Journaling is a therapeutic tool that involves writing down your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. I’ve kept a journal at different times in my life and one the main benefits I find in using a journal is that it captures what happened (events), how you feel (at the time) and your thoughts on everything – basically a journal is great way to capture things when they are relatively fresh (I used to write my journal in the evening, as a reflective tool).
Here’s a few lines from my journal in 2007. I was well established in my recovery, but I still used a journal to process stuff. I’ve added an XX instead of the name of my manager.
“Excited about 1st day. Got up early, showered and got into my new M&S suit – felt like the new boy at school not the new head of prison drug treatment policy for NOMs (National Offender Management Service). Got into 2MS (2 Marsham Street), made my way to the office and what an anti-climax. XX was too busy to see me, no one (hardly) was in, and I began to wonder whether this job was a good idea, the place seemed dead”.
The day got worse, and I left within 3-months of starting and set up as a freelancer, something I’ve been doing ever since. I often look back and read my old journals as it stops me saying, “what was all the fuss about, it wasn’t that bad”.
Here are some additional benefits of journaling in addiction recovery:
1. Increases self-awareness:
Journaling can help you increase your self-awareness by providing a space to reflect on your thoughts and emotions. It can help you identify patterns and triggers that contribute to addictive behaviour.
2. Provides an emotional outlet:
Journaling can serve as a healthy emotional outlet, providing a safe space to express difficult emotions such as anger, frustration, and sadness.
3. Enhances mindfulness:
Journaling can be a mindfulness practice, helping you stay present and focused on your recovery journey. It can also be a way to practice gratitude and positive self-talk.
4. Encourages self-reflection:
Journaling can encourage you to reflect on your progress in recovery and celebrate your successes. It can also be a tool for setting goals and intentions.
5. Helps with decision-making:
Journaling can help you weigh the pros and cons of different decisions related to your recovery. It can also help you identify your values and priorities.
6. Promotes accountability:
Journaling can be a way for you to hold yourself accountable for your actions and behaviours. It can also be a tool for tracking progress and identifying areas for improvement.
In conclusion, journaling can be a valuable tool in addiction recovery. By increasing self-awareness, providing an emotional outlet, enhancing mindfulness, encouraging self-reflection, helping with decision-making, and promoting accountability, journaling can support you in your recovery journey.
Try incorporating journaling into your daily routine and see how it can benefit your recovery.