Journaling Helps in Ways You Never Imagined

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Anyone who has ever been through a recovery program knows first-hand the tedious challenge of keeping your mind occupied.

Loved ones and sponsors say to stay busy with work, housework, meetings or reaching out to others. While those ideas are useful, what about the times when you’re alone with only your thoughts for company?

Write it Down

As you move through acute withdrawal (right after you quit the substances) and into post acute withdrawal syndrome or PAWS, your brain continues to make up for what it perceives it is lacking. Once you have several days of sobriety under your belt, things start to look and feel so much better.

Above all else, you know you need to steer clear of those draining negative thoughts (lovingly referred to as “stinkin’ thinkin”) and positively focus on your recovery. But how?

Getting it all Out

Believe it or not, reaching for pen and paper is one of the best recovery activities you can undertake. Remember, no one else will read what you write, so let your uncensored self go! Here’s a good writing prompt to help you get started on the first entry: “Why I don’t want to write in this stupid journal.”

Once you get something—anything—written on the page, move on to other subjects like:

  • How your body feels physically
  • How you feel about not using
  • Why you’re angry
  • The things that are going right in your life
  • How you wish things could be different
  • What you want to do with your life
  • What you like about yourself and what you don’t like
  • The things that are precious to you (like a pet or special friend)
  • How you feel about God
  • What you’re grateful for
  • How journaling can help you


Reaching for pen and paper is one of the best recovery activities you can undertake. Remember, no one else will read what you write, so let your uncensored self go!

Enjoying the Benefits

You don’t have to write a lot or worry about spelling and punctuation. Just know that this is your safe place – the one space where you can just be yourself without judgment from anyone.

With time, a regular journaling practice will:

  • Alleviate stress
  • Help you gain a new perspective
  • Allow you to watch your progress
  • Promote a sense of pride

Many people are intimidated by journaling and avoid it, thinking they don’t have anything to write about. Once you begin, however, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to start.

Learn more about treatment options for alcohol abuse and addiction.

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