Those of you who are regulars to this blog know that I am a big advocate for exercise and its role in alleviating some symptoms of mental health issues like substance abuse and eating disorders. However, with gyms closed across the country due to the pandemic, we have the opportunity to turn our attention to other tools that might not get as much attention as they should. Along with exercise, meditation, and my sober support network, journaling is one of my pillars of recovery. Getting thoughts down on paper or screen can change how you feel about yourself and view the world. Even better, it’s something that nearly everyone can do.
A Positive, Creative Act
Journaling is an inherently creative act. Now, some of you may argue that since you’re merely jotting down thoughts about the day ahead or the day passed, you’re recording, not creating. However, you’re the interpreter of these events. You’re the one who decides what gets written and what doesn’t and as soon as you put it down, you’re creating. You’re adding to the world and this is a great tool for combatting addiction. That’s why things like art and music therapy are so popular in substance abuse treatment programs. When we’re out in our active addictions, our lives are all about destruction. The destruction of friendships, trust, and our own lives are the order of the day and this takes a toll on our already traumatized worldview. By creating, we start to see ourselves as creatures of value again.
Reflection and Self-Discovery
Once we start to see ourselves as valuable again, we start to see things more clearly. And I’m not talking about the Pollyanna-ish, pink cloud, “everything is roses” sentimentalism, either. Back when I was struggling with drugs and alcohol, negativity was the standard and it became as habitual as the substance. This springs from a low self-opinion and feelings of worthlessness. When the cloud of negativity clears, we regain the ability to see things as they are. We are able to take an honest account of what is happing in our lives. Our journaling then becomes even more productive as we start to organize our lives and to plan accordingly. It becomes a time of reflection, even a meditative act. It’s an opportunity for positive self-talk and self-discovery.
Build Your Foundation for Success
Ocean Recovery has been successfully treating substance abuse and eating disorders since 2002. Located in Newport Beach, California, we offer a holistic, evidence-based approach including individual and group sessions, cognitive and dialectic behavioral therapies, nutritional therapy, yoga, and more. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or eating disorders, please consider giving us a call today and start building your foundation for success.