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Writing is a hugely important tool for those in recovery from chemical dependency, sex addiction and for emotional growth and recovery in general.  Writing about yourself is a form of self-care but it is much more.  In addiction treatment, it is a systematic set of exercises for self-exploration.  Here are some reasons why you must do the written tasks of treatment and make writing a part of your recovery practice.

8 Comments to
Telling Your Story: 5 Ways Writing is Essential to Recovery

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  1. I have found writing to be an essential part of my therapy. I am not working through addiction, I am working through Trauma. However, writing helps to put the pieces together. It seemed hard to get started, until I realized I did not need some “journal” from a fancy store. I just needed a lined notebook. I also have worksheets from my therapist to fill out when I need to. My therapist often talks about the Personal Narrative. Thank you for affirming what the therapist says. What’s difficult is getting “stuck,” and not wanting to write or to talk. Your words are so true. It’s easier to write, and then eventually it can actually be spoken, and then it can actually be addressed. It’s just sometimes hard to write it, then say it, because then it means it really happened.

    • Thanks for the comment! I agree you don’t need a fancy journal but I like to give my clients a binder or folder as I think it is good to give one’s writing the respect of having a consistent place. But anything you write can be important and useful, even just stray thoughts. Even blog comments :-)

  2. For any kind of inner work, writing is good thing. Nice post.

  3. Thanks for the article. I have passed it on to our Teen Writing Workshop leaders. This will affirm their approach to writing, editing and performing with youth!

  4. Thank you so much for this! I have been journal writing my whole life, so I know how much writing helps me- I would be an entirely different-an unhappy, very ugly person without my writing. It was so nice to read exactly how it helps, to have the undefined concepts in my mind so clearly explained. Thank you!

  5. I have been writing most of my life. Well since I was 15. I started out with poetry then realized it was short stories I was interested in writing. Like a short story, it’s also fun to be a critic of
    something – a movie, a restaurant, the opera, etc. I’ll be a milestone age coming up and I want to work on my memoiors. I’m not rich, nor famous, an infamous criminal or a notorious citizen. I’m really just an ordinary woman, with an extraordinary life to tell. From the outside, many people would guess I had a great childhood, full of
    joy. That’s not exactly the way it was and analyzing myself sounds, rather difficult to do.. However, the point is, I’m trying something new and writing this is a big deal, well to me!

  6. I used to be a big proponent of journaling. I did it all through high school, college and beyond. However, I’ve realized that I quit writing a few years ago. I know the intitial reason was that nueropathy made it difficult, but that has been treated and my strength and dexterity has returned in most part. I believe that I became so depressed that I couldn’t even bear to write about it. I was at a point of not even getting out of bed. Now, after a very long period, I am finally in recovery. Thanks for reminding me of this tool that can help prevent relapse.

  7. Lots of good points in this piece. Articulate and concise. The part that I liked best, which I hadn’t really seen expressed in this way before, was:

    “Many of us grow up with a personal narrative that was told to us by others. This is a story of our life that may not match the reality of what happened to us. Some people had such a disorganized attachment history growing up that they never formed a narrative of their life at all. Either way the story doesn’t depict who we really are. It is a representation of a false self. In writing we challenge what is false in that life narrative and write a more realistic and coherent one.”

    The process you describe, of using writing as a means to develop a personal, authentic life narrative, has been incredibly important for me. I’ve spent the past 20+ years working through layers and layers of trauma, abuse, and conditioning that had buried entire aspects of who I am. That process of rediscovery and reconnection with myself began and has continued with writing as one of its core components.

    I think this is a great intro to the practice. Well done.

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