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The Importance of Accountability in Recovery for Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab

Accountability is an essential part of managing recovery. Building the foundation for accountability is necessary. When beginning the recovery process, you may wonder if the steps one takes to develop accountability differ between inpatient and outpatient rehab. We’ll walk through how accountability looks different in inpatient vs outpatient rehab

Accountability in Recovery

One of the most important and challenging elements in early addiction recovery is accountability. Being accountable means taking responsibility for your actions and decisions, especially in light of challenging events. Holding yourself accountable is essential for assuming personal responsibility and for overcoming addiction. 

Many individuals struggling with addiction often avoid taking responsibility for their actions and go to great lengths to evade accountability. This can be especially problematic during treatment, as accountability is often an essential part of successfully managing and overcoming addiction.

In treatment, accountability helps you stay on track with your goals and progress in your recovery. It can also connect you with your support system and give you a sense of ownership over your recovery. As a result, accountability becomes key to making lasting changes and sustaining sobriety. 

Through professional treatment, many people will work with therapists or counselors who can help them recognize the importance of accountability in the recovery process. In addition, by looking at the impact addictive behaviors have on themselves and those around them, many individuals gain a new appreciation for accountability and learn how to embrace it during their journey. 

Inpatient Treatment Makes Accountability Easier

The environments in which people struggling with addiction live can strongly influence whether or not they use substances. Breaking the physical and cognitive patterns related to drug addiction can be extremely difficult. It takes time and perseverance. At this stage, individuals may need restricted access to drugs and alcohol until the acute withdrawal has passed. 

Undoubtedly, individuals that remain in recovery sometimes have difficulty being patient with themselves and struggle to keep their focus on the advantages of recovery. Accountability helps individuals stay on track.

Inpatient drug and alcohol treatment provide accountability in several ways.

  • People in residential treatment must adhere to a strict schedule of activities and appointments. This structure helps ensure that individuals stay on schedule with their treatment plan and progress toward their goals. 
  • Individuals in inpatient addiction treatment are typically held to a higher standard of accountability by staff and fellow patients. Everyone is expected to participate in group therapy and other activities that help them stay engaged in their recovery. 
  • Finally, inpatient drug rehab and alcohol treatment typically includes regular urine testing and other measures to ensure that patients are not using drugs or alcohol. 

These accountability measures help create an environment conducive to achieving and maintaining sobriety.

Internal vs. External Accountability

It is important to differentiate between internal and external accountability, as they function differently for the individual depending upon the treatment environment. If someone says that they need to “hold themselves accountable,” that implies internal accountability. This is a core goal of recovery in that the person is a good steward of their health and fully accepts the limitations of the body and mind. 

A person with good internal/personal accountability takes responsibility for their own choices and, importantly, their consequences. They have an internal locus of control – meaning they believe that they, rather than outside forces, are in charge of their life and destiny. 

In contrast, external accountability implies that someone else is responsible for holding the individual accountable. External accountability is often the primary driver of inpatient treatment success. External accountability can be helpful in early recovery when an individual is not yet able to internalize recovery goals and may benefit from more structure and support. External accountability is also utilized post-treatment to help people maintain their goals with the availability of support groups and therapists.

Building Accountability in Outpatient Treatment

Personal accountability is essential for successful outpatient treatment for addiction recovery. You can do things to increase your accountability, making you more likely to succeed. 

Tell the Truth

A commitment to personal accountability through honesty is the key to successful outpatient treatment for addiction recovery. Be honest with friends and loved ones. When people who are close to you and care about your well-being are aware of where you are in your recovery, it can be liberating because you do not need to hide from them anymore. In addition, trusting them with your updates fosters an environment of transparency and trust, which are crucial to healthy relationships. 

Admit to Your Challenges and Setbacks

Owning up to challenges and setbacks, as well as progress and successes, is a sign of good faith effort in recovering from addiction. Furthermore, being accountable to others helps to hold you responsible for yourself when it would be easy to relapse. 

Being honest about your recovery requires courage, but it is essential to progress. In addition, people who are recovering from addiction need the support of family and friends, and being open and honest with them is the best way to create a foundation of trust. 

Get Started With Your Recovery Today

Accountability is an essential part of effective treatment because it is key to identifying and disrupting unhealthy patterns of thought and behavior. By being honest about their mistakes and actively recognizing when they need help, individuals in treatment can begin to break these patterns. Additionally, accountability promotes self-awareness, which is necessary for long-term recovery. Those with a history of addiction are better positioned to rebuild their lives after treatment by confronting past behaviors honestly and taking responsibility for their actions. Inpatient treatment provides built-in accountability with 24/7 care, drug screens, and highly structured schedules, while outpatient treatment requires substantially more individual motivation. Ultimately, accountability is crucial for successful long-term recovery, so individuals need to think carefully about the level of care that is appropriate for them. Whichever level of care you are interested in, we can answer questions about what to expect. 

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The Phoenix Recovery Center
489 W. South Jordan Pkwy
Suite 400
South Jordan, UT