Journaling as an Aid to Recovery

Categories: Articles

I knew that many people kept journals for many different reasons, but it never interested me. However, when the concept was reintroduced to me while I was in rehab, I found out just how beneficial it would be to my recovery.

I learned that journaling could help me express all the emotions I experience without fear of criticism, something I had been very self-conscious about. Along with reducing that stress, it helps me with my depression. It also provides me the opportunity for self-reflection, which is another important aspect of recovery.

I can also prioritize my responsibilities, goals, and problems and recognize and deal with my triggers. This way, I am not as easily overwhelmed by these things and I am reminded that I am in control of my addiction versus my addiction being in control of me.

The best part of journaling, however, is that there is no wrong or right way to do it. While there are several different kinds of journaling, you are free to choose the style that works best for you. I have found that incorporating aspects of all of them works well for me.

Journaling in recovery can follow many different formats such as:

  • A Goal Journal – With this type of journal, you document your goals and track your progress.
  • A Gratitude Journal – This approach involves focusing on everything you appreciate in your life.
  • A Reflection Journal – Usually done at the end of the day, it allows you to look over the events of the day and determine whether or not you could have made better choices.
  • A diary – Here you record the events of your day and how you feel about them.

Here are some examples of each:


  • A Goal Journal – I will develop more patience and not deflect my frustrations onto others, especially my son.
  1. I will stop myself before saying the first thing that pops into my head or jumping to a conclusion.
  2. I will schedule special time each day for just the two of us when I can listen and respond appropriately.
  3. I will take some deep breaths or count to ten when I feel frustrated.
  • A Gratitude Journal – I am grateful for:
  1. A healthy, happy child who offers me unconditional love.
  2. A daycare provider I can trust.
  3. Plenty of time to spend together during evenings and weekends.
  4. A profession that I love and the example I am setting by being glad to go to work each day.
  5. The opportunity to strengthen my relationship with my son by taking the time to write in my journal every day.
  • A Reflection Journal – Looking back on my day, I see:

That I shouldn’t have been in such a rush this morning, which caused me to be impatient and not allow my son to decide what he wanted to eat for breakfast.

Reflection: I could have gotten up a little earlier so I didn’t have to rush him along. I could allow him to choose what he wants to have for breakfast the night before. I could make sure these are controlled choices.

  • Diary – Today was a rough day. 

I overslept and didn’t have enough patience with my son when he couldn’t decide what he wanted for breakfast. I forgot to give him a hug goodbye when I dropped him off at school. I felt badly all day about it.

I have found that taking just 15 or 20 minutes a day to write down my thoughts has helped me stay in control of my recovery and enjoy healthier relationships with the people I love.

The Anaheim Lighthouse is a modern and effective addiction treatment center in Southern California. To talk to us about addiction treatment programs  at our affordable drug and alcohol rehab that fit your needs, call (844) 494-4939.


(Visited 225 times, 1 visits today)