While we all have different journeys in recovery, most will agree that accountability is a crucial component when it comes to staying clean and sober. Once we admit we want to rebuild our lives—whether it’s to a close friend, a family member or all our followers on Instagram—it becomes a lot harder to just pick up a drink or pop a pill. After all, who wants to risk having to come clean and admit we lost focus for a sec—or, er, three years? Accountability is how we stay on track and we all have people, places and things that have helped us reach our recovery goals.
This is how accountability has worked for Sasha.
What does accountability mean to you?
Accountability to me means not cutting corners and doing the easy thing. It means keeping my recovery at the forefront every single day. It means that if I let my recovery become a last priority, then I will suffer the consequences. It means delaying gratification and having willingness to pretty much do the things I don’t want to do.
Does the fact that people know about your recovery play into you staying sober? How?
Hell yes it does. I came out as sober in 2015 and launched my blog and recovery coaching business. I feel like telling the world about my recovery status is extra insurance and accountability for me personally. If I don’t continuously work on myself and stay committed to my growth, my business will lose its credibility. Not only that, but I’ll have nothing to teach and coach on if I don’t stay in my own process. I’ve always been a seeker of sorts, and a student, but being “out loud” and transparent makes it nearly impossible for me to deviate from showing up for myself. It can feel like a lot of pressure at times, but I believe it ultimately has served me very well.
Who or what are you accountable to in your recovery?
I have tons of accountability. This is my insurance plan. I have a sponsor, a therapist, a coach, coaching clients, a naturopath/healer, family members, fellows, and friends. I also stay active in my 12-step program and take service positions. I have accountability to my yoga community, the coaching community and the online recovery community. The majority of my friends are also in recovery and/or are my colleagues. My best friend is a coach and we are accountability partners. She always asks me the tough questions and says things I don’t necessarily want to, but need to, hear.
How important is having a community to your staying sober? Why?
Community is absolutely of utmost importance. It’s crucial to have your people. Connection and community are the opposites of addiction. My addictions were super isolating and in order to stay in a recovering mindset, I need other people. And I can be a bit of a loner, just by nature, so as much as I sometimes hate to admit that I can’t do it all myself, I need to feel close to other people and I need to let them see me. The most healing words you can hear or say are, “Me too.”
Have you ever relapsed? Is there anything you could have done that might have prevented that?
I haven’t experienced signs of relapse. Although one time I took a sip of water and it was vodka so I spit it out immediately and promptly went to a meeting to process it. I was shaken up and my grand sponsor assured me that it didn’t count.
I have, of course, had emotional bottoms and lapses with other addictive behavior— such as technology, food and boys—where I have felt derailed, shaky and off my center. In those times I reach out for extra help and support to get me back on track. I go back to basics and treat myself like I’m in early recovery: regular meals, exercise, 8 hours of sleep, telling on myself. Keeping it super simple. I always have to humble myself and put my ego aside in order to be open to receiving help. I fight it and fight it and then I surrender. I like the Set Aside Prayer for this.
What advice do you give someone who wants to get or stay sober?
Not to look to far ahead into the future. Just see the tip of the very first step and grab onto it. And then do that again and again and again. The momentum will build on itself and it will become easier to keep taking teeny tiny steps.
How important do you think transparency is in your recovery?
Very. If I put up a facade to others, I am lying to myself as well. I don’t want to lie to myself; it doesn’t feel good. Being honest and clear and authentic and real is what keeps my recovery strong. I value these things and aim to always get back to the truth even after I veer off a tad. I show up for myself, for better or for worse.
I’ve heard it said, “denial” stands for Don’t Even (k)Now I Am Lying. Denial is the basic operating mechanism in addiction; at least it was in mine, so sometimes I really have to work to access the truth of things. I can fool myself easily. And that’s where my accountability people come into play. They tell me when I’m full of bullshit—they don’t cosign it.
How does it feel to earn people’s trust back now that you’re sober?
It feels spectacular. Being a person that people can count on, a person that is described as trustworthy, fills me with all the warm and fuzzy feelings. It’s a beautiful thing to redeem oneself. I believe in second chances for everyone and I believe no one is beyond hope; no one is a “lost cause.” Redemption is there for us all.
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About the Author
Soberlink supports accountability for sobriety through a comprehensive alcohol monitoring system. Combining a breathalyzer with wireless connectivity, the portable design and technology includes facial recognition, tamper detection and real-time reporting. Soberlink proves sobriety with reliability to foster trust and peace of mind.