How Journaling Can Help Your Sober Journey

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A person going through recovery from drugs and alcohol spends a lot of time talking to others about their experience, including therapists, doctors, and other treatment team members. They also invest time communicating with family members and friends. What may be lacking from a solid recovery plan is journaling and an inspirational list of journal prompts for sobriety.

The History of Therapeutic Journaling

Throughout history, humankind has kept journals in one form or another. From drawings on cave walls documenting neanderthal times to digital diaries, human nature prompts many people to keep a record of life events, feelings, fears, and goals for the future. 

When some people hear the word “journal”, they picture a teenage girl hovering over a diary, recording childish thoughts in dramatic fashion. This is only one facet of what journaling encompasses. The act of journaling took on a role in the therapeutic community in the 1960s when psychologist Dr. Ira Progoff determined through research that his clients who kept a journal worked through their issues quicker than others. 

Progoff developed the Intensive Journal Method, which led to journaling becoming a common method of treatment recommended by many clinicians in the therapeutic profession. Many patients showed a reduction in anxiety and stress levels when they kept a regular journal. Workshops teaching the Intensive Journal Method are now regularly taught in such diverse populations as schools, health care facilities, social service agencies, and prisons.

What is a Journal Prompt and How Does It Help?

A journal prompt is a question or thought designed to get your mind working when you sit down to journal. You take the prompt and answer the question or examine your thoughts about the prompt while you write in your journal. 

Journaling offers a person the ability to express themselves privately and work through ideas and feelings, often in order to better understand them before discussing them with others. Sometimes a journal offers a great place to just vent without worry about those expressions going any further than the private, written page. 

Getting into a habit of journaling can provide the comfort of knowing you’ve got a reliable place to pour your deepest and most vexing thoughts. It’s also a place to celebrate victories and mark milestones in recovery.

Journal prompts can help you think of something you might not be addressing or learn to consider an event or emotion in a new light. We’ve come up with some journal prompts for sobriety to help get you started. 

Journal Prompts for Sobriety

Try picking one or two prompts from this list the next time you sit down to journal and see what you come up with. You may use it to ruminate to yourself or as a jumping-off point for opening a discussion with a loved one or treatment provider.

The last time I felt true joy was…

What I most crave forgiveness for is…

What do I know for sure now that I didn’t know before I got sober?

Do I experience unconditional love in my life and with whom?

The first moment I felt like my recovery was working was…

The biggest mistake I made while drinking or using drugs was…

The person in my life who is the proudest of me is…

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I usually think of is…

What would I be doing today if I weren’t in recovery?

When I meet someone new, what do I tell them about my past?

The three things that happened today that I am grateful for…

The last time I felt shame was…

If I’m confident about one thing about myself, it would have to be…

The song that most reminds me of the dark days of my addiction is…

If I could have the approval of just one person in my life, it would be…

No one else knows how much I struggle with…

What progress have I made in the past couple of weeks?

The hardest part of choosing sobriety every day is…

The last time I laughed really hard was when…

Where will I be a year from now?

There Is No Wrong Way to Journal

Keep in mind that there isn’t a right versus a wrong way to journal. When you use your journal prompts for sobriety, feel free to add your own flair. If you write by hand, you might want to use pens with colorful ink. You can add stickers or draw doodles in the margins of the pages.

If you write with a keyboard, you can choose colored fonts and add emotes or GIFs. If you keep an electronic journal, resist the urge to share it with others via email or social media. People never write exactly the same when they know there will be an audience as they do when they write a journal only meant for their eyes. 

Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Los Angeles

Entering recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is one of the bravest decisions a person can make. Launch Centers can help you or a loved one become sober and learn how to stay that way for a lifetime. Our programs offer clinical and holistic treatment, along with education and career guidance.


If you are ready to put addiction behind you, contact Launch Centers now and let us help you take the first step.

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