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I’ve been not journaling for most of my life. But with firm conviction at age 27.
My first sponsor, Lori, was this vision. She was a strawberry blonde Stevie Nicks type in a 12-Step meeting. A former model and actress. She was a devotee of the Goddess. A documentary filmmaker. She owned a home in The Highlands neighborhood of Denver with a fairy garden out back. She helped bring the magic back into my life. She was very dedicated to her spiritual life and would wake up every morning and journal, meditate, and do yoga. I wanted to want to do that really badly. I wanted to be like her in many ways. She gave me permission to start being who I really was, which is what I admire in her. She was really good at being herself.
I fought with journaling for the first 5 years of my recovery. I did not want to be still with myself. I did not want to hear myself. I was too afraid to stop the noise. I lived by myself for many years before I got married. I loved being by myself and getting to do exactly what I wanted to with my time. I finally had gotten a laptop so I could watch tv in the bathtub. Which I did basically every night. Height of luxury. I also had the tv on most of the time. Cycling through my precious DVDs: 30 Rock, Will & Grace, Baby Boom, It’s Complicated, etc. I could wash my dishes whenever I felt like it. I didn’t have to talk to anyone. I didn’t have to socialize. I didn’t have to think if I didn’t want to.
But I was dedicated to my spiritual and emotional growth. I was very dedicated to doing the Steps. I was very dedicated to doing my own therapy. So I had a time and place for self-reflection, diving deep, and the rest of the time I’d keep myself occupied. There were assignments and suggestions for journaling. I would gouge the page when I would write. Writing fast and sloppy. Just wanting to get it over with. I resented that I had to do it. I didn’t see the purpose. Or, I could see it did something for Lori but I didn’t know how it was gonna work for me. How could this forced activity benefit me?
I could write with a specific task. I was good at doing my step work. I responded to the gratification and reward of doing that work. I was changing and unloading a lot of baggage as a result. But this journaling... ‘Who was this for? Who was listening? Who do I write to?’ As I reflect now, I think it was not wanting to be with myself and even more that I didn’t value what I had to say. Me hearing myself meant nothing. It only mattered if someone else heard it; heard me. Or validated me. Recognizing something in myself? To myself? I think that was useless to me then. I think that was part of the frustration.
Because now as I journal it’s all about talking to and listening to myself. I talk to all different versions of my divine spirit guides. I journal because it’s important to me; it’s very useful. I sort myself out and I get answers when I write. I figure out who I am and why I’m thinking the way I’m thinking. I do inner child work; I talk to my inner children and figure out what they need. I couldn’t have done that before when I was still searching outside myself for answers. I value my intuition above others for the decisions in my life. And this is new. It took about 39 years but I am understanding some of those platitudes that were so smug and too simple. The Answers are Inside You. Stupid.
These morning pages I do are a particular thing. I think that’s what I figured out: this journaling has to mean something to me. It has to have a purpose. Before, I think I was doing it because I was told to and because it seemed like a good idea. I just didn’t know how to make it my own. I will only do a thing if it serves me. There is no selfless act with me. I have to really want to do the thing. It has to match my values. It has to give me something. It has to prove itself to me. Or it won’t last. I’ve tested this theory 1,453 times.
I finally found out how to write to myself.
What does this stir in you?
Do you also not write?
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