3 minute read

3 Reasons to Fire Your Accountability Partner

Last Updated: November 3, 2020

Peter Kleponis
Peter Kleponis

Dr. Peter Kleponis is a Licensed Clinical Therapist and the director of Dr. Peter Kleponis & Associates Counseling Services in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.  He holds an M.A. in Clinical-Counseling Psychology from LaSalle University in Philadelphia, PA, and a Ph.D. in General Psychology from Capella University in Minneapolis, MN. Dr. Kleponis specializes in marriage & family therapy, pastoral counseling, resolving anger, men’s issues, and pornography addiction recovery. He is the author of Integrity Restored: Helping Catholic Families Win the Battle Against Pornography.

Accountability partners are a must for healthy recovery from pornography addiction. They can provide wonderful moral support. This is especially valuable for those struggling with strong temptations to act out or when one may be experiencing some setbacks in recovery. They can help an addicted person get back on track in recovery. Accountability partners also help keep you on track and moving forward. Through daily phone calls and regular face-to-face meetings, they can help an addicted person stick to his recovery program. They can encourage complete honesty and transparency in recovery, which helps prevent slips with lust, pornography, and masturbation.

I believe the best accountability partners have also struggled or currently struggle with pornography addiction. They can help each other in their recovery. To quote Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, “I figured out that the best way for one drunk to stay sober is to help another drunk stay sober.” There is much wisdom to this. Accountability partners who are also in recovery truly understand what it means to struggle with strong temptation. They know the pain and discouragement that results from a fall. Thus, when a person has a slip and acts out with pornography, they can help that person get back up and on the road to recovery again. They also understand the victory of temptations avoided or when a milestone is hit, such as 30/60/90 days sober. They can celebrate this with their partner.

While accountability partners are needed for recovery, not everyone is cut out to be one. There are times when you may need to fire your accountability partner. Here are three reasons:

1. Your accountability partner is not committed to the role.

For example, you might decide to have daily phone check-ins to make sure you are adhering to your sobriety plan; however, your accountability partner is never available when you call him or her.

Being an accountability partner requires one to ask tough questions. They often need to be blunt and ask you if you’ve viewed any pornography recently, lusted after another person, or masturbated. They may also need to exercise tough love. When you fall, in addition to encouraging you to get back to your recovery program, your accountability partner may also need to chastise you for not following your program. This is what a true friend does. If your accountability partner is not committed to this role, you may need to fire him or her and find another one.

2. Your accountability partner shames you.

Most addicted people struggle with deep shame because of their sexual behaviors. While necessary, their shame makes it very difficult for them to share their story with an accountability partner.

An accountability partner needs to listen with the ears of compassion. They need to express to the addicted person that they love them and will never reject or abandon them. They need to practice unconditional love and acceptance for the addicted person. They need to be patient with the addicted person as they work their recovery program.

Unfortunately, some accountability partners are not able to do this. They may not understand the challenges of recovery. Thus, when there is a fall, instead of helping the addicted person, they may simply blame him or her and heap on the shame. If this happens consistently, and the person is not willing to learn how to be an effective accountability partner, you may need to fire your current accountability partner and find a new one.

3. Your accountability partner is not committed to his or her own recovery.

If your accountability partner is also in recovery, it’s important for him or her to also be fully committed to their recovery program. If he or she is not committed and consistently falls back into pornography use, your partner will not be effective in helping you either. Also, if you have a serious fall and go on a pornography binge, your accountability partner may not think it’s a big deal and simply brush it off. He or she may not be committed to helping you find ways to avoid such a fall in the future.

You may also become extremely frustrated as their accountability partner. Without their commitment to recovery, you may feel ineffective as their accountability partner. You will be unequally yoked in the relationship. In such a situation, you may need to fire him or her and find a new accountability partner.

I always recommend that people who struggle with pornography addiction find several accountability partners. Thus, if one doesn’t work out and you need to fire him or her, you still have other accountability partners who can truly help you. When seeking an accountability partner, it’s important to first interview candidates. Discuss with them the duties of an accountability partner. If they or you don’t feel they can fulfill this role, they or you can decline the offer. Once you do have an effective accountability partner, it will not only help you in your recovery, you may also develop a deep friendship that can last a lifetime!