Writing in Addiction Recovery


In the field of addiction recovery, we cannot over-stress the importance of putting pen to paper. Addicts and alcoholics, naturally, have a lot going on inside in need of processing. Feelings and experiences that are so raw the thought of saying them aloud might be too much to bear or hear. Alcohol and substance use disorder is a malignant disease, left untreated it almost always cuts short the life of its host. The general public often assumes that people with such disorders use drugs and alcohol to get “high;” the actual reasons are far more philosophical. Addiction strikes at the heart of people who are unable to live life on life’s terms.

Substances are means of escape, regularly confused as a vehicle of elevation. People who use drugs struggle to cope with their existence, their place in the grand cosmic scheme. Unable to reconcile their spiritual connection with the Universe or a higher power, individuals seek the assistance of chemical influences. The result of such behaviors is, more times than not, destructive ends. However, those in the cycle of addiction can extricate themselves from the disease’s sinister clutch. It’s a difficult task to be sure, but it’s possible; if one doesn’t know the way, they need only ask for assistance.

In early recovery, those who’ve committed themselves to working a program typically find it difficult to talk about certain things. In the midst of an epidemic of tragic scale, millions of Americans have seen and experienced things which they would not wish upon their worst enemy. Coming to terms with the wreckage of one’s past is difficult, choosing to face who you were when using is rarely at the top of anyone’s list.


Pen, Paper, and Recovery

Confronting who you were before choosing a different path can, in fact, strengthen one’s resolve to move forward. Taking an inventory of our past transgressions, rather than turning one’s back to them, is part the healing process of recovery. Step Four of the 12 Steps is salient, because it drives one to do something that people with use disorder are wired to have an adverse feeling toward —the act of looking at where you might have gone wrong. The Big Book talks about the inclination:

“Alcoholics especially should be able to see that instinct run wild in themselves is the underlying cause of their de-structive drinking. We have drunk to drown feelings of fear, frustration, and depression. We have drunk to escape the guilt of passions, and then have drunk again to make more passions possible. We have drunk for vainglory— that we might the more enjoy foolish dreams of pomp and power. This perverse soul-sickness is not pleasant to look upon. Instincts on rampage balk at investigation. The minute we make a serious attempt to probe them, we are liable to suffer severe reactions.” 

Now, you may not be at Step Four personally, but if you are serious about long-term recovery, then inventories are in your future. It’s important not to get ahead of yourself or your sponsor regarding Step-work. That does not mean that you can’t begin getting into the swing of things via writing or journaling. You probably have a lot that you’d like to get off your chest. It’s likely that you are not ready to discuss certain things with your support network. Journaling is an excellent way to practice sharing, even if the person you are sharing with is yourself. The act of writing may shed some light on specific areas of your life, mainly those things that have held you back.


Addiction Treatment Light The Way

Improving your ability to process elements of your life with yourself honestly will make it easier to discuss such things with your peers or sponsor. Inauthenticity defines active addiction; recovery is the opposite. In recovery, people face their problems to work through the difficulties of life. Substance use is no longer an option in recovery, so we must learn how to cope with life without heeding the siren of addiction’s deadly call.

Are you ready to take specific steps toward living an authentic, examined life? Do you desire to break the bonds of the disease and step into the sunlight of the spirit? At Hemet Valley Recovery Center Sage Retreat, we can help light the way. While under our care we will give you the tools necessary to unlock the doors of understanding. Please contact us today.