On Personal Responsibility

In The Luckiest Club, the sobriety support community my friend Laura McKowen started at the beginning of the pandemic and as part of which I host three meetings each week, we are guided by a set of principles that we affectionately call “The Nine Things.”

Each one is a powerful statement on its own; taken together, they are a manifesto for sobriety that’s rooted in self-compassion and stands on the power of community. I love all The Nine Things, but especially the ones that represent the paradoxes inherent in the desire to work their way out of addiction and into recovery: #1: “It Is Not Your Fault” + #2: “It Is Your Responsibility”, and #6: “You Can’t Do It Alone” +  #7: “Only You Can Do It.” 

(Laura is a freakin’ genius, is she not?)

We went in depth on this at a recent meeting and, to get the conversation going, I shared 10 quotes about personal responsibility and accountability. Of course, these are applicable far beyond recovery. 


“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.” 
― Sigmund Freud

“Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.” 
― George Bernard Shaw

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” 
― Theodore Roosevelt

“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”

― Eleanor Roosevelt

“The final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” 
― Anne Frank

“This is your life. You are responsible for it. You will not live forever. Don’t wait.” 
― Natalie Goldberg

“Sometimes you stay bottled up because you know the responsibility’s in your hands, rubbing you like a lamp, and you’re the only genie that can and must rise and expand in order to grant your every wish.” 
― Curtis Tyrone Jones

“Personal responsibility takes rejecting the pain and hurt we learned as children and deciding to create a new legacy of success, kindness, and love.” 
― Charles F. Glassman

“Taking personal accountability is a beautiful thing because it gives us complete control of our destinies.” 
― Heather Schuck

“If you own this story you get to write the ending.” 
― Brené Brown

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