Writing a Recovery Journal

Excerpted from Chapter 10 of The Recovery Book.

Many people who are sober and in recovery keep a journal. Writing things down can be a very powerful way to process your feelings and get them “out of your head.” Often, problems don’t seem quite so big or so awful once you’ve worked through them on paper.

A journal is also a great way to keep an eye on your progress as you move beyond active addiction and into recovery. A year or two from now, you might look back on what you wrote and be astonished at what you have accomplished. And proud of yourself.

Your recovery journal doesn’t have to be fancy—you can get your thoughts down in a notebook, email memos to yourself, use a recovery app, or just start a computer file. You can write about whatever you want. And no one has to ever see a word of it, so be honest.

What should you write about in your recovery journal? Anything you want, really. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Your emotions today
  • Feelings about being in recovery
  • Your overall recovery plan
  • Your feelings after an Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meeting or therapy session
  • Triggers you have identified
  • Your plans for avoiding addiction triggers and dealing with cravings
  • Things you are grateful for
  • Thoughts on running into old friends
  • Thoughts on making amends
  • Thoughts on patching things up in relationships
  • Your current priorities
  • Your motivations to stay sober
  • Your current strengths and weaknesses
  • Thoughts about finances, work issues
  • Your victories and progress in recovery
  • Your new view of yourself
  • An exercise log and new activities you want to try
  • Meditation and relaxation practices you’d like to try
  • Thoughts on your eating habits and new foods you’d like to try
  • Short and long-term goals
  • Reflections on your progress over time
  • Your hopes and dreams for the future

  The Recovery Book

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