The Benefits of Journaling in Recovery

As you move forward in treatment, did you know journaling has many benefits that can help the recovery process? When you write out your thoughts, hopes, dreams and emotions, it actually supports your mental and physical health. There is scientific evidence to support this, as University of Texas at Austin psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker has shown that regular journaling strengthens immune cells, called T-lymphocytes. Other research indicates that journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.[1]

Here are some other specific ways that journaling can aid you in your recovery:

Journaling Can Help You Process Your Emotions

The Benefits of Journaling in Recovery

Journaling is a very powerful aid in recovery

According to Psychology Today, emotional habits are the key to addiction. These habits creep up on us, until we are overwhelmed. Then relief is found in some act or substance that can distract, divert, or deaden our feelings.[2] You may feel a certain way and not even realize you feel that way until you write it down on the page. And don’t feel you have to have any kind of training to journal. Just write down your thoughts. There is no pressure here, just a blank page that you can fill however you would like. This can be completely private and you do not have to share it with anyone unless you want to. For example, you may just want to write something down about how you are feeling sad or maybe you are missing a friend. Maybe you feel angry or frustrated with someone or something. All of these things are completely natural and when you write these things down, in many cases you will find a way to start to process how you feel. It may not happen overnight in one specific journal entry, but over time you will start to see patterns emerge.

The more you get in touch with your surroundings and the more growth you experience, the better you will feel. If you start to log when you exercise or even start writing down different activities you would like to try, suddenly your journal becomes not just a record of how your day went, but also a catalog of your hopes, dreams, successes and struggles.

Journaling Gives You Freedom to Create

There are no real rules when you journal. You may find that you really enjoy the writing process and you might even start to dabble in poetry or even turn a journal entry into a song. There is no length requirement, so there is no journal entry that is too short or too long. The creative process has been proven to be very helpful in recovery. It can even help you get in touch with things you once enjoyed as a child and hobbies or passions you once enjoyed before you turned to substance abuse. The opportunities are endless: you can empty out your mind and write down thoughts about anything you would like.

Journaling Is a Great Tool to Develop Good Habits

When in recovery, it is essential to develop good habits. Journaling for just a few minutes each day can carry forward to developing healthy routines and habits in other areas of your life. There is a saying that discipline begets discipline and it is true. Being disciplined in one area of your life will help you in other areas of your life. This will also help bring about more balance and structure to your life.

Journaling Can Make Treatment More Effective

The combination of journaling plus talking with a therapist can help you make great strides in your recovery. You will be able to learn from your patterns in your journal and talk those through with your therapist. For example, you may notice that you feel depressed at the end of the workweek specifically on Thursdays and Fridays. Your therapist can help you talk this through and you can work together to try different approaches to handle this. Maybe you are depressed because you are mentally fatigued at the end of the workweek. Maybe you will decide to go to Yoga class on Thursday evening or maybe even workout on your lunch hour to give your body a boost. Your life is very much interconnected; how you feel mentally has a great effect on your physical health. The outside perspective from a therapist as well as from writing down your thoughts in a journal can allow you to look back and situations with greater clarity.

Find Addiction Help Today

If you are struggling with an addiction to Methadone or other substance, please call our toll-free helpline today. Experienced admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call. Every step you take toward being healthy and sober has tremendous impact in your life; so if you know you need help or just want someone to talk to, please feel free to call us today.

[1] http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-health-benefits-of-journaling/ Purcell, Maud. Published on PsychCentral.com on December 12, 2006.

[2] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-body-knows/201203/emotional-habits-the-key-addiction Emotional Habits: The Key to Addiction. Lamothe, Kimerer. Published on Psychologytoday.com on March 16, 2012.