Journey and journal. These two little words share a similar Latin root that translates to “of one day.” The concept of approaching recovery one day at a time dovetails beautifully with the practice of recording daily journal entries while traveling along this life-affirming journey.
Journaling is a powerful recovery tool that not only allows you to reflect on and record the many facets of your journey, but also performs double duty as an aid for processing emotions. Whether the entries are ever revisited again is not important. What makes journaling so therapeutic is its function to heal the spirit.
In addition, keeping a journal is a highly effective coping tool for managing stress. In recovery, every single action taken to manage stress and anxiety provides protection from relapse, so journaling should have a prominent place in that toolbox.
Journaling for Long-Term Recovery
Recovery is a lifelong pursuit during which there will be triumphs and challenges encountered along the way. The self-reflective process of journaling provides a safe place to vent feelings of frustration, fear, or disappointment. Just getting negative emotions out of your head and onto paper, where feelings can be described and parsed, will significantly defuse their impact.
As a counterbalance, journaling also offers you an opportunity to describe goals achieved, to tout successful recovery maneuvers, and to count the many blessings that may otherwise be taken for granted. In writing about your positive experiences the journal avoids becoming a dumping ground for negativity.
The journal you keep is your very own creation that can evolve anyway you prefer. Even the journal itself can be an expression of your personality. Taking up journaling for long-term recovery will provide documentation of your own unique journey to wellness. Someday you may look back in wonder at all the challenges you were able to overcome, taking just one day at a time.
Benefits of Journaling in Recovery
How does jotting down daily musings help propel success in recovery? The benefits of journaling are many, including:
- Looking back while moving forward. Because journaling is about recording thoughts, feelings, and events that have transpired since the last entry, it is primarily a tool for reviewing what has already happened. However, keeping a journal is also an excellent tool for setting goals, be they life goals, recovery goals, business goals, or fitness goals. Tracking the recent past through journaling is therapeutic, but setting goals and documenting the process of achieving them is thrilling.
- Self-talk therapy. Anyone who has ever participated in psychotherapy, in either individual or group formats, understands the benefit of talking things out. Keeping a journal provides a therapy-like tool where you can safely talk (write) out the things that are on your mind while focusing on the feelings attached to them. This not only reduces the weight of the issue at hand, but also helps you identify any irrational responses or negative attitudes associated with the event, giving you the choice to just let it go. Journaling also provides the opportunity to jot down self-affirming reflections that help cultivate self-esteem and positivity in recovery.
- Keeps recovery in check. Maintaining a sustained recovery is paramount. Sometimes, through the process of reflecting in a journal, it becomes evident that your recovery may be facing some challenges. Journaling can reveal a concerning trend that could signal the signs of relapse, such as neglecting meetings or therapy sessions or the increasing symptoms of a mental health issue. Just seeing the signs on paper can help you recognize the danger signals and motivate you to recommit to prioritizing recovery.
A successful recovery outcome relies on employing assorted proven strategies that help reinforce the commitment to sobriety. Journaling is one of those helpful strategies that, when combined with other continuing care efforts, can positively impact personal growth while elevating the recovery journey experience.
Ashley Addiction Treatment believes that connection is vital to a successful recovery, with treatment options focused on holistic, integrated, and compassionate care. Ashley utilizes a variety of treatment modalities to support the healing process. If you would like to speak to someone about our care options, please reach out to us today at (800) 799-4673.