Living Sober Lives with Accountability, Responsibility, and Consistency

For those of us in active recovery, our way of looking at how best to live our lives has undergone a bit of an overhaul. When we were in active addiction, it was simply impossible to approach living life except through the lenses of how we might best fulfill our basest needs. This selfish and self-centered way of living left little room for considering the needs of others, and we freely trampled over them in pursuit of our next drink or drug. As we begin to recover, our way of living undergoes a curious shift—one in which we began to embrace three key concepts as cornerstones of our recovery: Accountability, Responsibility, and Consistency. As we worked the 12 Steps and simultaneously embraced a new kind of mindfulness, we began to see our lives centered not in our own selfish needs and desires, but instead in how we could be of maximum service to others.

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While in active addiction, the concept of accountability is directly linked to serving the demands of the disease. Most of the time, we don’t like the way we feel and using and drinking is our go-to way of changing this. Getting adequate supplies of drugs of choice is the most important thing we do each day. Only after that goal is achieved could we hope to be accountable to anything or anyone else. This essentially means that others are not useful to us unless they could contribute to our daily goal.

In active recovery, our capacity to be accountable to others has grown immensely. One of our main goals each day is to being of maximum service to others; as a result, it is much easier and more natural to be accountable to others. If you tell your boss you will be at work at 8:00 a.m., your boss can reasonably expect to see you at work at or before 8:00 a.m. When a friend asks for help, that friend can reasonably rely on you to be helpful.

Accountability is not only manifested in meeting others’ reasonable expectations for us. It is also seen in how we treat others and can be measured by how we become responsible for our own actions. If we cause discomfort or harm to someone, we don’t simply apologize to them. Instead, we account for our actions and repair whatever harm we’ve caused, remembering thereafter to avoid repeating the action that caused the harm in the first place. Living in active recovery means being accountable for our behavior and caring deeply about how our actions affect others. This way of living is infinitely more satisfying than a life marked only by our own selfish needs and desires.

Responsibility and Consistency

When in active addiction, the only thing we can be responsible for is ourselves and our daily need to drink and use. The only consistencies in our lives are the liquor store visits and calls to a dealer. Our lives, however, can be completely different, and that difference is a direct result of being responsible for our recovery and in the consistency with which we use the tools of recovery to keep our sobriety on track.

One of the main ways we can demonstrate responsibility and consistency is by regular meeting attendance. Many individuals who enjoy consistent physical and emotional sobriety go to the same meetings each week and often maintain commitments at those meetings. Newcomers notice how consistently we attend these meetings and gravitate to us when seeking a sponsor to show them how to work the 12 Steps. By being responsible for our commitments at the same meetings each week and attending them consistently, we give ourselves a chance to help others recover as we have.

Regular meeting attendance is but one of many healthy routines we in active recovery maintain. We regularly show up to work on time. We keep healthy eating and sleeping routines. We engage in daily connections with our step work through regular prayer and meditation, and we practice living in the present through mindfulness. Recovery thereby replaces addiction as the touchstone for how we go about living. The routines we keep stem directly from this touchstone and they help us lead spiritually and physically healthy lives.

Our lives no longer have to be characterized by chaos, but instead can be by accountability, responsibility, and consistency. You can live with the absolute certainty that relapse will not happen with the practice of mindfulness and present-living. You can feel a powerful sense of gratitude for living a life full of stability, serenity, and balance. If this is a life you seek, contact Renewal Lodge by Burning Tree. You can recover today!

Find Healing At Renewal Lodge

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Dear Renewal Lodge Visitors,

My name is John Bruna, co-founder of the Mindfulness in Recovery® Institute, and more importantly, a grateful member of the recovery community. I am incredibly fortunate to have found my recovery in 1984. Of course, I did not achieve continuous recovery through willpower or my own efforts, but through the guidance and caring support of countless others that selflessly taught me how to live through the 12 Steps.

My journey of recovery brought this once homeless, shame-based, traumatized, insecure young man to a life far beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I discovered self-worth, the joy of helping others, the gifts of parenting and grandparenting, and most importantly the ability to live a meaningful and purposeful life with integrity.

One of the greatest gifts of recovery is that I have the opportunity to give back and help others discover their self-worth, dignity, and the skills to fully live lives that they find truly meaningful. This is the inspiration for developing the skills of Mindfulness in Recovery® (MIR) to meet the needs of new generations struggling with alcohol and other substance use disorders. MIR is a set of evidence-based skills designed to help people fully integrate their tools of recovery in ways that are personalized, practical, and in alignment with their deepest values.

While we train counselors and therapists throughout the United States and abroad, I personally have chosen to work directly with the amazing team and clients at Renewal Lodge to develop the model MIR 12-step program for the nation. I choose Renewal Lodge because of the vision of its mission and the dedication of its team. Renewal Lodge is an extremely rare environment in which the staff embodies the very mindfulness and 12-step practices and skills they offer their clients. The results have been beyond my expectations. It is an honor to be here and I treasure my personal time with every client I meet.

With Gratitude,

John Bruna
John Bruna
Director of Mindfulness
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