The power of therapeutic writing is widely accepted in the therapy world as a way to help individuals get in touch with their feelings and emotions.
Part of recovery is the process of delving into the buried emotions in our lives. Drugs and alcohol are often used to stifle emotions and mask the pain they cause. Often these emotions are attached to experiences of which we are not even consciously aware.
Writing is a way to allow ourselves to uncover emotions. We can just put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and allow ourselves to write freely, without any worries about how it sounds or who will read it.
I remember when I first got sober. I called my sponsor about something I was going through with someone. Now, I was incredibly unhinged at this point of sobriety, and the slightest thing could send me into a tailspin of emotion.
She said “I want you to write down everything that happened and call me back in 15 minutes” and she just hung up. Honestly, after the shock of her hanging up, I thought, “well, this is just stupid.” But I did as she suggested, and something unbelievable happened. As I objectively wrote the series of events, I recognized that what I was feeling was a long-standing sense of rejection in my life. This person I was so mad at really had done nothing wrong. It was all how I perceived the situation. That one suggestion–to write–sent me on a journey of looking inwardly as outward things happened. I began to see the power of therapeutic writing.
I still do free-writing to this day to help me process and understand the underlying issues of circumstances in my life.
Writing helps me see things as they are, even as they are still unfolding. It helps me see that I do not always have to be bound by how I feel and then react accordingly. I can experience all of the things that life throws my way and deal with them calmly, through writing. To say this is a miracle is the understatement of the century for me.
Writing letters has also been a big part of my recovery process. 99% of the time, the letter is never even sent. It is simply the power of therapeutic writing at work in my life. Letters allow me to speak to someone about something in an objective way. I do not have to open up old wounds of the past that I have held onto and possibly hurt them by doing so. There is something very freeing about just saying whatever comes to mind without the thought of judgment for what I am writing.
Writing has become one of the most beneficial aspects of my recovery.