Journaling allows you to safely express your private thoughts and feelings through writing. Those in recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction can use journaling to process their emotions and promote healing. Writing or recording your emotions and thoughts provides a sense of release and freedom. In your journal, you can express your happiness, sadness, anxiety, concerns, frustrations, and victories without judgment.
Journaling Prompts to Get You Started
If you ever feel stuck and do not know what to write about, take a look at these prompts to help you get started.
What Are My Goals?
Goals can be big or small. They can be as big as sending out ten resumes to find a new job or as small as meditating five minutes a day. They can be something you want to achieve in a day or two, a few weeks, a year, or five years. Goals will change as you complete them. They will change as you move forward in recovery and make changes in yourself. Because of this, you can use goal prompts frequently. Write about your short-term goals or your long-term goals.
Dear Future Me
Write a letter to your future self about how you feel now and how you would like to feel as your recovery progresses. Or you can write about your current progress, relationships, or lifestyle choices. Write down what you are working towards or where you would like to be. When you read it in the future, you will know how far you have come and what you have accomplished.
Dear Past Me
Write a letter to your past self. You may be angry with yourself for your past choices and actions. Express your anger or disappointment. Tell your past self where you are now and how far you have come. Write down your accomplishments. Write down whatever helps you to release any anger or other negative feelings you have towards your past self so that you can find forgiveness.
Choose a Word
Choose a word and describe what it means to you: Although words have a definition, they mean different things to different people. Try to identify and describe what the word means to you. You could choose a word such as recovery, gratitude, or freedom.
Start Your Entry With
Choose one of the following phrases to start your journal entry.
- I could not imagine living without…
- If my body could talk, it would say…
- The happiest moment in my life was…
- The three things I do better than most people are…
- In the next year, one manageable goal I would like to accomplish is…
- In the next five years, one manageable goal I would like to accomplish is…
Make a list
- Make a list of the things you are grateful for right now.
- Write down ten things that make you smile.
- List five things you are good at.
- Write down five things you would not want to live without and explain why.
- Think about your life and make a list of everything you would like to say No to.
- Think about your life and make a list of everything you would like to say Yes to.
A Few Journaling Resources
- An article from Waypoint Recovery Center explains how journaling promotes emotional awareness in recovery.
- You can find many interesting journaling prompts and ideas at Tiny Buddha.
- An excellent self-care journal, The Addiction Recovery Journal: 366 Days of Transformation, Writing & Reflection (Recovery Journal For Addiction Treatment) by C.W.V. Straaten, provides a short exercise or an inspiring question each day.
When journaling, always keep in mind that you are talking to yourself. You can be as casual as you like. Sometimes you may choose to write your entry as a letter to yourself. Other times you may write it as a story, a list, or a few sentences and a drawing. Don’t worry about correctness, and try not to judge your writing. Just relax and write.
Do You Need Help?
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you are not alone. Call and speak to a caring professional at English Mountain Recovery, located in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. We will answer your questions and help you begin your journey toward recovery.
About the Author:
Terry Hurley is a retired educational professional and freelance writer with more than fifty years of experience. A former reading specialist and learning center director, Terry loved her years working with children in the educational field. She has written extensively for print and online publications specializing in education and health issues. For the last six years, her writing focus has been on addiction and mental health issues.