Addiction recovery happens at a different pace for everyone. You’re working through major life changes, and there’s no exact timetable for full rehabilitation. During this process, honesty – both with yourself and with the friends and family members journeying with you – is crucial.
Especially when you’re dealing with challenging emotions that might be difficult to convey to those closest to you, a recovery journal can be your best friend. You can write at your own pace and frequency, without worrying about perfect spelling or complete sentences.
Why should I journal during the addiction recovery process?
Whenever you sit down with your addiction recovery journal, the overarching goal is complete honesty. Since you’re not dialoguing with anyone else, you can be entirely honest with yourself about how the addiction recovery process is affecting you, where you might be excelling or falling short, and how you’re coping with difficult choices and emotions you might be feeling.
There are 3 main reasons why we recommend journaling during the addiction recovery process:
- Express difficult feelings. During the addiction recovery process, you’ll be battling with some difficult emotions. Sobriety is challenging, and relapse is real. This is where your addiction recovery journal can serve as an invaluable resource, allowing you an outlet to get any feeling or frustrations off your chest and onto paper. You’ll find that journaling during this period of time is a stress-relieving process that you’ll likely look forward to as your recovery progresses.
- Celebrate daily progress. The addiction recovery process takes time. It’s easy to get frustrated at the pace, especially when it feels like you’re not making any progress. When those moments happen, it’s a great idea to flip back in your addiction recovery journal to earlier weeks and prompts. As long as you’re honest with yourself in your journal, you’ll be able to track and celebrate progress from day to day and week to week.
- Maintain personal accountability. Personal accountability is huge during the addiction recovery process, specifically during early stages. Not only is the addiction recovery journal a great place to record feelings; it’s also a habit in itself. Once you integrate journaling as a staple of your day, you’ve developed a positive habit in place of a negative one. Accountability to your calendar and your emotions will go a long way toward reaching and maintaining freedom, and your journal is a major step toward making that happen.
There’s one important note we need to make before we outline our addiction journal prompts: there is no right or wrong way to journal. Change the color of your pen or pencil, write in full or half-sentences, skip pages, draw pictures and write sideways. As long as you’re honest with yourself, you shouldn’t let any other rules define what you write and how.
31 amazing addiction recovery journal prompts you can use right now
We always make time for the things we care about. That’s why it always helps to set aside time in your day specifically for journaling, even if it’s only 10 or 15 minutes. When you feel your creativity kick in, grab your addiction recovery journal and use one or more of our journal prompts to get started on an entry!
- What does unconditional love look like for you? Have you ever felt it?
- Dear past me…
- Dear present me…
- Dear future me…
- Write a letter to the 1 of the 5 people you love the most, even if you don’t deliver it.
- What would I be doing right now if I wasn’t in recovery?
- What have I learned about myself during the recovery process?
- Write a goodbye letter to something in your life you want to eliminate during your recovery process.
- What are the things in your life that make you smile?
- What are you grateful for in your own life? For the next 10 minutes, write down as many as you can.
- When were you the most confident? How did it feel? What made you feel that way?
- Write a chapter you would love to read in your own autobiography.
- Write down as many details as you can about one memory you’ll never forget.
- What does the word “freedom” mean to you?
- How have you seen yourself progress in the past week?
- List 5 things you couldn’t live without, and explain why.
- Identify something kind you’ve done for someone recently. How can you show the same love to yourself?
- Talk about your first love – it could be a person, a place, a pet, an experience.
- Describe yourself in 5 words. Then, describe yourself in 10 words. Then, describe yourself in 100 words.
- Draft a list of everything in your life you’d like to say “No” to.
- Draft a list of everything in your life you’d like to say “Yes” to.
- Write down the words you most want to hear someone say to you right now.
- Identify the last mistake you made, that you feel ashamed about. What did you learn?
- What is something you’re tired of? Why?
- How are you doing, right now? Don’t hold back.
- Write down 3 things you do better than most people.
- After recovery, what’s one skill you’d love to learn?
- Write down 4 questions you want answers to. How will you get those answers?
- When you meet new people, what do you want them to know about you?
- What do you want to accomplish tomorrow?
- Do you like who you are when no one is watching? How can you change that?
Get to know you better
Addiction recovery journaling is a great way to get to know the new you, as you transition from addiction through recovery to total freedom. Spend even 10-15 minutes per day writing, to better connect with any emotions you’re feeling, gauge where you stand in your recovery process, and even have a little creative writing fun along the way! If you can find the discipline to sit down and write, progress toward a full recovery will find you.