Closeup of a person writing in a notebook.

Expressive Writing Therapy for Emotional Healing

Expressive writing is an unbelievable device for managing addiction and other mental health concerns. 

It’s a unique form of therapy that guides you to express and understand your feelings through writing. 

When you put pen to paper, you can explore your thoughts and feelings in a secure and controlled habitat. This can have a deep influence on your mental wellbeing.

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of expressive writing therapy!

What is Expressive Writing Therapy?

Expressive writing is a therapeutic practice involving diving into your feelings, thoughts, and experiences. Unlike regular writing, here’s what makes it unique:

  • It’s not about crafting a perfect story; it’s about letting your feelings flow naturally as if you were having a heartfelt conversation.
  • This type of writing allows you to delve into your deepest thoughts and emotions, providing a safe space to express what you might not feel comfortable sharing verbally.
  • It’s like embarking on a journey of self-reflection and introspection, allowing you to understand yourself better.
  • Typically, a therapist will guide you through the process, offering prompts and support along the way, just like a trusted companion.
  • Don’t worry about grammar or spelling; just focus on authentically expressing your emotions and experiences.

Mental Health Outcomes of Writing Therapy

Expressive writing offers numerous benefits for clients, especially for mental health outcomes:

  • Reduction in Negative Emotions: Writing about traumatic or stressful events can help decrease negative emotions and boost our psychological well-being.
  • Improved Mood: Engaging in regular expressive writing can enhance mood and overall emotional health.
  • Better Coping Skills: We can develop effective coping strategies crucial for addiction recovery by writing about our struggles.
  • Reduced Stress Levels: Expressive writing can lower stress levels, making managing cravings easier and preventing relapse.
  • Increased Self-awareness: This therapy assists in understanding our triggers and patterns, supporting our journey to recovery.

Types of Expressive Writing Therapy in Recovery

Different types of expressive writing can be helpful in recovery:

  • Poetry Therapy: Explore the power of poetry to express yourself, release emotions, and encourage self-reflection.
  • Narrative Therapy: Share your stories and experiences to gain a fresh perspective and make sense of them more objectively.
  • Scriptotherapy: Boost your coping skills and build confidence by writing scripts for hypothetical situations or engaging in role-playing.
  • Journaling: Make it a habit to write in a journal regularly. It’s a great way to keep track of your progress and gain valuable insights into your thoughts and emotions.

Expressive Writing Exercises 

Here are a few expressive writing exercises you can try:

  • Gratitude Journaling: Take a moment to reflect on what you’re grateful for. You can cultivate a more positive mindset by shifting your focus from negative thoughts and emotions.
  • Trauma Writing: Explore your traumatic experiences in writing, delving into the details. This practice can help you process and gain a better understanding of what you’ve been through.
  • Future Self-Letter: Pen a letter to your future self, sharing your hopes and plans for recovery. Detail your aspirations and vision for a brighter future.
  • Unsent Letters: Pour your heart out in a letter to someone who has hurt or caused you stress, but remember, don’t send it. This exercise allows you to process your emotions without confronting them directly.

Incorporating Expressive Writing into Your Recovery Plan

Sure, here are some tips to get started with incorporating expressive writing into your recovery plan:

  • Find a dedicated time and place to write, whether in the morning, before bed, or during a break. Consistency is key!
  • Be open and honest with yourself. Let your ideas and emotions flow freely without judgment.
  • Experiment with different approaches to expressive writing. Find what resonates with you the most.
  • Consider sharing your writing with a trusted individual such as a therapist, support group, or loved one. Their perspectives and feedback can be invaluable.
  • Remember to be patient with yourself. Recovery is a journey, and the benefits of expressive writing may take time to manifest fully. Be kind to yourself throughout the process.

Experience the Power of Expressive Writing Therapy for Mental Health Recovery at Excel Treatment Center

Expressive writing is a fantastic tool that can help your recovery. It offers many mental health benefits and allows you to heal emotionally and better understand yourself. 

It’s essential to long-term recovery, and we highly encourage you to try it.

If you want to try expressive writing strategies for addiction therapy, don’t hesitate to contact us at Excel Treatment Center. 

We have a wide range of addiction treatments available, including group therapy, holistic treatment, case management, and family therapy

Our dedicated team is here to support you every step of the way on your journey to recovery. Remember, your healing journey is worth all the effort. Keep writing and keep healing!

Handling Parenthood and Recovery Simultaneously

Achieving sobriety is a challenging feat. If you are a parent, you may wonder how you can balance parenthood and recovery simultaneously. Upon leaving treatment, you will face a number of new challenges. Depending on your chosen treatment program, you may return home to your children for the first time in at least 30 days. Reclamation with the everyday hustle and bustle of work, kids, and other responsibilities may take a bit to get used to. However, it is imperative to know that you can successfully balance recovery and the responsibility of being a parent simultaneously – even if it takes a little help.

Managing Your Substance Use Disorder (SUD)

Before you leave treatment and return to everyday life, you must be able to manage your substance use disorder (SUD). That requires you to take what you learned during treatment in rehab and apply it to your life. It also requires you to make changes to maintain sobriety as you tackle all the challenges recovery throws your way.

In order to maintain sobriety long-term, you must create a recovery plan. There is no one “right” plan. Recovery plans are most effective when they are individualized. Before leaving treatment, it is necessary to sit down with a clinician or case manager and plan as much as possible for the road ahead. That includes finding a local support group and a therapist to see on a regular basis. You may also need to end toxic relationships and potentially find a new place to live if your situation prior to treatment is no longer suitable for you or your children.

Many people find it beneficial to move home post-treatment to be closer to family. Family support is critical to a successful recovery and can also help when kids are involved. For example, attending therapy and support meetings will require your children to stay with trusted individuals. That may be grandparents, family friends, or others you trust to watch your child when you must focus on sobriety.

Speaking of therapy and support group meetings, you may be wondering how much of a benefit they will be to you post-treatment. Specifically, how can therapy and support groups help you balance a life of parenthood and recovery?

The Importance of Attending Therapy and Support Groups

There are several benefits of continuing therapy post-treatment. Therapy can improve your communication skills, allow you to experience more happiness, and improve mental function and relationships. When the mind is well, the body is well too. Attending therapy will also help you learn how to prioritize your physical and emotional well-being and focus on sobriety and your mental health.

Therapy also helps people feel empowered. As you continue going to therapy post-treatment, you will learn more about your addiction and ways to cope with it. Managing daily life challenges during recovery will be triggering. Therapy can help you through those triggers.

Similarly, support group meetings are vital to coping with triggers, cravings, and anything else life throws at you. Hearing the stories of others will inspire and motivate you to persevere, especially on days when you feel like giving up. Many of the people in these meetings may also have children. Peers who have been in recovery for a while will be able to offer advice and guidance on balancing parenthood and recovery.

Finding the right therapist and support group may take time, especially if this is your first time seeking mental health services and being in recovery. Patience and persistence are vital during that time of searching.

Balancing Parenthood and Recovery

Once you have a recovery plan, a therapist, and a strong support network, you can find new ways to balance parenthood and recovery. Here are a few ways you can start balancing the two today:

  • Never shy away from asking for help – children do not come with an instruction manual.
  • Be sure to attend mental health appointments and meetings.
  • Discuss recovery with your children in a way most suitable for them.
  • Be proactive when experiencing triggers. Go to a meeting, discuss them with your therapist, or reach out to a peer for help immediately.
  • Prioritize self-care, whether that includes going for a walk with your children, taking day trips with them as much as possible, or spending some quiet time with yourself when able.

Parenthood and Recovery Are Possible

At the end of the day, there is no sure way for people to balance parenthood and recovery simultaneously. Sometimes it will be trial and error, just like anything else in life. The best thing you can do is focus on your children, stick to your recovery plan, heed the advice of others, and know that you are not alone.

If you or someone you love is a parent struggling with addiction, reach out to Excel Treatment Center today.

Sometimes when you seek addiction recovery, other factors influence your decision to do so. For many, that factor is their children. During treatment, you will create a recovery plan to help you maintain sobriety long-term. This plan will help you cope with the challenges life will throw at you post-treatment. Unfortunately, balancing parenthood and recovery post-treatment will take some time, but with the help of your support system, you can do it today. Know that there is a better life than one in active addiction and that maintaining sobriety long-term is possible. For the sake of yourself and your children, reach out to a treatment facility today. Call Excel Treatment Center at (833) 883-9235

Hosting an Intervention

Interventions are often required when your loved one needs addiction treatment. Especially when an individual is unaware of their addiction, an intervention can be very effective when implemented correctly. Denial is a natural response to intervention. By hosting an intervention, you can help a loved one see the severity of their situation and seek help.

Your primary job during this time is to provide support and encouragement. You can host a successful intervention by following some simple steps. Keep in mind that it can be overwhelming. If planning the event feels like too much to handle, it can help to work with a professional interventionist.

What Is an Intervention?

An intervention is a gathering of friends, family, and loved ones. Intervention is typically associated with addiction or substance use disorder (SUD), but it can be used for other ailments as well. The group gathers to help a loved one experiencing SUD, behavioral addiction, mental illness, or chronic conditions. However, you could host interventions for all sorts of reasons. You may look to help a loved one leave a toxic relationship or live a healthier lifestyle.

What Happens During an Intervention?

The primary goal of an intervention is to make your loved one aware there is a problem, educate them on their options, and ultimately convince them to seek help. You will also provide resources to your loved one during an intervention. Additionally, the loved ones who gather can speak about how they have been affected by the addiction or illness.

It is important to note that this is not a time to make a loved one feel shame or guilt. However, hearing narratives about how their struggle has impacted the people they love can motivate them to seek the necessary help they require.

Interventions must be planned, though. You don’t want the intervention to fail. If you go into it without a proper plan, emotions will likely get the better of everyone. By thoroughly planning ahead, you can keep the intervention on track if things begin to go awry.

10 Steps to Hosting an Intervention

Once you understand more about interventions, their goal, and what situations warrant an intervention, you can begin to plan one effectively. Here are ten steps you can follow to host a successful intervention today.

#1. Seek Professional Help

This is optional, but seeking professional help increases the level of support and prevents you from planning one alone.

#2. Create an Intervention Team

Intervention teams consist of friends and family members who will gather to help a loved one. They’ll often participate in the planning.

#3. Make a Plan

An intervention is not something you can wing. Schedule a specific date and time, create a guest list, and develop a procedure to follow along with. You should have an itinerary long before you intervene. This will include the order in which people will speak.

#4. Research and Gather Information

As mentioned, part of the intervention consists of offering resources and treatment to your loved one. In order to provide the best information, you must research viable options. You must also obtain foundational knowledge. Ultimately, you need to know the basic facts about their illness to educate them.

#5. Write Out Your Narratives

Individuals attending will also want to write and rehearse their narratives or impact statements. You must prepare what you want to say and practice it. Emotions can run high during the event. Preparation is the best way to combat these intense emotions. These statements should not be used to attack your loved one. They should come from a place of honesty and compassion.

#6. Provide Support

In addition to offering resources, you must also provide support. That includes being involved throughout detox, rehabilitation, and recovery. You may provide car rides to and from treatment. Also, you might attend family counseling and group meetings with your loved one. Recovery is a long-term process, and your loved one will appreciate feeling supported throughout their sobriety journey.

#7. Set Boundaries

You must also set boundaries during an intervention. Your loved one needs to know what you will do if your loved one refuses treatment. You should implement consequences that protect your well-being. It may seem harsh at first, but these consequences show how serious you are about a loved one seeking help. Also, you should be prepared to follow through on the boundaries.

#8. Rehearse

Next, you must rehearse the plan. That includes each person reading through their narrative statements. An intervention is not time for tangents. Rehearse at least once to help individuals know what they will say, how long it will take, when to speak, and when to cede the floor.

#9. Manage Your Expectations

In addition to setting boundaries, you must manage your expectations. Not everyone seeks treatment immediately. You must understand that you can’t force your loved one into treatment. Also, a “no” isn’t a failure. Many people say no initially but come around in the days or weeks following.

#10. Follow Up

Lastly, follow up with your loved one. You should ask how the treatment is going and what you can do to help. When they are exiting treatment, you can talk about their continued support needs throughout recovery.

Many individuals struggling with addiction, mental illnesses, or other chronic conditions may not realize the severity of their situation. Interventions are often required when helping your loved one seek treatment. An intervention occurs when friends and family of your loved one gather to address the issue and offer help. The staff at Excel Treatment Center can help you prepare for an intervention. We believe it’s never too early or late to seek treatment. When your loved one is ready to seek treatment, we can offer them various levels of care that meet their unique needs. They’ll get access to all our support programs, setting them on the path to recovery. For more information, call Excel Treatment Center at (833) 883-9235.

Returning to Work Post-Treatment

After going through addiction treatment, it’s normal for you to feel anxious about returning to work post-treatment. Whether you’re nervous about reintegrating into the working environment or fearful about seeing your co-workers for the first time since treatment, these feelings are valid.

Another factor that may influence your emotions is whether you can return to your previous job post-treatment. Your employer may or may not feel comfortable with you coming back to your previous position. This article will discuss your movement back into the workspace.

What to Consider Before Returning to Work Post-Treatment

There are many things to remember when returning to work post-treatment. Life post-treatment comes with many challenges. You must find a residence, a support system, and other resources to aid your recovery journey. Moreover, you must make sure you’re setting healthy boundaries. This can feel difficult fresh out of treatment.

Unfortunately, finding employment may be another challenge. As mentioned, a previous employer may have concerns about you returning to work. It’s especially tricky if addiction impacted your performance. Luckily, more employers today look at addiction as a disease. Your employer might have resources to offer you, such as employee assistance programs. These kinds of programs may be a great asset as you gain your footing in recovery.

Now Might Be Time for a Change

If you cannot return to an employer post-treatment and need a silver lining, consider that now may be the time to do something new. Recovery is all about making life changes. Why not make one more and consider a new career? Maybe you should throw yourself into a job you always wanted to try.

Treatment can be a perfect time to set new goals for your career and life in recovery. You can begin with small objectives. Instead of jumping right into major career movies, concentrate on becoming comfortable with your newfound life of recovery. Focus on mending relationships and cutting out past acquaintances associated with substance use. Find a support group in your area and attend your first meeting. These are all small tasks you can begin to guide yourself post-treatment.

Considering Other Career Paths or Furthering Your Education

Think about your career goals once you feel more established in your new life of recovery. If you have a hard time deciding what you want to do with the rest of your life, don’t fret. A lot of people have trouble with this. Consider seeing a career counselor or shadowing professionals with jobs that interest you. The more you learn about potential careers, the more you can gauge your interest and weigh the pros and cons.

Another option to consider is if you want to go back to school. Many people pursue education post-treatment, especially if it matches their long-term career goals. Consider programs or fields you would like to learn more about while still in treatment. Then upon leaving treatment, sign up for some courses if it makes sense financially.

Learn to Go With the Flow

If your journey with addiction has taught you anything, it’s that you can never really predict what life is going to throw at you. Planning is necessary, but so is adaptability. Set goals for yourself, but don’t let unexpected turns trigger you.

You don’t need to have everything figured out before leaving treatment. Taking the time to be present and acknowledge that you’ve made it to this point is a priority. Early recovery can be challenging, but take it all in. There will be plenty of time to focus on a new career or re-enter the workforce. If time and finances allow, use early recovery to reintroduce yourself to yourself.

Returning to Work Post-Treatment

When transitioning from inpatient rehab back into the outside world, outpatient programs may serve as a good middle step. These programs are an excellent choice for people who do not need 24/7 care and need to hold steady employment. They are flexible and give clients control over the recovery process.

Telehealth treatment may also be a tool that lets you continue receiving addiction treatment when returning to work. The extra support may offset the added stress of returning to the workforce. Additionally, you can attend outpatient therapy just to help you stay on track with your sobriety. Opportunities for support as you go back to work are endless. All you need is the proper guidance and resources to help you do so.

If you feel nervous about returning to work post-treatment, try not to let it get to you. The whole process of getting sober puts you outside your comfort zone. Instead of feeling worried, think about this as an opportunity for growth and renewal. You’ve created a life of recovery for yourself — focus on the joy of living that life.

If you’re anxious about returning to work post-treatment, know that you are not alone. Life post-treatment comes with many challenges, but these are challenges everyone experiences. Utilize your time in treatment to think about your life and set goals for yourself throughout your long-term recovery. If you need support as you navigate a shift in your career, Excel Treatment Center can help. In addition to inpatient services, we offer multiple outpatient programs of varying intensities. You can gradually re-enter the workplace while still receiving addiction treatment. Our therapists can offer you guidance on making sure you don’t overextend yourself early in recovery. For more information on returning to work post-treatment, call Excel Treatment Center at (833) 883-9235

Setting Realistic Expectations During Recovery

Setting expectations in any part of your life can help you achieve your goals. However, when you set unrealistic expectations, it can hinder your progress. Recovery is a process, and it takes time. Set the expectation that recovery will take time and be incremental. Setting goals for yourself can help you track your progress and stay motivated on the road to recovery.

Expect to Feel Vulnerable and Uncomfortable

It’s normal to feel vulnerable during treatment. You will be vulnerable to negative feelings, experiences, and people. You will also be vulnerable to negative feedback, thoughts, and self-talk.

It’s important to realize that the feeling of being vulnerable does not mean that you are weak or unable to handle difficult situations. It simply means that you have become more aware of what is happening in your mind and body, which can make things seem harder than they are. Once you begin your treatment and recovery from drug and alcohol use, you may feel uncomfortable as you learn to self-soothe without drugs. It’s common to feel stressed out or anxious during early recovery.

It takes time to learn new ways of coping with these feelings. This is why it’s important to keep in mind that we are all different, and each person recovers at their own pace. Some people will be able to cope with these feelings quickly, while others might have a more difficult time adjusting their thought patterns and behaviors around dealing with uncomfortable emotions without necessarily having difficulty coping with them at the moment.

Expect It to Take Time

One of the most important things to remember when recovering from addiction is that it takes time. Change doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s important not to expect too much too soon. It takes time to change habits, rebuild relationships, and rebuild your life. Have realistic expectations and focus on progress instead of perfectionism.

Recovery is a lifelong process, not an event. It takes time for the brain to heal from trauma and for old habits to be replaced with new ones. Recovery is not about getting back to your old life or even getting back on track. It’s about learning how to live with changes that have happened in your life since you fell into addiction.

Expect a Lot of Ups and Downs

Recovery is not a linear process. You will have good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks, good months and bad months. We all have moments when our recovery seems to be going in the wrong direction, or we even think that our recovery isn’t working at all. Then there are moments when it seems like we’re getting better every day for weeks on end, even though those things happen much less frequently than many people wish.

It’s important to keep this idea in mind when you’re expecting your life to change overnight. Recovery from drug addiction isn’t going to be easy or smooth-sailing all of the time, and that’s okay. What matters most is having realistic expectations about what will be involved in recovery so you can set yourself up for success by training yourself mentally and emotionally for what lies ahead of you once treatment ends.

Take Small Steps

Establishing goals is a critical part of recovery, but it’s important to remember that goals need not be perfect. For example, if you want to return to work and pursue a certain career opportunity in six months, then breaking down the goal into smaller steps could help keep things manageable. First, set an initial date for when you will get back on your feet at work. Then break down what needs to happen between now and then so that those small pieces are more manageable.

You may find yourself losing motivation if you don’t achieve every step along the way. Remember, don’t give up. If one step doesn’t go as planned, focus on what went well and adjust your plan accordingly. You may find yourself starting over from scratch multiple times before everything fits together perfectly, but with practice comes permanence.

Set Goals

Setting goals is a great way to stay motivated and stay on track in recovery. Goals help you focus, push yourself out of your comfort zone and make progress with your recovery.

Here are some examples of goals that may be good for you:

  • Go to a support group every week. Doing so will help you meet other people who are also in recovery.
  • Journal when you’re feeling a lot of emotion instead of turning to drugs or alcohol.

At Excel Treatment Center, we believe that with the right mindset, recovery can be a journey that empowers you to live a healthy life full of new experiences. Setting realistic expectations and taking small steps forward each day, you’ll be able to take on the challenges of recovery with confidence. Recovery from drug addiction is a process, not an event. It requires that you be honest with yourself and others about your struggles. You have to keep up with the work, even when things are good, so you don’t fall back into old habits. However, this is all part of what makes recovery so rewarding. It gives us an opportunity to live our lives in a truly fulfilling and meaningful way without having to rely on substances or other destructive behaviors as crutches along the way. To learn more, call us today at (833) 883-9235