Journaling is a powerful tool in drug and alcohol addiction recovery. It allows you to explore your emotions, thoughts, perspectives, and situations in privacy and without judgment. Writing out your thoughts can help you make sense of them and give you perspective. In these ways and more, journaling can help you heal from addiction.
What is a Journaling Prompt?
Journaling prompts are ideas to help you focus on what you want to write about. Some can help you clarify your thoughts or spark your imagination, while others can provide a specific topic or theme to reflect on. Journaling prompts can be questions, words, or first lines. They can be quotations, sentences, or pictures.
Addiction Recovery Journal Prompts
Some days you may sit down with your journal and find that thoughts come easily. You know what you want to write. On other days, you may sit and stare at the blank page and not know where to begin. Below are some journaling prompts for those days you need a little help getting started.
1. Think about all the people who helped you on your journey to sobriety. Write a speech thanking them. Remember to include yourself in the thank-yous.
2. What is one skill you would like to learn in the future? When people are struggling with a substance use disorder they generally only live in the moment. Look forward to the future and the things you would like to learn.
3. Imagine yourself in the future talking to your children or grandchildren about drug and alcohol addiction. What would you say to them? Would you explain your experiences to them? How would you explain your experiences to a teenager or child?
4. Can you remember when you first felt like you were addicted to drugs or alcohol? Do you remember how you felt?
5. Describe the happiest moment in your life. Explain why it made you feel that way.
6. Are there self-defeating thoughts in your self-talk? Write down three of them and the ways you can reframe those thoughts to encourage yourself.
7. Think about four people whom you have trouble getting along with or who irritate you. What is it that irritates you the most about them? Then make a list of at least three positive qualities about each person.
8. What might your life be like today if you were not in recovery? What would have happened to you if you had not gotten the help you needed to become sober? Think about the negative consequences and risks you were willing to take when you were in active addiction.
9. Take ten minutes and write down as many things you are grateful for in your life. It could include people, pets, your job, objects, places, and anything else you want. Pick one or two items from the list and explain why you feel that way.
10. What would you want a new person you meet to know about you? Think about how much of your recovery journey you want to share with them. How long would you need to know someone before you tell them what you have been through? Would it depend on the person and the situation? Remember, you are not defined by your addiction. Your story is yours to tell or not tell.
11. What is one manageable goal you want to accomplish in the next six months, the next year, or the next five years? Why is that goal important to you?
12. Write a letter to your past self, your present self, or your future self.
13. You have been granted three wishes. They will definitely come true. What would you wish for? Why?
More Journaling Prompts
- You can find more recovery journaling prompts in this article from one of our sister facilities.
- Writing for Recovery – Writing Exercises and Ideas includes journaling prompts and tips, including quotations to use as journaling prompts.
- If you are looking for prompts for your gratitude journal, try 50 Daily Gratitude Journal Prompts.
Be Honest with Yourself
When you are writing in a recovery journal, spelling and grammar are not important. Neither is writing in complete sentences. Do not edit yourself. The goal of a recovery journal is to express your feelings and thoughts with complete honesty.
Do You Need Help?
If you or a loved one struggles with addiction to alcohol or drugs, finding the right help is critical. At Anabranch Recovery Center located in Terre Haute, Indiana, our staff of highly skilled, caring professionals will help you find the path to recovery. Take the first step and call us today.
About the Author:
Terry Hurley is a retired educational professional and freelance writer with more than fifty years of experience. A former reading specialist and learning center director, Terry loved her years working with children in the educational field. She has written extensively for print and online publications specializing in education and health issues. For the last six years, her writing focus has been on addiction and mental health issues.