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Starting A Journal Can Help During Recovery

by Landmark Recovery

March 11, 2021
recovery journaling

Starting a Journal Can Help During Recovery

There’s no set timetable for recovery, and every person recovering from addiction will experience recovery at their own pace. While you’re going through this process of recovering from addiction, you might be dealing with some challenging emotions that will be difficult to unravel.

This is where a recovery journal can come in handy. Using a recovery journal has many benefits and it can help you immensely as you work through your rehabilitation process.

Benefits of Recovery Journaling

It can feel tough to express yourself without fear of criticism, but research has shown that journaling can encourage just that.

The activity of journaling has been shown to offer tremendous benefits for those who partake in it. Studies have shown that journaling can help to reduce depression and aid in grief. It can also help to reduce stress, reduce digestive issues, and improve immune function. Researchers believe that it takes a lot of effort for your body to repress difficult thoughts and feelings, and finding an avenue to let them out results in a positive outcome for the whole body.

Being able to put your lived experiences into words can help you to make sense of them. A study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology showed that cognitive integration and working memory were both enhanced through the act of expressive writing in journals.

There are clearly many benefits to journaling in general, but going through this creative process can be beneficial to you during your time in addiction recovery, too.

Benefits of Recovery Journaling Also Include:

  • Document your journey: Statistics show that only about 40% of all people with substance use disorders receive treatment. This means the fact you are in recovery is worthy of celebration. It can be beneficial to track your progress through recovery, and journaling can help with that. Rehab and recovery from addiction can be a long and difficult process, so having a concrete reminder of how far you have come can be a great motivator if you feel the temptation to pick up a drink or drugs again.
  • View situations more objectively: People who struggle with addictions also have a dual diagnosis of depression or anxiety. These issues can make it difficult to see things clearly. Through journaling, you are forced to kind of take a step back and reassess the situation while getting it out on paper. This can help you see things in a different light.
  • Understand your cravings: As you are working on becoming sober, you are almost certain to encounter cravings for your substance of choice. Knowing what can trigger cravings (lack of sleep, feeling unheard) is vital for your recovery process because it helps you to prepare for these flashpoints and tackle them head-on if they arise.
  • Define goals: While it can be exciting to think ahead to your sober life, it can also be scary. It’s important to create goals for yourself, and journaling gives you a safe place to do that. In your recovery journal, you can determine what you are passionate about, what your hopes and dreams are, and how you want your sober future to be.
  • Improve relationships: Through daily journaling, you will often write about your interactions with others. Journaling can offer you a space to gain insights into your relationships with friends and family. Maybe you will be open to sharing some entries with your loved ones to establish open communication.

Starting Your Recovery Journal

There is no right or wrong way to begin your journaling journey. All that counts is choosing a method that works for you.

There is no sense in splurging on an expensive leather-bound journal if you’re not into that kind of thing. A simple composition notebook works just as well. If you prefer using the memo app on your phone, that’s perfectly fine as well. Personalize things so they work for you.

There are different schools of thought regarding the best time to journal, so choose what feels most comfortable. Perhaps you’d like to journal first thing in the morning to set a positive foundation for your day? Or would an even gratitude journal session mesh better with your schedule? When you journal is not important. Just try to block out 10 to 20 minutes each day to get your thoughts out and maintain a regular habit of journaling. Soon, it will feel like second nature.

Types of Recovery Journals

There are a plethora of journaling methods to choose from as well. The most common recovery journaling methods include:

  • Diary: When you keep a diary, you can use it to write down information about your day and how the events that transpired made you feel.
  • Gratitude: In a gratitude journal, you take time each day to write out the things that you are thankful for and the things you appreciate.
  • Stream of Consciousness: Using this method, you simply set aside a block of time and write about whatever comes to mind.
  • Reflection: Used to reflect on the events of the day, this method is well suited to evening journaling. You can assess what happened throughout the day and reflect on how you reacted and consider different choices you could have made
  • Goal-Oriented: A fantastic option for keeping track of your goals and progress throughout recovery.

Sample Prompts

Your recovery toolbox will be full of things you can use to smoothen your journey. Adding journaling to the mix can help you stay strong in your commitment to getting better and leading a healthy lifestyle.

If you don’t know where to begin when writing in your recovery journal, here’s some inspiration:

  • Consider the 5 people you love the most and write a letter to one of them. No need to deliver it
  • Write letters to your past, present, and future self
  • Write about what you’d be doing right now if you weren’t in recovery
  • Consider the things you are trying to leave behind while in recovery. Write a goodbye letter
  • Without holding back, write about how you are doing right now
  • Set a timer for 5 minutes. Write down every single thing you can think of that you are grateful for

Here to Help

At Landmark Recovery, we take a whole-person approach to recovery from addiction. We know that healing the mind is just as important as recovering from substance abuse.

If you or a loved one is addicted to drink or drugs and you would like more information about the services we offer at Landmark Recovery, please call 888-448-0302 today.

Recovering from addiction is hard, but you don’t have to do it alone. Contact us today!

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About the Author

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery was founded with a determination to make addiction treatment accessible for all. Through our integrated treatment programs, we've helped thousands of people choose recovery over addiction and get back to life on their own terms. We're on a mission to save one million lives over the next century. We encourage all those struggling with substance use to seek professional help.