How I Stay Accountable: DJ FM
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 DJ FM.
What does accountability mean to you?
It means more than simply staying clean and sober. To me, it means living a life of honesty and holding myself to the ethical and moral standards I have set—both for myself and for the benefit of others. Without recovery I cannot truly be accountable, yet without principles I have nothing to aim for. I have always considered myself an ethical and moral person but it wasn’t until I found recovery that I could truly begin to live that way.
Does the fact that people know about your recovery play into you staying sober? How?
It means I can’t hide from the truth. As a person living in active addiction, I constantly had to shift, re-tell and remember a million different story lines. A life in recovery is so much easier—one me, one story. Being open about my recovery simply makes it easier for me to live it.
Who or what are you accountable to in your recovery?
My girlfriend, my therapist, my sponsor, other friends in recovery, friends who aren’t in recovery but know my struggle, and last but not least my online recovery family—the #RecoveryPosse.
How important is having a community to your staying sober? Why?
I couldn’t have gotten sober without the help of others. I can’t stay sober without others. First, it was the people I was in treatment with. Then it was the men I lived with in both Oxford Houses I stayed in. Then it became the people in my 12-step meetings, who held my hand and listened to me day in and day out when I was struggling. A community of like-minded people, all struggling with similar demons, makes it easier for an individual to stay on the path. And for the first time in a long while, I have real connections with others. Connections I can remember, that are reciprocal and are based in love and honesty.
Have you ever relapsed? Is there anything you could have done that might have prevented that?
I certainly did. So many factors went into my relapse, a lot of very complicated circumstances which included a relationship (which existed before I entered treatment) that in hindsight, I should’ve walked away from; my ever-present desire to please others (still working on that); and financial/legal difficulties that sometimes took my focus away from recovery. But the biggest contributor to my relapse was losing contact with my sponsor and my network over time, and then reintroducing marijuana into my life (since I was an alcoholic, I thought I could try the old MJ “maintenance plan”). But by that point, I was already way off the path.
What advice do you give someone who wants to get or stay sober?
Listen, listen, listen. Be open enough to take suggestions from others. Acknowledge your mistakes, then forgive yourself and move on. Recognize that you might not have all the answers.
How important do you think transparency is in your recovery?
It is the foundation of accountability.
How does it feel to earn people’s trust back now that you’re sober?
Illuminating. It’s like I’ve been unplugged from the Matrix.
Follow DJ FM on his recovery blog, My Last Stand, become part of his #recoveryposse at @mylaststand_org or check out his website. DJ FM is also one of the founders of Rave Clean, an organization that throws drug-free electronic dance events for those in the recovery community.