The process of facing addictions head on is a very frightening course of action. When we suddenly realize that we have behaviors that are addictions or behaviors that are harmful we have 2 choices. We can either choose the process of healing or we can choose to turn inward creating a wall of denial where we pretend everything is just fine. My hope is we choose the former.
In 12 step programs the first 3 steps are as follows:
1. We admitted we were powerless over ________ that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Many have boiled the first three steps down to this statement “I can’t, He can, I think I’ll let him.” The Bible views this process much the same with a little different language and focus. The Bible teaches us: We all fall short (Romans 3:23) Only Jesus can save us ( John 14:6) and true recovery takes transparency ( James 5:16) and accountability (Colossians 3:16)
Your Only As Sick As Your Secrets
Starting to face our addictions is hard for this very reason, being as sick as our secrets. As addicts we become adept at hiding our addictions. We make the outside look good while the problem we know exists is turned inward as doubt, loneliness, self loathing and shame. We try to fix it with our own will power and prayer but most the times we end up right back where we started except we often feel more defeated and broken than when we began. This cycle will continue as long as we remain a secret. If the problem could be fixed on our own we would have done it long ago. Exposing our addictions is the only way to start the process of healing. James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. When we ask for help we begin to see our problems and addictions through a different lens. Those issues that had kept us separated from others with the feelings of loneliness and isolation start to dissipate and we find healing and wholeness. This process should be done in a relationship. I don’t recommend finding someone anonymous and “spiritually barfing” on them. I believe James calls us to work through this process with someone we trust and who has our best interest at heart. This may mean starting slowly and working into a transparent relationship.
If Accountability Was Easy Everyone Would Do It
After we become transparent we need to start to allow ourselves to be available to regular accountability. This may feel good at first but become increasingly difficult as time goes on. Some are willing to put blockers on their internet or accountability software on there phones right after a fall but when the addict starts to crave and miss the addition it is easy to fall right back into the trap of poor choices. Regular and sustained accountability is the only way to find lasting freedom. Here are a few tools to help with that.
1. Decide Before A Crisis
People are willing to set up accountability when they are doing well. It takes a whole different attitude to submit to accountability when we are in trouble. When our addictions take over we might want to justify and defend our decisions. If we decide that accountability is a crucial step and set it up ahead of time it will make the process easier to handle when the going gets tough.
2. Set Up A Regular Meeting Times
There is always so much to do and so little time to get it done. Maintaining a regular meeting schedule will help when life get busy. When we are stuck in our addictions we find every excuse in the world not to meet with people that will hold us accountable. Having a scheduled appointment that is unbreakable will help keep you accountable.
3.Allow The Person(s) Freedom
Accountability only works when we submit to it. I have witnessed people who say they are in an accountable relationship however are never asked the tough questions. Allowing someone to be able to ask any and all questions without anything being off limits is crucial. This kind of relationship fosters a level of trust and accountability that has value and makes a difference.
4.Accountability Is About Relationship
The goal with all accountability is restoration and wholeness. We must seek out those who will hold us accountable with grace and dignity. If we find ourselves in a graceless accountability relationship not only can this become damaging and toxic but it is also easy for the addict to become evasive and withhold truth.
As we start to step out of the shadows by confessing our secrets to another and submit to accountability, we will start to find the kind of freedom Jesus came to give us.
Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Accountability is a key component in recovery. XXXchurch.com offers two options for accountability.
X3 Groups is a online based group that meets weekly at the same time offering personal accountability with others. This is an option if you are unable to find someone in your area that will offer this help.
X3 Watch is another option that goes hand in hand with the X3 Groups and any accountability. This is a program that can be placed on either your computer or mobile devices.