The importance of writing things down cannot be overstated, and its power should not be underestimated.

It may seem silly to think that simply writing things down can make them powerful and its proven to help you achieve your goals [1]. We urge everyone in addiction recovery to try it. Writing down your thoughts, your goals, or even your own short autobiography can have a such a powerful effect on your life.

Find Out Who You Are

“Scio Te Ipsum” Translated from Latin means “Know Thyself”

Perhaps the best way to fight drug addiction is to understand yourself; at the very least, self-awareness can significantly prevent relapse. “Addiction might embody a core deficit in insight and self-awareness…” [2].

Jordan Peterson’s Self Authoring Program relies on the idea that writing things down is the best way to learn from them. Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist, and professor at the University of Toronto, says “People who spend time writing carefully about themselves become happier, less anxious and depressed, and physically healthier.”

The Self Authoring Program guides you through knowing yourself.

Writing as a Step in Addiction Recovery

The 12 Step Program [PDF] has used the power of writing things down for decades.

Step 4: Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

In step 4 of the 12 Step Program, you are asked to write down all the wrongs you have committed. To be as detailed as possible. This process is difficult and unbelievably powerful. Addicts who finish step 4 often experience a catharsis [3].

Writing Exercise for Addicts – Find Unresolved Past Issues

  • Set some time aside to write, a few hours.
  • Start writing down the most important memories and moments that changed your life.
  • Writing Tip: Write as if you are writing a letter to a pen pal you have never met, who asked for your perspective. Write them for us if you like, leave them as comments below.
  • Once you have accurately written the accounts of those important moments, add context. Write down what was going on in your life at the time. Talk about your family and your friends.
  • If there are still strong negative emotions associated with those moments, then you have unresolved issues.
  • Bring this list to a counselor or therapist to begin working changes.

Writing down what you want, what goes you have in mind, who you want to be; that makes a difference. Writing your thoughts down makes them tangible. It makes goals come to life.

Journaling and writing is one exercise cocaine treatment centers use to help addicts control their acute paranoia.


[1]: Harvard – Setting Goals: Who, Why How?

[2]: NCBI – Impaired Self-Awareness in Human Addiction: Deficient Attribution of Personal Relevance

[3]: Alcohol Rehab – Writing as Catharsis in Addiction Recovery

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