Journaling & Addiction Recovery
When you are in recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction, journaling is an effective tool that aids the healing process. It helps you express and understand your feelings, thoughts, and emotions. Journaling also provides a way to record your accomplishments, goals, memories, and ideas. But sometimes the most challenging part of journaling is getting started.
Journaling Prompts to Consider
To help, we offer 16 journaling prompts you can use in your recovery journal next time you feel stuck.
1 – Dear present me…
Write a letter to your present self. Be honest about your feelings toward yourself. Tell yourself how you feel about the progress you made. Write about your current lifestyle choices, relationships, or whatever is on your mind.
2 – Dear past me…
Write a letter to your past self. Write down anything that helps you let go of negative feelings or anger you have toward your past self. Express any regret you have for your past actions and choices. It will help you forgive yourself. You could tell your past self how far you have come. Describe where you are now in life. Write about your accomplishments.
3 – Dear future me…
Write a letter to your future self. Tell your future self where you are now and how you feel. Tell them where you want to be and how you want to feel as you progress in your recovery.
4 – What makes you smile?
Think about the things that bring a smile to your face. Write down ten things that make you smile. Feel free to elaborate on them and describe specific instances of happiness.
5 – My short-term (or long-term) goals are …
Goals come in all sizes. They can be big or small, short-term or long-term. They can be something you want to achieve in several days, several weeks, or several years. They will change over time as you grow in your recovery.
6 – I would like to learn…
A critical part of addiction recovery is looking forward to a happier, positive future. Write about a skill or hobby you would like to learn.
7 – Choose a recovery-related word and write what it means to you.
Some words have different meanings to different people. Choose one and write down what it means to you. For example, you could write about the words gratitude, support, enabling, negativity, sobriety, and more.
8 – Write a letter to someone you love.
Think about the five people you love the most. Pick one of them and write them a letter. The letter is just for you. You do not have to give it to the person.
9 – Write a goodbye letter to someone you want to remove from your life.
A critical part of lasting sobriety is removing toxic people from your life. Again, you do not have to send the letter. But you might want to talk about it with your therapist and use it as a launching point to take action that will help you deal with this person in a healthy way.
10 – Write about someone from your past.
Write about your parents, grandparents, siblings, or first love. You could choose to write about a childhood friend or someone you lost. Write down whatever comes to your mind about them. It could be how you felt about them or a special memory.
11 – I was truly happy (or truly afraid) when…
Describe why you felt that way and how you feel about that time now.
12 – Write about the last mistake you made.
What did you learn from it? Everyone makes mistakes, and it is important to try to learn from them so you do not make the same mistake again.
13 – If my body could talk, it would say…
Addiction takes its toll on your body and mind. Your body is healing and becoming stronger. What would your body say about how it felt while you were in active addiction and how it is feeling now? How does it feel about continuing to become stronger and healthier?
14 – I couldn’t imagine living without…
Make a list of all the things you are grateful for and could not imagine not having in your life. It could include people, pets, things, your job, and whatever else you want to include. You could also choose one thing and describe why it is so important to you.
15 – List ten things about yourself you have learned during recovery.
There is no question that going through recovery has shown you that you are much stronger than you ever thought you could be. Take the time to identify other things you have learned about yourself during recovery.
16 – Dear addiction…
Write a letter to your addiction. What would you say to your addiction if you could talk to it?
Three Journaling Resources
- 12 Step Journal with Step 4 Inventory Worksheets: Sobriety Journal for Addiction Recovery by Marsh Enterprises is an inspirational 12-Step recovery journal.
- Pocket Rehab provides many helpful recovery journaling tips.
- The Addiction Recovery Journal by C.W V. Straaten offers a practical short exercise or an inspiring question each day.
Do You Need Help?
If you or a loved one struggles with addiction to alcohol or drugs, help is available. At Canyon Vista Recovery Center, located in Mesa, Arizona, our staff of highly skilled, caring professionals will help you find the path to recovery. Take the first step and call us today.