Here is what I would like to define as Stages of Accountability, as I have seen and experienced them through my quit. For those who have experienced it feel free to comment. For those who may be new I say look through these as with each stage, your living clean will get stronger and stronger.
Stage 0 – This is your daily decision that you are making to be clean. This is looking into the mirror each day and deciding for you not to use. We have all done this in the past, and for most this alone is not good enough to remain quit. But that is the past. We still need to do this each and every day as this is for our self. This is where our quit starts, from within.
Personal experience: This is my decision point. It was what I did when I chose to quit, and also one of the first decisions that I make each day.
Stage 1 – Posting your word. Ok here we add in the next level. Now this is where we write down our promise and oath. This is where we start to build as this starts to include the others within the community, whether it be to your group, or across groups. This now tells others of what you are planning to do for the day, and that is not to allow nicotine into your system for the next 24 hour period. Like signing a contract or a declaration, this is your bond to others. So do everything you can to honor it.
Personal experience: I may have done this for about a week. Reading on the sites, getting information and in my own group wrote down my word.
Stage 2 – Exchanging numbers and texting only or being in the chat room. We continue to step up by now involving a little more direct involvement with other members. Instead of the delayed comments put into the threads or via pms, now you start to get the immediate feedback. Now you start to interact with the others to see who they are, to find out likes, dislikes, hobbies, maybe families. All this is done by the written word. At this level the bonds of family are started. Quitting starts to take on a new meaning as now it is not just strangers that are trying to help you, but now it is becoming more like friends who will help.
Personal experience: This is where I started to live my quit, I found the live chat room and with the benefit of working at home, was able to stay in there constantly early in my quit (and am still there but that is to help others now). I do say I was slow to hand out my number and text and looking back wish I would have opened up more, as there were times I was away from a computer and could not get into chat but could have used the numbers. But yes in the chat itself I did start to interact frequently
Stage 3 – Talking to one another: Sometimes the written word between people can be misinterpreted or might just not be enough. So the next level is talk to another. Put a voice to the username and letters that you see daily. Start to really make it real as you have a live conversation with another. Joke a little, learn more about one another. Really build that bond as now there is someone ‘live’ on the other end who you can count on being there when you need and who you can be there for them when they need.
Personal experience: Again I was very slow for this, I do not know whether because I can be shy or what, but this is something that even after 2 years I have vowed to make a major change in (and am doing so) where I want to speak live to another quitter at a minimum of once every 1-2 weeks. And does this talk have to be about quitting, no it just has to be to hear a friendly voice.
Stage 4 – Meeting one another: If you think that hearing a voice on the end of a telephone makes it real, try looking another person in the eye, shaking their hand, giving them a hug. Now your accountability just hit the roof. Now when you make your promise each day there really is someone who you will be letting down besides yourself. There is flesh and blood there. This is where you can find bonds of friendship really form.
Personal experience: This was something that I was not expecting and totally shocked me in this process. I met my first person(s) shortly after hitting 100 days. And the strangest thing was in talking live to these people is that it felt like we were old friends. After a very short period of time with them, I became totally real and did feel like we were not only friends but related. It was after this where I strove to meet more people because now I did not want one bit to let those down who I had met. (and I think I may have met in person before even speaking to others on the phone, so a little backwards there). I thought this was just about as high as I could go for the accountability but then…..
Stage 5 – Meeting the others family members. If meeting another quitter in person is real, then meeting their family and having them meet yours, well that would fit the surreal category. Here you see the support at home for another, shaking a husband’s hand, hugging a wife, getting to see their kids. Now not only can you get the feeling of letting another quitter down, but this shows to each other the who all would be effected. This then is indeed Family.
Personal experience: Again if I felt that seeing another quitter was huge, meeting the family that they speak about goes beyond anything I could have ever dreamed about. It is here that I strive to get to. I know of others that can go just about anywhere in the US, and would have at least a dinner invite. I would like to think that I am close to this, if not there already. But I do know that I make myself and my home open to those who become a part of my family.
And as with being family, I plan to never let you down with myself living clean.