It’s well-known that journaling is a simple way to promote mental health in recovery. Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer, the act of putting your thoughts down on paper gives you a chance to clear your head and gain a new perspective on what’s troubling you. Over time, your journal also serves as a tangible reminder of the progress you’ve made in your recovery journey.
If you’re having trouble deciding what to write about, don’t panic. We’ve assembled this list of recovery-oriented journaling prompts to help you get started. (If you’re looking for general journaling prompts that aren’t specifically focused on recovering from a substance use disorder, Refined Prose has a list of over 400 writing prompts organized into multiple categories.)
What does being in recovery mean to you?
This can be a hard question to answer, but it’s well worth considering. Write about what inspired you to seek treatment and how your life has changed since you became sober. Reflect on the positive aspects of your recovery, as well as the aspects that you’ve found challenging.
How has your past affected the person you are today?
People in recovery often feel guilty or ashamed when they think about certain aspects of their past, but your previous mistakes are an important part of your life story. So is the adversity you’ve overcome. Healing and moving forward requires you to acknowledge how the darker parts of your past have influenced your recovery journey.
If you weren’t in recovery, what do you think your life might look like today?
Write about what you think might have happened if you had allowed yourself to continue traveling down the wrong path. Thinking about the risks you were taking and the negative consequences you faced can serve as a reminder of why seeking treatment was the right choice.
What have you learned about yourself since being in recovery?
Being in recovery tends to give you a new perspective on your personal strengths. Think about what you’ve learned about yourself since seeking treatment. How have you shown resilience? When you felt like giving up, what did you do to continue moving forward? What are you doing to apply these lessons to other aspects of your life?
How have the relationships in your life impacted your recovery?
This can be a discussion of how certain family, friends, co-workers, spiritual leaders, or recovery peers have helped hold you accountable, but it can also be a look at whether certain individuals are exhibiting toxic behaviors that could be holding you back. Think about the roles people play in your sober support network and determine if it might be time to reconsider some of your relationships.
What are your goals for the future?
When you think about the future, what do you want your life to look like? Make a list of your short-term and long-term goals. Maybe you want to improve your relationships with loved ones, get your own apartment, or plan a special vacation. Maybe you want to go back to school or start your own business. Don’t be afraid to dream big—even the loftiest goals become manageable when you break them down into smaller steps.
What makes you happy?
If you’re feeling stressed out and frustrated, writing about the things that bring you joy is a surefire way to put a smile on your face. Think about dancing to your favorite song, enjoying a special meal, talking to a loved one, or playing with a pet. If you’re feeling creative, add doodles, photos, or small mementos to this entry so you can refer back to it when you need a pick-me-up.
What are you grateful for?
Focusing on what you do have instead of worrying about what you’re missing helps you find peace in recovery. Make a list of the people, places, and things that you’re most grateful for, then think of ways you can show your gratitude as you work towards your recovery goals.
What is your self-care routine?
Self-care is an essential part of leading a wellness-focused lifestyle. The basic components of self-care are fairly straightforward: getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, eating healthy foods, etc. Beyond the basics, what do you do to keep your mind, body, and spirit in balance?
What additional resources would help you be successful in your recovery journey?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to addiction treatment because care must be personalized to fit individual needs. If you’re struggling, it doesn’t mean that you’re not trying hard enough or that you lack the willpower to succeed. Often, it’s a sign that your treatment plan should be adjusted. Think about what services might help you move forward, then contact the team at Waypoint Recovery Center’s South Carolina drug and alcohol addiction treatment program to learn how we can help.