The Benefits of Journaling
by Samantha Barrett, ”Memoirs of a Sex Addict: a Jersey Girl Bares All”
As writers, the benefits of journaling are obvious. You will have information to add to a future story; information that over time, you may have forgotten. That makes journaling a great tool to use for work, but there are so many other ways that journaling can benefit us in our life. My book was, initially, my journal. At the time I started it, I wasn’t an author, I had no intention of publishing or even sharing it with anyone, it was my personal journal. We know there are all different types of journals. Oprah taught us about “Gratitude” journals. This was writing down, at the end of the day, all that we were grateful for from that day. What I wrote was almost the opposite of that. Ironically, this type of journaling I also learned from Oprah. As you can probably tell, if I’m not writing or journaling, I’m probably watching Oprah! In my journal I wrote thoughts that were upsetting, negative thoughts that play over and over in my mind like a recording we are unable to stop. The idea was to get these negative thoughts out of our minds and onto paper.
I was 35 years old and had finally overcome a sex addiction that I was struggling with since I was twelve years old. I didn’t need my “vices” anymore, so I was also able to stop both drinking and smoking as well; I figured that I had won; I had finally overcome all of my demons. Why then, were all of these negative thoughts still repeating over and over in my mind? The even bigger question, was why was I still punishing myself for things that had happened as far back as twenty-five years ago? I couldn’t figure it out. Then I remembered what I heard on Oprah about journaling, and I started writing. I started when the pain started, twenty-five years ago.
I couldn’t stop writing. The more I wrote, the lighter I felt, the clearer my mind became, and I began to feel a calmness coming over me. As I wrote about my self-loathing as a little girl, I felt sad for her. I fell in love with the little girl that I always hated and blamed for all of my problems. I apologized to that little girl inside me, and finally felt whole.
I realized after this awakening that I had to share this with others. I knew there were many women and men out there who were still suffering by holding on to past experiences and felt the need to let them know how, finally, they too, can let go. So journaling, which by itself was healing for me, became my book, “Memoirs of a Sex Addict: A Jersey Girl Bares All. It is non-fiction book for adults only. It is my hope that this book will prevent any other boys or girls from suffering, as I did, at such a young age.
Author Samantha Barrett says that Memoirs of a Sex Addict was initially written to help heal herself. It is her sincere hope that it will also benefit others who have suffered as she has with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, a disorder which led directly to sex addiction and many of the reckless adventures recorded in this book. For her, BDD was a very rough ride, so some of the language and emotions in these pages are also rough. It had to be that way, she says, in order to tell the true story. The betrayals were many, including of her husbands, and there was never a shortage of men willing to take advantage of her. Even a counselor in an inpatient addiction hospital found her to be easy prey. Of course, the greatest betrayal was of herself. Some of what she did will come across as wild, reckless, even self-indulgent, but the common theme with alcohol and drug addicts is that she couldn’t stop herself.
Dr. Irvin Milowe, MD, and professor of psychiatry at the University of Miami, calls Memoirs of a Sex Addict “a very thoughtful trip into an addiction, that also shows the route out.” And while Ms. Barrett is indeed eager to help others avoid her plight, she doesn’t hide the details of her excursions.
For Samantha Barrett the journey into addiction began during her childhood, with being bullied in the home in what might seem a benign way. “The media,” she says, “has been telling us about bullies at school and on the internet, but we rarely hear of bullies living under the same roof. We assume that parents will prevent anything hurtful to their children. But what if they are not aware? What may be “harmless teasing” for one child, could be devastating to another.
A child may be hiding the pain. I was told that I was ugly, that no man would ever marry me. This led to a disease called Body Dysmorphic Disorder or BDD, a disease that distorted the way I saw myself and led me to obsess over flaws that may not have even be present. We hear tragic stories of drug and alcohol addiction. My addiction was different. Sex was my “drug of choice.” Only sex could take away my pain of feeling “ugly.” As soon as a man was on top of me or giving me attention, I felt beautiful. Often, alcohol went along with this behavior, but sex was the one I had no control over. Hopefully, the stories in this book will encourage parents, teachers and caregivers to be more aware of what is being told to or heard by their children.”
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Genre – Biographies & Memoirs / Self-Help
Rating – R