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‘Journal Your Way to BALM Recovery: Be A Loving Mirror to Yourself’

BALM | December 10, 2016

By Mark Scannell, ACC, BALM® Journaling Instructor and Coach Training Faculty Member

Note from FRR: Journaling now has a weekly home in the BALM® Community each Tuesday morning from 10-11 AM ET.  The focus of the BALM® journaling workshop is to create a safe space for people to journal in community. It is a way to be private while in community. At each workshop, we will take out our journals and write. Mark will lead these workshops, which will be open to every BALMer, whether you have ever journaled or not. Each week is a stand alone so you can choose to come every week or whenever you can! Just as in your journal, this workshop is ongoing with no set beginning or end! In the article that follows, Mark discusses what journaling can bring to your BALM® recovery. 

Every Tuesday at 10:00 am ET:  Journal Your Way to BALM® Recovery: Be A Loving Mirror to Yourself

Actually, journaling has always been a part of the BALM® program, and now we are attempting to pass on different ways to journal. Our goal is to Be a Loving Mirror to Those around us. Journaling is one way to Be a Loving Mirror to ourselves that hopefully helps us to Be A Loving Mirror to Others.

So, why Journal? And why journaling as part of the BALM®? Journaling is one way for individuals to capture what is happening to them and within them. It is stepping back from our lives in order to become more aware of what is taking place inside of us.

We often suggest younger people take a time out to settle down and relax. This is important for people of all ages as, for centuries – both individuals and communities – have written down their experiences in order to discover what has happened, what they value, what is important to them and what they want to do.

I have journaled for about fifty years, and my teacher was Ira Progoff, who developed the Intensive Journal workbook. His method distinguished between keeping a diary & keeping a journal. His insight was that within each of us there is wisdom and experiences that can help us find meaning in our lives, develop the gifts we have been given, and enable to reach out and contribute to society and others. Journaling, then, is very much for ourselves as well as being in the service of others. I understand this to be the focus and thrust of BALM® also.

In a few words, the Journal to BALM® Recovery course invites BALMers to write about their life experiences, acknowledging that their life experiences vary over time and place. So, what is happening now is different from something that happened thirty years ago; a night dream is different from something happening in the world.

Different sections of the BALM® Recovery Journal reflect these different kinds of experiences. The belief is that “taking apart” our experiences and looking at them from different perspectives can lead to newfound awarenesses that we can then work with and incorporate into our lives. Journaling is not about just filling notebooks. Rather, it is about resolving issues that have been with us for a long time, and discovering possibilities for our future.

A couple of other important aspects of this journaling process:

We write for ourselves – for our eyes only. We write not to impress or depress others – we write to know ourselves better. As we write for our eyes only, it is often helpful to journal with others who keep us on track, especially when we are tempted to stop writing & do something else. The group keeps our feet to the fire! While we always protect each person’s privacy, at times it is helpful to read out loud what we have written – why? Because often there is much contained within the words that we have written. We only become aware of the feelings and sentiments when we speak and hear what we wrote. Yet, no one is required to read their journal out loud. People only do so when they want to.

I have often thought that journaling seems to come much more easily to introverts and introverts find it easier to set aside time to write and ponder their life. On the other hand, it strikes me that possibly extraverts like myself can benefit from pulling back & writing about what is happening, where we have been and where we wish to go. So, introverts and extraverts – whoever you are – come and sample this journaling process!. Just possibly the journaling might help you to become a Loving Mirror not only to others but also to YOURSELF!


BALMers, watch your Weekly Call List for link to register and join class each week.

If you are not yet in the BALM®, and you would like to become a part of this vibrant family recovery community, click here