Peer accountability means holding yourself accountable to your peers and not just to people in positions of authority. In sober living peer accountability, you’re accountable to the other household members with whom you reside, not just the counselors and administrators. Sober living peer accountability can be a major performance driver when it comes to everyone holding up the standards and commitments of remaining abstinent.
Sober Living Peer Accountability to Address Specific Issues
Sober living homes provide support for residents for a variety of issues, such as when someone isn’t complying with house rules. Sober living peer accountability can be utilized to address issues commonly found in residential recovery settings, such as relapse or conflict between residents.
Sober living peer accountability can be seen as a buddy system between residents.1 The buddy system requires all group members to act as a single unit so they can monitor and help each other. The work of developing new behaviors and staying sober is never easy, and each resident will face challenges at different times while living by the new ground rules.
The team of residents is there to hold the individual accountable, but also to make sure that no one falls short of their sobriety goals. With sober living peer accountability in focus, residents have the resolve to do everything possible to prevent anyone from relapsing.
Sober living peer accountability empowers residents, because this structure provides a team that helps to define problems, identify options and implement plans to resolve them.
House Rules are Beneficial
Sober living homes have a set of house rules that everyone must follow. Breaking the rules can result in consequences from minor penalties all the way up to eviction. When residents have input into forming, modifying and enforcing the house rules, they’re more likely to feel ownership and a commitment to carrying them out.2
Creating an environment in which peers hold each other accountable to house rules is ideal. When residents are allowed input into the rules through discussions in house meetings, it empowers everyone involved. Many sober homes have a version of a resident government that helps enforce rules, which is a structured form of sober living peer accountability.
Feedback Strengthens Sobriety
At the heart of sober living peer accountability is immediate feedback. At times, residents may be hesitant to give critical feedback, even when they feel it’s warranted, because they fear risking the personal relationship. But if there is a lack of long-term accountability, the positive relationship will not continue in the long run.
When peer responsibility calls for addressing behaviors that aren’t compliant with the house rules, it makes feedback more of the expected routine for everyone. Though it may be uncomfortable for some to participate in these conversations, ignoring the need for feedback weakens accountability. It endangers the sober living residents as well as each individual.
Being Part of a Team
Sober living peer accountability makes all the residents feel like they are part of a team. When people feel like they are part of a team, the motivation to not let another team member down drives the hard and significant behavior changes that lead to achieving key addiction treatment goals.