In recovery, the journey of self-discovery is ongoing. There is always more to learn about yourself and if you don’t pay attention to the little things, you could be missing the bigger messages.
One of the most powerful actions you can take in recovery is witnessing your own experience. Now more than ever, your senses are heightened and it’s ripe time to look within and make those shifts needed to propel you forward.
This means opening your eyes to everything: the good, the bad and the ugly. Taking time to reflect is a skill in itself and takes practice. It involves tuning into the subtle cues that you receive on a daily basis and focusing on those little nuggets that on the surface may seem arbitrary, but—as you examine them more closely—you discover they carry a ton of important information.
“Journaling is a critical exercise in recovery because self-reflection through writing has such a profound effect on the healing process,” says Noelle Van Vlierbergen, an integrative health and addiction recovery coach and creator of The Day by Daybook (www.daybydaybook.com), a guided journal for addiction recovery.
She states that “writing helps us remain grounded in our own experience and that’s what conscious recovery is all about.” Conscious recovery is something Noelle strives for every day. Showing up and being present has been a goal of hers from the moment she started her journey over seven years ago.
“Journaling literally saved my life. It allowed me to observe my thoughts and the consequences they were creating in my life much more clearly once I started writing. Things were coming up that I didn’t even realize were there.”
When Noelle began her coaching practice several years ago, she realized that a majority of her clients resisted journaling.
“I decided to create a tool to make the exercise more accessible and engaging for them, so they could experience everything this powerful practice has to offer.”
In order to truly heal, you must also be open to understanding which behaviors are no longer serving you. The process involves tracking progress each and every day. It may sound tedious, but by doing so, you begin to see patterns more clearly.
“The ups and downs of recovery can feel daunting and being able to reflect on it in real time is so important,” says Noelle.
The system she created allows you to log mood and daily activity, highlighting self-care and the short- and long-term effects it can have on your emotional and physical wellness over time.
“The ability to connect the dots is huge. We may know that we’re having a bad week, but don’t understand what factors may be contributing to it. It puts you in the driver’s seat with the ability to course correct.”
It takes courage to know that some of the things you unearth will involve self-examination, scrutiny and yes, wait for it…CHANGE. Either in action or perspective or both. It also requires you to pay attention to how you feel every day, even when it’s uncomfortable.
“I think of my Daybook as an accountability partner, always there to keep me in a state of awareness. It helps me track my feelings, capture thoughts, recognize wins and nudge myself to dig a little deeper as I continue down my path of recovery,” Noelle says.
The Daybook was designed to be customizable, a trusted companion that reflects the personality of the writer. It’s a simple tool, but hidden inside is a system that can add a whole new dimension to how you approach your recovery.
All it takes is an open mind, a pen, and a willingness to jump in. As they say, you can’t change what you don’t see. And the magic is in the details.
Noelle is the founder of Sober Moxie, an online resource for women in recovery and a bestselling author of The Sober Leap – Practical Wisdom for Creating an Amazing Life Beyond Addiction. For more information on the Day by Daybook go to daybydaybook.com
Photo provided by Sober Moxie. Used with permission.