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Setting up a Journal

Journaling through recovery is a great way to stay on track. It helps to keep all the incredibly confusing thoughts in line.

Especially in early recovery, our mind is racing in a lot of different directions. It makes it hard to stay focused on what matters to us. Giving our thoughts and emotions words helps our brain to sort them into categories and give us power over them.

I like the bullet journal method of journaling. It was developed by a man with ADHD who needed to keep his thoughts in order. It's incredibly simple to follow.

The part of his method that I'd like you to consider is the collections.

These are lists. I love lists. Lists make my world go round, but my lists end up all over the place. Putting them into a 'collection' in my journal allows me to keep coming back to them over and over.

I'd like to recommend that you find a journal that you are going to love. Personally, I need one that already has pages numbered. I know I won't be bothered to put the numbers on the pages myself.

Make a Table of Contents where you will put your list of collections. To start a collection, write the name of it at the top of a new page, same title on the table of contents. Now you can write out whatever you like and come back to it later when you remember something else that you want to add.

But what if your list is too long? No worries. Find the next blank page in your journal, write the title again with a continued, or part 2, or whatever behind it. Then, beside your page number at the bottom, write the next page of this collection. On the 2nd page, do the same with the first page. This is called 'threading'. It helps to quiet that perfectionistic part of my brain that wants everything to be in the same place.

I'm going to post a new journal collection every week that you can think about adding into your journal. Doing one a week will be kindest to your brain. The feeling that you need to do them all RIGHT NOW is your addict brain talking. Tell it to shush.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Dr. U.

(PS, here's a sneak peak of one of my old journals. Feel free to judge my messy handwriting, but this was a brain dump situation where I was just writing as fast as I could.)

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