Whether or not someone has been accustomed to writing in some sort of diary or notebook, the power of journaling in recovery from addiction cannot be under-estimated. Journal writing is one of the most effective tools in recovery. It helps people come face to face with their feelings and behaviors, and it helps beat down the demon of denial, which would have alcohol and drug abusers minimize their addiction. Journaling takes no more time than the time consumed by drinking and using drugs, and it provides far more benefit to successful living.
When people reach the point of alcohol or drug addiction, their thinking has become skewed. They have learned to lie to themselves and to others. They often have gone to desperate lengths to avoid help. It should come as no surprise, then, that confusion reigns when recovery begins. No longer do drugs and alcohol cover up the flood of emotions that rise to the surface, not to mention an urge to fix all the problems created by addiction immediately. Enter the process of journaling. When a recovering addict tracks his feelings, behaviors and thoughts, he gains valuable insight into the underlying causes of his addiction Journaling also provides a way to make day-by-day observations and plans, which gives some structure to jumbled thoughts.
Tips for Journal Writing success
Journaling is a personal process. It can benefit people in a variety of stages in recovery, but for those who are just beginning these suggestions might provide encouragement.
· In plain sight
Keep the journal in a visible place. This way it is easy to grab when feelings arise. The sooner feelings are written, the sooner a solution can be found.
· Keep writing
There is no set amount of writing, so a rule of thumb is to keep writing until no more words come. This is not formal essay-writing. It does not have to be organized into paragraphs. Just write.
· Keep it simple
Journals do not have to follow a set pattern. The best way is to find a style that feels natural and simple.
· Sharing or not
Sometimes a journal can be a way to work out issues that can be shared with a therapist or trusted advisor. Thoughts also might be shared with others in recovery. It is personal, however. Find ways to keep it private, and recognize the difference between privacy and secrecy.
· Fill the blanks
Even professional writers feel stuck sometimes. Make an attempt to fill blank pages by moving forward with whatever comes to mind. The power of journaling not only during recovering, but also throughout a lifetime of sober living, is invaluable.