More than one way to recover
The process of recovery and rehabilitation from addiction is a complicated one. It involves a lot of roadblocks and requires the person to make a significant effort. The main treatment approaches for addiction usually involve counseling, therapy, and support groups. In some cases, there is also medication. However, in recent years, more attention has been given to complementary approaches and, among them, the use of art and artistic outlets as a supportive treatment method. How can art help in the recovery process? Let’s take a look.
- It provides an emotional outlet
Creating different types of art, whether it is associated with drawing, dancing, sculpting, or drawing, can provide an effective emotional outlet. The recovery process can bring up a lot of emotions, including some that can be difficult to deal with and express. Art provides a way to express one’s emotions in a healthy way and allows the person to manage their emotions more effectively. Channeling one’s emotions into something artistic can be more effective than expressing them through conflict or other behaviors.
- It brings positive emotions
Making art, regardless of quality, is deeply satisfying. Even people who have never engaged in this type of activity before can find it very rewarding. It provides a new type of hobby that can help structure the time and also provides a significant amount of positive emotions. This can be important. Many people who have struggled with addiction may be used to using drugs as the primary way of feeling good, relaxing, or enjoying themselves. By offering alternatives, it is possible to reduce the psychological dependence associated with drug use.
- It is a tool for self-discovery
Artistic pursuits can serve as a tool for self-discovery and introspection. Art can reveal new aspects of an individual’s emotions, experiences, and beliefs. It can promote insight. For example, something like writing can reveal unexpected aspects of the individual’s personality and promote a better understanding of their experiences. Artistic expression can help us see the different aspects of the self and reveal something new. Additionally, engaging in things that we have not done before can reveal unexpected skills and make us see ourselves in a new light, challenging preconceptions about what we can do. There are many benefits to using art and music as therapy options in alcohol and drug recovery.
- It increases the behaviors available to the individual
Another positive aspect of the use of artistic hobbies is that it increases the behavioral choices that a person has. For example, when a person is faced with stress, they might have a specific range of options that they use to deal with stress. In the case of people struggling with addiction, those choices may often include “drink” as a way of coping. However, by widening the options, for example, by adding “write about it” or “draw something”, it is possible to improve the choices that the person makes because they have more options to cope with stress.
- It can help create a new social circle
For many people with addiction, isolation becomes a significant issue. Some have become isolated due to their addiction, while others have chosen to cut or reduce some social ties because of the association that these have with substance use. For many, existing connections might be supportive of the addictions or provide triggers for the behavior. This means that a person can benefit from making new connections that are not associated with substance abuse. Art can provide a good way of meeting new people and shaping new connections in a fresh environment. Some organization website’s like Addiction and Art list cool upcoming events within the field of recovery.
Today, there is a wide variety of artistic hobbies available to anyone who wants to learn. Some of these can be done individually or learned online, while others might be better practiced with classes or workshops. However, there options available for everyone, including many free or accessible clubs, groups, or lessons. How to choose the one that works best for you?
The first idea is to go mentally back in time and consider the activities you might have most enjoyed as a child. Was there something you wanted to try at some point but never did? Now can be a good time. If you can’t identify anything, think about what seems interesting to you. What type of art do you enjoy? What seems especially interesting? Something that should not limit your choices is skill. Even if you perceive your skill level to be low, pursuing something that interests you is very advisable.
If you’re looking to gather more information about recovery services or sober living Boston options, please call us and one of our recovery professionals will help you! Feel free to read our previous blog about beating addiction — the battle you can win!