The Importance of Keeping A Recovery Journal

Photo by Aidan Meyer

When it comes to dealing with the past and addiction, trying our best to forget or bury our memories while we progress forward may seem like the right way to recovery. However, by writing down our daily thoughts and emotions during and even after our recovery, we are actually helping ourselves deal with all of the emotions we struggle with during our addiction. By writing things out in detail we are not only having a conversation with ourselves but also taking time to self heal, meditate, and put our addiction into perspective unlike ever before.

How to Journal

Choose a journal of your choice that best fits you, sit down in relaxing environment, take a few deep breaths, and write for about 20–30 minutes.

Focus on your present feelings without dwelling too much on the past.

Struggling with addiction comes with a lot of emotional trauma and baggage. What journaling allows us to do, is it allows us to analyze both the past and present while learning how to deal with our emotions. It is much better to focus on what your feelings are about past events now and how you plan to deal with these emotions and move forward than to dwell on what has happened in the past and what it has done to you.

As addicts we used drugs, alcohol, and other forms of addiction to help distract us from our present thoughts and emotions because we didn’t want to have to deal with them. Journaling keeps you grounded in the HERE and NOW. It allows us to organize all the mumble and jumble going on and set it all down clearly in writing. Through daily journaling, we can organize our life experiences, analyze our choices, and examine the outcomes and goals we have. This can be extremely scary and uncomfortable at the beginning but as time goes on it will be something you actually look forward to doing on a daily basis.

Researchers at the University of Arizona found that keeping a journal after a ­divorce not only helped people make sense of the experience emotionally and move forward, but also resulted in lower heart rate and higher heart rate variability — associated with ­better health. This builds on existing research being gathered by Dr James Pennebaker, author of Opening Up by Writing It Down, who has found that as well as lowering depression and anxiety, journaling strengthens immune cells called T-lymphocytes.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction or substance abuse, call Ridgeview Ranch today to speak with one of our Addiction Specialists at (877) 526-7706 for a free consultation. For additional information regarding our detox, outpatient and inpatient (30, 60, & 90 day) treatment programs, please visit We accept all major PPO insurances and have financing programs to fit your needs. We are also now in network with Beacon Health Options, formerly Value Options. We are here to help you!

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