Would you be willing to let other people see into every single aspect of your online activities and browsing history?
This, in a nutshell, is accountability. It is the idea of granting other people access and insight into your addiction activities. Accountability is an extremely important and fundamental component of addiction recovery. It can be scary, but, without it, recovery and sobriety are nearly impossible. While accountability is only one component of the healing process, it is not to be neglected, and it needs to be done correctly.
Tools such as accountability and filtering software are extremely helpful aids that should remain in place on an ongoing basis. However, they cannot be replaced by the prayers, advice, and feedback of live humans. When selecting your accountability partners, a number of important factors should play into your decision. It’s important to surround yourself with as much accountability as you can get, but consider these guidelines for getting the most out of your partners:
1. Are they trustworthy?
This should go without saying, and it should apply in all cases. You cannot possibly begin to address this issue with people you cannot trust. This addiction is a sensitive topic, and it needs to be handled in the utmost confidence. Your partners’ care with the extremely personal information you share with them will not only help you, but it will also protect you from uncomfortable interactions with those who are, frankly, better off without knowing the details of your struggle with porn. Accountability partners should, at the very least, be people you can trust.
2. Are they a faithful Christian?
Faithful Christians will be a tremendous asset to your accountability. The battle against porn is as much spiritual as it is physical, psychological, and emotional. You will need spiritual support just as you will need support in these other areas. You will receive a number of spiritual benefits if you surround yourself with people who possess strong, spiritually grounded values. They will pray for you, which provides healing (James 5:16). They will give you solid, spiritual advice, which provides wisdom. They will also sacrifice their time and energy for you, which perpetuates and reinforces positive spiritual relationships.
3. Are they the same gender as me?
This may not be an obvious criteria, but it is incredibly important. It is not only more appropriate to discuss these topics with members of the same sex, but it will be easier and more helpful. Someone who can identify with the complexities of your mentality, difficulties, and natural tendencies will be more relatable and have a greater capacity to help with those issues. The sensitive nature of this struggle will lead to uncomfortable situations if certain details are discussed with a member of the opposite sex. Men will be far more understanding of men’s challenges, and women will be sympathetic to women’s challenges. So, close off your inner accountability circles from members of the opposite sex.
4. Have they overcome addiction or porn addiction?
An effective accountability partner is one who has experienced an addiction situation similar to yours. Those who have undergone related difficulties can do much more than sympathize. They can, as I’ve written before, wield the sword of Goliath for you, lending you the specific methods and wisdom they have picked up through their own journey. These skills have allowed them to adapt, and they can likewise help you handle similar challenges. Another key advantage of having these veterans on your side is the example of hope they can embody. As you progress on your journey of recovery, you have to maintain hope that sobriety is possible. Others who have won this battle, and are cheering for you, can serve as that reminder, and provide the extra motivation you might need to keep going. This positivity and encouragement will be a huge boost, and it will help you through some of the toughest phases of your fight.
5. Will they speak truth to me?
Your accountability partners should be able to speak truth to you. This simply means they will give you advice that is necessary and specific. Their counsel will come from an addiction/recovery perspective specifically. This is important, because while those with no knowledge of the recovery journey can still give you advice, it may not be exactly the advice you need. This can lead to generalized advice such as “keep praying about it,” or “I will pray for you.” Such advice, while well meaning and positive, is not always specific enough to be helpful in the heat of a new battle. Speaking truth is about raw honesty - what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. If these people are speaking truth to you, then they might be delivering news or insight that carries uncomfortable conclusions, or, is difficult to receive. But if these hard truths are necessary and helpful, then they should not be left unsaid.
When you boil it down, any accountability is better than none at all. One single partner may or may not possess all of these qualities, but getting as many of them around you as possible will be critical to your success. The more accountability you have around you, the less likely you are to turn back to the addiction in a time of strong temptation. Get your accountability team set up today, and set yourself up for success tomorrow.