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!