Different techniques work for different people through recovery. While some coping and life skills may work wonders for one person, that doesn’t mean that they will be a success for someone else. Various techniques, such as journaling, can help someone organize their life, while mitigating the chances for relapse through recovery.
Journaling during recovery is a powerful tool that, when utilized properly, can operate as a motivational tool, an introspective chronicle, a list of evidence of progress, and a way to formulate new plans. Journaling is a versatile skill that in and of itself can be malleable, adjusting itself to fit the needs of individual people.
Journaling’s Many Forms
Journaling may give someone the impression that they have to carry around a notebook and pencil through their day, writing down their feelings at regular intervals or at certain events throughout the day. While this can certainly be the case for some people, journaling doesn’t necessarily have to involve any of that.
Journaling can simply take the form of someone texting themself when they are feeling anxious with a simple sentence or two, rather than having to create paragraphs or pages documenting each aspect of their feelings. Journaling can take a narrative approach or a stream of consciousness approach.
It can take the form of a simple list, a sentence, or even a photograph. It can be whatever method is appropriate for documenting a certain aspect of the day that seems profound for the person. Journaling about the triggers that make someone’s day more difficult is just as powerful as photographing only the things that make them happy.
Each form of journaling holds a large degree of therapeutic value. Journaling is a way to better glimpse into the lives of people in recovery or suffering from co-occurring mental health disorders.
Journaling as a Motivational Tool
There will be peaks and dips throughout recovery, and sometimes will be more difficult than others. Keeping a journal that includes good days and times can be a way to recognize the successes that someone has achieved throughout their recovery journey.
Difficult times can seem insurmountable depending on any number of factors at play, and so success can seem like an impossible dream when everything is put together. However, simply seeing successes that have been accomplished can make getting through difficult times seem possible and tangible.
After all, there is physical evidence that someone has gotten through these difficult times at least once before. Successes don’t have to be grandiose events, either. They can be as simple as someone deciding that they want to recover from their addiction.
Even after several years of sobriety, seeing someone journal about their first day without taking a drink can be a huge motivational tool. At that time, even that goal could have seemed impossible.
Identifying Triggers Early
Looking back at the journal entries created during difficult times can also inform someone of patterns or triggers that they may not have realized at the moment. During times of crisis or during urges, it can be difficult to take into account every factor at play. Instead, someone is focused on using their grounding techniques and coping mechanisms.
Having a journal to chronicle the experience afterward can create a great resource in order for someone to study and find trends that may not have been very apparent beforehand. These patterns can help someone identify potential triggers, and thus avoid potentially difficult scenarios in the future.
Journaling the proceedings of group therapy sessions can also provide a great benefit. Group sessions are places where all participants are invited to experience their vulnerabilities, and thus explore the deeper emotional difficulties lying beneath the surface.
Keeping a running list of the different experiences that peers have had can help one feel less isolated when their difficult times come up. A person can also use their journal to keep a list of strategies that helped others get through difficult periods. A list can ensure that someone always has a plethora of options to try.
Recovery is a very difficult thing to go through, and if someone feels as if they have exhausted all of their resources, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed amidst all the different trials that are hurled at people in recovery. Having new strategies to try can mean always having the hope to push through the difficult times of recovery.
There are many strategies that someone can use during recovery to accomplish an array of different goals. While journaling is a very malleable option that someone can use, it is just one way that someone can stay organized through recovery. Keeping motivated and organized through difficult times makes a huge difference in one’s overall, long-lasting success.
If you are struggling with addiction and its co-occurring disorders at any phase of recovery, Lighthouse Recovery is available to help instill coping and life skills that work for you. Journaling is one of many options that may help you stay motivated and organized, but the professionals at Lighthouse Recovery can help you explore all of your options in recovery, and help you realize and utilize all resources available to you.