If your loved one struggles with substance use disorder (SUD), you may feel tempted to give them leeway for mistakes they made in the past or moments of relapse in the future. Your loved one will benefit from you holding them accountable for their actions rather than receiving blanket forgiveness. Without the motivation of accountability, your family member may have difficulty maintaining sobriety. Newport Beach Recovery Center provides resources and support to families who want to boost their loved one’s recovery. 

Why Is Accountability Important?

Accountability ensures that the person you care about experiences the consequences of harmful actions. You may feel guilty for not letting your loved one brush away their mistakes. However, recovery requires self-awareness and a desire to make positive life changes. Holding people accountable isn’t meant to be a punishment. In fact, without the motivation of personal accountability, your loved one may not want to actively participate in treatment. To heal, they need to process the underlying issues contributing to their substance abuse, which requires a desire for change.

Accountability does the following: 

  • Lets your loved one know you care about them and their actions 
  • Ensures that your family member remains self-aware about the possible consequences of their behaviors 
  • Provides you with an open line of communication that encourages honesty 

Your loved one will face many challenges during recovery, and you can help them continue making improvements without pressuring them. You must point out when they begin to cross certain boundaries. Holding them accountable and also informing them of how their substance abuse affects your life may be the motivation they need to attend treatment and heal from SUD. 

What Are the Benefits of Holding Someone Accountable? 

Holding someone responsible for their actions can improve family dynamics by opening up a line of honest communication between family members. Accountability aims to ensure everyone thinks through the consequences of their actions, including your own. Holding your loved ones accountable for their actions also requires you to practice self-accountability and model positive behaviors. Mistakes are learning moments, not something you should use to belittle, judge, or blame. Accountability can do the following:

  • Promote self-empowerment and ownership of behaviors 
  • Improve family bonds and create healthy boundaries
  • Reduce stress and create a more nurturing home environment 

How Can You Encourage Healthy Accountability?

If you want to support your loved one’s recovery, you can help them build off what they learn during rehabilitation. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “[T]reatment focuses on developing personal accountability and responsibility.” During treatment, they will learn how to recognize, process, and regulate emotions in a healthier way. The skills will allow them to cope with stress and conflict. You can encourage them to continue growing and building these skills by informing your loved one what the result will be if they cross a boundary or begin to revert to maladaptive behaviors.  

Holding your loved one accountable for their actions does not mean blaming them, judging them, or looking down on them. Instead, it is a two-way street that involves healthy boundaries, uplifting comments, and encouragement. You should be willing to accept the consequences for your own mistakes. Hold yourself as an example of how to use those moments for self-improvement. Families can encourage accountability by setting reasonable and consistent expectations that every member of the family respects.

Why Does Accountability Work? 

Nobody likes to feel judged or lose something they hold dear because of personal choices. Accountability does not involve judging or blaming. However, it has a similar effect which can give your loved one a reason to look at their behaviors and act more cautiously in the future. By making it clear that you prioritize their mental health and physical well-being, you can show them support while also providing them with a reason to look back at mistakes made while under the influence as negative moments in their life. 

Showing encouragement and celebrating their successes in recovery will create positive associations. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “Motivation is the key to substance use behavior change.” Other benefits for your loved one include: 

  • Better self-efficacy and self-awareness 
  • Increased positivity and improved mental health 
  • Reduced risk of relapse and a stronger support system

Showing that you care about your family member’s well-being will also increase their self-esteem and confidence in recovery. Many people use family relationships as a motivator. Ultimately, you can help your loved one by making it clear that you support them while holding them accountable for their actions. The entire family can benefit from practicing honest and open communication about how actions can affect the family unit. 

You want to protect your loved one from pain or heartache. However, if they do not have to face the emotional pain and other consequences of their choices, they may never find a reason to change. Holding your loved ones accountable for their actions and sobriety can give them the motivation they need to move forward and heal from substance abuse. You can also improve your own self-awareness by practicing self-accountability and modeling healthy behaviors for your loved one. You can be a part of their support system. Offer assistance in the form of consistent consequences for breaking boundaries or backsliding into unhealthy behaviors. Your loved one can grow and become a better version of themselves if they learn from past mistakes and avoid repeating them. To discover more about Newport Beach Recovery Center and the programs we offer, call us today at (888) 850-0363.