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Some Prompts to Help Get Your Recovery Journal Started

Recovery Journal

In an earlier blog post, we offered three ideas for activities that can help lower your stress level while supporting your ongoing sobriety. Our three recovery tips were: make a budget, tidy a mess, and start a journal.

We still think those are all good ideas. A budget can reduce the stress you feel about money. A tidier living or working space can make it easier to find things and just generally contribute to a sense of calm. And a journal can provide a place to process feelings, record ideas, express gratitude. 

But the last of our three suggestions—the idea that journaling can be a good idea in recovery—might have seemed better to you in theory than in practice. Sometimes folks decide to start a journal, but then when they are faced with a blank page, they just can’t figure out how to get started. Even knowing that the journal is solely for them and won’t be seen by anyone else is not always enough to get things flowing.

We get it. And we have a potential solution—one you might recognize from back when you were in school. Remember when your teacher would give you a topic and ask you to write about it? The old “what I did on my summer vacation” writing assignment?

Well, there is a name for what your teacher was providing: a prompt. And just like prompts help get students writing in school, prompts can help you get things going in your journal. 

First, a Note About Spelling, Punctuation, and More

Back when you were writing little essays about your summer vacation, your teachers were probably interested in seeing if you were a good speller, if you knew how to use punctuation correctly, and if you understood what made a complete sentence, well, complete. That sort of thing is important when you are in school and when you are writing for your job and the like.

But it is not important at all when you are writing in your recovery journal. Your only goal should be to get your thoughts, feelings, and ideas onto the paper. It is the process that matters—not the correctness of the “product.” Remember, this journal is just for you.

Now We Will Promptly Get to the Prompts

Your journal is a great place to reflect on where you have been and where you would like to go—and on all things you have to be grateful for now that you have reclaimed your sobriety. Here are five ideas for topics you could explore in your recovery journal.

  • Take a few minutes to write down things you are grateful for. Make a list of as many things as you can think of—people, places, pets, etc.—to remind yourself of the good things in your life. You can use the things you write down as additional prompts: Why are you grateful for this person or this place or this thing?
  • What is something you find challenging in your recovery journey? What steps could you take to make it easier? What parts of the recovery journey seem easier to you?
  • Is there a topic or idea you would like to know more about or a skill or hobby you would like to try? Jotting them down in your journal can be a good way to motivate yourself to try something new.
  • Think of someone you admire. It can be someone you know or someone you just know of. Take a little time to write down what you admire about that person. Do they have characteristics or skills you would like to develop? Jot down how you might start doing that.
  • If you could take your dream vacation (we had to work a vacation in here in honor of all those summer vacation essays), where would you go and what would you do? Are there ways to make that dream—or even a small part of that dream—a reality?

Need more? Here is a good resource.

Get the Help You Need Promptly at Bel Aire Recovery Center

Bel Aire Recovery Center—located near Wichita, Kansas—can help you reclaim your sobriety and your mental wellness. We employ evidence-based approaches to help you get sober, acquire strategies and resources for staying sober, and see improvement in your mental health. Our treatment philosophy is built around you, and you can count on us to provide care grounded in our expertise, experience, and empathy.

If you are ready to start a new chapter in your life, we are ready and eager to help ensure that you can write at the top of the page: “Today, I started my recovery journey, and I am so glad to be sober.”

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