The Relationship Between Writing and Substance Use Disorder

When you’re in recovery, a therapist might recommend you keep a journal. That way you can document your journey, and keep in your memory moments of clarity. You can work through a confusing situation by writing it down on paper; you can find flashes of inspiration through this type of self-help. Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer, you might find that writing is a therapeutic way of reorganizing your life and gaining clarity where you felt confused before.

Writing prompts are a great way to get started writing. They’ll typically include a sentence or phrase to make the wheels in your brain start turning—sparking inspiration. There’s lots of writing prompts out there, and you can start with any of them, no matter how difficult they may seem.

Here’s a few examples of writing prompts that might help with sobriety:

-What’s your first memory as a child? How did you feel?
-What’s your first memory of substance use disorder? How did that feel?
-If you could be sober for one day, what would that day look like?
-Write about the best day you’ve ever had.

And writing prompts can even get a little strange or uncomfortable…

-Write about your life from the perspective of a cat.
-Write about your worst moment as an active user of substances.
-Write about yourself and your life from the perspective of another person.

Even if you haven’t started down the journey to sobriety or even decided to cut out substance use disorder from your life, writing can be one way to illuminate your subconscious thoughts. Have you really thought about how much you drink or use drugs? Perhaps what you write will surprise you. Did you know that you were unsatisfied with alcohol or drugs in your life? Have you really thought about it before? No matter the writing prompt, writing usually helps to clarify and make concrete those thoughts you never knew you had.

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Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance use disorder, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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