How to Start Your Recovery Journal Today
Revisit your childhood, adolescent, and adult experiences in order to help explore and take control of your own inner pain. It is important for you to know, you are not alone. With this in mind, at your first opportunity purchase yourself an attractive notebook in which you will record your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in. The journal should have at least two hundred pages, and you will divide the notebook into five sections. The sections will be titled as follows:
- Childhood Experiences (birth-12 years of age)
- Adolescent Experiences (ages 13-17)
- Current Life (from the start of your journal and going forward)
- Recovery Exercises
- Future Plans
In the Childhood section, record your memories and feelings about your psychotraumatic experiences. Write down your positive memories and experiences here as well, particularly, those that involve people who cared for you.
In the Adolescent section of your journal, repeat the instructions from above. Additionally, make note of the instances in which you caused harm to yourself or participated in dangerous or illegal activities.
In the current life section of your notebook, keep a diary of all the work you are currently doing to achieve a more balanced life. Identify what you are doing that is positive. What is working for you? What are the healthy habits in your day to day that make you feel better about yourself and your life?
In the recovery section of your journal, record any of your answers to the previously completed recovery article exercises.
In the Future Plan section of your notebook, outline the changes you would like to make in your life. Specifically in areas such as career, schooling, people, home residency, recreational interests, and your relationships with family and friends. You do not have to write in each of the above sections every time you. Just write what feels appropriate to you.
Before you begin to write in your Recovery Journal, consider the following questions.
- Where and when will feel safest to write?
- Where will you store your journal to keep it secure and confidential?
- Is there anyone with whom you will want to share your recordings?
- How many minutes per day will you spend writing in your Recovery Journal?
Expect the writing process to be slow and challenging. It is supposed to be hard. Years of repressed feelings emerge slowly from their poisonous repose. Patience and encouragement are imperative. In order to encourage your thoughts to flow, you need to suspend all critical self-judgment. Avoid self-abuse. Do not tell yourself, “I can’t write.” I can’t spell. I don’t know the correct grammar.” If you can talk, you can write. Simply write the walk you speak. If it helps, use a record yourself on your phone or computer to get your ideas out. Tell yourself that whatever you write is good because it comes from inside you. Your memories are your personal experiences. The goal of your Recovery Journal is to free yourself from the grip of your painful emotions, not to create a best-seller. Perfect grammar, perfect spelling, or perfect style is irrelevant. Your only objective is to express what you have repressed and put it into your own words.
Recovery Journal Breakdown
- Purchase a two-hundred-page divided notebook.
- Divide your journal into five sections. Childhood Experiences, Adolescent, Current Day, Recovery Exercises, and Future Plans.
- Determine where, when, and how often you will write. Try to write at least twice per week.
- Are you able to discuss your writing with someone you trust?
- Expect the writing to be slow and painful. Your memories have been repressed for a reason.
- Whatever you feel is OKAY. If you feel disoriented, know that your feelings will pass. Learn to tell yourself that everything will be okay even when you don’t know how it ever could be. Record a positive message to remind yourself everything will be okay.
- Reread what you have written until it no longer causes you intense pain. This process is formally known as extinction. It will help heal your wounds.
If you become too overwhelmed to write, reach out to one of our trained professionals at BlueSky Behavioral Health, and allow one of our team members to assist you.