I have been thinking about accountability recently, considering its different aspects, and how it should be practically walked out in my life, as well as in the life of those who are now on their journey from bondage to freedom. Today, something occurred to me—accountability is like driving through life with our seat belt fastened.
As I pondered this, a word came to me: “tangible” accountability. I have never heard anyone use that terminology before, but I can’t get the thought out of my mind. I wonder if we really have accountability at all if it is not tangible–something we can define, something solid, communicated, that we truly understand and experience like the feel of a seat belt securely around us.
Accountability is an absolute necessity on the journey from bondage to freedom from addiction. However it does not stop there. Accountability should be part of every person’s life who desires to keep on a focused path. We need relationship. We need those who are close enough to us who will ask us the tough questions—those in whom we can confide our weaknesses, ask them for prayer, and who will stand with us when things are difficult.
Isolation is the opposite of accountability—it allows for secrecy. Isolation breeds darkness, continued addiction, sin, and loneliness. It allows suicidal thoughts to go unchecked. We get deeper into darkness and addiction by staying isolated, not being answerable to any sort of accountability. I have often heard the statement that you are as sick as your darkest secret. I am not sure if I concur completely with that statement, but I do believe it has some validity. My blog post “Shining The Light” (http://wp.me/p122Xf-22 ) talks about finding someone with whom we can share about our secret addiction. It is a huge step in the right direction toward freedom and healing when we are willing to be honest with ourselves, God, and someone else.
Accountability is relationship. It must be with someone you trust or you will not find yourself being honest with them, and that is what accountability is all about.
There are different flavors of accountability. It will look different for someone who is an addict pursuing freedom than for someone who has never been addicted, yet who understands their need for another person with whom they can be transparent—someone who is invited to give input into their life.
There is safety and protection in accountability. It should be like a good seatbelt: you feel it, you know it’s there, it’s tangible, it’s secure…it feels right.
For an addict pursuing freedom, having an accountability partner(s) is absolutely critical in your life. You must have someone you can be transparent with. Someone you can share your successes and failures. Someone who will ask you the difficult questions about your life. Someone with whom you can talk things through, who will help you gain perspective on critical issues. Addiction clouds perspective; you need a “clear thinker” to bounce things off, someone who will stand with you in your recovery. If you do not have someone already in your life who will join you as an accountability person, I suggest you first ask Father God if He would bring such a person (or people) to be this for you. Then, you might look in places such as a church recovery group or a 12 Step program. See how Father God will answer your prayer.
Do you have your seat belt fastened?