The Power of a Recovery Journal

Keeping a recovery journal is a simple yet powerful task that can help record our recovery journey.
Coming from active addiction and seeking treatment for our substance use is a lot for anyone to accomplish. Let’s not just let those words slide by: getting treatment for substance use is an amazing accomplishment. There is so much change and upheaval in our lives at a time like this, it is hard to even know what day it is. However, there is something very powerful that we can do that will help us now and going forward: we can keep a recovery journal.

A recovery journal can be whatever we want it to. A place where we write down where we are, where we have been, or where we want to go. It can be a place where we document our path, talk about the 12-Step process, or just a place where we write. It can be a place where we talk about our self-discoveries - whether in a group, in therapy, or just on our own. It can be a journal of gratitude, or a spiritual journal, or a journal where we record our awakenings. There is no wrong way to journal, it is something we do for us. 


The most important thing about a recovery journal is that it becomes a record of our recovery. Where we started, where we are at any point along the way, and how we got there. This can be such a valuable tool for us to have to remind us of how far we have come. It can be something that helps us to remember the early struggles in treatment and the things that were triggers for us, to help us avoid a relapse. Most of all, it serves as a powerful map of our self-discovery and a great reminder of why we want to keep moving forward.


It doesn’t need to be some fancy journal with an expensive leather cover. In fact, we might just collect notes from various papers and put them in a folder or inexpensive binder. It can be just an inexpensive notebook from a corner store - it is not what it looks like that matters, only that it is a place for us to write. Here are some ideas for our journals, to get us writing:


Why – write down why we made the decision to get treatment. Why now? Was there a big event that pushed us? Was there an emotional or family crisis? Did someone else push us? Or did we make the decision on our own? Take the time to record this decision, it will probably be one we reflect on throughout our lives.


Today – it doesn’t matter if we missed a day in writing. Today is the perfect day to write in our journals. In our futures, it won’t matter if there is a date heading for every single day of our recovery. What will matter is what we have chosen to write. And we can choose to write today. We can write how we are feeling, something we learned and share our emotions (not just the happy ones.) 


Goals – we often set goals in recovery. Not to set us up for failure, but rather to train us for successes. Our goals can be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual or whatever it is that we want to achieve. When we write them in our journal, it gives us a place where we can look at them often, refer to them for our benefit, and be accountable to ourselves.  


Kudos – we can write our accomplishments. Recovery is such hard work, and it is okay to give ourselves a pat on the back when we have done something hard. Or something easy. Or something that was not really a big deal to anyone else but us. We can praise ourselves for being awesome because if we are in recovery, that is automatically awesome.


Gratitude – being grateful is such a powerful quality. When we write down all of the things we are grateful for, it helps us remember for those times we don’t feel grateful. It reminds us of our higher power and how much help we receive in recovery. Being grateful reminds us to be humble yet strong, meek yet powerful in acknowledging everything in our lives.


Spirituality – as we are discovering our higher power, we can journal about our spiritual awakening. Thoughts we have, scriptures or thoughts that helped us, or prayers we said when we were pleading on our knees. As our understanding of the unconditional love that our higher power has for us grows, we will see our spiritual journey unfold like a beautiful blossom. Journaling about our spiritual growth is something that will be very powerful to read about in our future.


Ourselves – a journal is a place where we can truly record all of our thoughts about ourselves. Who we are. Who we are today, then tomorrow, then the next day. Who we want to be. What we do like about ourselves and what we don’t like about ourselves. What we want to do to change ourselves. And anything and everything else we want to write to ourselves and for ourselves.


Having a journal in recovery can be a very powerful tool to help us on our path. The staff at The Bridge NYC are waiting to help you start your recovery journal. Call today to write a new story for your life.


The Bridge NYC is a boutique luxury sober living facility for men seeking a concierge experience to balance outpatient programs, school, or work-life resulting in a sustainable, lasting recovery. Call  (646) 928-0085 today for more information about admissions or The Clean Fun Network.


We understand what it takes. Let's start the journey.

We’re looking forward to having you at The Bridge NYC.

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