Identifying Systems of Accountability Throughout Long-Term Recovery

In the field of addiction recovery, it is known that accountability is an essential element of lasting sobriety. For those with substance use disorder (SUD), participation in a treatment program is usually the first necessary step. One benefit of the in-person treatment format is that it enables individuals to lean on the support of both peers and professionals. That said, once an individual graduates from any treatment program, they must be able to identify a system of accountability that they can continue to lean on throughout long-term recovery. While there are many systems of accountability a person can utilize to ensure lasting healing and sobriety, effectively identifying these systems in daily life can be challenging. 

At 12 South Recovery, we recognize that not everyone has access to quality systems of accountability during early or long-term recovery. For example, family members may be unsupportive, spouses may be uninterested in the idea of sobriety themselves, or other peers in recovery may struggle to cease substance use long-term. Despite this, our community of peers and professionals at 12 South Recovery are dedicated to fostering continued accountability for sobriety to all clients, no matter where they stand in their journey to recovery. 

The Necessity of Systems of Accountability In Both Early and Long-Term Recovery

Simply put, accountability is an individual’s willingness to accept responsibility for their actions. In addiction recovery, accountability involves being honest about the severity of one’s substance abuse and realistic about the ongoing challenges that pose a threat to one’s continued sobriety. 

Truth be told, holding oneself accountable for maladaptive behaviors like substance abuse can be extremely difficult. One reason for this is that many individuals routinely engage in alcohol and drug use as a means of self-medicating mental or emotional distress. Thus, to truly understand one’s need for professional treatment, an individual must be willing to recognize that they are struggling and that they need the support of others to overcome the grips of substance abuse. 

Evidence for the Key Role of Social Support Systems

According to the journal Substance Abuse, research has confirmed the role of social support in facilitating treatment entry, engagement, and lasting sobriety. Once an individual begins treatment, they have access to both peer and professional systems of accountability to help them persevere. This is essential, as perseverance can become difficult in the face of withdrawal symptoms, cravings, triggers, and any other obstacles common in early recovery. Moreover, an article from Psychiatric Services explains, “[A] local culture of reciprocal support – where one is just as responsible for providing support as for receiving it – promotes an ethic of accountability.” This type of culture enables individuals in treatment to experience a shared recovery process and a shared commitment. 

Outside of treatment, however, those working to maintain lasting recovery may struggle to remain accountable. The peer and professional systems of social support they relied on are no longer available on demand. Without this added social support, individuals may feel compelled to reengage with substances as a result of triggers, stressors, and other challenges. Thus, by identifying a system of accountability post-treatment, individuals can be better equipped for lasting success. 

Identifying Systems of Accountability

The family unit is one of the most well-known systems of accountability. Be it a parent, sibling, spouse, or child, family members are often the first line of protection against relapse. This may be because these individuals often reside in the same environment as the individual in recovery. Due to this proximity, these individuals can engage in daily check-ins while being the first to notice any seemingly “off” behaviors. Close friends may also fit this description as well, working to hold the individual in recovery accountable for any behaviors that may put them at risk for relapse. 

In addition to these systems of accountability, other systems that individuals can consider utilizing throughout long-term recovery include the following:

Support Groups

A support group provides weekly or monthly accountability through a wide range of events and activities. Individuals in recovery can utilize support groups as needed or as often as possible. These groups allow people to meet with others who are experiencing similar challenges in their recovery journeys. Further, the relationships that are created in support groups can blossom beyond just meetings. Such relationships can become one’s system of accountability throughout long-term recovery. 

Alumni or Aftercare Programs

In addition to support groups, alumni programs also foster continued accountability. Many treatment facilities offer alumni or aftercare programs as a way for clients to embrace regular check-ins with their treatment team and peers in recovery. Similarly to support groups, these programs offer weekly or monthly opportunities for sober networking. These opportunities can reignite dedication and commitment to lasting sobriety no matter where one stands in their recovery journey. 

Daily Routines and Hobbies

Additional suggestions for systems of accountability in long-term recovery include incorporating new routines and hobbies. Daily routines help to create a sense of structure. Similarly, hobbies provide accountability by identifying activities that can cure boredom – known to trigger relapse – when it arises. These activities can also foster deeper meaning and purpose within sobriety. 

Utilizing Systems of Accountability Provided by 12 South Recovery

At 12 South Recovery, we help individuals gain accountability for establishing initial sobriety through our wide range of outpatient treatment programs. Once these programs are completed, we provide a range of resources through aftercare to help individuals maintain accountability for lasting sobriety. Some components of our aftercare program include:

  • Regular meetings with a therapist
  • Participation in support groups
  • Access to a sober community

We also provide resources for families, including family therapy, to help the family unit foster accountability with their loved ones in recovery. Our community of peers and professionals is dedicated to fostering lasting accountability for all of our clients seeking freedom from substance abuse. 

For those seeking new ways to maintain sobriety throughout long-term recovery, identifying systems of accountability is a great place to start. Aside from your professional system of accountability that you gained through treatment, you can gain peer accountability through family, friends, support groups, and alumni or aftercare programs. Additionally, a daily routine can provide a sense of normalcy and structure, protecting against relapse. If you or a loved one are seeking additional support in maintaining sobriety, we at 12 South Recovery can help. We offer various resources within our aftercare program to ensure continued accountability throughout long-term recovery. Learn more about our treatment programs and options by calling (888) 830-8374 today. 

We're here to help.

At Twelve South Recovery, we accept most health insurance.

Get you or your loved one help for addiction or mental health issues today.

CALL 24/7 866-839-6876


Bluecross Blueshield Insurance Icon Cigna Insurance Icon HealthNet Insurance Icon HPHC Insurance Logo Beachstreet Insurance Logo Magellan Health Insurance Logo Multiplan Network Insurance Logo Prime Health Services Insurance Logo Tufts Health Plan Insurance Logo Aetna Insurance Logo Amerihealth Insurance Logo Anthem Insurance Logo Beacon Insurance Logo

National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers

Legitscript Certified Treatment Center California Department of Healthcare Services Logo Accredited By The Joint Comission - Gold Seal Better Business Bureau - Accredited Business