Keeping a Journal in Addiction Recovery
Journaling has been shown to be an effective tool in the recovery of drug and alcohol addiction. It serves as a form of therapy, and it is inexpensive to do. Keeping a journal is addiction recovery helps to reduce stress, improve mental health and may even be used as a relapse prevention technique. The great thing about journaling is that it tracks the progress of recovery, which serves to increase motivation. People who have excuses for not keeping a journal should be encouraged to do so and shown how it will benefit them.
Journaling comes in many different forms, but there are specific types that are recommended to people in addiction recovery. The Stream of Consciousness Journal is highly recommended. This type of journal has the inidvidual sit down to write for a specific period of time. They should write whatever comes into their mind without attempting to edit the work. The aim is to allow the writing to flow without interruptions to adjust grammar, punctuation, etc. Whatever thoughts are on the person’s mind or heart should be written down. The Stream of Consciousness journaling is very freeing and allows them to release everything that has been held captive in their thoughts and emotions. Thoughts and feelings will just pour out like a stream of words that flows. The act of writing things down acts as a cathartic release in the same way that crying empties the mind and soul.
The therapeutic effects of writing down your thoughts are profound and they enable you to know and understand yourself better. You will discover what makes you happy, sad, angry, defensive and grateful. The Stream of Consciousness journaling is a great way to help you with self-awareness and self-growth. The addict should remain free and open to allow everything to be released. There are no do’s or don’ts; everything should be included whether it is good, bad, ugly, boring, angry or sweet. Very often the act of writing will be fast-paced and mentally healing because pent-up thoughts and emotions are being released quickly. You will feel a physical, mental and emotional relief when this occurs. Journaling will cause you to face their thoughts and feelings and come to terms with difficult issues. Eventually, you will begin to see your emotional growth as you work through problem areas in their life.
If you find yourself stuck, there are questions you should ask yourself to elicit a response. Some of these questions are:
- Describe yourself.
- What do I want to change about myself?
- How am I feeling?
- What do I want to be feeling?
- What would I never change about myself?
- Describe the room.
- Describe the people in your life.
- Describe the aspects in your life that you are pleased with.
- Describe the aspects in your life that you are not pleased with.
- What are your goals for the future?
- How do you see yourself five years from now?
There is no pressure in the Stream of Consciousness journaling. You can pick any word or topic that is on your mind. Find a place where you will be alone without interruption. You can type on a computer or write freehand on paper. You can even get creative and use colored pens, pencils or paper. You are free to write any way they please, and should continue writing until they run out of words. You can change topics whenever you want to as they release words, thoughts, emotions, memories, hopes, dreams etc. There is no limit to the Stream of Consciousness journaling, and there is no limit to the growth and healing that the recovering addict will gain from it.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.