Does Journaling Really Help Identify the Root of My Problem?

Addiction Recovery Publishing Addiction Recovery August 19, 2023

Does Journaling Really Help Identify the Root of My Problem?

The truth is that addiction takes a toll on much more than can be seen on the surface level. Yet, this is often what most people focus on. The physical toll and behavioral repercussions are just a fraction of the issues that addiction ultimately causes. It takes a detrimental emotional toll on not just the individual but the family as well. Also, it takes a cognitive toll on how we function in our lives. It destroys the motivation we have to succeed in the future. Ultimately, it robs us of everything that makes us who we were, who we are, and who we are meant to be. It becomes the toxic core of our being. That is why we must identify the root of that core problem if we are to fully recover.

You Are Not Alone: The Current State of Addiction and Mental Health in the U.S.

One of the most important things to remember when beginning our recovery journey is that we are not alone. There is a term often used in 12-Step recovery known as “terminal uniqueness.” What this means is that our addiction and its negative attributes can elevate to a level we don’t believe anyone else ever has or that others may even be able to comprehend.

While it may understandably feel this way in active addiction, this is simply untrue. There are currently millions of individuals struggling with addiction in the U.S. alone. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “20.4 million people in the United States were diagnosed with SUD in the past year [2022].”

These are over 20 million people that have all reached the tipping point of addiction, and undoubtedly many of them also feel like no one else could possibly share their story. In recovery, we discover that we are not alone. We discover that while the details often differ, the narrative of addiction is often the same. That narrative includes the emotional turmoil, uncertainty of the future, and ultimate hopelessness that only addiction can uniquely provide. The good news is that today there are nearly limitless options by which people can recover from addiction and identify the root of their problems. However, the first step is reaching out for help.

The Importance of Getting Professional Mental Health Care Sooner Than Later

An often shared part of many individuals’ addiction experiences is the many times they tried to recover on their own. This may have included a “cold turkey” method which often includes devastating and even dangerous symptoms of painful withdrawal. Some people possibly tried 12-Step recovery, but while it has worked for many, they discovered it did not do the same for them. Still, others may have tried to control their addiction either by minimizing their substance of choice or replacing it with an alternative. Again, for some, this may work, but for most with late-stage addiction, this is ineffective.

When trying to recover on our own doesn’t work, it’s time to reach out for professional addiction help. This is a critical step and can also be a very frightening and precarious one. Of course, this is understandable. For many people, asking for help may be the hardest thing they have ever done. However, many of these same people soon discovered it was the most important thing they ever did.

Because this step is so crucial, it is also important that the right professional help be consulted. For individuals looking for comprehensive recovery care that is going to get to the core root causes of their addiction and heal at the cellular level, we here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab may be an essential and ideal choice. At our 30-luxury beachfront recovery center, our goal is not only to identify the root of the problem but also to address and positively move beyond it.

How to Identify the Root Problems of Addiction and Mental Health

Going back to the concept of addiction as a surface-level concern. Addiction is rarely about the drink or the drug (or the process, such as disordered eating). No, addiction is about emotions and feelings that become buried below the surface.

Now, yes, there are components of addiction that are certainly biological, social, and even regional. However, it is almost always the case that there are deeper issues that must be addressed when it comes to addiction recovery. Now, perhaps these core problems manifested after addiction took hold, or they were rooted in some form of trauma long before an individual ever engaged in drinking or using. Still, ultimately they manifested as disordered addictive behaviors that have become detrimental to everyday life. While the recovery path may look different, regardless of how these issues formed, they must be addressed to fully recover.

It is important to remember that while it was once thought of as a moral failing or a sign of weakness, it is now widely understood that addiction is a chronic disease. Also, like any other chronic disease, such as diabetes, cancer, or heart disease, addiction is only going to get worse unless some type of effective intervention takes place. It is critical to understand that addiction is no one’s fault. Thus it must be treated like any other disease with utter compassion and clinical awareness, and comprehensive recovery planning.

Continuing to Identify the Root: Connecting to the Underlying Core Issues of Addiction and Mental Health

While it may sound slightly esoteric, there are very logistical and effective ways to identify the root of addiction issues. These ways range from more “traditional” mental health treatment methods to experiential therapies to holistic care practices. 

Generally, the best way to utilize these types of treatment modalities is to use them all at once. A well-rounded recovery is an effective recovery. The benefit of utilizing multiple methods is that where one fails, another exists to succeed. 

Also, many treatment methods overlap with one another and elevate each other’s benefits. One of these methods is journaling. Journaling is one of the most effective ways by which one can get to know themselves. For those in addiction recovery, it is one of the best ways to identify the root of their problems and reestablish a relationship with themselves.

Utilizing Journaling to Help Identify the Root Cause of Our Problems

To answer the question as to whether journaling can help us identify the root of our problems. Yes, absolutely! Ever since we started writing over 5,500 years ago in Mesopotamia, we utilized the process to get to know the world around us better. However, it wasn’t long before writing shifted away from historical storytelling to a form of self-introspection.

Now, journaling is utilized as a way of getting to the core of own existence. Also, while this may sound a little grandiose, it is much more accessible than many people think. Often, individuals get hung up on journaling because they feel as though what they write has to meet some sort of standard. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. 

It is often when the journaling comes out jumbled and scattered that we can best begin to dissect the way we are really feeling down in our core. Initially, this journaling may come in the form of “automatic writing.” It is the process of just getting thoughts and emotions down on the page without concern for constraints or editing. 

Eventually, these seemingly mixed bits of journaling become something fundamentally more cohesive that can uncover insights into our emotional and cognitive selves that we may not have otherwise been able to access. Also, once this journaling begins to uncover the root of our problems, that root is exposed to other forms of therapy, which can then further expand our growth in recovery.

The Benefits of Experiential Therapies to Identify the Root of Our Mental Health Problems

While many people may be unfamiliar with the term “experiential therapy,” they are probably familiar with one of the forms by which it takes. Ultimately, experiential therapy holds up to its namesake. It is therapy via the experience of the individual. Experiential therapy is about growth through the process.

These processes are what most people are going to be familiar with. There is art therapy, drama therapy, cinema therapy, and many other types of therapies by which individuals can express themselves through expression and experience. However, it is important to differentiate between simply engaging in these activities and utilizing them as a form of recovery.

That difference is in how these expressions are utilized and interpreted with the help of mental health professionals and licensed therapists. This includes working with professional experiential therapists when journaling. However, this also includes working with professional psychotherapists that utilize more “traditional” mental health treatments as well.

Journaling as Part of Evidence-Based Therapies

While many people may not equate journaling to psychotherapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), it can actually be a very useful tool.

The ultimate goal of these “traditional” talk therapies is the same as that of mindful journaling. Also, the goal is to get to the core root cause of our problems. The difference is that journaling does this with the pen, and talk therapy does this via conversation. However, it does not take much of a leap to see how interrelated these two processes are. 

Journaling can help us compose our thoughts for more concise conversation, and conversing with a professional often unearths underlying issues that don’t come to the surface until we are alone and putting down our thoughts. Another type of evidence-based therapy that is greatly aided by the process of journaling is narrative therapy.

Narrative Therapy as an Evidence-Based Recovery Solution

Now, narrative therapy has been shown to effectively help people distance themselves from their negative thoughts and emotions by “re-writing” their personal story in a positive and more realistic light. This is both the narrative and the journaling aspect of the process. 

For example, an individual may be struggling with issues of alcohol addiction. They may decide to write their story as “I am a bad person that has a problem with addiction. I have this problem because I won’t stop drinking and hurting myself and the ones that I love. So, I clearly don’t want to get better.” 

In narrative therapy, this story could be reframed as, “I am a sick person that is unwell. I am unwell because I have a very real disease known as addiction. This disease inhibits me from recovering without help because a disease of this nature requires professional help. I want to get better, but I am being prohibited by a disease beyond my control. However, I am strong, and I am taking the brave steps to recover for myself and those that I love.” Of course, this process is much more complex and can be better achieved through open and honest journaling.

The Importance of Setting for Personal Development

Also, it is important to remember that journaling is not simply between a person, pen, and paper. It also involves experiences and surroundings. A healthy space can equate to a healthy writing session, and what better space could one ask for than the tropical paradise that is the Big Island of Hawaii?

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, our luxury 30-acre recovery center is just a short distance away from white sand beaches, majestic mountains, active volcanoes, and the wholly unique ecosystem that is the Pacific Ocean. Also, this setting doesn’t just offer beauty, but it allows individuals to engage in that beauty through the process of nature immersion therapy.

The Benefits of Nature Immersion Therapy

Nature immersion therapy is a way by which we can reconnect with the natural world. Many of us have found ourselves locked into our tech-centric urban hub environments. Access to all the nature that Hawaii has to offer can break us from that and allow us to learn about ourselves by learning about our world. 

Also, as with other experiential therapies, nature immersion involves more than just engaging with our surroundings. It involves working through what those engagements meant and what they uncovered about ourselves. Yes, it is about identifying the root of our problems. So, how can we get from Point A of nature immersion to Point B of underlying issues? Journaling!

Utilizing Nutrition, Yoga, and Mindfulness to Create Space for Journaling

Just as our setting is important to how we open up in our journaling, so too is how we treat our physical bodies. Before we can fully focus on the page, we must clear away the physical damage that addiction and mental issues can cause.

It is not uncommon for the body to be depleted of essential nutrients when entering recovery. Ultimately, it is hard to focus on our physical health when we are preoccupied with our emotional turmoil. That is why at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we offer pharmaceutical-grade supplements, workshops with expert nutritionists and dieticians, and infusion therapies that can help get our physical selves back in peak form.

While journaling is certainly a form of mindfulness, it is also important to incorporate other holistic practices. One of those practices that can greatly help with quieting the mind and opening up creative channels is yoga. According to the International Journal of Yoga, “Yogic practices enhance muscular strength and body flexibility, promote and improve respiratory and cardiovascular function, promote recovery from and treatment of addiction, reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, improve sleep patterns, and enhance overall well-being and quality of life.” Essentially, yoga can clear a path by which the mind can better open up and put down its thoughts in the form of words.

Continuing to Identify the Root of Our Problems: Healing at the Cellular Level at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we are about comprehensive mental health care. We don’t just rely on one form of treatment; we utilize multiple forms of treatment modalities to create a reliable, healthy, and, most importantly, long-term recovery plan.

There is a Hawaiin proverb that goes, “No Keia La, No Keia Po, A Mau Loa,” which translates to “From this day, from this night, forever more.” That is the type of recovery we offer our clients. Recovery in the moment and recovery for all of the amazing moments yet to come.

Journaling is one of the most beneficial ways to help one work through their difficult emotions, understand patterns of their behaviors, and understand what triggers them. It is an essential part of the healing process at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab. We also offer evidence-based modalities, such as narrative therapy, which can take the recovery benefits of journaling to the next level. Personal development is critical to healing at the cellular level and meeting long-term recovery goals. If you feel like you or a loved one may be struggling with addiction and/or issues of mental health, you are not alone. We can help get to the core root causes of your issues. For more information, call Exclusive Hawaii Rehab at (808) 775-0200.