Thursday, December 3, 2009

Keeping a journal


I have been keeping a daily journal for a few years now. A very few years actually. I remember that I had a kind of journal when I was younger and would write things in it, with the general theme being my raging hormones and what was happening with my girlfriend and me. I would also write about how things were going at home--whether it was a good day (my father not drinking) or whether it was a bad day (my father was drinking, criticizing, and angry).

That journal was just another outlet for me. During those years, I didn't write about gratitude except for selfish things and there were no affirmations and certainly no spirituality. It was all about me and what I wanted, who I wanted to be with, how mean other people could be, how angry I was at my father, and how much I hoped that things would just be happy. I still have those journals and have opened them up occasionally. But the flood of memories they bring makes me not want to linger long.

I have my mother's journals too. What an inspiring woman she was. She had so many interests and would write about what she was doing: planting flowers, going to parties, sewing, playing cards, visiting with friends. But what is not mentioned at all are her feelings. She doesn't write anything about how she felt, while my journals from my youth and from today are filled with feelings and emotions.

I have marveled at how Mary Christine has been able to recount events during her drinking years. While I was in college, graduate school and at this job for so many years, it all seems like a blur. I might be able to remember some significant events but not many details about what life was like. Now I can do that for the last few years because of my daily journal.

Today I write still about feelings but also about events and activities and about recovery. There is much gratitude and a lot of personal inventory in my journal. It's a place where I can review what my day was like. Some days I beat up on myself, even take another's inventory, but all in all I incorporate what I have learned through the steps.

I wonder whether in some year in the future someone will open these leather bound journals and wonder about the person who wrote them and have a sense of who I was. I hope so.

25 comments:

  1. I wonder about that person now, Syd. You are one of the handful of people I'd like to have coffee with and talk someday.

    There aren't many.

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  2. I have 35 years of my grandma's diaries. She, too does not write about feelings but they are interesting to read and I treasure them.
    I've kept a journal for just over 10 years. It's been a good outlet for all kinds of stuff swirling in my head and about regular day to day stuff, too.

    I think making peace with who I am and that I am on a journey has helped me feel settled about them being read after I'm gone.

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  3. You are so inspirational and have such great insight, that I believe you would make a fabulous author. Your memoir would be one I would read in a heartbeat. Having kept your journals all these years, you would have your research at your fingertips.

    Something to think about....

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  4. I often wish I had kept a journal all along, through life changing events. I would love to reflect on the differences in my feelings and attitude of then, compared to now. My mom wrote a little in her notebook just a few years before she passed away... and I treasure those words, from her own hand. I hope that one day my children will treasure mine as well.

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  5. Yes Syd, someone will value and prize that journal.

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  6. I found my journals when visiting home last spring and took them back with me. I cried and cried reading all my old, very sad poems as a child living in an alcoholic family. Now, I'm sharing them on my blog because I think it is a treasure to have this insight of a child's perspective on how it feels to live with alcoholism. It helped me come out of denial. http://me-anon.blogspot.com

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  7. That was a really interesting blog. The comparison of your journals from your youth with today are exactly what many would hope, but less would actually achieve. You have grown from (naturally) self-interest to a very well rounded and most importanly, balanced, man. You really are an inspiration.

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  8. I am positive one would know from your journal of yesterdays how wonderful you really are, sure we may laugh and evn cry, but if it is anything like you write on here, it's remarkable.
    I have found letters from my father he wrote to my children when they were younger, I will always treasure them and when I showed them to the kids ( adults now ) they smiled and felt special

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  9. Journals have been the foundation of my writing from the age od about 9 years on. I have several from childhood - but once I started blogging I stoppped journaling... still somehow it works in my favor of being able to look back and see how far i ahve come.

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  10. I regret that I didn't start a journal when I first got sober. It's a little too late now to worry about that. I am happy for people who did. I'm sure it is a blessing.

    PG

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  11. I started journaling when I was nine as a way to cope with suicidal feelings (gee, wonder where my son gets his issues from). I no longer have those but I have one for every year since 1990 when I discovered i had a bundle of joy on the way.

    Is that your actual journal in the pic? It must inspire you to write just to touch that leather. I love that feeling....

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  12. I used to say that blogging is a journal, but I don't believe that now. One can never be as open on a blog as a journal. And like you, I have decades where I remember very little of specific events.

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  13. I've been journaling for many years. I look at all those pages as a record of where I've been and what I'm feeling and an accounting of years worth of a life that's given me Strength, Hope and Experience. To me, the act of picking up a pen and notebook and the committment to writing for an hour a day is therapeutic, meditative and healing.

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  14. This is great. And I wonder the same thing. Most days I write for the sake of writing and keeping in touch with my folks, but put it all together and I wonder what it looks like...

    When I read you, I read someone intelligent, thoughtful, and insightful.

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  15. I've always wanted to dedicate myself to a journal but never really found myself sitting down to do so. I think somewhere in the back of mind I always thought, If you write it down it makes it so. Of course what is, is. Maybe I should journal. Some grissle for me to chew on. Hugs. Tammy

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  16. I have parts of journals all over the house, in boxes, on shelves, tucked away random ramblings about my life, all of it self-searching, self-centered, some of it angry, some of it in deep pain. I'm keeping a journal of my step work now, and it is especially meaningful. Someone will treasure your journals, Syd. Someone will find mine someday and think: This woman needs help! Thank God I found it in recovery.

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  17. i have journals from age 18-24. then when I met my (to be) husband i stopped. I was finally happy.

    i didn't start again until I stopped drinking in 2006. but then even when i started drinking again, the journals (and blogging) didn't stop.

    I wish i had a record of 1994-2006. that's a lot of lost journal years.

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  18. journals are wonderful to re-read years later, see where we were, where we are now, see the changes in our lives. and also for our children one day, it's a part of us we leave behind...

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  19. I was here yesterday, just popped over to wish you and yours a wonderful weekend filled with blessings of fun, laughter, good food and one another.. LOVE!!!

    Happy weekend !!

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  20. Your light is bright and I am sure it illuminates those pages perfectly.

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  21. You're an inspiration to many. The best I've been able to do to this date is consistently keep a journal 2 days in a row. That's it. "I'm going to do this for the rest of my life." Then, 2 days. Multiple times.

    Sigh...

    Best I can be for today.

    Blessings and aloha...

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  22. Thanks for the post.
    I think keeping a journal is a wonderful expression and extension of one's self...sound like you get it.

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  23. I have journaled on and off over the years. Every single journal starts of with...this is the year I'm going to cut back on my drinking! It's funny now to see that consistency!

    Journaling is an important recovery tool IMO. All the crazy thoughts run from my head, down my arm and onto the paper. Now they always start with gratitude!

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  24. I really like this post. I have also kept journals, and recently bought my 6-year-old son his first journal. It's interesting to reflect on what is written by ourselves and others.

    I bought my son the journal primarily to deal with his feelings about his dad, who is an alcoholic. Reading this post made me feel like that was a good thing. I think many men are out of touch with their feelings, but writing helps them overcome that.

    Sending you good thoughts today.

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  25. Nothing is more beautiful than a leather-bound journal -- I have kept a diary since the age of 11 but have only a handful of my journals. I am sure your diaries are worth reading. I have helped to edit and publish diaries and there is no more fascinating project.

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