I started journaling on a regular basis soon after I quit using opiates. At first, I didn’t get much out of it. I was mostly just writing about things that were happening in my life and my emotional reactions to them.
This helped me sort things out in my mind, but I quickly realized the type of journaling I was doing wasn’t nearly as powerful as it could have been…
And that’s when I learned how to journal effectively.
During that time of my life, I was reading books, listening to audio programs, and attending seminars that all had to do with personal development and spirituality. I extracted bits and pieces of valuable information from everything I studied, and eventually my journaling skyrocketed to another dimension.
Life without opiates had become EXTRAORDINARY, and effective journaling was one the main reasons I was able to make positive changes so rapidly.
Table of Contents
- 0.1 How to Start an Opiate Recovery Journal
- 1 1. Purchase a Journal
- 2 2. Write about your Dream Life
- 3 3. Measure the Gap
- 4 4. Journal on a Regular Basis
- 5 5. Use Effective Journaling Strategies
- 6 6. Measure your Progress
“A life worth living is a life worth recording.” – Jim Rohn
How to Start an Opiate Recovery Journal
I simply cannot recommend journaling enough…Do it and watch your life change! I’m going to provide you with some simple tips to get started right away. The most important advice I can give you is to be patient and stick with it.
Learning how to journal effectively takes time, but if you put in the time and energy, eventually it will pay off IN DIVIDENDS. Eventually you will think less and less about opiates, and more about all of the amazing things you are doing with your life.
The following 5 steps can help you get the process started.
1. Purchase a Journal
When I first started journaling in recovery, I was using a simple $2 notebook. It got the job done. Functionally it worked, but I wasn’t inspired to write in it. Furthermore, the notebooks were flimsy, which restricted my ability to write wherever and however I wanted.
It was a pain in the butt!
After a few months, I upgraded to a new type of journal that I bought from Target, which cost me around $18. It was hard and sturdy, and worked well for writing entries. I have continued to purchase these types of journals over the years, and I make sure to get a different color each time.
Once my current journal is filled up, I intend to get the antique handmade leather journal pictured below.
Note: I encourage you to pick out a journal which inspires you to write in it. Choose something high-quality, and make sure it speaks to you and what you’re about.
2. Write about your Dream Life
For your first journal assignment, find a quiet spot where you won’t be interrupted, close your eyes, and begin to breathe deeply, slowly, and peacefully. After a few relaxing moments, open your eyes and answer the following questions:
If you could wake up tomorrow and have anything you wanted in life, what would that look like?
In your Dream Life, where do you live? What does your house look like? What is your career? How are your relationships with family, friends, and your intimate partner? How physically fit and healthy are you? What types of things do you do for fun? Where do you go on vacation? How spiritual are you? What type of friends do you have? How much money do you make? What personality characteristics do you have? What are your values and beliefs? What is your identity? Who do you love, and who loves you? What do you stand for? How much love, joy, and fulfillment do you experience?
3. Measure the Gap
After you’ve completed the previous writing/visualization exercise, take a good and honest look at where you are currently in life. Do your current life conditions match the Dream Life you constructed? Most individuals will have some areas of life they are happy with, and other areas of life that need to be enhanced.
Write about the current life conditions that don’t match your Dream Life. How far away are you from reaching your goals? Are you close? Do you have a loooooong way to go?! What are the steps that need to be taken to make your current life match your Dream Life?
The distance between your current life and your Dream Life is called The Gap. Measure the gap, and develop a strategic action plan that will help you bridge the gap. This bridge will take you to your DESTINY.
4. Journal on a Regular Basis
I encourage you to write in your journal for 10-15 minutes or longer everyday. If this is too much for you, not to worry, just do it a few times per week. Some days you will have more to write about, and you might be spending an hour or two writing out a bunch of goals and action steps.
Other days, you might benefit from writing for a few minutes about your fears, worries, and insecurities. The process of writing in a journal is a form of Self-Therapy. Simply writing these concerns down helps you overcome them.
Out of convenience, many individuals write journal entries from home. However, if you are in close proximity, I encourage you to choose a peaceful and beautiful location to write in your journal every once in a while.
5. Use Effective Journaling Strategies
When I refer to “effective journaling,” I mean doing writing exercises that produce significant positive results in your life. I’ve been journaling for over three and a half years. During that time-span I’ve learned some really powerful exercises, and I’ve even come up with a few of my own.
There are actually many different things you can write about in your journal. When I first started this journey, I didn’t really know how much variety and creativity I could infuse into the process.
Some effective journaling strategies are listed below:
- Write about your fears – Why do you have these fears? Are they rational? Are you making problems bigger than they really are? What are you afraid of? How can you overcome your fears?
- Make a list of goals – What are your short-term and long-term goals? Follow the S.M.A.R.T. format by making your goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-focused, Time-bound. Click Here for a great worksheet on SMART goal-setting. Focus on your key areas in life that you want to enhance, such as: Health & Vitality, Career, Finances, Relationships, Recreation, Family, Spirituality, Personal Growth, etc.
- Make a list of intentions – Setting goals and achieving them can be a lot of work. That’s why I encourage you to get the Universal Mind on your side. Write out the phrase “It is my intention to .” Fill in the blanks with your intentions. Some examples could be “It is my intention to have a life of fulfillment free of addiction,” or “It is my intention to be free of chronic pain.” Putting your intentions out into the Universe will help you attract them, thus manifesting your dreams into reality. To learn more about this, I highly recommend reading The Power of Intention.
- Write a gratitude list – This one is self-explanatory. Simply write out everything you are grateful for. This directs your thinking to focusing on the positives in life, rather than obsessing over the negatives. We feel what we focus on. To take this journaling exercise a step further, close your eyes, breath slowly and deeply, and visualize everything you are grateful for. By the time you are done you should be feeling immense love, peace, and gratitude.
- Write about Magic Moments – If something extraordinary happens during the week, make sure you document it in your journal. A Magic Moment could be watching a beautiful sunset with someone you love, getting a significant raise at work, or laughing so hard with friends that the beverage you are drinking comes out of your nose!
- Key lessons learned – Write down key points and ideas you pick up from books, articles, mentors, and anywhere else throughout the day.
- Heart’s desire – Write about anything and everything that comes from your heart. Ask your heart to speak to you, then write what it says in your journal.
- Poetry – If you don’t consider yourself a “poet,” don’t sweat it! Anyone can write poetry. Follow some of the popular formats like Haiku, or throw all of the rules to the wind and just write from the soul.
- Sketching – Often times a picture can express more than words can ever convey. Try drawing pictures of intense emotional states you experience on a regular basis (both pleasant and unpleasant).
- Stream of consciousness – Simply write whatever comes to you. Let the words pour out of your soul. You’ll be amazed at some of the realizations, epiphanies, and intuitions that come up as a result of this process. There are many things going on below the surface of consciousness, deep within the subconscious, that might find their way to the light during free-flow journaling.
6. Measure your Progress
It’s REALLY FUN going back to my old journals and reading some of the entries. This helps me to see just how far I’ve come! I encourage you to keep your journals and review some of the older entries at least a few times per year, if not more.
This will help you measure your progress. You’ll see what goals you’ve accomplished, how you’ve enhanced different areas of your life, how you’ve grown as a person, and much, much more.
Don’t underestimate the power of journaling. At first I thought it was kinda lame, then it really grew on me once I started engaging in effective journaling. The results it can produce are real and measurable. I hope you’ll give it a try. 🙂