Expressive Writing in Addiction Recovery

I am a recovering alcoholic, drug addict and an eating disorder survivor. (Yes, men suffer from eating disorders.) My recovery has taken many twists and turns with a lot of trial and error in finding my path to a fulfilling life and happiness. One of the tools that I have found incredibly valuable is expressive writing. Writing has always been my passion. Expression of my pain and wearing my emotions on my sleeve have always produced my most intimate and passionate content. There is no doubt in my mind that the self-healing benefits of writing are numerous and powerful. I see it often in social media—on blogs, Facebook and Twitter—where people in the throes of various types of addiction share their struggles and recovery. Some encourage others who may be hurting to reach out to them. Other posts direct people to blogs about their particular issue. Some are anonymous, maybe not yet ready to break through the stigma or afraid of consequences in jobs or relationships. Some like me, letting it all hang out name and photo attached. To each his own.

We all proceed at our own pace in life. Expressive therapy is becoming a part of many formal treatment programs. Working my way through college and even law school I never saw it. I had no place to fit it in my existence. The kind of writing I did in law school did not inspire me. Non-emotional, clinical dissection of cases and legal rhetoric designed to reach a desired result or analyze a given result…boring! When I finally had a platform to pick the subjects that touched me and let loose. In 2005, I started my first blog on the then popular social networking site MySpace. I had no idea how to write expressively. I took no lessons. I read no books. I did what I now recommend to many who come to me asking for writing advice: One day I made a list of 10 subjects I was passionate about. I found news stories on those subjects. I started writing. I would offer opinions on legal subjects, political subjects, and entertainment subjects. Anything that got an emotional rise from me was fair game. I had no idea it was therapeutic. I was drawn to the words.

I then graduated to my first public Internet blog. It was simply called. "Brian Cuban's Blog." As my writing took me into my recovery I began expressing myself about my struggles with addiction. Like recovery, my writing and the release of anger and ability to express myself in an authentic, raw manner was like the release I would get when the vomit spewed from mouth into the toilet and around the bathroom. Painful truth. I had no idea if anyone would read it and I did not care. The first time anyone found out about my 27-year struggle with bulimia was on my blog. A healing process. A vehicle to not only help myself but for others to know they are not alone. I have no regrets revealing my struggles. That is not to say everyone has to write publicly. It is not for everyone. We are all in different stages of recovery. I have also privately journaled. Expressive writing both private and public helped save my life.


Brian Cuban is a an author who recently released his first book Shattered Image, chronicling his first-hand experiences living with, and recovering from eating disorders and body dysmorphia disorder (BDD), which rose to the #1 spot on Amazon.com in the eating disorder category. Based in Dallas, TX, Cuban is also the segment host for "Brian Cuban's Legal Briefs" on EyeOpenerTV, and founder of his blog, The Cuban Revolution. Additionally Cuban is a lawyer and activist specializing in 1st Amendment issues and hate speech and has lectured on the topic in major media outlets and conferences around the world. For more information, visit www.briancuban.com