Summer of Love, Part 5: Accountability Requires Vulnerability

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Lacy Alajna Bentley

Sex and Relationship Healing is pleased to partner with Lacy Bentley, host of our Tuesday Women’s Sex/Love Addiction drop-in discussion group and our Thursday Women’s Porn Addiction drop-in discussion group, for our Summer of Love (Addiction). This wonderful series examining women, love addiction, fantasy, pornography, and healing is drawn from Lacy’s book, Addicted to Love.

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I’m so excited to take this journey with you! As we talk about accountability, I hope you will think of others who can also join you. We will discuss the kinds of women you need and how to hold yourself accountable in the process of being accountable to others. Accountability is critical in all relationships and endeavors if we are to live at peace.

That said, accountability might sound a little scary, and that is totally understandable. Because accountability requires, first and foremost, vulnerability.

Yes, I’m asking you to be vulnerable.

Did you know that “vulnerable” is a four-letter word for many people? It is. We spell it R-I-S-K, and it can be terrifying! When my therapist insisted I would not heal until I learned to risk through vulnerability, I was more than grumpy. There is a good chance I told her how unhappy I was. In fact, I almost quit therapy.

Bleh! Vulnerability was not my favorite thing. I still don’t love it, but I’m telling you, she was right. Well-placed vulnerability is so healing! It is supposed to feel a little foreign, even frightening at first as you learn to be accountable, experiencing that vulnerable honesty about what is going on for you and where you are struggling.

If vulnerability feels hard and you want to run and hide, excellent! That means you are getting to the good stuff and doing the hard work needed to live life fully. You can do it! And I’m right here, cheering you on. Take a minute and think about how committed you are to this process and leaning into your fears. If you are ready, your commitment will carry you through the challenges ahead. If you aren’t, think about why, and what you need to do for your future mental, emotional, and sexual health in your relationships.

Being accountable for acting out (with others) or acting in (by ourselves) is important. In many programs, sponsorship is a part of recovery. With love addiction, we have online and in-person support groups, including groups specifically for women, which you may already be a part of. If you aren’t, not to worry. You just need a close family member or friend you can report to, even just through a simple daily text or call early on. They don’t need to donate hours and hours of their time, and you don’t need to bare your soul.

Think about who you have in your life who might be a positive accountability partner. Note: This cannot and must not be your spouse. No way. Your spouse does not need this stress; instead, your spouse needs to know how you are progressing and to see changes for good. Telling your mate every little lapse in judgment is going to drive them bonkers! For their sake, pick someone else.

Eventually, you will learn to be personally aware, openly vulnerable, and fully accountable. At that point, you will only be lapsing rarely, and hopefully not relapsing at all. When you reach that point, your spouse can become an accountability partner if you both desire that.