Imagine you are going on a trip. And not just any trip, either. This is the trip of a lifetime, something you have been planning for a long, long time. You have been saving money, creating an itinerary, finding the best travel and lodging options, scheduling time away, and more. It is almost time to go, and it occurs to you that you are going to want to document this trip as robustly as possible. 

There is, of course, the camera on your phone (make sure you take your charger!). For a trip of this magnitude, you might even think about taking an actual camera—maybe even one that shoots film! No doubt you have set aside some money for souvenirs that will serve as reminders of your journey.

And it might also occur to you that keeping a journal would be a great idea. After all, a trip like this can be overwhelming, so taking a few minutes each day to jot down what you have experienced (and what you think and feel about those experiences) can be a great way to ensure your precious memories and ideas are captured.

Those daily musings don’t have to take the form of carefully drafted prose (though they could!). They just have to be clear enough that you will remember what they mean when you look back on them later. You want your journey journal to evoke the special experiences you have had.

Now let’s change the nature of the journey. Instead of heading out on a major trip, you are heading out on your recovery journey. 

It has taken a lot to get to this point, but now that the journey is underway, you are going to want to be sure you have everything you need to keep your recovery headed in the right direction—and a journal might be just the thing.

Different Journals for Different Journeys

There are plenty of different ways to use journaling to support your recovery. You might choose one (or more) of the following ideas—or you might have an idea of your own.

  • The Gratitude Journal
    Counting your blessings is a good way to ensure you remember the things that are going well in your life as well as the challenges you are working to overcome. A daily gratitude journal can be quite simple. Each evening you might write down three things from the day that you are thankful for. They do not have to be big life-changing occurrences (though they can be); daily reflection about the small but wonderful things in your life can give you ongoing motivation to maintain your sobriety.
  • The Creative Journal
    Could you set aside 10 minutes each day to write or draw? Whether you try your hand at fiction or poetry or essays or sketching, you can access your creative side, which can be a great way to boost your mental health and support ongoing sobriety. These creative exercises are solely for you so you do not have to share them with anyone else (though you certainly can if you find yourself getting serious about a creative project). The goal here is simple: to let your imagination lead you in new and fun adventures of your own making.
  • The Goals Journal
    Sometimes we have only the vaguest idea of what our goals might actually be. Taking the time to write down some goals—and the steps you will take to achieve them—can be a powerful way to move yourself forward. And the opportunity to check off each step as you make your way toward your goal can be very satisfying indeed. Of course, your goal journal could focus specifically on your sobriety, but it does not have to. Any worthwhile goal pursued with intention can add a sense of purpose and growth to your day-to-day life—and that, in turn, supports sobriety.
  • The Reflection Journal
    This might be the kind of journal that might have first come to mind when we mentioned this topic. This sort of journal is the same as a diary—a place to write down what has happened during a given day and what you think and feel about those things. It is not unlike the journal we imagined for your trip of a lifetime. Like that journal, your recovery reflection journal will give you the opportunity to look back on your journey to remember all kinds of moments that have added up to your lasting sobriety.

Make a Note: The Aviary Recovery Center Can Help

Here is a sentence that would make a great start to a journal: Today I decided to get the help I need to overcome a substance use disorder.

At The Aviary Recovery Center near St. Louis, MO, we offer personalized treatment for those struggling with drugs or alcohol. We can also address co-occurring mental health disorders—like anxiety, depression, or disorders based in trauma—that may be intertwined with a substance use disorder. If you need help reclaiming your sobriety and your life, we are here to help.