I’ve spent the last decade walking with a variety of guys seeking to live their lives free from pornography and all of its effects. Earlier this year we posted some of the best ways to build healthy accountability groups; but being a good accountability partner is something that doesn’t always come easily. Especially when you have been doing it for awhile, it can be easy to forget what actually goes into being a good accountability partner. Here are five of the most common mistakes I have made over the last decade that sometimes made me a bad accountability partner.
FIVE WAYS TO BE A BAD ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER
1) Feel like you are intruding
Be timid. Don’t ask questions. The “count” in “accountability” stands for how many times you talk to them. Keep the number low. Your friend is probably doing fine anyhow, they don’t really need you, so just leave them alone.
This is totally ridiculous. If they didn’t actually want to be accountable then they shouldn’t have asked you to keep them accountable. Asking someone to help you be accountable is saying that you are voluntarily going to be vulnerable so you never have to apologize for asking questions.
2) Chase them
Are they ignoring you? Chase them. Are they not following up on the things you ask them to do? Leaving the books you bought for them unread? Not doing their lessons in Clear Vision or the Fortify Program? This is all on you and is 100% your responsibility. Your effort = their purity.
This is the opposite of the first point. While you shouldn’t feel like you are intruding on their life, it’s also not your responsibility to KEEP them accountable. Someone you have to chase obviously doesn’t have their heart in it and likely won’t succeed – no matter what you do. It’s actually the loving thing, in this case, to tell them that you can’t be their accountability partner until they get serious about their fight.
3) Get desensitized
Is pornography really that bad? Have you seen all the horrible stuff in the world? This isn’t really a big deal. If your friend confesses, shrug it off and tell them you are sure they didn’t mean to do anything and as long as their heart is in the right place you are sure they will be fine.
This is actually a struggle for me. The first time someone confessed child pornography to me, I couldn’t take anyone else’s confession seriously for months. Everything else seemed trivial after that. I need to remind myself of the devastation any type of pornography can wreak on anyone’s life and relationships.
4) Beat up on them (verbally. If you beat up on them literally you would go to jail)
All porn is horrific and everyone who watches it deserves seventy lashes! Make sure your friend feels the weight of their crimes. Yell at them. Preferably in public. Call them out in front of their friends. They deserve everything bad that ever happens to them, right? It’s despicable.
Shame is one of the biggest parts of the addiction cycle. Helping your friend separate their identity from their actions is one of the most important aspects of their journey. Talking down to your friend and constantly beating up on them only serves to reinforce the toxic shame they are carrying.
5) Lie about your own fight
Your friend needs you to be perfect. Never break the facade. Your friend needs to see you as the embodiment of all that is amazing, so if you ever stumble yourself or ever make any mistakes, DON’T LET THEM KNOW! They should always feel that they are sitting in the presence of perfection.
I even felt stupid writing this one, and yet it’s something we frequently do. We feel that if we ever have the smallest slip-up we have let them down. Rather, we need to be as honest and vulnerable as we expect our friends to be. No matter where we are on our journey we are all fighting, so be real about your fight. How did YOU fight this past week? What were your temptations? Only real people can really help people.
I hope this brief and mostly sarcastic article was helpful to you. If you want to read through our free PDF booklet on the first steps to finding freedom, just click on it below!