101 Addiction Recovery Journal Prompts

It’s widely known that journaling can help you process your emotions and better understand the inner workings of your mind. Sometimes, we don’t know how we’re feeling until we get it out of our head and on to paper. Those recovering from addiction tend to have an especially difficult time untangling their thoughts and making sense out of their disease. After years of battling an addiction and stepping into recovery, it can be challenging to remember what happened in the years before.

Blog101 Addiction Recovery Journal Prompts

It’s widely known that journaling can help you process your emotions and better understand the inner workings of your mind. Sometimes, we don’t know how we’re feeling until we get it out of our head and on to paper. Those recovering from addiction tend to have an especially difficult time untangling their thoughts and making sense out of their disease. After years of battling an addiction and stepping into recovery, it can be challenging to remember what happened in the years before. 

An overwhelming amount of people experience relapse at least once while trying to get sober. Journaling can also assist you in chronicling events in your life, especially trying times, and give you a resource to look back on exactly how you were feeling. Wherever you are on your recovery journey, taking pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) will provide you with immediate release today and a record of your accomplishments for tomorrow.

  1. Other than yourself, who is the one person that helped you most in recovery? 
  2. What advice would the you in recovery give the you in active addiction?
  3. What are three things you have today that you didn’t have in active addiction?
  4. What was the loneliest moment you can remember in active addiction?
  5. Who are you becoming? What steps are you taking to get there?
  6. What feelings are difficult to navigate sober? What healthy tools do you have to process them?
  7. Write a letter from your addiction to you. What is its voice like? What is it asking of you? How does it manipulate you?
  8. Write a letter from you to your addiction. What anger do you need to express? What resentments do you have? What would you say to fight back against it?
  9. Describe yourself in active addiction in three words, then describe yourself today in three words.
  10. What is a secret you have that could trigger a relapse? Write it down.
  11. Imagine your addiction claimed your life. What would your obituary say?
  12. Other than yourself, who is someone you deeply hurt by your addiction? If you could say anything to them, what would you say?
  13. What healthy substitutes can replace my drug of choice?
  14. Why do I never want to return to the person I was in active addiction?
  15. Write 5 things you’re ashamed of as a result of your addiction. Next to them, write 5 ways you can make up for them as a sober person.
  16. Do you remember the moment you thought “I can’t take this anymore?” Where were you? What were you thinking? What were you feeling?
  17. Where is the darkest place your addiction took you to? 
  18. How does life feel more manageable as a sober person? Name three things you can easily do today that you couldn’t in active addiction.
  19. Have you lost someone due to addiction? If you could write them a letter as a sober person today, what would you say?
  20. Emotions are often difficult to put into words. We can try our best to express them and still feel like we are coming up short. Imagine your emotions as a tangible thing. Something you can see, taste, hear, smell, and touch. What color is anger? What does it sound like? How does it feel in your hands?
  21. Emotions are often difficult to put into words. We can try our best to express them and still feel like we are coming up short. Imagine your emotions as a tangible thing. Something you can see, taste, hear, smell, and touch. What color is sadness? What does it sound like? How does it feel in your hands?
  22. Emotions are often difficult to put into words. We can try our best to express them and still feel like we are coming up short. Imagine your emotions as a tangible thing. Something you can see, taste, hear, smell, and touch. What color is joy? What does it sound like? How does it feel in your hands?
  23. What lies did your drug of choice tell you? How did it disguise them?
  24. Try hard to remember the last time you were withdrawing from your addiction. What did that desperation look like? How did it feel to be in your skin?
  25. How did you try to hide your addiction? What lengths did you go to keep it a secret?
  26. What did you lose as a result of your addiction? This can be a person, a job, or even your sense of self.
  27. What is one mantra you want to have to tell yourself when you’re thinking about relapsing? What words or affirmations do you need to hear in that moment?
  28. When you looked in the mirror during active addiction, who did you see? When you look in the mirror as a sober person, who do you see?
  29. If you had to describe addiction to an alien, what would you say?
  30. Why is addiction a disease? What would you say to people who argue that it is a choice?
  31. What programs or self-help resources would you suggest to someone who is trying to get sober? Why did they work for you?
  32. If you could write a book about your life, what would it be called and why?
  33. If you could pick one song to describe your life in active addiction, what would it be and why?
  34. If you could pick one song to describe your life in sobriety, what would it be and why?
  35. If you weren’t in recovery, where would you be right now?
  36. How do you think society stigmatizes addiction? If you could do anything, how would you break down that stigma?
  37. Write a commercial for anti-(your drug of choice) using your own experience. Create a 30 second script to grab a viewer’s attention and help them get sober.
  38. If you had to cast the movie of your life, who would you pick to play you in active addiction and who would play you as a sober person? Why?
  39. What pain was I trying to cover with my addiction?
  40. What fear was I trying to run from with my addiction?
  41. How can your story benefit someone struggling with addiction? What is one thing you could do today to help someone else?
  42. Addiction is largely mental, but physical addiction is a debilitating part of the disease. How did your body feel during active addiction? What health issues did you experience?
  43. Sometimes, our drug of choice can begin to feel like our friend. What lies did you tell yourself to defend your addiction?
  44. What is something you did under the influence of your drug of choice that you can’t imagine doing sober?
  45. What are five of your favorite things about yourself? How can those things be taken away by a relapse?
  46. Sometimes friends and family members don’t understand the deadliness of addiction. What’s your plan if they try to convince you that you don’t need recovery?
  47. If you could do anything for a career, what would it be? How would this not be possible in active addiction?
  48. Our addiction can rob us blind. It steals from us monetarily, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. What are the three things your addiction stole from you? If you haven’t already, how can you get them back?
  49. What is one thing you’ve gained in recovery that you’re terrified to lose?
  50. It may sound odd, but oftentimes we learn how strong we really are through our addiction. We can reach a new level of self-awareness by coming out on the other side. What is one thing your addiction taught you that you’re grateful for?
  51. A lot of recovery is about unlearning. We have to let go of previous beliefs that no longer serve us. What is the most important thing you “unlearned” through your recovery?
  52. Recovery is all about connection. We are able to be vulnerable and authentic around those who understand our struggle. Who is one person you’ve met in recovery that allowed you to be your truest self?
  53. Many of us lose our identity to our addiction. What is one thing you’ve learned about yourself in recovery that you didn’t know before?
  54. Recovery communities often tell us to change the people, places, and things we were accustomed to in our addiction. How have you changed these things in recovery?
  55. Try to remember the worst location you ended up in as a result of your addiction. Describe what it was like, how you felt, and why you never want to go back there.
  56. People who are unfamiliar with addiction often reduce an addict down to their disease. People in recovery are so much more than their drug of choice. How would you explain this?
  57. Some people are ashamed to share their addiction journey. Why are we so afraid to tell the truth?
  58. We impact everyone around us with our addiction. Describe how addiction is a family disease, even if other family members don’t struggle with addiction.
  59. We go great lengths to get our drug of choice. Sometimes, we’re reluctant to do the same in recovery. What ways can you apply your determination in addiction to your journey with recovery?
  60. What are you really missing by not using your drug of choice? When you write it down, does it seem logical?
  61. Our addiction can rob us of our memories. What is one moment you wish you could get back? How can you recreate that memory today?
  62. Think of something that seemed unachievable during addiction. It could be related to your career, your family, your health, or your location. What changes have you made in recovery that has made the impossible more possible?
  63. If you were the head of marketing for a “recovery starter pack”, what five things would you include in the kit? What would the commercial say?
  64. If someone has cancer, we don’t blame them for their disease. Explain the ways that addiction is like a terminal illness.
  65. What is your favorite quote? How does it relate to your recovery?
  66. Many of us carry the guilt of our behavior during active addiction with us for much too long. What are five things you are proud of in your recovery that can help you combat those thoughts?
  67. We become unrecognizable to ourselves in our addiction. What parts of your real self started to resurface during recovery?
  68. Tons of celebrities have struggled with and overcame addiction. Write about your favorite celebrity in sobriety.
  69. Medical professionals agree there is no known cure for addiction. Imagine if there was one. Would you go back? Why or why not?
  70. What do you think the biggest corporate support of addiction is? Pharmaceutical companies? Big alcohol? Tobacco companies? Fast food? What counter-campaign would you pitch to fight back?
  71. Many addicts try to escape the present moment. They find themselves regretting the past or fearing the future. Why is it important to stay in the present moment? How can you remember to stay grounded?
  72. If addiction is a disease, we need medicine to get better. What three things have served as your “medicine” from your addiction?
  73. We often hear about “rock bottom” in recovery circles. Some people don’t hit the traditional rock bottoms, but have their own version of their very lowest. What did that look like for you?
  74. Many psychologists and therapists agree that our addictions can stem from childhood trauma. What is one significant event in your childhood that may have contributed to your addiction?
  75. Much of recovery is about learning to “reparent” ourselves. Oftentimes, we feel we weren’t cared for in the way we would have liked to have been. How are you reparenting yourself in your recovery?
  76. Taking up new hobbies is a great way to fill the time you previously spent on your addiction. What are five new hobbies you can explore trying out?
  77. Addiction is often glorified in the media, especially in television and film. If you had to write a disclaimer about addiction before the feature was shown, what would you write?
  78. The word “addict” can be jarring. No one wants to label themselves after something they’re not proud of. What’s a word or phrase that could be used to replace “addict” and why?
  79. Though many high school classes cover the dangers of drugs, it is clear that the curriculum isn’t always effective. If you were back in school, what kind of lesson do you think would have impacted you?
  80. What small things about the world have you found beauty in since being in recovery?
  81. What tiny moments in your day do you appreciate now that you didn’t while in active addiction?
  82. How has your mental health changed since your recovery journey started? If you relapsed, what would happen to your mental health?
  83. What is one piece of advice that you’ve received that you’ll never forget? Who said it? How does it apply to your recovery?
  84. Sometimes it helps to recognize the patterns that lead up to a relapse. What thoughts do you have that flash right before you return to your addiction? If you were in a debate, what counterpoints could you argue against these thoughts?
  85. It’s often said that “we pick up where we left off” in our addiction. If you relapsed and kept going down the path of addiction, where would you end up? Write about what that would look like realistically.
  86. What is a false promise you made during active addiction? How can you fulfill that promise today?
  87. Personification is the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristic to something nonhuman. Addiction is ugly. Describe what yours would look like if it were a person.
  88. What three qualities do you have now that you didn’t in your addiction? Trustworthiness? Integrity? Confidence? Explain how recovery has given these to you.
  89. What can you give yourself in sobriety that you couldn’t give yourself in recovery? Comfort? Peace? Write how this is possible.
  90. Addiction is like a nightmare and sobriety is like a dream. One is dark and evil, sort of like a villain, and the other is a bright light, more like a hero. Write the title of a children’s fable about addiction. What’s the villain’s name? Who comes to save the day?
  91. Recipes are easy to follow instructions when it comes to cooking a meal. We get the list of our ingredients and prep our kitchen. If your addiction had a recipe and ingredients, what would that look like? What about a recipe for recovery?
  92. Sometimes we look at people in recovery and think, “I could never do that.” It seems unattainable or far away. In what ways is that a lie being told by your addiction? What did that person do that you could try to implement yourself?
  93. Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. List five ways your addiction was the definition of insanity.
  94. What has been the hardest part of recovery? How do you face this obstacle head on? If you relapsed, do you think you would be able to do it over again?
  95. A lot of times we use addictive behaviors or abuse substances to avoid an uncomfortable interaction. Imagine yourself in one of those situations. What is it you really wanted to say? What is it you wished you had the courage to do? 
  96. Our addictions take us to dangerous places. Many times, people recall that they don’t know how they “got out of something alive” or without hurting someone else. What is one situation like this that you recall?
  97. Sometimes it can feel like we aren’t progressing quickly enough in our recovery. Healing from years of toxicity takes time. One tangible way to measure your success is looking at finances. Write down how much you spent on your addiction a day, multiplied by the number of years you endured it. How much money could you save in sobriety in that same amount of time?
  98. Our addictions start out as a release but quickly turn into a job. Can you remember when your addiction stopped being fun?
  99. What parts of you were your addiction, not you? 
  100. Write down five realities of your life in addiction. Write five realities of your life in sobriety. Write five dreams for your future in sobriety. How do they compare?
  101. When I used my addiction to solve my problems, did they ever accomplish that goal? How did they worsen a particular problem?

Keep your journal entries and use them to reflect on during challenging times. Look back at how you were feeling after reading different prompts. Embody the emotions that came up while you were writing about a particular experience or challenge. It can be so easy to forget where our addictions have taken us and what they’ve taken from us, and having an account of your own journey can become a tool in your recovery.

Why not write some of your own prompts? Sometimes the best ideas and sparks of motivation are waiting in your own brain, ready for you to uncover them. How does journaling help you during your recovery? Share your own tips for a daily journaling practice below!

Published

Thursday, January 5, 2023