A word here about journaling.
I started journaling in 1987. I had begun work with a therapist after discovering that my ex had had an affair. The therapist suggested that I start a journal. I’ve been doing it ever since. Almost 30 years! I have all of them. They are nothing special to look at-mostly spiral notebooks. Some days all I write is if I slept well and other days I write pages-going over dreams, work issues, spiritual observations-whatever .
It’s my Herstory. An accounting and memory of my life. Of course there are literally hundreds of entries beginning with the fact that I drank too much the night before and then going over that whole issue. I don’t often go back through them all. In fact, my handwriting is difficult for even me to read at times! Which is a good thing-because when I first got with my SO he told me that he’d picked up one of my journals and thought it was written in a foreign language! Which put him off of that again!
Journaling has done several things for me. It’s different than blogging. For one thing I can get much deeper about things. I can also go into detail about things that others may feel are mundane or too far out there. Journaling is kind of like my Invisible Friend-the one who never judges and you can tell everything to. Also, as I said, it’s a chronicle of my life-not just the part where I’m getting sober. It helps me delve into issues that effect me and my behavior in my life.
The other thing it’s taught me is how to stay on point. One time, when I was living in Mexico, my Sister and Brother-in-law and nephew came to visit. It was a rainy day and we decided to have a writing exercise. We each put a topic in a bowl and drew for what we would write. The subject was “Wiggle Worm” put in there by my 10 year old nephew. We set a time limit-10 minutes? WELL! I’m not sure if it’s because I had been called a wiggle worm more times than I can count when I was a kid (and my SO even accuses me of it now) but I was the only one that stayed on the subject. My sister-in-law went way off the subject switching to something totally off base as did the other tw0. At the end of the set time, we each read what we had written. They were extremely impressed that I had stayed on the topic. I attributed it to the years that I had spent writing in my journal.
My journal has helped me see patterns-both in myself and others. It has helped me to recall something that has dimmed in my memory. It has helped me prove a point many times-by being able to refer to something. It, at times is an addition to therapy- helping me to remember what was processed in a session. It has been with me through marriage counseling, my subseqent divorce, my move to a foreign country, caring for an elderly parent, discovering my SO, 4 dogs, everything! My journal has been the recipient of all of my deepest feelings and emotions-and has never judged me. There are tear stains on many pages as well as coffee stains. Oftentimes, I will write something important across the top of a page and have even scribbled menus on the back pages. I have drawn pictures as entries and have accidentlly torn out a page which I carefully fold up and put it the right spot.
My journal writing is a huge part of my daily ritual. I like to write in it first thing-thereby making it easier to record dreams. I like it quiet when writing and if weather permits, I love to sit outside with an early cup of coffee writing, musing and writing some more. It is almost a writing meditation. I take my journal with me wherever I travel-and have journals with entries from all of the places that I’ve been. I even like to buy notebooks in different countries for future journals-
I’m not saying that anyone is going to want to make a movie or even a mini series of my life-but if they do……
The bottom line is it’s a great tool-not just a sober tool but a tool for life. An accounting of life. It can be a marker of not only how far I need to go, but how far I’ve come.
I highly recommend it.