There are many individuals who have experienced a traumatic, terrifying, or untamed life who go on to write about it. Take a look at the many recovery-oriented blogs online, the memoir-like articles, and the many autobiographical novels and movies that describe the experience of addiction and recovery. Often, it’s not only the addiction that makes a life interesting to read about, but it’s all the other circumstances, such as how a person ended up drinking or using drugs, how the substance use worsened, the hitting bottom experiences, how they ended up in treatment, whether there were any relapses and why, and finally a person’s journey of recovery.
Of course, reading about these experiences is one thing, and writing about your own journey of addiction and recovery is another. Yet, there’s a reason why people write about their tumultuous lives: it’s therapeutic. It’s healing. It can bring a perspective upon your life that you would not have otherwise gained.
Certainly, there’s a time for writing your story – when you’re ready! If you’re still in early recovery, then you’re focusing on staying sober. You’re giving your time, energy, and attention to making positive changes in your life. Yet, there might come a time when you’re ready to sit down with your life experiences and write about them. It’s important to point out that writing about certain experiences might be triggering. They might open up wounds that have been closed. They might create heartaches that you’ve long gotten over. Because of this, writing about certain experiences might even trigger cravings and a desire to use again. Therefore, writing must come at the right time. It should come when you feel anchored in your recovery and when you feel strong enough emotionally to face old wounds.
Of course, when looking back on your life, you might see who far you’ve come! You might realize how much you’ve grown and how much of a wider view you’ve gained about your life. You no longer have a narrow, telescopic view of yourself and your life. Your life consists of much more than your wounds and drinking them away. Instead, you have opened up to many experiences of healthy living, healthy relationships, and perhaps a healthy spirituality.
If you’re interested in writing your story, you might begin with an easy exercise offered by the author of The Artist’s Way. Julia Cameron suggests to write three pages every morning. Don’t worry about what you’re writing. Just let your words come out. Let your thoughts, images, and fresh ideas find their way to the page. Once you’re doing that every morning, you might find that the creative juices are flowing and you can begin to write your story. However, don’t neglect your morning pages, as Julia Cameron calls them. Doing that automatic writing each morning will keep your mind open to new ideas and insights about your life.
Once it’s all said and done and you’ve got your story on 150-200 pages, you might feel a great sense of accomplishment. You might have developed a greater appreciation and love for yourself. And you might find that writing out your story of addiction and recovery gave you a great boost to your life.
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