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Personal Accountability


Personal accountability is an essential component of recovery, one that many addicts are lacking as a result of their habitual drug abuse.  The experienced drug user will use any means necessary to withdraw from family, friends, work, or anything else that might interfere with his using and abusing.  I know this because I have acted this way in my life.

Simply put, I chose marijuana over people I loved.  The result was friends lost and people hurt.  In my lifetime, I have spent numerous hours, days, and even weeks consuming my drug of choice rather than living a healthy life.

The use of marijuana or other drugs is often done in groups of people who may be considered “friends” by the user.  Who knows how far they would go for each other?  As a result of smoking dope I alienated my real friends for “using buddies.”  Over time I also alienated my family, co-workers, and others.  When I was using, I wanted to avoid anyone who would object to it.  In doing so, I eliminated one of the most important elements loved ones provide: personal accountability.

One of the few requirements for participation in Alcoholics Anonymous, or a similar Twelve Step organization, is “rigorous honesty” with oneself and others.  A person must be honest with himself; otherwise, denial is imminent and step one will never be taken.

Admitting we have a problem is the premise of the First Step.  In the midst of a Twelve Step meeting, anonymity is utilized to facilitate honesty.  During meetings, the anonymous addict can open up about his often hidden life of using alcohol or drugs inappropriately and in excess.  Inside the boundaries of A.A., everyone should be very honest.  Confidence is assured and privacy is required.

Sponsors are another way to generate personal accountability.  In the context of a personal relationship with a fellow addict, personal accountability is unavoidable for both the sponsor and the sponsored.

In the process of making amends with those that we have hurt, addicts who follow the Twelve Steps are restoring personal accountability to their broken lives.  Any one person is able to provide himself with only so much personal accountability.  Therefore, personally accountability from others is absolutely necessary for successful recovery.

The twelve steps do much to foster personal accountability.  Step Four mandates that the addict conduct a “fearless and searching personal inventory.”  Step Eight requires him/her to make amends to people in their lives who were hurt, neglected, or mistreated as the result of our abuse.  These former friends, family, neighbors, or other acquaintances were formerly sources of personal accountability.  In the midst of their use, many addicts unknowingly or unwittingly hurt others by the behavior associated with their substance abuse.  The result is a “double whammy” of hurting other people and ourselves by diminishing our relationships and destroying accountability.

In my lifetime, a “Higher Power” revealed himself to me in powerful ways.  I truly believe that God is real and believe he knows what we do.  My faith provides a level of personal accountability that goes beyond existential boundaries.  I believe that no wall or darkness can hide us from God.  His presence and being are alive within us all.

No man’s exterior can hide his true inner being from the Lord.  Simply put, there is nothing that we can hide from God.  In instances where I mess up, God is often the first one I tell.  I know that there is no use lying to God.


By Kevin G.

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