Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Learn to Journal & Learn to Understand Yourself!

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.
The Wall Street Journal.  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  The Las Vegas Review Journal.  The list goes on.  There are many popular journals that command a wide readership on a daily basis in our country.  Why?  Simply because people like to know what's going on! 

And, believe it or not, journals and their related verb 'journaling' have a lot to do with successful recovery.  Of course, one could read a scholarly journal like the Journal of Addiction Medicine to brush up on the latest findings in the field of substance abuse.  What fun is it to read other people's works when you can write your own!?!  Therefore, one might consider, in addition to academic journal reading, writing their own journal as a record of their experiences, hopes, disappointments and dreams in recovery. 

How do you keep a journal, you might ask?  Very simply.  First, you'll need to buy one.  No need to spend lots of money on one just buy a basic journal that you like. 

Second, write in it!  This seems obvious but some people who are well-intended buy a journal and it collects dust because they never crack it open to write in it.  If you're not going to write in it, then you are wasting your money buying a leather bound jacket of blank loose leaf paper.  Therefore, you should write in it!

Third, write in it on a daily basis.  The journal is just like your best friend walking down the street on a hot summer afternoon when you feel frustrated because the girl you are pining for is just not that into you and you need someone to talk to about it.  The journal is there with arms wide open saying, "go ahead, buddy, hit me with your best shot, let me have it, tell me the good, the bad, and the ugly!"

Fourth, take off your edit button.  That is, if you are thinking negative thoughts but write only positive things you are defeating the purpose of journaling, which is honesty.  Tell the truth when you journal.  Don't edit things because they might be seen as politically incorrect or insensitive.  No one else is going to see your journal (lock it up).  

Therefore, your journal is the one place where you can be completely honest and transparent.  Those two words strike fear in the hearts of many addicts and for good reason.  Journaling creates an avenue for you to be completely honest with anonymity and confidentiality.  This is so crucial to enable you to be honest when you are in recovery because addiction is a feelings disease.  That is, strong feelings can create a strong desire to use and relapse.  Journaling allows you to be honest, in a safe way, so you can daily clear the junk out of your head that might make you use. 

Try journaling for 2 weeks.  At the end of the second week, take an inventory of where you are in your life.  Are you more honest?  Rested?  Balanced?  How is life different when you confront it on a daily basis?  Much better than using, huh? 

At The Coleman Institute, we exist to help you get the life you want away from drugs and alcohol.  We believe in you and your desire to get clean.  If you or someone you love is in need of detox, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-773-3869.  We're just a phone call away!

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