Tracking My Struggle

When I began my journey down the road to recovery, I attended a group therapy program. Our therapist wanted us to journal during the week about what was going on when we were struggling. She also wanted to know what was going on when things were good. I later became involved in a group that encouraged a daily check in answering the questions, what am I feeling, what am I thinking, what am I doing and what am I thinking of doing. This is the format I have adopted for myself.

When I began doing a daily check in I began to write my check in down and it didn’t take long for me to begin to see patterns in my behavior. Writing it down was a big deal. If I just told my check in to someone I didn’t remember details day to day but when I began to write it down I began to identify certain people, places or times that were common on days when I struggled. A big thing I noticed were the emotions that were common, anger, fear, loneliness.

I remember noticing that I was consistently struggling on Wednesdays. It took a while to pinpoint what might be triggering me but the common factor I found was that I pick up groceries for the week on Wednesdays at Walmart. I don’t know about your community but as I began to pay attention, I realized that the worst drivers in the county seem to congregate in the Walmart parking lot here. I could feel my blood pressure rise just thinking about it. The store was always crowded and getting through the check out took longer than getting the groceries. Then it was back to the parking lot with the bad drivers. I’d arrive home a few minutes later with my blood pressure through the roof and mad at the world. I decided to do a simple experiment. For a month I went to another store for groceries. The first thing I noticed was the parking lot. The bad drivers were still at Walmart and my blood pressure didn’t skyrocket. This store wasn’t as crowded and I got out easier. I wasn’t in a state of rage when I got home. Wednesday evenings didn’t seem to be a bad time for me anymore.

I’m not suggesting that all of our struggles can be eliminated as easily as changing where we shop but through the same process I began to identify people and places that weren’t healthy for me to be around. I also identified people and places that encouraged me and helped me to stay in a better state of mind. Not all the changes I have made have been permanent. For instance, I go back to Walmart now. But when I go I am aware of the things there that trigger me and I am prepared. It’s the same with people and places. Some are still not healthy for me but some are back in the picture because I am prepared for what I will encounter.

Take time to do a regular check in with yourself, a sponsor or a friend. Track your struggles and adjust as needed. If you’d like to talk more about this shoot me an email at You can do this!

Published by ronsthots

I'm a Certified Professional Recovery Coach. Feel free to email me at

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