I recently had two separate conversations with two different friends about confession and accountability. Both conversations centered around how difficult it is to establish relationships of true accountability. Finding someone that you can confess to requires that there is mutual trust, both parties are willing to be vulnerable, and that there is a level of commitment to each other… no one is going to cut and run no matter what is confessed.
Accountability is just as difficult. To be in a relationship of true accountability means that you are willing to release control and submit to the process. It also means that you are willing to confront difficult situations and have the courage to say the right thing even when it hurts. And it means having the discipline and discernment to preserve the relationship during those difficult conversations by balancing the truth with love.
Release of control.
The courage to speak the truth in love.
That ends up being quite a list. And it’s a list that used to scare the daylights out of me. Those seven things typically aren’t in the vocabulary of addicts. Nor are they in the vocabulary of their spouses.
And if I’m being honest, I didn’t really believe that I needed it. He was the one struggling with addiction, not me. He’s the one that needed help, right?
I quickly learned that confession and accountability wasn’t just for him. It was for me too.
I needed confession and accountability as much as he did. I needed someone to help me see when I was being codependent, manipulative, controlling, or started isolating from people or from God. I needed accountability for my spiritual walk, for my commitment to work on our marriage, and to make sure I wasn’t managing (masking?) my depression with food.
In the early years, when I was struggling with the truth of my husband’s addiction, I was so ashamed that I didn’t think I would ever be able to find someone that I could have a relationship of confession and accountability with. And the idea of taking the risk and trying to seek one out terrified me.
And out of that fear I continued to struggle alone.
But when I finally stepped out on faith (some would argue that I was pushed out in faith by my Christian counselor) and committed to finding first a group, then a few individuals that I could practice things like trust, vulnerability, commitment, submission, and speaking the truth with, these things started to slowly become part of who I was. They became a part of how I related to others in healthy ways.
I had spent years isolating myself from people and I was finding that I actually craved those relationships. I craved community.
And when I continued to practice trust, vulnerability, commitment, submission, and speaking the truth with these people, I finally started to believe that I could experience them with my husband too.
And I would classify that as a miracle.