- Buy a two-hundred-page, divided notebook.
- Make five sections and label the sections: Childhood Experiences, Adolescent Experiences, Current Day, Recovery Exercises, and Future Plans.
- Plan where, when, and how often you will write. Try to write at least twice per week.
- Can you share your writing with someone you trust and who is good for you? If you can, discuss it with him or her and be as open and honest as you can.
- Expect the writing to be slow and painful. Remember, it is very difficult to express your deepest pain.
- Whatever you feel is okay! If you feel disoriented by your writings, know that the feeling will pass. Learn to tell yourself that everything will be all right. You might want to record this positive message, so you can play it back to yourself whenever you are feeling scared or enraged.
- Reread what you have written until it no longer evokes strong emotions in you. This process is called extinction. It will help to heal your wounds. Be sure to reread each of your entries until you feel little or no pain or discomfort.
- If you find that become too overwhelmed to write in your Recovery Journal and you do not have anyone who can support you through the rough times, consider seeing a professional therapist for assistance. Bring this book with you and explain to the therapist what you want to do.
- If your writing stresses you out too much, follow the instructions in Recovery Exercise 1.6: Breathing to Relax in the following article.
Recovery Exercise 1.6: Breathing to Relax
To learn a breathing technique that can manage the stress of writing about painful feelings and memories.
Many people have reported that writing a Recovery Journal is a stressful at first. It is easier to manage stress if you know how to calm yourself down with a breathing technique.
Sit comfortably in a chair and close one nostril with your finger. Take a deep breath (to a count of ten) through the open nostril. Hold it for two seconds. Close the open nostril as you open the closed one and breath out through the newly open nostril. Repeat this technique until you feel noticeably calmer. This breathing technique is called the Nose Breath.
Use the Nose Breath whenever you feel stressed out by your writing: Calm yourself, take a break, and then, if you want to return to your writing. It works!
Remember to write in your Recovery Journal today.