You may be aware of the benefits of journaling in recovery. Keeping a recovery journal can be an excellent way to process your thoughts and emotions during your journey at Dream Recovery. Journaling, however, is not the only form of writing that can be beneficial in recovery. The practice of creative writing can be a powerful tool in supporting your healing process.
Creative Writing in Recovery
Engaging in creative writing can have many benefits for recovery. After all, it can be an enjoyable and therapeutic activity. Consider the following benefits to see if this practice would be a good one to add to your recovery routines.
Effective as a Coping Mechanism
Recovering from addiction can involve a great deal of emotional turmoil. Instead of turning to substance use to escape these emotions, people in recovery need healthier coping mechanisms.
An effective coping mechanism will be an outlet for strong emotions. It should provide a great deal of distraction and relief. Choosing to write a poem, story, or creative essay can be very effective at this. Writing fiction engages your mind in the creative process. This can help you temporarily escape the difficult feelings and situations in your current reality without using substances.
Of course, eventually, you will want to create a life you won’t want to escape. In the meantime, though, creative writing can help you cope with strong emotions.
Using creative writing as a coping mechanism can also help you promote mindfulness. After all, mindfulness is all about being fully present in each moment. This can involve paying attention to your five senses.
Writing a descriptive scene usually involves these senses. You will want to describe what your character is feeling externally and internally. Practicing these descriptions can help you become more mindful and grounded in your own body and awareness.
Increase Emotional Awareness
In recovery, you are working to gain greater awareness of your emotions. This is, after all, one of the main goals of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). When you understand your emotions, you are less likely to be shocked by your own impulsive behaviors. Emotional awareness can help you recognize negative cycles before they progress to action. This can help you break unhealthy thought-behavior patterns.
Like therapy, creative writing can help. It provides a safe, unjudgmental, private environment for emotional processing. You can be as vulnerable as you want on the page. Through writing, you can gain a deeper understanding of your thoughts and feelings. For example, writing poetry or short stories reflecting your current emotional state could serve to help you process them more effectively.
Writing creatively can also help you develop your empathy. In fiction, characters make mistakes all the time, but we still root for them. By writing characters who struggle, fail, and grow, you can have more self-compassion.
A Form of Self-Expression
Finding yourself in recovery is important. It can help you build a new sober identity. However, being yourself around others can be difficult, especially if you feel you don’t yet know who you are.
Creative writing allows you to try out different characters and perspectives. This can help you better discover who you are and who you want to be. On the page, this experimentation can happen privately. Unless you share your work, you don’t have to worry about any kind of criticism.
Recovery often leaves individuals with low self-esteem. If you struggle in this area, consider writing. Engaging in creative writing was shown to increase confidence and self-worth of its participants.
When you write creatively, you can delight in your own voice and artistic vision. Over time, you can also gain the emotional rewards of seeing your craft improve. This can greatly increase your confidence and joy in yourself.
Engaging in creative writing can also help you become more confident in your ability to handle difficult situations. After all, most stories involve some form of trouble that the protagonist struggles to overcome. Writing fiction allows you to imagine how your characters would handle these obstacles. If their strategies work, you might adopt them in your own life. Their strategies that don’t work can show you what to avoid.
How to Start Creative Writing in Recovery
Want to add creative writing to your journey with Dream Recovery? Consider the following techniques to build a regular and vibrant writing practice.
Set Aside Time and Use Creative Writing Prompts
To improve at any hobby, ensure you set aside regular time to practice it. Set aside a specific amount of time each day or each weekend to devote to your creative work.
Of course, when you sit down to start, you may not feel inspired. When this happens, a writing prompt may be just what you need to help jumpstart your creative processing. You can find multiple prompts online, or you can come up with your own.
Explore Different Forms and Write Without Judgment
When you’re ready for a challenge, try writing in a different form than you’re used to. For example, if you always write free verse poetry, try your hand at a sonnet or pantoum. If you typically write long stories, try writing flash fiction. The possibilities for creative writing are endless, from hermit crab nonfiction essays to satirical novels to screenplays. Experiment with different approaches to keep your work fresh.
As you experiment, try to write freely without judgment or self-critique. Remember, nobody has to read your writing besides you. Not everything may work for you, and that’s okay.
Consider Joining a Creative Writing Group
If you want support and feedback with your creative writing, consider joining a writing group. Joining will offer a supportive community of like-minded writers. They can offer encouragement as well as critical evaluation of your writing projects.
Through recovery, it can be easy to bottle up your emotions and hide from your true feelings. Unleash your imagination, discover the transformative power of creative writing, and see how this practice can benefit you. By exploring all possible avenues and expressing yourself freely, creative writing offers fantastic benefits such as increasing creativity, improving communication skills, relieving stress, and deepening our understanding of ourselves and the world. Learn how to apply creative writing to your recovery and gain these benefits as you work to overcome substance use disorder (SUD). To learn more about the role creative writing can play in your recovery, reach out to Dream Recovery today at (657) 216-7218.