Many people keep a journal and many counselors recommend it. Surprisingly, few journaling studies have ever focused on addiction recovery. Amy Krentzman, Ph.D. of Minnesota’s School of Social Work has developed a journaling practice specifically designed to support addiction recovery, called Positive Peer Journaling.
Positive Peer Journaling focuses on three disciplines: positive psychology – promoting thriving, flourishing, wellness, and behavioral activation; journal writing to improve mood and foster positive thoughts; and 12 Step theory, specifically taking a personal inventory. No extensive writing is required for this practice and lots of prompts and suggestions are provided. The journal is meant to review the past 24 hours, recording bullet points for “good things” and “bad things”, and to plan the next 24 hours, including a bullet point gratitude list and list of “good wishes for others”. There is also space to bullet point goals in the areas of Work; Education; Home; Joy; Health; Recovery; Spirituality; Community; Social; Financial; and Amends areas of life.
In two research studies of this practice, quantitative data showed improvement in a range of well-being, addiction, recovery, and mental health-related factors. Qualitative data showed that the intervention helped participants to recognize what was positive about recovery, to achieve meaningful, short-term goals, and to experience a sense of achievement and progress in recovery.
Watch: Dr. Krentzman Explains Positive Peer Journaling