Accountability is Key
One of the key elements of my success in becoming Teetotal was accountability.
Prior to discovering the benefit of accountability in being able to give up alcohol, I failed serval times trying to give up by myself. I would try to hold myself to account using journals and a whiteboard where I would document nights without alcohol, however, these methods proved frustratingly futile.
No matter how hard I tried to keep myself to account, I could not break the cycle I was caught within.
And no, for anyone who has not experienced dependency on a drug, it’s not because I did not employ enough will power!
Accountability – an agreement to account for your actions or behaviour
Research on behaviour change has not specifically focused on accountability. However, other social theories can explain why accountability helps.
The Hawthorn Effect is a theory that suggests research participants perform better due to being observed as research participants, rather than due to any control measures used.
Although the original research has been contested by some, later research has concurred that there is some truth in the notion that being observed does produce higher levels of productivity or performance.
Accountability provides a form of being observed and therefore offers the opportunity to perform better than without an accountability process in place.
Self Determination Theory is theory used to understand what drives motivation. It defines three key elements related to successful motivation:
Autonomy – We need to be motivated for our own purpose and in-line with our own values
Competence – We need to feel like we are gaining competence on the path to mastery
Relatedness – We need to feel connected to others socially
Accountability, especially when carried out in a programme where we are in control of our plan of action, provides us with:
the opportunity to experience autonomy through being in control of our own plan
competence and mastery by gaining external feedback from others on our progress
relatedness through social connection
When I first gave up alcohol, I used two accountability methods:
Opening up to a group of friends who I saw on a daily basis
Completing a 10-week nutritional accountability plan
Honesty with my friends at the gym helped immensely and because I saw them every day which made me feel accountable to them, whether or not they viewed me as being accountable to them or not. My own perspective that I felt accountable to them and that I saw at least one of the group 5-6 times per week really helped me to stay on track.
The other thing I did to help me was undertake a 10-week nutrition programme. I was a little disappointed with being overweight given how much training I did, but I knew that drinking alcohol and getting the alcohol-munchies (yes, the munchies are not just confined to cannabis use!) was the reason I was carrying more body fat than I needed. Even with this in mind, body image was not the number one reason for taking up on the nutritional accountability programme.
I knew that if I was accountable to someone for a set number of calories per day I would not be able to consume alcohol because I would not have the calorie buffer to ensure I was fed properly to support my training as well as drink alcohol.
I was left to be in control of what I ate but I could not go over the calorie count. The trainer I completed the programme with messaged me every day for my daily calorie count.
I experienced autonomy through choosing my diet
I experienced competence by being accountable every day for hitting my calorie count and for a two-week weigh-in throughout the 10 weeks where I saw weight-loss and inch-loss*
I experienced relatedness through having daily interactions with the trainer I was completing the programme with
*Although fat-loss was not my main goal, it was a key performance indicator that showed I was sticking to the calorie count every day which also meant I was sticking to not drinking alcohol as I would otherwise have never made this calorie target each day.
Accountability helped me to get through the period when giving up alcohol that cravings are strongest.
Without this accountability I am not sure if I would have been able to get past the point of cravings because of how strongly the emotional mind drives the need for the dopamine hit that alcohol provides.
Being accountable for my daily calorie intake over the 10-week period as well as being accountable to my friends really helped me to become Teetotal.
Join the Be Teetotal Accountability Programme
If you would like help with accountability why not join me for my Be Teetotal Programme where I provide an accountability process for you.
Unlike larger programmes on the market to help people reduce alcohol intake or become Teetotal, this is a personalised programme which provides the social element which I believe is key to success.
I ask all readers to be respectful. This is an honest and heart-felt account of the struggle I incurred.
I thank you in advance for your respect and kindness and I encourage you to sign up to my mailing list so I can notify you about new blog updates.
If you are struggling with how much alcohol you are consuming or if you would like to talk further on the subject please get in touch. Your conversations with me will remain confidential. Please note that I am not a therapist but I can support you to find a way to address any issues you may be having with alcohol.