Jumping down the rabbit hole of Bullet Journaling and applying it to recovery an Essay


I knew it would come to this at some point, that I would write this essay on Bullet Journals, and recovery.  I just didn’t expect it to be tonight that I did the leap. So, here we go.

So much of recovery revolves around homework, planning, meetings, lots of step work, lists and the like. We are trying to turn our lives around from focusing on the booze and the drugs, and instead focusing on being a productive member of society.

Part of the problem I ran into early on in recovery is that there just was not a good way of keeping track of what I was doing in both my sobriety and in my day to day life. Most planners I found were next to worthless for the dual purpose I needed. I also needed to track my medical problems and give accurate reports on everything to my Doctor.

How the heck does one do it all?

Well, after just keeping lots of notebooks for years, trying to snarl my way through on both a laptop and or handheld devices, I was about to pull my hair out. I found, well stumbled into bullet journaling. I also found travelers notebooks at the same time.

Bullet journaling is as simple, or as complicated as you want to make it to be. You can go all out, and spend hundreds of dollars on pens, journals, washi tape, and thousands of hours on Amazon and in groups online trying to make it “purdy” or colorful. 

However, what I needed was a simple system to track the following:

  1. Schedule, including meetings and phone lists. I track my own appointments, Dad’s appointments, and my Spouse’s appointments. I also keep track of Sponsee’s sobriety dates, Sponsor call times, and family events.
  2. I needed a simple system to track my meals, blood sugars, insulin injections, medications and other symptoms for my physician.
  3. I needed a place to keep track of todo lists, “tada lists””” (things I did that I can be proud of), projects, work, grocery lists, sizes of family members, vehicle maintenance records, and the like.
  4. I needed a place for my daily homework, my journaling, and my step work. I also needed a place to track my meeting notes, my step studies, and homework assignments I give my sponsees.

I have many more things I track, but you get the idea.

A bullet journal solved that problem for me, and made my life much easier. 

Above is a sample sheet from my bullet journal. It was from much earlier in the year, when the daily high was only 32* F or 0* C out. I know also that it was from a Tuesday, simply because if I was going to the Library that day, and an 8PM meeting, Tuesday is the only day that that works out for me.

The arrows on the list are things I migrated forward from the day or even week before. I can guarantee you that on that day, I didn’t get all of that work done, but I did get quite a bit of it accomplished.

Now, for the recovery part. I use a traveler’s notebook now, and I have separate inserts for my daily homework, my study work, and step work. There is an insert for meeting notes alone. It’s all up to you what you want to do with your homework, your journal, and your life. This is just a system that works for this alcoholic.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at justanotheralcoholic@yahoo.com

I will revisit this topic and post more photos of my current journaling system at a later date.

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