Just about every addiction recovery expert we work with tells us we need to keep a journal, but what’s the big deal? Journal writing is a proven way to improve mental and physical health, and to help us progress along the recovery track. If you’re not keeping a recovery journal, you should start today!
Why We Write
There are numerous benefits associated with journal writing. It’s helpful for people in any life situation, but particularly so for those battling addiction. Some of the benefits of journal writing include :
Track Goals: Your journal is a great place to get a clear outline of your short and long term goals on paper. As you reach milestones and overcome setbacks, you can track your goals in your journal.
Accountability: Moments of despair and discouragement can be overcome with moments of motivation and inspiration that you’ve written down in your journal. It’s hard to give up on yourself when you have your own words of confidence and capability to look back on.
Critical Thinking: Whatever situation we’re in now, or whatever thoughts we’re having, it’s all temporary and constantly changing. When you’re feeling frustrated or down, you can write these feelings down in your journal, where they can be analyzed and dealt with in an organized way.
Self Discovery: You will learn a lot about yourself as you put your deepest emotions and thoughts down on paper. You’ll be able to notice patterns in your behavior, and recognize areas for improvement.
Stress Management: Relieving stress is an important part of a successful recovery and journal writing is a great tool for this. You can put your worries down on paper, get some good venting done, and then let it go.
Judgement-Free Expression: You need to get your thoughts and feelings out in order to make room for healing and your journal is a great place to do this without having to feel judged.
Looking Back: When moving forward feels overwhelming, it can be very motivating to look back over past entries and see how far you’ve come.
Types of Journals
You don’t need to be self-conscious about what you write in your journal. Anything you put down will be helpful and noone is going to see it but you. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are some types of journal writing that might work for you:
Daily Entries: Take the time to catalogue the events of each day and how you feel about them.
Stream of Consciousness: Set aside a specific amount of time where you will sit and write whatever comes to mind.
Gratitude: Find things to be grateful for each day and write them down so you don’t forget.
Health and Fitness: Track your physical progress with notes about what you’re eating and how your workouts are going.
Apps and Online Communities
Modern technology has put some fun spins on journal writing. A mobile app can let you make journal entries on-the-go, whenever an idea comes to you. Keeping your journal online is convenient as well and allows you to share it with others if you like. You can even join an online recovery group and share journal entries through tools on the website with others who have the same goals as you.