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Old 04-28-2017, 01:51 PM
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Journaling

Hi all,

I have heard a few folks mention that they journal.

I've never done this before, but I bought a journal and started writing.

I have a few questions.

What do you write?

Is it to your alcoholic and all the things you wish you could say to them?

Is it just a record of how you are feeling at that moment?

How often do you write? Daily? Every time you feel sad/angry/emotional?

Are there tips for more beneficial journaling?

Thanks for any guidance and if this isn't the correct forum then just let me know.

Thanks
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Old 04-28-2017, 02:08 PM
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I can only answer this for myself, being an alcoholic myself. I think journaling is a good idea for everyone though.

I write down my thoughts whenever I feel the need to. Sometimes it's several times a day, several times a week or some weeks without writing anything down. Mostly I write down whenever I feel like I understood something about myself, my thinking patterns, how my past plays a role in that, what I want to change and how I could improve. Sometimes I leave that open though when I haven't found an answer yet.
If I feel really horrible I just write down my thoughts, whatever is bothering me and why. But I try to keep my journal positive or at least insightful so I try to write down why there is no need to be angry, frustrated or worried or whatever I am. It helps me grow and get to know myself I find.

My RABF writes journals too, obviously I haven't read them but he told me he mostly writes down his negative thoughts, just to get them out, his worries and stuff like that. He used to journal his moods every day when he had bad depressions so he would see on a really bad day, when it felt like his whole life was a never ending sadness, that for example he had a really good day two days ago and also two okay days that week. I haven't done that kind of journaling yet, to me it's mostly a Q&A about myself. Pages have titles like "about procrastinating and being scared of failing" or "what helps me with cravings?" "Positives about today""why I shouldn't drink again" "on worrying and prioritising" "progress I made so far"

There's really no right or wrong, it's highly personal, so maybe just write down whatever you have on you mind and want to remember in the future or would like to tell someone. Often I start writing, when I feel confused or overwhelmed and it helps me to sort my thoughts and see things clearer again.
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Old 04-28-2017, 02:18 PM
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I've kept a journal for about 10 years now. Not quite everyday, but just about. Sometimes my daily entry is about the weather. Maybe a shopping list. Other times its what day sober I might be. Or I had a relapse and its day 1... all over again. Many times my emotions get jotted down, or even some rant I am on. I keep a small note book in my back pocket while at work. A rubberband keeps the covers from getting dog eared from going in and out of my pocket. I buy the in bulk at walmart for pennies and piece.

I used to keep a bigger notebook at home, but keeping one on my person at all times helps me through a lot of stuff. Almost like I can vent, but no one hears me.
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Old 04-28-2017, 02:36 PM
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If I hear a good quote that day I may reflect on it. If there's a topic I'm struggling with I may include the information that I've discovered.
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Old 04-28-2017, 02:38 PM
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I've kept a journal since 1964 (I was 12, inspired by Anne Frank). It has served me well. It helps me process emotions, and gives me a reality check.

When you write, I would suggest having no "rules"--just write whatever spills out of your head or your heart. Over time, you'll develop a style, or a rhythm, and it will become easier. Also, don't do it for anyone else. Don't imagine that someone will read it and benefit--that will keep you from being totally honest. Just do it for you.

I have found that I crave writing at certain times of my life. I can't say it solves problems. One of the things I wrote in my diary in 1974 was "I can't continue a relationship with 'A' because he's an alcoholic." Hello.. here I am 43 years later, in a relationship with the same guy, and I probably have the same emotional problems.

But don't let that stop you, because it really does release the emotional pressure valve. No matter what, you learn about yourself, and you have a completely unbiased, non-judgemental audience. And that's.. nobody but you.
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Old 04-28-2017, 02:52 PM
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There's no "right" or "wrong" way to journal--I think it's a pretty personal experience. I usually write things I would rather not share with other people. Or what's going through my mind as I try to reach some decision or make some kind of change. Sometimes articulating my thoughts in words helps me pin down the feelings to get at what's really bothering me. Some people write every day no matter what, others do it sporadically. There have been times in my life when I was a daily writer. Currently it's been many years since I wrote regularly.

So scribble away! There is also journaling software I've looked into, though I never really got into it. Some are specifically for people in recovery, or geared toward spiritual growth, with prompts to get you started. Something like that might help, if you aren't sure how to begin. There are also books on journaling with tips.
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Old 04-28-2017, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post

So scribble away! There is also journaling software I've looked into,
I've been through handwriting in composition books, to Word documents, and now I actually use a journalling app called DayOne, which is very easy, no bells and whistles, but definitely does the job.
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Old 04-28-2017, 03:12 PM
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I had one called LifeJournal--I just never really got into the habit of using it.
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Old 04-28-2017, 04:17 PM
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I did a lot of journal writing when I was working the steps in Al-Anon.
It really helped me unpack some family stuff and gain some real clarity about the past.
For me, the physical act of writing unlocks stuff in my brain.
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Old 04-28-2017, 06:25 PM
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Hi HBG,

I've been journaling since I was very young. My mother used to give me a journal every year for Christmas. I guess you could say it's helped to keep me somewhat sane over the years.

My journaling isn't scheduled, i.e., once a day, at the end of the week... I write whenever I feel the need to express myself. Subjects range from work, marriage, recovery, news, memories...

What I love most about journaling is being able to go back and reference what I was thinking or how I handled something in the past. For instance, I can go back to last year at this time and see that I was a wreck, look at how I handled a situation and see how much I have grown since then.

Hope this helps...
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Old 04-28-2017, 07:13 PM
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Thank you all for the guidance.


I have filled a few pages so far. I do feel better. I want to get things out and sometimes I feel like no one will understand my ranting and raving or they won't want to listen to me constantly talking about my grief.

Thanks again everyone
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Old 04-28-2017, 08:10 PM
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I just write- all the time. Happy, sad- crap, whatever. Running thing.
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Old 04-28-2017, 10:34 PM
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I've kept journals off and on for decades. Sometimes I write long paragraphs about thoughts I'm having or things I've experienced. Sometimes it's lines of poetry or random phrases that for whatever reason get stuck in my head. My only rule is no rules - write down anything at all for any reason.

However if you're journalling to deal with a specific emotionally-loaded event or process, like HBG, I can see how it would be very useful to have some sort of guiding questions that you try to answer in your writing. Maybe you could generate a list of guiding questions yourself, or maybe there are some recovery-oriented journaling guides? If you're interested in some sort of twelve-step work, maybe take different steps as prompts for your writing?
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Old 04-28-2017, 11:37 PM
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Journaling to me is like sharing your day, your feelings, your anything with your Higher Power. Better to share that way (and safer) than sharing with another human being who can turn around and hurt you in my mind. But I believe in God as our creator so I have faith He is listening to our thoughts.
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Old 05-01-2017, 10:34 AM
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I started one (and admittedly need to get back to it) based on a book recommending I do it.

After leaving XABF, i had a mini existential crisis, feeling like I didn't know who the hell I was or what I wanted for my life.

It helped me separate fact from my feelings, and identify all the 'noise' I had going on in my head. What was really me and my wants vs, what I felt others wanted of me, plus that awful negative self talk.

Reading it a week later in a different state made it easy to pinpoint - "OH - thats what you want clear as day", and oh, " thats that voice telling you to question your instincts and what you know."

Good luck, I hope you find it therapeutic!
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Old 05-02-2017, 07:46 AM
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My journal looks like a hormonal teenager lives inside of it. I rarely write in a direct line of thought, although I do often record memories or AHA experiences & it's a great way to process it. When I write about anything heavy, I've noticed that I rarely make it to the end of the "story". Something about the way writing slows me down to "tell" the story also helps me to process it somehow. I've learned that's it's ok to stop wherever I want to - it's MY story after all. The point is to "get there" in my head & heart - my written work isn't being read or graded by anyone else.

I also doodle like mad, keep lists like my "Recovery Checklist" of buzzwords & phrases - I can flip to that list when I am feel like I'm spiraling & ground myself with reminders like HALT, stay hydrated, are you sleeping well?, more will be revealed, etc. etc. etc.

When I write to others, those become burn letters for me - not something I want to give energy to by revisiting over & over once it is healed. Not something I want to create a permanent record of. I connect to it as "woundology" as described by Caroline Myss - so when I figure out how to heal a wound I also work on not using it as a way to create ongoing connections with others. It's a constant work in progress - but as long as there IS progress, it's all good!
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Old 05-02-2017, 08:20 AM
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I have a blog I have written since things got very bad with exah which is since 2009. I recently made it public for a short time and my adult kids read it. I know they have cos I can tell from the stats monitor on it. It gave them something to chew on cos I decided they were old enough to not be shielded from the realities anymore and needed to know things to give them answers to why I was like I was back then. I never intended they would read it so they would cut me some slack but I am glad they have and one has drastically altered her nasty attitude towards me.

I made it private again and I write it probably 2 to 3 times a month now but it used to be everyday..
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