Supportive Recovery Buddy-How To Find (Or Be) An Accountability Buddy For Addiction Recovery

Recovering from addiction (also called substance use disorder) is not easy. Every day, you may encounter triggers that make you want to drink alcohol or use drugs again. You can learn to manage these triggers and stay drug-free with the help of an accountability buddy. 

What Is An Accountability Buddy?

During recovery, many people rely on internal accountability. That means you set goals but don’t share them with anyone. As a result, no one can hold you accountable to those goals, which makes you more likely to abandon them and start using drugs again. 

To increase your chances of success in recovery, it’s important to have external accountability through an accountability buddy. 

An accountability buddy (also called an accountability partner) is a person who supports someone else on their addiction recovery journey. Common responsibilities include:

  • scheduling regular check-ins to discuss the person’s sobriety and overall well-being
  • assisting with goal setting, including recovery goals, personal goals, and professional goals
  • providing support and encouragement when the person faces a trigger or crisis 

To succeed as an accountability buddy, you must have achieved success in your own recovery. That way, you can understand the person’s struggles and share strategies that worked for you when you faced similar challenges.  

How To Find An Accountability Buddy 

In an effective accountability partnership, both people share similar goals. That’s why you should search for your buddy in a recovery-focused space. For example, many people find their accountability buddies at addiction recovery support groups, such as:

In addition, you could choose a friend, family member, or coworker who is also in recovery. Some people also find buddies on accountability apps, websites, or social media groups. 

Traits To Consider

No matter where you look, make sure your accountability buddy is willing to challenge you. They should always motivate you to follow through with your goals so you can achieve the next recovery milestone. 

Also, they will need to offer constructive criticism if you start to stray from your goals. For this reason, you might not want to choose a close friend or family member unless you’re confident they will provide honest criticism. 

While your accountability buddy must challenge you, they also need to be patient. If they are too pushy or harsh with their criticism, the partnership could do more harm than good. 

Building A Relationship

Once you think you have found the right person, ask if they are interested in building an accountability relationship. If they agree, discuss how you will meet. Some people meet in person, while others meet via phone calls, text, email, or video chat. 

You should also decide how often you will meet. Many buddies meet once a week, especially in the early days of recovery.

How To Be An Accountability Buddy

To be an effective accountability buddy, you must learn as much as you can about your partner’s situation. At the first meeting, ask questions such as:

  • What are your specific goals?
  • How do you plan to achieve your goals?
  • What obstacles might you face?
  • What will success look like?

These questions will help you better understand your partner’s challenges and desires. They can also help you determine the most effective ways to support your partner’s recovery journey.

As you have more meetings and build the accountability relationship, it’s important to practice honesty, empathy, and commitment. 


As mentioned above, constructive criticism is essential to an accountability partnership. Before becoming an accountability buddy, commit to total honesty. If you avoid the truth to spare your partner’s feelings, you could threaten their recovery.


Along with being honest yourself, you must create a safe, empathetic environment where your partner feels comfortable sharing the truth. That way, you can hold them accountable and help them make healthy changes that support their sobriety. 

To encourage this type of honesty, don’t judge your partner when they fail. Instead, try to empathize with their struggles. Then, work with your partner to get them back on the road to recovery. 


An accountability buddy must be reliable. 

You need to attend every check-in, and you should also be available by phone in case your partner experiences a crisis. By fully committing to the partnership, you can help your buddy achieve long-term recovery. You can also develop a sense of purpose that helps you maintain your own sobriety. 

If you or someone you love struggles with drugs, please reach out to Northeast Addictions Treatment Center

Our board-certified healthcare providers offer behavioral therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and other evidence-based services to help you or your loved one stay sober.

Additional Information: 


International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health — An Exploration of the Psycho-Social Benefits of Providing Sponsorship and Supporting Others in Traditional 12 Step, Self-Help Groups

National Institute on Drug Abuse — Treatment and Recovery

Social Work in Public Health —12-Step Interventions and Mutual Support Programs for Substance Use Disorders: An Overview

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

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This page does not provide medical advice.