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The power of externalizing thoughts (a.k.a get the shit out of your brain)

January 11th, 2015 Mrs D's Blog

man typing at laptop

One of the most powerful aspects of blogging for me was externalising my thoughts – getting my dark drinking secrets and twisted boozy beliefs out of my brain and onto the page (or screen in this case).

When I first planned on getting sober I decided to write to myself daily in order to stay on top of my thoughts and keep myself honest. The only reason I did it on the computer rather than in a diary was because I type fast – and the only reason I did it in a blog rather than a Word document was because I thought a blog would be like a ready-made online journal that would hold all my words in one place. I had no idea people would start reading and interacting with me. I just had a feeling that using the written word to talk to myself would be an effective way to control my brain.

I was right.

The process of articulating and externalizing my thoughts and feelings was incredibly powerful and healing. Twisted beliefs or shameful memories that swirled around inside my head would be corralled into words and sentences, they’d travel down my arms and through my finger-tips and onto the keyboard and then they’d show up in black and white on the screen. The shit from inside my head. In black and white. On the screen. My truths, formulated into the written word.

Very healing and very freeing.

I figured stuff out as I was typing it out, and because I was protected by an anonymous moniker I wasn’t filtering my communication for any audience. By sharing my secrets with brutal honestly on my blog my shame started to lift and I began to heal.

The fact that people started reading my blog and leaving me comments helping me along the way was an amazing, wonderful, stupendous bonus!!!!! It sent my recovery plan into the stratosphere!!!!!

* Externalising my thoughts = powerful and healing.

* Externalising my thoughts AND gaining love & support from likeminded people online = priceless.

Addiction experts around the world will tell you how powerful blogging (or usually they say ‘journalling’) can be. Take this from The Recovery Book: “Writing things down can be a very powerful way to process your feelings and get them ‘out of your head’. Often, problems don’t seem quite so big or so awful once you’ve worked through them on paper. A journal is also a great way to keep an eye on your progress over time. A year or two from now, you might look back on what you wrote and be astonished at what you have accomplished.” (2014, p. 195)

This was one of the big reasons I wanted to set up this site. Not only did I want to offer a place where visitors to my blog could talk to and support each other more easily, but I wanted to provide an online environment where others could easily and quickly type out their own feelings or thoughts without having to start up a blog of their own (although many of our members do!) or go out and buy a journal.

It’s so gratifying now that we’re up and running to hear from members how writing out their truths is helping (and of course receiving sympathy, empathy & support from others who can relate is also super-cool). I spotted this in the Members Feed a couple of days ago:

Member: “I think writing down my cravings and getting feedback from people here has really lessened their power.”

And this …

Member: “It’s amazing how that makes me feel better….. I might have to just write these feelings out more often. Good stuff!”

So dearest darling lurker… if you are reading this now and have yet to type out anything of your own.. I challenge you to put your first comment below. You can do it anonymously!! No-one will know who you are, I promise. Just say a few words, something about your drinking or your fear about a booze-free life, or a memory you are ashamed of or a wish or hope you hold for the future. You never know.. that little bit of externalization might be the start of a beautiful journey for you.

Love, Mrs D xxx

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