Should you keep an addiction journal in early recovery? My thought on that is “absolutely.”
I kept a journal in early recovery and actually extended it well into long term sobriety. I continue to write down a lot of my thoughts about recovery, even to this day, though it is not always in a journal format like it used to be.
Why write in an addiction journal? Several reasons:
1) Brain drain – if you want to free up mental energy then writing your thoughts down in a journal is a great way to go about it. This is great if you tend to obsess over certain things in your life or if you tend to worry a lot. Writing down your thoughts, regardless of what they are, can be very liberating. Once you have them recorded your brain says “OK, I have those ideas tucked away and I will not forget them now, they are backed up for me, so I am now free to move on to other things.” In this way writing can be very therapeutic. If your mind is racing and you keep having the same thoughts over and over again, then start a journal and write them down.
2) Explore solutions – it is amazing how the human brain can problem solve when we are least expecting it to. This can be seen in action if you write in a daily journal. Problems and situations that normally present you with a challenge will become much easier to manage if you write about them every day as your life unfolds. This has to do with the fact that you are documenting major events in your life, but it also has to do with the way your mind can then process these events once you have them in your journal. It is almost like you are not just writing them down, but you are adding some commentary to them. This “adding commentary” process forces you to think through and reason things out even more than you normally would. So journaling about addiction can lead you to more revelations.
3) Visual growth – If you journal, especially in early recovery, then you get the awesome experience of one day looking back at an old entry and saying “Dang, just look at how far I have come, how much I have grown.” When we don’t journal on a regular basis, we do not have this useful yardstick that can give us a boost of gratitude when we need it later on.