Holding Ourselves Accountable

Edited by Paul Alexander

Last updated August 1, 2014

A little over a month ago, a good friend of mine relapsed. I can’t say I was exactly shocked, because I had felt this coming for some time. All of a sudden, he wasn’t attending our AA meetings as much, and pretty soon, he wasn’t coming at all. I was immediately on alert, but I knew that he was already premeditating his relapse and that there would be little I could do to help to stop it. In a matter of four short days, he had gone from going out to clubs with friends and drinking to drinking by himself. At one point, he even called me from a pizza parlor and told me how nice it was to be able to just have one beer with his pizza, and I felt sad for him that he had gotten to the point where he was drinking alone again.

He relapsed pretty fast, and it was difficult to watch that happen to him. Seeing the disease of addiction overpower the program itself is incredibly upsetting, especially because I knew that my friend had convinced himself that he could drink regularly without having a problem, despite all the work he had done to get sober.

Basically, what myself and others witnessed while our friend was relapsing was addiction in its fullest form. This disease can twist your thinking to a point where you actually believe that you can be more powerful than anything else – that you can control your urges to keep using. Essentially, we watched this cycle manifest over a short period of time, and had to sit back and let him set himself up for failure because he was in a state of mind where there was nothing we could say or do to change his already made up mind.

For me, this served as a reminder of how powerful my addiction is and how much it can change my life – if I let it. It’s not necessary to dwell on all the negative aspects of addiction in order to keep it from creeping back into your life, but it is important to always work towards keeping up with your program and putting your wellbeing first.

Today, my friend has just recently gotten sober once again. He is 10 days sober and I am so proud of him. I have all the confidence in the world in him, and to help support him, we decided to create a sort-of accountability group. This group will help us check in with one another and also go out and have sober fun, like playing football or going to the beach with some sober friends. This group is also going to help me because I so often get caught up in doing things for others that I neglect my own needs. I am excited for us to start this group because I only see positive things coming from it!



Article Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.