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Taking Responsibility in Recovery

How willing are you to change in recovery? I mean, really change? We explore what kinds of new responsibilities you can take on…and their importance here. Then, we invite your questions or comments at the end.

Willing to change?

Addiction treatment and recovery means an addict is ready and willing to change. Sometimes, addicts don’t have to get into treatment voluntarily, but recovery is different. It takes sustained effort on many fields; by working on changing deeply embedded behaviors, resisting temptations and cravings, learning new behaviors and staying committed. One of these is taking responsibility.

Learn more about taking responsibility as an important aspect of addiction recovery here. Then, if you have any questions, feel free to send your questions to us through the comments section.

What is responsibility?

By definition, responsibility is when an individual is being accountable or to blame for something. The accountability is a moral, legal or mental choice that people make, and therefor should be responsible for that choice.

Responsibility #1: Get treatment

Family, friends, interventionists, doctors, medical teams, psychologists and psychiatrists are there to be the source of help and care for addicted individuals. But, recovering addicts need to do their part in the process. First of all, no one can make an addict get help or stay in recovery. The addict needs to be willing to receive help and take responsibility for his/her actions and life. Nobody but the addict can do their work in recovery, it’s as simple as that. It is no addict’s fault for getting hooked on a substance, but choosing to end substance abuse is certainly the addict’s responsibility.

An addict’s brain has been compromised by a substance or multiple substances. This affects judgement and decision-making, but it should never pose as an excuse. Instead, addicts need to take responsibility in getting treatment and actively participating in the treatment program. When people access addiction treatment with responsibility, they can get the most from it. Treatment programs are getting better at offering help for the clients every need. A responsible patient in recovery will participate actively and make the best use of the experiences and lessons.

Responsibility #2: Attend self-help programs

Self-Help Programs assist recovering individuals learn the skills needed to recover, develop a social support network and take responsibility in recovery. Usually, these programs have their groups meet at least three times a week and encourage the recovering individuals to find a sponsor. During these counselling and educational sessions, individuals learn how to:

  • stop being in denial
  • stay away from people, places and things that remind them of their substance of choice
  • work on flaws and defects in their character
  • take a spiritual approach in recovery

Responsibility #3: No more victim mentality

Many recovering addicts shift the blame for their behavior to other people or events in their life. Being the passive victim is disempowering, but can be abolished by positive action and responsible thinking. Moreover, when people take responsibility for their life, they feel more empowered.

Responsibility #4: Asking for guidance

Taking responsibility doesn’t mean you’re on your own, nor does it mean you should stop listening to other people’s advice. While every individual should make their own decisions, it is always sensible to ask for an opinion or guidance. This also means asking for help when things get overwhelming for the addict.

Responsibility #5: Continued growth

Taking responsibility in recovery can have a positive impact on addicts’ lives. When people become responsible for their actions, devotion and success in recovery, their self-esteem is improved. As they get more confident, the level of satisfaction from the individual’s life also grows. In the beginning, setting small goals and accomplishing them is most rewarding.

Being responsible in recovery: How can friends and family help?

Close ones never want to see an addict they love suffering. They usually go above and beyond to help. But, there is a difference between co-dependence and assisting someone through recovery. If loved ones have been cushioning every fall and consequence, they should stop. There is nothing positive in protecting the individual from the outcomes of their own actions. Family and friends can help an addict become responsible and make it clear that everyone is capable of clearing up their own mess.

Taking responsibility in recovery questions

Taking personal responsibility involves changing one’s mindset and looking at many things from a different angle. Do you have questions regarding taking responsibility in addiction recovery? Maybe you have a comment or a story to share? If you do, please post them in the section below. We are trying to help everyone and answer questions promptly.

Reference Sources:

NIDA: Description of an Addiction Counseling Approach

NIH: The Brain: Understanding Neurobiology: The Essence of Drug Addiction

DHHS: Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Addiction

Georgia State University: Drug Addiction and Personal Responsibility

Ivana JanevskaAUTHOR BIO: Ivana Janevska is passionate about helping match people in recovery with support and services they need. She is a staff writer at Addiction Blog and says, “Don’t focus on the problem, focus on the solution. See what people choose not to see, out of fear or conformity. Then, pay it forward.”