Writing an Accountability Line

What is an Accountability Line?

  1. A tool used during each weekly support group meeting.
  2. Detailing the actions a member is asking the group to hold them accountable to.
  3. To be used to encourage each member to move toward actions that will better meet their emotional and relational needs.
  4. Can be recorded on a 3x5 card, other form of paper, or on a mobile device.

How to Make an Accountability Line:

An accountability line has three sections:
  1. "Move Away From" section
  2. "MyNeeds"section
  3. "Move Toward" section
I. Move Away From: This is the "Do Not Do" list each each member comes up with, detailing the kinds of destructive behaviors he is trying to stop.
  1. Start off by listing on a different piece of paper all the things each member wants to eventually stop doing.
  2. Be specific. For example "no pornography" is a little fuzzy and leaves room for loopholes. Something like "no viewing or reading images, videos, or writing that is sexually arousing" is more specific./li>
  3. Each member then select the top 2-3 most destructive behaviors and record ONLY THOSE in the "Move Away From" section of their accountability line. Trying to stop more than 2-3 behaviors at one time will not work and will only lead to discouragement. Save the other items to work on after the first couple have been mastered./li>
  4. Recovery is a journey, not a destination. It takes 3-5 years just to uncover all the issues driving destructive behaviors and develop new healthy coping mechanisms./li>
  5. No one should expect to be able to stop all unwanted behaviors in the first year. Be realistic.
II. My Needs: This is a list of the unmet needs that drove unhealthy behaviors in the past.
  1. Typically these are needs that were unmet during childhood.
  2. Often needs are related to relational wounding that occurred in the members birth family and/or close friends or relatives.
  3. Refer to other Pure Life Alliance trainings (Codependency, Supercharged Accountability) for more information on how these needs develop.
  4. See end of page for a short list of potential unmet needs that group members might consider*:
  5. Finally, each member determine which 2-3 unmet needs are currently the most hurtful to them and are the ones that usually lead to some form of sexual acting out. Record these in the “needs” section of each member's accountability line.
self-worth(not feeling like a failure)
being accepted (not feeling rejected)
emotional intimacy
being wanted (not abandoned)
reward for doing good
being fully known
being fully loved
being valued
to be allowed to express sadness
*More needs are listed on the last page of this article.

A Couple of Notes:
  • "Sexual Release" is not a need. We have only been taught it is. When a pornography or sex addict feels "aroused" it is very rarely due to a true human need for release. It is almost always due to some other unmet need. We have been meeting those needs for so long with sex that we no longer even allow ourselves to feel the underlying need.
  • Many sex addicts have long ago stopped allowing themselves to feel needs because it can hurt to feel. It may be quite difficult for some members to even identify the unmet needs in their lives and this may require some group discussion to help each member come up with a list.
  • It is not uncommon for families to have unspoken rules like "don't feel, don't talk, don't trust" which get in the way of a child expressing needs. For men who grew up in such a family, it will not feel safe to share needs. Be gentle and patient as your group works at uncovering these needs.

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