The Benefits of Journaling in Recovery

There are multiple tasks involved in rebuilding a life after addiction to drugs like amphetamine. Journaling is a tool that can serve various purposes, and many people find it to be a very helpful habit to develop in recovery. People can choose the frequency, focus and mode that best suits their needs.

Types of Journal Writing

There is no one right way to keep a journal. Some people enjoy the actual act of writing in longhand. Others prefer to type. There are physical journals and online journals. Online journals that are password protected are a good choice for people worried about privacy. Some people don’t write at all but record themselves, on either video or audio. The type of content recorded may also vary. Types of journaling include the following:

  • Recording events – Sometimes people keep a journal just to have a record of their activities and to help maintain memories. This sort of journaling can be helpful when people are trying to develop new habits, such as those related to eating, sleeping and exercising. Looking back over past entries can help people see their progress in meeting specific goals. It may also be possible to identify patterns, such as poor eating habits on the weekend, that need to be addressed and changed.
  • Free writing – Journaling can help people identify thoughts, emotions and beliefs that exist under the surface of consciousness. These can often be accessed by free writing or writing for a set period of time without stopping and with no particular topic in mind. The longer the writing time, the more likely it is that layers will be peeled away and new insights will emerge.
  • Expressing gratitude – It can be very beneficial to emotional health to spend time on a regular basis focusing on life’s positives. One type of journaling focuses on writing down things for which to be grateful. Regularly recording positive aspects of life can help people begin to see them more clearly and frequently. A 2015 Psychology Today article reports that keeping a gratitude journal can help develop attention, determination, energy and enthusiasm.[1]
  • Focusing on specific issues – Sometimes people focus their journal writing on a specific issue. People with anger issues may choose, for example, to record things that made them angry and how they addressed the situation. Others may want to focus on spiritual development or family relationships.

There is no need for people to limit themselves to one particular type of journaling. It is possible for one journal to contain various types of writing. It is also possible to have multiple journals. Some people may choose, for example, to have an easily accessible journal for logging daily events and another password-protected online journal for free writing purposes.

How Journaling Can Be a Recovery Asset

Research has shown many benefits to journaling. A 2015 Huffington Post article reports that journaling can help people achieve goals, improve communication skills, boost memory and possibly increase IQ. It relieves stress and by doing so can help people lower their anxiety and improve their sleep.[2] It can even improve the immune system. Journaling about positive experiences and achievements can help people increase their self-confidence.

Specific benefits may be related to the type of journaling. A study reported in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine compared journaling focused on emotional expression with journaling based on both emotional expression and cognitive processing.[3] Those who focused on cognition were better able to see the positive benefits of stressful events they wrote about.

Journaling Frequency

Although many people enjoy writing in a journal every day, it isn’t necessary to make it a daily habit. The Psychology Today article reports that writing in a gratitude journal weekly can increase levels of optimism. There are benefits to journaling regularly and often, but it is also best if writing doesn’t start seeming like a chore. Often, once the habit is developed and people begin to reap the rewards, they look forward to their time of writing and want to do it as much as possible. Incorporating the practice in to a regular routine can help to develop self-discipline, an essential recovery task to keep away temptation o use drugs like amphetamine.

Your Journey Can Begin Today

If you are ready to start a recovery journey apart from drugs like amphetamine, give us a call. Our helpline is toll-free and available 24 hours a day. We understand your concerns and questions and will help you understand your treatment options. We can even check your insurance coverage if you would like us to at no cost or obligation. Every journey begins with a first step. Why not take that first step now and give us a call?


[1] “The Grateful Brain: The Neuroscience of Giving Thanks,” Alex Korb, Ph.D., Psychology Today, Nov. 20, 2012, (January 1, 2016).

[2] “10 Surprising Benefits You’ll Get From Keeping a Journal,” Thai Nguyen, Huffpost Healthy Living, February 13, 2015, (January 1, 2016).

[3] “Journaling About Stressful Events: Effects of Cognitive Processing and Emotional Expression,” Philip M. Ullrich and Susan K. Lutgendorf, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, August 2002, (January 1, 2016).