10 Reasons to Journal During Addiction Recovery
by A Mission for Michael
Journaling helps during recovery
The path to addiction recovery can be filled with challenges and strife, although it is worth the world taking. Believe it or not, one of the most powerful tools available to you during this process is keeping a health journal and writing in it every day. Here are ten reasons why you should have one in your journey to recovery...
1. Keeps track of progress
When times get tough on the road to addiction recovery and you feel like giving up, having a health journal can remind you of how far you’ve come. It allows you to see all the progress that you have already made, and assures you that you have the power inside of you to beat this. Sparks of hope like this are essential in the healing process, and can be brought about by writing and reading your health journal every day.
2. Releases stress
Struggling with addiction can be stressful. The natural state of your body and brain are all in a state of misdirection during this time, and it may build up the tension inside of you until you snap. However, writing has been shown to be immensely therapeutic. Having a health journal gives you an outlet to vent your frustrations and get them out on paper. Even if there are stresses that you can’t control, it feels good just to work out those internal feelings and get them on paper.
3. Notice harmful thoughts
It is such a gift to be able to see your train of thought laid out in front of you. Having this resource allows you to see how your thought process can lead you down paths that are harmful to your well being. Those dangerous thoughts can send you spiraling back to old habits, but seeing that process in writing can help you recognize how addiction takes control of your life. As they say: knowledge is power. Once you understand this process, you can beat it.
4. Spiritual experience
The act of writing is such a fleeting, transient experience. When you are pouring out your heart and thoughts to a page, time can just fly by. However, the words that you put to paper are lasting and permanent. Having that kind solidity can be transcendental during such a tumultuous time, and can give you some much needed spiritual healing in the wake of chaos that addiction can create.
5. Reminds you of the bigger picture
Writing in your health journal can help remind you of what your overall objective is. It can highlight exactly what it is that you are fighting for, whether that be your family, your friends, your career, or even just yourself. Reminders like these can give you strength during times when you feel hopeless, and seeing them in your own writing will put things into perspective when your outlook gets clouded.
6. Combats depression
Research has shown that writing a health journal, specifically, can help fight depression. This is because a health journal will give meaning to what you are doing. It turns your journey into something that you can touch, hold, and see with your own eyes. It makes it real, in a matter of speaking. It gives you something to do while you are alone, which can be a time when your mind will remind you of fears and anxiety. It is also helpful to get depressing thoughts out of your head, so they aren’t stewing inside of you.
7. Helps with physical effects of addiction
Likewise to the research on depression, there is solid research that shows that writing your thoughts can combat the physical effects of addiction. the Journal of American Medical Association has published studies that shows how the therapeutic effects of writing can boost the immune system of people with AIDS and asthma, and similarly, addiction. Having a strong immune system can help combat side effects of addiction, such as respiratory problems or involuntary tremors.
8. Empowers you
Being able to write down whatever is on your mind gives you a level of control that is rarely afforded by other environments in the world. Writing gives you a little world that is entirely your own, and serves as a playground to work out thoughts or observations about yourself and the world. In a time when you may feel helpless, or like everything is out of your hands, writing in your health journal gives you the chance to challenge those feelings in a meaningful way.
9. Records steps to recovery
Writing in a health journal is a way to get organized about the steps you are taken towards recovery. Putting those steps down on paper will challenge you to think about how you are addressing each of them, every day. It can serve as a reminder to get serious, and likewise, show you how much you have accomplished in any given day. It can also serve as a wonderful tool to brainstorm how you will tackle each of these steps, therefore establishing each of them in your mind, practically.
10. Teaches empathy
Simply writing anything means having to think about the world around you and quantifying it in some way. As you take the thoughts out of your head and put them on paper, reading them can challenge the way you thought about something, or force of you to think of something in another way. This exercise will remind you to be mindful of other people’s problems and perspectives, giving you empathy and reminding you to think beyond yourself.
For some very helpful tips on ways to write your journal, look at this wonderful blog post here.