Journaling is important for sobriety for a number of reasons. We love journaling here at Live Rehab and recommend it as part of our programs. Journaling is good not just for those who are recovering from an addiction but really everybody. However, in sobriety, journaling can take on some pretty significant importance.
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, journaling is beneficial in helping people to manage anxiety, reduce stress and even help you cope with depression (link). These benefits can of course help anyone but they play an even bigger role for those people in sobriety.
Let’s dive into the main reasons why journaling is important in sobriety.
Journaling is important because it is good for your mental health
As I kind of mentioned before, journaling is so good for your mental health. In the early stages of recovery, your mental health can take quite a beating. For many reasons, you enter into a somewhat fragile state when you stop drinking and it takes time for this reverse itself. It’s why we suggest doing lots of activities to improve it.
Journaling helps to improve your mental health because it gives you an outlet to express feelings, write down important events and potentially identify triggers in your battle over addiction. For instance, if you write everyday about your feelings and thoughts, you might discover that certain activities cause you to become triggered and want to use alcohol again. This is vital stuff.
Understanding why and how you become triggered helps you to prevent a relapse which is crucial in long term recovery. When you’ve then figured out what these triggers are, you can start to come up with ways to manage them.
The American Psychological Association points out that in a study, researchers discovered journaling actually frees up your mind to deal with other things in life too. It’s like a double win!
Journaling is important because it helps set goals you can achieve
Working on your goals in recovery and sobriety is a key way to stay focused on the end goals of not drinking. When you journal, it allows you to set daily goals that you remind yourself of on a regular basis. With this in mind, you can then start to track your progress towards these goals. Making progress on your goals is so satisfying as well!
Journaling unlocks a power in the mind that keeps you future focused. While it can help improve your emotions based on processing of the past like I talk about above, it can also keep you locked on future goals. If you’ve stopped drinking, it can often feel like there is no future other than not drinking but this isn’t true. And, journaling helps you see that.
Setting short and long term goals, gives you something to think about and look forward to. Nothing is more powerful than being in love with the future.
How to journal
The good news is that there is no right or wrong way to journal!
Think back to when you were a young child and had a diary. Nobody told you the rules back then did they? All joking aside, at first it can seem a bit odd, especially if you aren’t someone who likes to work with their emotions anyway.
What’s important about journaling is that you are consistent and doing whatever works for you personally. I say this because imposing someone else’s routine or approach is only going to serve as friction to getting it done regularly.
I recommend just grabbing a notebook, whatever size suits you, then every day keeping the kind of journal that you want personally. Here are 3 things I recommend that you at least incorporate into every journal entry:
- Emotions or thoughts about the day
- Positive things you are thankful for
- Set some goals for yourself
Every day if you write about these 3 things you will find that your journaling will be fine.
For many years now, the concept of journaling has been recommended via mental health professionals. In the world of addiction, the importance of journaling is becoming even more recognized.
Writing this now, during a pandemic caused by the Coronavirus / COVID-19, journaling is important for everyone.
One day you will get the chance to look back on these journals and realize what an important part of your life they are.