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Journaling as a therapeutic tool has been gaining in popularity lately. From mental health to substance abuse, self-love, traumatic experiences, and more, journaling is being used as a means to cope and heal. There are so many different ways you can incorporate journaling into your substance abuse treatment journey that will help you boost your confidence along your road to recovery.

Journaling as a Therapeutic Tool

Journaling can be an extremely healing tool, and its efficacy is being researched in a variety of different fields. When it comes to substance use disorder, journaling is a wonderful addition to already-established therapeutic routines. It may be used as a tool in a quality substance abuse treatment program, or you might choose to add it to your own personal treatment journey.

According to a 2012 study in the British Journal of General Practice, writing therapy may have the potential to heal both mental and physical health problems. It may also be an effective means of reaching you if you are unwilling or unable to engage in counseling or conventional psychotherapy.

When it comes to struggling with substance abuse, your journey is an extremely personal one, and journaling can be a mindful tool that you use during necessary alone time. Being able to express yourself through writing will give you the time you need to explore your personal struggles on your own. 

Always remember, your journey is yours, and you are the most important person involved in it. It all starts with you.

Benefits of Journaling

A 2014 study in Substance Abuse researched the effects of expressive writing, or daily 20-minute journaling sessions, on women who suffered from substance use disorder who had high rates of trauma and post-traumatic stress. The study found that expressive writing participants showed greater reductions in post-traumatic symptom severity, depression, and anxiety scores than those in the control group. 

Even though the study focused on a specific group of women, it can be said that nearly everyone who suffers from substance abuse disorder experiences some kind of trauma in their lives. Struggling with substance abuse can be categorized as trauma in and of itself, so journaling can be used as a means to process and heal.

The same study found that writing may facilitate cognitive processing of traumatic memories, resulting in more adaptive, integrated representations of the writer themselves, their world, and others around them. The study also stated that it may be possible to develop a coherent narrative over time, which can result in ongoing processing and finding meaning in the traumatic experience. This can help you greatly in the long run as you overcome the trauma of addiction in order to achieve lasting sobriety.

Different Types of Journaling Activities

Your journaling practice is uniquely yours. When you utilize different methods that appeal to you the most, you can form a healthy habit that will help you along your road to recovery.

Track Your Progress

Tracking your progress is a great journaling method, especially if you are in the early stages of a substance abuse treatment program. Take a little time out to yourself each day to write about your progress, and even your struggles. This practice can help you get to know yourself better, understand your triggers, and see what methods are working best for you throughout your treatment.

Daily Gratitude

According to Psychiatry (Edgmont), gratitude is the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to yourself, and a general state of thankfulness or appreciation. The journal states that research supports an association between gratitude and an overall sense of well-being. 

You can use gratitude as another tool to incorporate into a journaling practice by simply writing down what you are grateful for each day. At the end of each day, you can list three things you are grateful for. This list can include anything you would like. 

When you consistently step into a gratitude practice, you will begin to find more things to be grateful for throughout your day. This will help you cultivate a positive outlook, which is key to staying focused throughout your treatment journey and achieving lasting success. 

Set Empowering Goals

You can use journaling as a method to set goals and look forward to your healthy life after addiction treatment. Setting goals will help you stay focused on the present and it will also get you excited about the future ahead.

You can benefit greatly from setting both short- and long-term goals while in treatment. Short-term goals can help keep you accountable as you go through substance abuse treatment. You can set small goals for each step of the way, and then celebrate when you achieve them. 

Long-term goals are ideal to get ready for your future after treatment. Ask yourself empowering questions like what will make you feel fulfilled in life, how you plan to stay healthy and sober, and what you plan to do in recovery and beyond. 

Goals get you excited about your progress, and they will motivate you to keep going even when it seems tough. A healthy goal-setting practice can also get your mind off of substance use, allowing you to get a clear picture on what true sobriety looks like for you.

Holistic Treatment

Therapeutic journaling can be used in a substance use treatment program as part of a holistic care plan, or you may choose to incorporate it on your own into your existing treatment. 

A quality addiction treatment program will utilize various holistic methods along with standard therapy modalities to form a truly comprehensive treatment plan. When you are seeking out a substance abuse treatment program, it is important to make sure that it offers everything you need for your own unique journey.

Journaling can be used as a strong therapeutic tool to cope and heal from a number of different experiences. Journaling has been found to be an especially helpful mechanism when it comes to mental health, substance abuse, self-love, and traumatic experiences. Journaling can also be a wonderful addition to already-established therapeutic routines. At Lighthouse Recovery Texas, we employ a holistic method of care combined with various therapy modalities and psychiatric treatment. Our staff specializes in a wide range of modalities, allowing us to provide a more comprehensive approach. Our outpatient addiction treatment curriculum is an entirely in-house model that focuses on the unique needs of each and every individual. At Lighthouse, you will receive the necessary tools, support, knowledge, and life skills training to help you succeed in the long term. Give us a call today at (214) 396-0259 for a free assessment.