Recovering Accountability

Oh no, not another accountability pep talk! I know: I can’t fight this battle alone; I’m hiding behind a mask if I don’t tell someone; it’s not surrendering my manliness; my objection is rooted in pride that says I don’t need help. But I think I’m one of the ones that can do this on my own, so let’s move on to something more important like the eschatological implications of the vicarious atonement!

Not so fast there brother. Think about this for a minute. One of our greatest problems in dealing with sexual addiction is believing that we know what is best for ourselves, and detaching from others because we do not want anyone violating our manhood by telling us what to do. So we continue blindly down the same road of destruction that brought us to where we are.

Accountability is not just a suggested weapon to have on hand in case we need it. No, it’s one of the most powerful weapons we have in the battle against sexual addiction. The use of that weapon gets us connected to others so we can fight against something that, at least for a moment is more powerful than we are. Ultimately, it provides support in a battle that simply cannot be fought alone. Do you remember reading somewhere that it is not good for man to be alone?

Let’s look at accountability in terms of connection. Connection with others is a fundamental part of our recovery process because it’s an essential part of our character growth. Whether we like it or not most of life involves people. It’s a reality that we all must face, and one that shapes and tests our character.

The deep desire of our heart is to be understood, known and connected to others, not detached. This is part of God’s created design of us. It’s true whether you’re an introvert or extrovert here. Being connected is about being mutually and emotionally invested in another person. It’s how we started in the world ‘ bonded to our mother and, hopefully to our father. Ouch! That one makes many of us wince.

The sad reality is that many of us choose to remain detached and impenetrable. In doing so we develop too much of a gap for others to bridge to our hearts. Simon and Garfunkel wrote about this in their song, I am a rock, I am an island, which includes these words:

I’ve built walls, a fortress deep and mighty; that none may penetrate. I have no need for friendship, friendship causes pain; it’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain. Hiding in my room, safe within my womb; I touch no one and no one touches me. I am a rock, I am an island; and a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries.

This is not the experience of someone whose character is healthy and growing.

God’s design is that we develop deep connections throughout our lives because it gives us a context in which to grow, be secure and able to deal with life. To do this we have to move away from ourselves as the primary reference point and towards knowing and valuing others. If we were in those kinds of relationships most of us would not be in the mess we’re in right now.

So, get connected and recover accountability into your recovery plan. At its root accountability is a simple word that means “the willingness to stand up and be counted as part of a committed process.” If you see it in this way accountability is less something I’m held to, or something done to me; rather, it reflects my personal choice and willingness to contribute to an expressed outcome ‘ my sexual purity and integrity.

For help on this subject please see Every Man’s Battle.

Brad Stenberg

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