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Personal Responsibility is Essential
Support Step

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While engaged in the cycle of addiction, it is common for individuals to become dependent on people, organizations, and services. There develops an instinct to place blame on others or make excuses for the situations that have been created for themselves through their substance abuse. The unwillingness to take personal responsibility for the circumstances and consequences of their actions is a primary symptom of the disease of addiction. There is a stigma surrounding the disease that creates a level of embarrassment and denial in an individual, driving the need to deflect, justify and validate the mistakes made as a result of their use of mind altering substances. It is important for an individual to recognize these behaviors and work to change them.

Having personal responsibility as a cornerstone, residents of the Step Denver program are not permitted to take third-party or government financial assistance. The men may not receive any compensation from their families, friends, or religious organizations, and can also not receive any governmental stipends such as food stamps, welfare, disability or vouchers. The residents are required to be accountable for their own financial obligations and costs of living.

Personal Responsibility is integral to
rebuilding Self-Respect.

Upon entering the Step Denver program, it is explained to each resident that he has certain rights. Residents have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, and they have the right to a safe, clean living environment. As in other areas of life, these rights come with certain responsibilities on the part of the resident. Those responsibilities are governed by a set of house and programmatic rules. These rules help to re-establish personal responsibility and accountability in the residents’ lives.

Step Denver uses a Peer Recovery Community Model in which the residents support each other and hold each other accountable to the programmatic and facility rules in a positive, respectful manner. The Step Denver residents are accountable to themselves, first and foremost, as well as to the other residents in the Peer Recovery Community and to their communities at large, outside of the facility.

Residents are taught that behaviors and actions have outcomes. It is explained that positive outcomes are most often beneficial to themselves and others and that negative outcomes have consequences that may cause harm to themselves and others. We reinforce to our men that, ultimately, they are personally accountable for their actions and behavior, and thus responsible for the outcomes associated with that behavior. Clear communication of what the house and program requirements are, coupled with a progressive disciplinary and reward system, help to guide the resident towards personal responsibility and the restoration of self-respect.

An additional component designed to help our men towards personal responsibility is a life skills curriculum that helps to re-establish the basics of self-sufficiency, which further distances them from the mode of dependency. Residents engage in programs focused on financial budgeting, nutrition, family restoration, physical health, healthy social and recreational activities, life balance and spirituality. Assisting our residents in being accountable to themselves in these areas is integral in helping them to develop personal responsibility and self-respect.