Creativity in Substance Abuse Recovery

In treatment we are often exposed to “art therapy.” This usually involves crayons, paper maché, watercolors, scissors, old magazines and a variety of other things that we can use to express what’s going on inside – if we choose to participate. It’s usually fun after we get started, and it actually does help us reveal to ourselves the things that are on our minds. One of its biggest benefits is that it requires us to think about our issues in a different way, rather than simply allowing the hamster cage in our head to spin…and spin…and spin….

Everyone is Creative

All human beings have a creative side. It may be art, dance, custom cars, writing, cooking, photography, building cabinets, poetry, carving wood, music, gardening or any number of other areas, but if we look for them we will eventually find them. And we need to look, because art taps a part of our minds that we can’t access completely when we are doing other things. It helps us let go of rigid thinking, releases our spontaneity, and is a good opportunity to turn off the cares of the world and allow our minds to rest for a bit. The important part is to create, not simply let someone else do it for us.

Creativity expands our body, mind, and spirit, allowing us to create beauty that never existed before -- inside and out.

Creativity is an extremely helpful outlet, particularly when working toward recovery and sobriety.

Creativity is an Important Outlet

It’s important to find things that nurture the spirit and widen our possibilities. Artists don’t paint the same masterpiece over and over. Writers don’t rewrite their novels. We need activities that challenge us to do better without putting us on a competitive basis with others. We don’t want to be in a position where we believe others are judging us; that creates stress. But the haiku that no one else will read until we are good and ready, the rose bush that didn’t make it (this time) or the drawing we botched can be set aside until we are ready to laugh at ourselves – and that time will come.

Because we are sober now, we can feel the simple pleasures that we may not have noticed when we were looking for the next high, the next thrill. Being able to notice the beauty in life allows us to connect with the joy of others, expanding our spirit to meet theirs, and to connect with the satisfaction of a job well done just because we wanted to do it.

We're Our Own Greatest Creation

In recovery, we get to work on our greatest creation – ourselves. We get to decide on the changes we are going to make in ourselves and our lives, and then we get to see them happen as we work our program and move toward sobriety. Instead of the facade we built to deceive the world in our addiction we can become who we really are, but we can only achieve this if we allow ourselves to have fun. We need to fill the time that we formerly used for acting out in our addictions, and we need to give ourselves time to relax. Anything we enjoy can help us achieve this, as long as it is not “work” but something that we do for ourselves. Creativity expands our body, mind and spirit, and by doing so allows us to create beauty that has never existed before, inside us and out.

Comments

  1. Twelve Steps AA Store says:

    Nice article. I totally agree with u. Creativity is the key to better mental and emotional health. Creative activities impact the body in a way similar to meditation.

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