I made change to my drinking and drugging a number of times over the years but was never able to maintain it. Some of the things that motivated me to make change were my wife and daughter. I wanted to be better for them but I always took for granted that they’d always be there and when things got better I thought it would be alright to start again. In that, I lacked accountability. When I had to leave the house things took a massive downward spiral and I’d lost all reason for a while. I’d make change again and try to maintain it but I wasn’t seeing them much. Over the next couple of years I just sorta drifted.
When I got out of rehab I had a strong focus on abstinence, I still do, but there are times when I struggle and that’s just a part of the story of addiction. I know what it feels like to drink, drug, and gamble. I know the highs that they provide and sometimes it’s easy to forget the lows that it took me to as well. Sometimes when life starts to throw its curve balls, or even when it’s going really well, my thoughts and wants can drift to wanting to use again. I think it’s a feeling that a lot of people will recognise. Part of what stops me is that I have things that keep me accountable.
People, places, and things keep me accountable and they’re what I think about when thoughts of using happen. I have a relationship with my daughter that I never thought would be possible. Relationships with my family have improved. I have friends who support me and tell me things I don’t want to hear at times. I have a mortgage, a lease on a car, a job in drug and alcohol that I love. But it’s not the material things that mean the most, it’s the things like self-esteem, pride, confidence, hope, direction, goals, and the big one……….choice. Choice is something I don’t have if I start using again.
The thing that keeps me most accountable though is my journal. Every day for over 7 years I’ve written in my journal. It was something they made us do in rehab and it’s the thing I’m most scared of stopping. It’s where I’m honest with myself……….even if it takes time. It’s where I see the patterns forming. The thoughts getting dangerous. It’s where I see myself bullshi**ing to myself and have nowhere to hide.
So when I think about giving into addiction again, or those thoughts of “just once won’t hurt” start to appear I stop and think about the things I’ve got to lose. These things have taken time to build and haven’t come easy. I make tough choices to protect my abstinence. I have to keep myself accountable.
So who or what keeps you accountable?