It is a good idea to keep a journal while in recovery. Writing down thoughts can help with the recovery; you do not have to show it to anyone and can keep it just for yourself. Therefore, you should be completely honest when writing in it. Below are a few of the things you could put down in words:
- Your feelings each day
- How you feel about being in recovery
- Your plan for long-term recovery
- How you feel after a support meeting or a one-on-one with your counsellor
- Things you have identified as triggers for your addiction
- How you plan to avoid triggers and how you will deal with cravings
- How you plan to make amends with family members and friends
- How you feel about relationships with friends and family members
- What you are grateful for
- Reasons you wanted to get sober
- How you plan to stay sober
- What motivates you
- Your priorities
- Your strengths and weaknesses
- Your achievements and your progress through your recovery
- Activities you would like to try
- Goals for both the short and long-term.
While in recovery, you may have many thoughts and ideas running through your head so it can be helpful to get them down on paper. This is a therapeutic exercise that will not only help you at the time but is also something you can look back on as your progress in your journey. It will then give you an indication of how far you have come.
Another exercise for your journal is to identify your values. Your values are what you should be living by and, once you have identified them, you can use them as a guide when making certain decisions in life. If you can learn to live by your values, you will have a much greater chance of long-term success. Below are a few examples of how to find your values:
- Make a list of all the positive, important things in your life. This could be family, friends, work, religion, pets, music, hobbies, sports, etc. You need to write down everything that you feel is important and then put them in order of priority.
- Think about what you could lose should you relapse. If your family and friends are your top priority, would you lose them if you went back to drugs or alcohol?
- Write down the things that you would like to get rid of from your life. Obviously this will include substances such as drugs or alcohol but it could also include other traits that you do not like such as lying, cheating, self-pity, guilt, or dishonesty.
- Make a plan for how you are going to live your life, focusing on the important things and banishing the negatives. Think about how you can avoid your negative traits and concentrate on the things you love.
- Check your values regularly to ensure you are living by them. A regular check will ensure that you stay on track and that you remember the important things in your life. Look back at your recent behaviour to see if you have been behaving in a way that you wanted to. Have you been letting your negative traits come to the fore again or have you been learning to avoid them?
A journal is a great way for you to stay on the right track and is very important for those in recovery. This can be a precious tool that will help you to move forward and live the way you want to live. Your journal is for you and only you – be honest and keep it as a way to ensure you are following the right path in your recovery journey.