2. Catch up with your accountability partner every week and keep this up for at least six months of sobriety. After that, keep meeting, but consider extending the time between catch-ups. Don’t be fooled into thinking you don’t need accountability even when you’re on a sober streak. You can call, meet or Skype. It can take as little as twenty minutes.
3. Don’t forget to celebrate the victories. Party when you reach milestones, and thank God for your progress with thanksgiving and cupcakes.
4. Discuss the expectation with your partner that you can call or text at any time (even the weird hours of the morning) when temptation strikes. You need someone to help you snap out of it. Oftentimes, a simple call or text is enough to bring you back into reality. Someone else knows. Secrecy and ritual are broken.
5. Download a ‘days since’ app on your phone if you chose to keep a smartphone (pro-tip: If you keep using your phone for porn, chuck it out and go old school). Use it as encouragement and to make the conversation easier (‘How many days are you up to?’). Send a daily screenshot to keep on track.
6. ‘Fortify’ by Fight The New Drug is my current hot resource. It’s free for teens and forty dollars for everyone else. It is so worth the investment. It is a whole easy-to-use online recovery program and my favorite aspect is the accountability and tracking. You can download the app and track your victories and setbacks. It’s just like the day counter I always used, but you get to celebrate victory which is so important in this journey. There is space to track the details of your setback, too. Over time you gather a clear picture of your patterns and this gives fantastic insight. Highly recommended!
7. Your accountability partner doesn’t need to fight addiction, too. But if you find another woman struggling, it’s a great way to bless each other! Keep in mind, for the non-user, you may need to link them to some resources and info on porn addiction and accountability to help them understand.
8. ‘Open’ by Craig Gross is a fantastic resource on how to do accountability well.
9. If you really struggle to get the words out, keep a notebook and answer your hard questions in writing. Hand the book over when you meet with your chosen partner, but work on speaking your truths out loud, too.
10. I have two accountability partners, and a third friend I can also text if needs be. Each partnership looks different, and I only meet up regularly with one. But I can contact all three in times of emergency. Don’t think you have to limit yourself! It’s great to have an older woman mentor you in this time if possible, too.
11. Your boyfriend or husband is not your accountability partner. Find someone of the same sex to keep you real. Of course, it’s important to communicate clearly with your man and keep him in the loop. Let him know what’s helpful and unhelpful for your struggle. Let him pray for you, but he’s not the one to call every time you feel an urge, or who you should tell the gory details. This is particularly true before marriage. If he struggles, it’s the same story.
12. Develop code for ‘bottom line’ behaviours so you can talk freely in public or just to ease your discomfort in conversation. Personally, I believe it’s vital we develop the confidence to use real terms, such as pornography, masturbation, vagina or penis instead of made-up names. I long to see a change in culture where it’s not awkward to speak these terms, where women are given permission to own their sexuality and struggles without any shame. However, I know it can be hard to start with. So get creative if you feel you need to!
13. Try sending a selfie when you’re tempted. It brings someone else into the room, and there’s something disarming about someone seeing your face when you’re filled with lust. It is a tool to break the ritual, and break the power that secrecy has. Personally, with accountability partner #2, we send a selfie each night and commit to not falling to temptation, because we know that’s when we struggle. In the morning, we send the ‘days since’ or ‘Fortify’ screenshot to say ‘I made it!’.
14. It’s okay to reevaluate your accountability system. Be honest with your partner and make changes if your methods stop being effective. Since this is such a personal journey, there’s a lot of trial and error to start with. If you’ve over-committed, under-committed or just aren’t feeling right about something, talk about it. Like any good relationship, your accountability relationship needs to have open and consistent communication.
15. If you truly can’t find a woman in your life to get real with, check out x3groups. These are small, women-only, online accountability groups run by XXXchurch They are a fantastic resource and so accessible! When you log on, you know every woman knows your struggle and you will not be judged. These are communities of healing and grace, and I cannot recommend them highly enough! They cost thirty-nine dollars per month, but they often run promotions and deals!