Journaling in recovery is a powerful way to help you heal. And the best news is there is no wrong way to use your recovery journal! The goal is to process thoughts and feelings by getting them out of your head and onto paper.
In addition to the various therapies at Westwind Recovery®, we encourage clients to use their recovery journal to gain a better relationship with themselves, track their progress, and strengthen their recovery.
What is Journaling in Recovery?
Journaling in recovery refers to the practice of keeping a journal or diary to help process your, thoughts and emotions. Recovery can be overwhelming. Getting things out of your head and down on paper can help you manage them more easily.
Journaling in recovery can help reinforce positive habits and track triggers and ways to manage those triggers. Studies show that writing in a daily gratitude journal reduces stress and helps manage depression.
What are Some of the Perks of a Recovery Journal?
While in treatment, you will learn various tools to help you on your journey. One of the most accessible and most beneficial tools is a recovery journal. Some perks of using a recovery journal include the following:
Journaling in recovery encourages self-reflection. This helps individuals better understand their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. This heightened self-awareness is crucial for identifying triggers, patterns, and areas for personal growth.
A recovery journal provides a safe and private space to express a wide range of emotions, including ones that may be hard to verbalize. This emotional outlet can be therapeutic, reducing stress and promoting emotional well-being.
The act of journaling itself can be a calming and stress-relieving activity. It allows individuals to unload their thoughts and feelings onto paper, providing a sense of release and relief.
A recovery journal is an excellent tool for setting and tracking goals. Writing down specific objectives, no matter how small, and tracking progress over time can boost motivation and provide a sense of accomplishment.
By journaling experiences, individuals may notice recurring triggers or patterns that contribute to their challenges. This awareness is crucial in developing effective coping strategies and avoiding relapse.
The recovery journal serves as a personal record, holding individuals accountable for their actions, decisions, and commitments to recovery. It can be a powerful reminder of the journey and the importance of staying on course.
Writing down your achievements, big and small, provides positive reinforcement that your hard work is paying off. Celebrating all your successes is a big morale booster and increases your sense of accomplishment.
Writing in your recovery journal daily becomes a record of your growth and transformation. Besides looking back and seeing how far you have come, it also reminds you of who you don’t want to be again.
What is the History of Journaling?
Journaling for mental health became popular in the 1960s by Dr. Ira Progoff. People have been using journals and diaries since man could write. He ran workshops and classes on “The Intensive Journal Method.”
The benefit and popularity of journaling to relieve stress and anxiety led the medical community to take a closer look. They found that journaling is also beneficial in psychotherapy and group therapy. While handwritten journals are still popular, digital journals are popular for easy access.
What are the Different Types of Recovery Journals?
Recovery journals come in various forms, and individuals often find different types of journals to be effective in varying stages of their recovery journey. Here are some types of recovery journals:
- Traditional Written Journal
- Digital Journal
- Art Journal
- Gratitude Journal
- Goal-Setting Journal
- Mindfulness Journal
- Affirmation Journal
- Reflection Log
- Recovery Milestones Journal
- Fitness and Wellness Journal
Choosing the right type of recovery journal depends on individual preferences, needs, and the stage of the recovery journey. Some individuals may find a combination of these journal types to be most effective.
What are Some Prompts to Motivate You to Grab Your Recovery Journal?
When you first start journaling in recovery, it can be difficult to know what to write. This becomes easier with practice and getting used to writing out your thoughts and feelings. Here are some prompts to help you get started.
- Three things I am grateful for are…
- One step I can take today to work toward a recovery goal is…
- Right now, I am feeling…
- A new coping mechanism I want to try is…
- My mindful moment today was…
- Three positive changes I’ve noticed in myself are…
- Write a letter of congratulations to yourself.
The recovery journal prompts are endless. The goal is to make journaling in recovery a positive and empowering experience.
Can Journaling Prevent Relapse?
Relapse is a terrifying part of recovery. In fact, up to 60 percent of people relapse. It’s crucial to remove or avoid triggers that can lead to relapse. Even more important is knowing how to handle the triggers and having healthy outlets to prevent relapse.
Journaling in recovery helps you relax and focus on solutions to your challenges. It is also a form of self-care. Journaling doesn’t have to be serious, either. It can be a fun way to let your mind run free.
Westwind Recovery® Can Assist You in Utilizing Journaling
Being successful in recovery requires various therapies and coping mechanisms. Journaling in recovery significantly impacts personal growth. At Westwind Recovery®, we offer a variety of therapies to help you maintain your recovery. Contact us today to find out how we can assist you in utilizing a recovery journal to maintain your journey.
Dr. Deena is the Chief Clinical Officer of Westwind Recovery®, an award-winning outpatient treatment center in Los Angeles where she oversees the clinical and administrative program and treatment methods. Dr. Deena is a doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker since 1993. LCSW #20628. Originally from the East Coast, Dr. Deena has worked running treatment centers, worked as a therapist in psychiatric hospitals as well as school settings and currently has a thriving private practice in the LA area. Dr. Deena has appeared regularly on the Dr. Phil Show as an expert since 2003. She has also been featured on many other TV shows, podcasts and has contributed to written publications as well as podcasts.