by Laura Geftman, LCSW
Journaling and recovery are quite a pair. They seem to go hand in hand. As you don’t have access to your therapist, sponsor, meeting, etc…every second of the day. Many thoughts and feelings tend to come up and need to be examined when you least expect it. Best plan- pen to paper. Let’s journal it out!
6 Benefits of Journaling
Journaling has many more benefits than you might think. It’s a unique brain function that can help you through. It can make your journey through recovery more productive when you do some of the work on your own. Let’s take a closer look at the practical benefits of journaling:
- Emotional outlet Give your emotions a place to exist outside your body. Don’t just hold them inside. Write them down and process them. Venting on paper helps to explore the root cause of the emotion. So get it down on paper and let it go.
- Subconscious exploration If you write in a stream of consciousness, you can tap into your subconscious. Ya know- what’s beyond your conscious reality and often the driving force of your stress or anxiety. This can help you face your problems with a deeper understanding.
- De-escalation The recovery process brings up many thoughts and feelings that can swirl around in your head and increase your concerns. Taking pen to paper can help you unwind and reduce the sense of panic. Seeing your thoughts on paper can help you make sense of the reality of your situation. It enhances critical thinking and objectivity.
- Accountability Thoughts come and go. When you writing them down, you can refer back to them. That way you can hold yourself accountable to your intentions. From this record, set goals that help you work through your recovery.
- Privacy Maybe you remember when diaries came with a lock and key. You could put your thoughts down on paper and lock them away. You don’t really need to lock your thoughts away but sometimes you don’t want to share all of your thoughts with a group of people in therapy or at a meeting. However writing them down in your own journal give ou a private place to get your thoughts out and explore them.
- Progress If you journal through out your recovery, you’re created a record of your process. Its a record you can review when you a struggling. You can look back through what you’ve written and see how far you’ve come. Reading through your past thoughts and feelings can remind you where you’ve been and how much has changed. Your progress will help you realize all that you’ve overcome.
10 Addiction Recovery Journaling Prompts
Getting started journaling doesn’t have to be difficult. A blank page is just as important as a filled one. If you don’t have some pressing thoughts or feelings to get out, there are lots of other ways to approach journaling. Here are some journaling prompts to help you:
- Turn compassion on yourself and write a letter to yourself as a child or a teenager. What do you want them to know? How do you want them to feel? What would you tell them if you had the chance?
- Start with “I couldn’t imagine living without…” and go from there.
- In addiction we put our bodies through so much. They hold our experiences and feel our pain. If my body could talk, it would say…
- What would you try if you knew you would not fail? Why? What’s holding you back from doing it? How real and true is that obstacle? Should you go for it?
- What relationships matter the most to you. How can you maintain or improve them?
- You can’t change other people, but you can understand them and yourself better. Write down three people that you have difficult relationships with at the moment, and think about how they act, the qualities they have, and how their different style or outlook could be helpful to consider.
- Write down ten things you’ve learned about yourself in recovery and how they changed your life.
- If you could wave a magic wand and improve your recovery right now… what would you wish for? Realistically what are the steps you could take to make it happen?
- Some days you need to look bad at your journal for inspo. Make a list of at least ten things that make you smile or laugh for the next time you need it.
- While striving for progress and not perfection, there will certainly be mistakes. What lessons have you learned along the your road to recovery? How have you applied them?
Are there other journal prompts you’ve found helpful? Any you’d recommend?
About Laura Geftman, LCSW
Laura Geftman, LCSW is the Founder of The Calm, Cool & Collected and a practicing therapist. Beyond all things cannabis and mental health, Laura is passionate about developing greater understanding for kindness and acceptance. In her free time, Laura can be found on her yoga mat, in a kayak or singing karaoke.