the list above that you believe would help you the most. Brainstorm accountability methods that aren’t on this list, but that you’d find helpful. Then write a paragraph or two on why these would help you so much. Commit to creating these methods of accountability, and take joy in the fact that you’ve just significantly increased your chances of succeeding.
The most powerful accountability occurs when you have high levels of respect for the person or people that are holding you accountable to quit opioids.
Additionally, when you would feel horrible to let this person or these people down, you now have high levels of accountability and this will help you with follow through.
As I stated at the beginning of this article, people often hire me to be their coach because they know I can help them come up with a great opioid detox and recovery plan, and they respect me and don’t want to let me down.
They spend good money to begin coaching with me, and between the financial investment they’ve made, the strong accountability they have with me, and the coaching skills I bring to the table, this is very often a winning combination.
But as I said, everyone is different.
So coaching is not the best form of accountability for everyone.
Do yourself a big favor and spend a good amount of time really brainstorming on this topic.
If you can create the right type or multiple types of accountability, this will give you the ultimate edge, and it will skyrocket your chances of quitting opioids for good!
Note: Another way to create accountability is to join my online course Ultimate Opiate Detox 4.0. You can write a post explaining your goal to quit opioids, and between myself and over 1,000 other students, you’ll receive a ton of accountability. I’ll guide you, track your progress in the program… and hold you accountable every step of the way.