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Journal Prompts for the 12 Steps of Recovery

Having gone through the 12 steps of recovery through a few different recovery programs, I have discovered the power of journaling. In fact, it was through journaling when I was an active member of the Alanon family, that opened the door to the concept of my book, Three Weeks to Forgiveness: God’s Redemption in the Dark Places of Addiction, coming out April 2018. When I journaled through Steps 8 and 9, I discovered exactly what book the Lord had placed on my heart to write.

If you are a writer like me, you find it cathartic to get your thoughts and prayers on paper, journaling is the perfect thing to do. I love going back and reading things I have written in my prayer journal so I can visibly see how God moved in different situations. Reflecting on my journal gives me such a clear picture of God.

If you are not naturally a writer or if you are stuck when it comes to what to write about, you have landed in the right place!

Sometimes we have a difficult time seeing how God is with us or is moving when we are in the middle of the storm, but God doesn’t leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6), that is a promise. By journaling, while we are in the midst of life when the clouds have cleared and the turmoil has stopped, we are able to see the rainbow from God through our words.

These are the journaling prompts I used as I journeyed through recovery with the Lord that have been adapted to conform to a Christ-centered recovery program at my church called re:generation. Use these prompts to complete the sentences, but really take it to the next level and write out your thoughts and feelings surrounding each one. Rather have a PDF copy of this post? Visit the Resource Center to find out how.

Step 1 – Admit - We admit we are powerless over our addictions, brokenness and sinful patterns - that in our own power our lives are unmanageable.

Journal Prompt – I am struggling with __________________, right now. I no longer can deal with ___________________ alone. I need help with __________________.

Step 2 – Believe - We come to believe that God is the one whose power can fully restore us.

Journal Prompt – I can no longer deal with __________________, in my own power. God is the only one who can free me from ___________________.

Write out a prayer to God about this.

Step 3 – Trust - We decide to trust God without lives and wills by accepting his grace through Jesus Christ.

Journal Prompt – I simply do not trust __________________. Lord, please help me to open my heart and break down the barriers that are preventing me from trusting ___________________. Today I make the decision to trust You, Lord and I accept Your grace.

Step 4 – Inventory - We make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Journal Prompt – I know I struggle with ________________, _________________, and ________________. Lord, please show me other areas of my life that You would have me work on.

Step 5 – Confess - We confess to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our sins.

Journal Prompt – Lord, I confess to You the sin(s) of ________________, _________________, and ________________. I know now I can trust You and ______________ with confession of these sins. I ask You, Lord, to help me with ____________________.

Step 6 – Repent - We became entirely ready to turn away from our patterns of sin and turn to God.

Journal Prompt – Lord, I am entirely ready to turn from ________________, _________________, and ________________. I want to turn to You instead of turning to ______________ to fill my emptiness. Please help me, Lord to know You are the solution not ____________________.

Step 7 – Follow - We humbly ask God's spirit to change our hearts and minds in order to follow Christ fully.

Journal Prompt – I am not perfect and I know I need to rely on You, Lord, for my _______________ and _______________. Lord, please change my heart and mind to recognize when ________________, _________________, and ________________ begin to interrupt my life. I want to follow Christ fully.

Step 8 – Forgive - We forgive those who have harmed us and become willing to make amends to those we have harmed.

Journal Prompt – Today, I make the decision to forgive _______________, _______________ and _______________. (add more people, if necessary) I am willing to make amends with ________________, _________________, and ________________ with Your help, Lord. I will seek wise, biblical counsel from ___________________ (someone you trust) before I prepare to make my amends with ________________________.

Step 9 – Amends - We make direct amends whenever possible, submitting to God, his word, and biblical counsel.

Journal Prompt – Today, I will make amends with _______________, _______________ and _______________. (add more people, if necessary) I will seek wise, biblical counsel from ___________________ (someone you trust) before I make my amends with ________________________, in order to ensure no harm to myself or to ___________________.

Step 10 – Continue - We continue to take personal inventory and when we sin promptly confess and turn to walk with Christ.

Journal Prompt – Today, I will make amends with _______________, _______________ and _______________. (add more people, if necessary) I will seek wise, biblical counsel from ___________________ (someone you trust) before I make my amends with ________________________, in order to ensure no harm to myself or to ___________________.

Step 11 – Intimacy - We seek to deepen our relationship with God daily and depend on His power to do His will.

Journal Prompt – Lord, today I need Your help with _______________, _______________ and _______________. I want to know You more. Please show me through your Word ________________. Help me to do Your will with ________________________________.

Step 12 – Regeneration - Because of our new lives in Christ, we carry God’s message of reconciliation to others and practice these biblical principles in every aspect of our lives.

Journal Prompt – My name is _________________ and I have a new life in Christ. I am recovering from _________________, ______________________, and _________________. It is only by God’s grace and help that I am able to turn from ________________________, ___________________, and ___________________. Today I will tell ____________________ (either name a person you know or fill in with a number) about how Christ transformed my life and as a result ________________________________________________________________. God loves me and He loves ________________________ (insert the name of someone you know who could benefit from this message of hope). Share it with that person (or people) today.

As you use these journal prompts, keep in mind, they can be used anytime in your journey. Overcoming our past, finding serenity in our present, and transforming our future is a lifelong journey. God is with us, He loves us so much, and by depending on Him, we are able to be transformed. With God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).

If you or someone you know lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and are in need of a safe place to grow in your relationship with Christ and overcome your past, find serenity in your present, and transform your future, please visit re:generation. Re:generation is a 12-step discipleship through recovery. By working through these biblical steps within an authentic community, people have found freedom from substance abuse, co-dependency, pornography, eating disorders, depression, fear, control, emotional/physical abuse, same sex attraction, anger, obsessive thoughts and many other personal struggles. Not sure if this is the right place for you? Take this short quiz to find out: Do I Need Recovery Quiz

Don’t live in the DFW area of Texas? Find the recovery program that is right for you by going to Start Recovery.

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations after 2017 are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers

Scripture quotations before 2017 taken from the New American Standard Bible® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission.

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