In recovery, we write our life stories, our inventories, amends letters, and feelings. Our spiritual advisors, therapists, and friends suggest we start journaling. It is a tool used by many, and to has the power to reveal ideas and transform perspectives. The inability to properly express emotions results in distress in the mind and body. When we engage in Writing activities, we often find it difficult to start. For so long we have run on auto-pilot, chasing the next high and the escaping from our emotional nature. It is helpful to begin the creative journey with gentle and honest journalism. Journaling is useful to recovery because:
- It can help uncover and Identify emotions
- Decrease depression and anxiety
- Expand communication skills
- Practice reading and writing skills
- Writing can decrease stress
Journaling allows us to write about any stresses, concerns, or happiness that may arise. No one ever has to see it, and sometimes it’s easy for us to be honest and transparent when we know that no one else is able to pass a judgment.
Creative writing exceeds the basic journaling exercise. Creative Writing takes the ideas and emotions and expresses them in a productive and creative way. Creative writing is poetry, lyrics, short-stories, creative non-fiction, and even fiction. In this process, we engage our creative brain and reinforce the imagination that had long been stifled by alcohol and drug abuse. This art form is a personal and holistic outlet. When creatively engaged, it can be used to reach readers and writers at a different level. We are often moved and inspired by music, film, and other expressive arts. All of those mediums required the artist to bring pen to paper.
Writing is a medium that connects people to emotion and inspiration. In early recovery, reading poetry by other addicts has helped make sense of sobriety and our emotional nature.
Many people turn away from writing because they believe that they aren’t good writers. This is a craft that develops with practice. Even if the mechanics and grammar aren’t perfect, the action will expand itself over time.
There is no right or wrong way to write. Every person has a role and a voice. Every person has creative license over their language! For example, Poetry is experimental, multilingual, heavy, light, discernable, and confusing. The writer reaps the endorphins and self-help, while the reader has the chance to interpret and relate to its context.
The ultimate goal of creative writing and journaling is to listen to and understand the internal dialogue that often leads to relapse. The internal dialogue can also expose the cycle of thoughts that often lead us to an unending pattern of self-deprecation. Writing works a different part of the brain than speaking. This activation helps people reach deeper emotions. They are able to come to the surface to be examined and understood.
Creative writing is a therapeutic form of work, but it is not the primary medium of recovery. We often write what we know, and sometimes what we know is a narrative we have created that is not in line with the true nature of life. Writing allows us to explore the ideas and see new
perspectives. Traditional recovery treatment should be a consistent undertaking. Writing is a coping tool that can be beneficial to the writer and anyone exposed to their language.