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Journaling to Recovery, Made Simple

A powerful tool on the road to recovery

"When treating addiction patients on their road to recovery, I often recommend keeping a journal. I have found that journaling is a powerful tool that not only helps patients reflect on, and express their feelings, but also examine ways to avoid relapse. Over my years of experience, however, I have found that many patients don’t follow through keeping a daily journal, citing the practice as tedious. What I teach my patients is that journaling does not have to be a synopsis of their entire day. Instead, it should be a reflection of the conflicts that impacted them during the day. One of the most effective ways to journal is when a person is able to identify and address the key issue(s) bothering them that day before going to bed. This practice helps a person in recovery be on top of the stressors they face on a daily basis."

What Bothers Me? Identify the issue that is bothering you and write it down in one brief sentence, or less.                                                                  

How Are You Feeling? Examine your feelings associated with this problem—are you angry, sad, happy, disappointed, guilty or resentful? Write this down in one sentence or less.

What Action Did You Take? Did you take any action to address the problem? If so, write it down in one sentence or less. If not, also record this.

What Action(s) Do You Plan To Take? If you didn’t already take action, what actions do you plan on taking? Jot this action plan down in one sentence or less.

Read more: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sure-recovery/201606/journaling-recovery-made-simple


Journaling is a powerful tool to help us recognize our emotions. "A fool vents all their feelings, but a wise person holds them in control." (Prov. 29:11). Addictions always serve an emotional purpose. Virtually every addictive act is preceded by feelings of overwhelming helplessness, feeling trapped, powerless and out of control. People act compulsively to regain or reverse feelings of helplessness, to attempt to regain control of what overwhelms them. Journaling facilitates identifying emotional issues in our lives.

Recognize: Why do you drink? Why do you compulsively act the way you do?  Do you feel helpless, trapped, powerless, out of control? What good do you get from your chemical abuse or compulsive behavior? What are the underlying emotional themes that lead to the experience of helplessness and, in turn, its addictive solution?  Benefits are always there! Your brain is NOT hijacked! We choose compulsive behavior because it feels good to be in control. All compulsive behavior is all about regaining control of helpless, trapped, circumstances with displaced behaviors! (Will my needs and goals be met if I keep doing what I am doing for the next 10 minutes? 10 months? 10 years?" Recognize and understand the long-term impact of your everyday actions to decide if you need to change).

Reframe: What are the problems associated with it? Do you regain control with Displaced behavior or Direct behavior?  What benefits would there be from stopping? What defenses do I employ or to keep myself from seeing the key moment? (Change always comes down to price vs. motive. If the price of change is higher than the underlying motive, then you won’t change. Conversely, if the motive to change is greater than the price, then nothing will stop you, you will change! To increase your motivation, consider the effect your success is having on your life. Everything in your life either is positively impacted by your success or negatively impacted by a lack thereof. That’s motivation!
Replace: Replace the benefits from addiction.  Shift the benefits or re-channel them! What more direct alternative actions could I  have taken in place of the addictive act? (substitute healthy feelings and thinking). Regain control over your helpless feelings with Christ Driven Behavior that honors God!
When you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we gain new benefits, values, motivation and purpose.  Replace your old behavior with Christ Driven Behavior. Always ask: Will my behavior honor God? This is the new direct healthy behavior!

Change your thinking and change your life!

"I am a Surrendered Believer in Jesus Christ with Free Will and I CHOSE Surrender (Intelligent Delegation) in my victory over, “Recreational Chemical Abuse, my weekend, "False Idols."
"I chose DIRECT health assertive Christ Driven Behavior (CDB) instead of DISPLACED behavior in order to regain control over feeling helpless, powerless, trapped and lacking control. I changed my, "Thinking," and God changed my life."
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There is no reason why anyone with any hurt, habit, or hang up cannot be helped. The Person-God partnership simply needs to be more powerful than any hurt, habit or hangup.

Behind everything you do is a THOUGHT.

Every BEHAVIOR is motivated by a BELIEF.

Every ACTION is prompted by an ATTITUDE.


With respect to behavior, life is about, emotions, beliefs, thinking and control.

"A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back."Proverbs 29:11 (Displaced Behaviors)

"Do not be conformed by this world but instead by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2 (Direct Behavior)

When you think and empower yourself and surrender control to God, when you Intelligently Delegate Control to God (2 Corinthians 12:9-10),

God returns that control to you with a, “Helper," the Holy Spirit, (John 14:16) a form of Reciprocal Innervation.

You regain control: "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

No longer are you subject to corrupted displaced thinking but instead are transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).

This is where science and scripture intertwine, where Christ Driven Behavior brings, values, control, cause, character and purpose driven behavior, the fruits of the spirit Galatians 5:22-23 .

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.


Proverbs 29:11 "A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back."

Romans 12:2: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

2 Corinthians 12-9:“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

John 14:16: "He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—"

Philippians 2:13: "for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."

Galatians 5:22-23 "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Ephesians 4:22-23 "...put away the old person you used to be. Have nothing to do with your old sinful life. It was sinful because of being fooled into following bad desires. Let your minds and hearts be made new."

Life is about finding Purpose. When you have a, "Global Purpose," in life, healthy direct assertive thinking and behavior follow.

Change your thinking, change your life!

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