If you’re on the path to recovery from drug or alcohol addiction – congratulations! This is a big decision to make, and one that you will have to work hard to achieve. In addition to detox, treatment at a facility, behavioral therapy, and counseling, there’s one more tool you should try to use to assist your recovery – a recovery journal.
Being sober is not something that you can just jump into. You’ll have to take it slow. By documenting the process and these changes, it will enable you to see just how far you’ve come. On days that you’re feeling discouraged in your recovery, you can simply turn back the pages of your journal and see how much progress you’ve made since you started your journey.
How Often Should You Update Your Recovery Journal?
Consistency is important in recovery, especially when it comes to monitoring your habits and feelings. Self-awareness is key to maintaining sobriety, which is why writing down your thoughts in a journal is so valuable. So, how often should you turn inward and record the feelings and thoughts you find within yourself?
In the end, it depends on your own preferences. Some people make a daily summary of what’s happening in their recovery, as it helps them unwind at the end of the day. Others may make weekly updates in their journal as part of a group counseling assignment. To find what’s best for you, try experimenting until you have a good routine down. You may find that you don’t have enough information to record a daily log, or that making updates once a week isn’t enough to accurately monitor your progress.
What Should You Record in Your Recovery Journal?
The good thing about keeping a recovery journal is that there are no set guidelines. You are free to write down as much or as little as you want. However, here are a few things you might want to consider adding for the most effectiveness.
Cravings and Triggers
It’s inevitable – you will experience powerful cravings during your rehab. This is just part of the path to sobriety and is a challenge everyone must face. By keeping track of when, how often, and where these cravings occur, you might be able to identify the trigger that’s causing them. Eventually, you can eliminate this trigger from your life to reduce your number of cravings.
Steps to Recovery You’ve Taken
If you’re truly committed to recovery, you’ll probably be doing a lot of work to change your lifestyle. You might be going to group meetings, partaking in NA or AA, seeing a one-on-one counselor, or even talking with your doctor. Make a note of all these steps in the right direction. You’ll be able to look back and see how well they worked once you’re feeling better.
If you don’t clearly define what you want to get out of your recovery, then you might never realize it. Take the time to write down your end goals for sobriety – how you want to act, feel, and think. If you want to have a stable life with a good job and good social relationships, then record these details as a motivator. Think about how you want to manage your time, because it will help with the previous two points, as well.
The point of a regular journal is to record how you are feeling, so it makes sense you should do the same with a recovery journal. Use your journal to keep track of mindfulness and regulate your emotions. Jot down how you felt during the day as well as the events of the day to keep focused on this.
Anything Else You Want
Remember, no two recoveries are alike, so why should recovery journals be the same? You can write down whatever will make you feel better. Maybe you’d like to focus on a certain theme each day, or stick to a structured format – the choice is yours. Some may include doodles or cartoons they draw that helps them better remember how they felt that day. Others might include memorabilia – the cap from their final drink, or a lock of their baby’s hair, reminding them of the reasons they got sober. Make your journal personally your own, and you will look forward to every day you get to write a new, sober entry.