“When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived.”

Anne Frank

I started to journal on my first day of sobriety. A friend told me that when you put your thoughts down on paper, it takes them out of your head so you can make sense of what is bouncing around in your mind. It is so true, and I just cannot recommend it enough.

My brain, I think, is like a library, where all of the experiences of my life are like little books, and when I stopped drinking, my brain was like an earthquake had happened. My shelves were broken and all of my ‘books’ were in piles amid the rubble everywhere. What a mess!

I had to go through each one, individually, examine it, and start rebuilding my library. I couldn’t change what was in each book- every one of them had shaped me, for better or for worse, and while some were awful, there were others that brought peace. It was my story, my history, my past. And while they were all in a pile on the floor of my brain, it seemed only the bad one screamed out at me- “You’re awful”, “You did what?!” but they were only shadows of what was.

As I began reviewing them, I was able to write about them in my journal. I could look at them for what they were- just experiences, not predictions of what will be. But I did know, that if I didn’t do this, I might be doomed to make the same mistakes again. I had to own them, my experiences. I had to learn from them and embrace them for what they were. I had to learn to forgive myself. I would still be trying to live the same life the same way, only sober. I couldn’t do that.

You see, I had to learn to live and navigate through my new world sober. I hadn’t learned how to do that I only knew how to live and experience life through the lenses of an alcoholic, not through sober eyes. Even the experiences I had before i became alcoholic were tainted by my feelings about them and how I viewed them through drunkenness. Not a very earthshaking idea to some, but pretty significant to me. So I journaled. I wrote to myself, to God, to others who had impacted me. Some were pretty painful, some not so much. Even after all these years, I am still finding my chapters in dusty corners. I don’t know that there will ever be a finish to this, but I’m OK with that.

I try to look at every day what happened, what didn’t happen, what I could do to change or be better. I look for better ways to be kind. Patient. Sometimes I just try to get thoughts out of my head before they strangle me. I am truly a work in progress! But journaling gives me a sense of moving forward. And even if today, I don’t move forward, at least I can know I’m not moving backward.

As always, my hopes are for your hopes and dreams. T