You might be able to exercise abstinence earlier on in recovery because of the momentum gained coming out of rehab. However, implementing sustainable practices that can evolve over a long period of time can better prepare us for situations that might lead to relapse. One of these sustainable practices is the written word. In fact, only a few minutes spent writing could reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. So what is it about the written word that proves to be so helpful in our recovery process?
We Get to Know Ourselves
There are different ways in which one can write in order to further explore some of the hardest questions, desires, and fears that weigh on one’s mind.
- Stream of Consciousness: The point of this practice is to allow the writer to free flow whatever is on their mind. Often times during a free-flow writing session, the writer will touch upon thoughts and feelings that they were otherwise not aware of. Some who free-write describe this as tapping into the subconscious mind. Some even attest to getting to the bottom of problems that had been weighing on them, while others enjoy the practice because it is simply a good way to get a jumble of thoughts out of their head. The practice overall is seen as cleansing and therapeutic for the mind.
- Diary: This revolves around a more structured approach. A diary helps us track our actions, behaviors, moods, and goals on a daily basis. It is important to make time for a diary daily. A diary is reflective and can act as a good reference if/when difficult times arise. We might look back to see where and why something began to break down in our life such as a relationship, a regimen, or a job.
- Gratitude: When in recovery, it is especially important to show gratitude. Sometimes when the going gets tough, we forget to look at what we have accomplished in our recovery. We focus on the negative and might fall into a funk. However, by expressing our gratitude in a journal on a daily basis, we are recognizing our accomplishments and appreciating them, which in turn promotes more positive thoughts.
- Spiritual: Considering that the mind, body, and soul have a connection, getting in touch with our spiritual side can show us a different kind of growth within ourselves. Examples of this include observation such as being mindful of your surroundings and how it makes you feel.
- Health: It is always important to mind our health. What we are eating, how we are living, and how we exercise all play a part in good health. Much like a diary, tracking our health can not only help us maintain better habits, it can also show us where we began to break down.
Written Word and Recovery
There are many reasons and benefits as to why everybody should write for therapeutic relief, but what about writing connects with sustaining sobriety and promoting a long-lasting recovery?
- Know ourselves: Not just affirmation about what we already know, but discover new things about ourselves like who we are now after choosing recovery.
- Accountability: Accountability is essential to staying sober. A great support system can offer this too but our support system is not always with us for every decision. Therefore, we must learn to practice accountability for ourselves. By keeping a journal we have the responsibility of being honest so that words can attach more of a feeling of commitment to our goals.
- Writing helps to manage emotions: Keeping a journal can help to clear our mind, reduce stress, and allow us to think more clearly. Like after a good session with a therapist, writing allows us to get all of our thoughts out on the page. For someone going through recovery, this is an effective way to manage emotions as opposed to channeling emotions through negative behaviors.
- A journal is a timeline for our progress: Page after page means day after day that we have remained clean and sober, and one can appreciate the feeling of seeing their progress grow.
- Finally, and maybe the most sacred thing about writing is that there is no judgment from others. We may write uninhibited. It is a liberating feeling to express ourselves without caution.
Recovery is all about sustainable practices. Some practices might prove more challenging than others, however writing is one of the most sustainable practices that require no more than you and your thoughts. There are no rules over what one should or how one should write, this is free form expression.
Recovery is all about sustainable practices. If you find that your practices are starting to wear thin after only a year of recovery, it might be time to set new goals and try something new. True Recovery believes that the quality of care is only as good as the quality of the practice. For more questions regarding recovery please call us at (866) 399-6528.