Journaling In Addiction Treatment – Writing As Therapy

At Northbound we require all of our clients to journal every night while they are in the first phase of drug and alcohol treatment. For their first 30 days, all clients do what is called a 10th step in Alcoholics Anonymous. They are given a journal which outlines a format for them to write in their journals every night. Each journal entry is reviewed by our designated “clinical journal reader” and feedback is given. Journaling is a big part of recovery. The daily discipline of writing in a journal every night helps people in recovery review and take stock of their day. In Alcoholics Anonymous it is suggested that people in recovery do a 10th step every night. People who work a good recovery program do this on a daily basis.

At Northbound we have our clients do a lot of writing. The therapeutic benefits of writing in a journal, and writing in general, have long been known in the psychological community. Writing helps people externalize and bring into reality thoughts and emotions that otherwise might remain trapped in their psyche. It helps people process their thoughts and emotions with themselves and with the clinical staff at Northbound. At Northbound the clinical staff reviews all of the writing done by the clients. The clinical staff writes comments in the margins of their writing. These comments are meant to facilitate further growth and insight into their behavior. Our hope is that clients will continue to use writing as a therapeutic tool when they leave us.

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