Keeping a journal is a great way to support sobriety. It can help provide perspective, insight, and clarity during difficult times. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be an effective coping strategy for managing stress, identifying triggers that lead to relapse, and reflecting on progress in recovery. Journaling can also be beneficial in tracking positive changes as you become more connected with yourself and your environment.
Journaling has Endless Benefits
- Builds self-awareness. Journaling can allow you to express emotions without fear of being judged by others. When you record your thoughts and try to clarify how you may feel about specific people or situations, you develop emotional awareness. Being able to identify how you’re feeling and why will help you recognize emotional patterns that can lead to relapse.
- Increases motivation. Journaling creates a sense of accountability. This can help you stay focused on your goals. Give yourself a few moments each day to write down how you are feeling, what challenges you are facing, and any successes you have achieved throughout the day.
- Keeps you accountable and focused on your recovery. You can write down every accomplishment you have made in your recovery, no matter how big or small. Over time, you’ll be able to look back on your progress and remember how far you have come and what or who helped you along the way.
- Decreases cravings. Journaling allows you to recognize what triggers you or what types of behavior may lead to cravings. Once you understand what may cause a craving, you can avoid the situation and learn to cope with it in a different way.
- Provides a creative outlet for expression. Don’t feel limited to recording events and emotions. Your journal can be a place to make lists, to sketch, to plot out a story, to write a poem–whatever you might need at a particular moment. Give yourself freedom to play, and you might be surprised at how your creativity develops.
- Helps you clearly see future goals. Writing your goals down in a journal allows you to visualize what matters to you and how you plan to prioritize it. You’ll come to a greater clarity about what you want your future to look like now that you are sober.
- Improves relationships with family and friends. You can write about your interactions with family and friends to gain insight into what works and what doesn’t in each relationship. It can help you communicate more effectively with those closest to you. Journaling can help you rebuild relationships and see who is essential in your recovery journey.
- Helps manage stress and anxiety. Journaling can help you understand what types of situations trigger stress and anxiety. While writing does not replace therapy, it can be therapeutic in helping you learn how to handle situations in a way that minimizes anxiety.
- Encourages you to be more positive. After journaling, you may be able to identify negative thoughts and emotions. You can recognize the underlying causes of negativity and get some perspective on what is true. You’ll begin to see that it’s just as possible to put a positive spin on an event as it is to focus on the negative.
Types of Journaling
Journaling is not one-size-fits-all. Choose a type of journaling that works best for you and that you enjoy.
Some approaches to journaling include the following:
- A gratitude journal, in which you write down everything you are thankful for and appreciate throughout your day.
- A diary-style journal that focuses on your thoughts and feelings.
- A reflection journal, in which you reflect on certain parts of your day and how well you handled them–or how you could have handled them differently.
- A goal-based journal, in which you track your short and long-term goals and when and how you accomplish each one of them.
- A creative journal, in which you doodle, sketch, and/or write down ideas, poems, songs, or stories.
- A free-form journal, in which you mix it up and write about whatever comes to mind that day.
Mountain Laurel Recovery Center is Here to Help
If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, Mountain Laurel Recovery Center is here to help. We can help you find the right treatment options to put you on the path to a lasting recovery. We offer a holistic approach to treatment by incorporating a variety of services such as residential treatment, medically monitored detox, family program, extended care, and transitional living services. To find out more about what programs and services are available in our Pennsylvania recovery center, please contact us today.