We all experience pain, sadness, guilt, resentment and other challenging feelings, and sometimes we push down those thoughts with substances because of the promise to relieve some of the discomfort. We’re scared to feel what’s been affecting us so deeply, so we mask the pain with drinking or using drugs – and the longer we go without expressing our thoughts and feelings, the harder it is to tap into that throughout our lives. Addiction recovery gives us an opportunity to open old wounds, to explore past and present thoughts and to feel them for what they really are: genuine human emotion.
Each person coming into addiction recovery is different, which means there needs to be various treatment methods to address a variety of needs. Expressive therapies – such as writing therapy – can help people approach thoughts and feelings in a way like nothing else can. The American Psychological Association (APA) notes that writing can help us better handle stress, better connect with others, give us new perspective on our experiences and more, but it has to be done right.
At Avalon Malibu, writing therapy takes place with a therapist who assigns themes and topics for those in recovery to focus on each session. From there, individuals need to keep the following tips in mind:
- True focus on what’s being written, with emotions associated truly being felt
- Exploration of a person’s life events through writing needs to derive new meaning for them in order to reap the benefits
- Writing should not focus on simply “reliving” an event
- Healing needs to take place, which is where both writing and therapy come into play
- A person must feel vulnerable to put what they’re feeling inside onto the piece of paper
Dr. Keith Petrie, a researcher at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, told the APA, “By writing, you put some structure and organization to those anxious feelings. It helps you to get past them.”
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.