Excess of any kind – alcohol, drugs, porn, or sex – can be very harmful to a person’s physical and mental health. When left unaddressed, it can also lead to long-term problems.
A person with a pornography issue may continue to engage in behavior that’s destructive to themselves and their families—but often, they don’t even realize that their habit is a problem until it’s too late. This is where an accountability partner can help.
To help you create an accountability relationship that’s beneficial for you and your accountability partner, we’ve compiled a list of six steps that you can take to succeed.
What Is an Accountability Partner
Life often gets in our way. Habits can be hard to break, and self-destructive actions can make success seem impossible. It’s only natural that, during these times, we need some help to get back on track. If you’re trying to overcome an unhealthy habit, it might be a good idea for you and your partner/friend/family member to have an accountability partner.
A good accountability partner is someone who holds you accountable for sticking with your goals.
They’re not necessarily only there when you fail. Instead, they support and guide you when you fall down, but never allow you to use failure as a crutch.
An accountability partner is someone who has similar values and goals to you.
They’re amazing, too, because they’re committed to helping you achieve your goals as well.
They’re there to support and guide you through the process. They provide a strong, unwavering presence that helps to motivate and inspire you to succeed.
But being a good accountability partner isn’t easy. It requires a lot of patience, compassion, and understanding, and the successful completion of an accountability relationship is never guaranteed.
However, if you and your accountability partner are genuine in your desire to help and support each other, it can truly be a life-changing experience.
How to Be a Good Accountability Partner -- 6 Vital Steps
As said before, being an accountability partner is no easy task. You’ll have to put in time and effort if you want your relationship with your partner to be successful—so here are six steps that can help you achieve success.
1) Be open to someone with a different background.
We all have different levels of experience when it comes to sex and porn. You might be someone who has struggled with issues of excess for years, while your partner is just learning how to control their impulses. The best way for both of you to succeed is by being open about these differences and working together as a team. It’s also important that you and your partner share similar goals, so that you’re both trying to reach similar outcomes.
For example, if one person wants to overcome a porn habit while their accountability partner simply wants help controlling their urges, then they may never see eye-to-eye and have trouble working together in a beneficial way. Understanding and matching common values will ensure that you and your partner are on the same page from day one.
2) Always have a detailed plan before forging an accountability relationship.
If you want to do something worthwhile with your accountability relationship, it’s very important that you create a plan before beginning. A lot of people fall into relationships without having clear objectives in mind. Though some things might get done regardless, more often than not, these relationships don’t last long, because neither party has something productive they can achieve together.
Here are six helpful questions to ask:
How often do you want me to check in with you?
What does success look like to you? Please give me details.
What are some bite-sized goals you can reach for — first step, next step, ultimate goal?
Do you have a plan for when you’re triggered? ( list of things to do, friends to reach out to, etc.)
What steps do we need to take?
What resources do we need?
So, spend some time coming up with your own questions and ideas on how to succeed together as a partnership. Write them down so that everyone knows where they stand.
3) Find balance between support and guidance.
After you’ve found an accountability partner, it’s important to maintain a healthy balance between supporting each other’s desires and guiding each other through them.
If your accountability relationship becomes too much like helping out or giving advice instead of supporting, you’ll risk damaging your partnership and creating another problem on top of your original one.
When you’re an accountability partner providing support, make sure not to overwhelm your partner with negativity. Remember that he/she doesn’t want to fail any more than you do! Instead, listen intently without judging their actions.
Offer simple but effective phrases like good job, keep up the good work, that makes sense, etc., to show that you understand what they’re going through without making any judgments about their actions.
How can you support your partner if they slip up?
Again, asking a few simple questions in a non-judgmental way helps your partner process how they got off track. Encourage them to “fail forward” and learn from their mistakes. The acronym HALT (borrowed from therapists) is a starting point to identify potential triggering circumstances. Ask if they were:
Location matters, too. Did they end up in a place of greater temptation than usual?
Also, based on how long a person has been watching porn, the process of quitting porn will vary. Has your partner had a steady diet of porn for years? Don’t pry, but suggest considering how long and how frequently they’ve consumed porn.
Then it’s easier to prepare ahead of time for what to expect. We address the harder aspects of quitting porn on our blog – sometimes similar to withdrawal – and how to overcome these.
4) Be dependable, approachable, willing, and steadily committed.
In any relationship—especially one that’s focused on helping people through an unhealthy habit—you have to be dependable. If you fail your partner even once by not providing support when they need it, then you run a huge risk of damaging trust.
That’s why being approachable is important as well. Don’t make excuses for failing to be there for your partner when they need you most, because everyone makes mistakes sometimes.
Instead, own up to your errors and apologize so that your partner knows you’ll do better next time. When you’re working together on something tough like overcoming an unhealthy habit with pornography, simply showing steady commitment will go a long way towards success!
5) Don’t expect perfection.
Just like in every other aspect of life, perfection isn’t possible for anyone trying to overcome an unhealthy habit. We all fall down sometimes and make mistakes—but what really matters is how we get back up and handle these problems. No one succeeds by never failing, so don’t be disappointed when your partner messes up along your journey. Instead, use failures as valuable learning opportunities. Encourage them to do better next time!
If they told you about a slip-up, that’s a big win! Remind them that the most important thing is maintaining honesty. Give them the proper motivation not to fail again and support them through the process of failing.
If they need help, remind them that you are alongside them, and it will always be easier than doing everything on your own! It might seem scary at first, but keep going. Before long, you’ll have learned enough about recovery strategies to become a rock in their recovery.
6) Keep track of progress with involved accountability.
As an accountability partner, it’s your responsibility to help encourage and support your friend or family member in their struggles.
That doesn’t mean you should just sit around waiting for something to happen. On the contrary, you need to proactively engage with them about what’s going on in their life!
Set aside a specific time every week. Daily is ideal, but can be complicated for most people. Then ask them how things are going and what they accomplished that day. Check-in by texting them daily, if you have issues remembering.
The more often you contact them, however, remember that consistency is key. So don’t overdo it!
Simply let your accountability partner know that no matter what happens when they’re alone, they can always count on someone being there for them!
In conclusion, good accountability partners share a passion for helping others. Your willingness to learn how to be a good accountability partner is a powerful weapon in fighting porn. You don’t have to be a doctor or therapist. You don’t even have to be in close physical proximity to your partner! All you need is a phone and basic communication skills, so that together you can inspire each other towards positive change.
And if you’re searching for an accountability partner? Remember that there’s always someone who cares about you — even if it seems like there isn’t — and it’s never too late to get help!
But if you already have a good accountability partner, be sure to take time to thank them today.
If you need more help, or have questions about becoming accountable, we’re here to support you in every way we can. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.