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Journaling in Addiction Recovery
When you are recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction, journaling can be a powerful healing tool. Writing in a journal helps you process your feelings and thoughts so that you can become more self-aware and more attuned to how circumstances and people affect you. Journaling relieves stress and gives you a healthy way to cope with difficult situations.
Identify & Cope With Triggers in Recovery
Whether you are journaling about your thoughts, what you did that day, or what you’re grateful for, you’ll be able to recognize good and bad patterns in your life. You will see which coping strategies worked and which did not. As you reflect on your writing, you will discover what supports you and what breaks you down. You’ll learn how to get through hard times without drinking or using drugs.
Bring to Light Any Negative Thoughts
Negative, self-defeating, or self-destructive thoughts are also known as negative self-talk. They can be the cause of relapse. It is critical to have a healthy way of processing these types of thoughts so that you don’t internalize them and, in the process, damage your physical and mental health.
Several examples of common negative thoughts in addiction recovery include:
- I cannot stay sober because I am a bad person.
- My friends and family will never trust me again.
- I will never be able to stay sober because I am too weak.
- I can never do anything right.
- Bad things always happen to me.
- I do not deserve to be sober or happy.
When you write down and examine these types of thoughts, you start to see how poorly you treat yourself. Once you realize this, you can begin to treat yourself with love, respect, and forgiveness. You will see things with a clear state of mind and have increased self-confidence.
Organize & Slow Down & Organize Your Thoughts
Journaling helps you slow down and think. Often stress and anxiety build, making it difficult to focus. You may not even be aware of the cause of your stress and anxious feelings. When you write down your thoughts, regardless of how chaotic they are, you are claiming power over your feelings.
Reduces Feelings of Anger, Pain, & Sadness
Research has found that when a person puts their feelings into words, it makes their feelings of anger, pain, and sadness less intense. The part of the brain called the amygdala activates systems in the body that protect it when in danger. When a person writes down their feelings, the brain’s amygdala response reduces, and the brain’s prefrontal region is activated, slowing down emotional responses.
Identify & Cope With Relapse Triggers
Journaling can prevent a potential relapse by helping you identify your triggers. Once you identify them, you can develop ways to cope with them. If your day was very hectic or went badly, you may not understand what went wrong. When you write down everything that happened and what you are thinking, you begin to see the day from a different perspective. It begins to make sense, and so do your emotions and thoughts. You can see your strengths, weaknesses, and relapse triggers.
Helps You to Plan
Journaling can help you make plans. Your journal is a safe place for you to think things through. By having a conversation with yourself, you can write down possible outcomes to a specific situation and make a plan. For example, if you are planning to go to a family celebration where wine will be served, you can write down possible ways of dealing with the situation. People who put their goals on paper accomplish them in higher numbers than those who do not. Writing down a plan to solve a problem will help you achieve your goal.
Help Is Available
Addiction is a chronic brain disease that can affect anyone. If you or a loved one struggles with a drug or alcohol addiction, help is available. Call and speak to a caring professional at Canyon Vista Recovery Center, located in Mesa, Arizona. We will answer your questions and help you start your journey on the path to recovery.