Each year, millions of individuals from around the world face addictions to alcohol, prescription medications, and even illicit street drugs. With hundreds of thousands of overdoses and fatalities occurring each year around the globe, finding effective treatments and solutions have become more important than ever.
With the many available treatments and therapies—inpatient, outpatient, and alternative—knowing which resource or solution is right for you is not always simple. One way to ensure that you are on the right track on your road to recovery is to put your very own creativity to use.
The Power of Creativity
Creativity does not always involve a paintbrush and canvas. Life itself is extremely creative. From growing and preparing food, to building a business and marketing its services, creativity abounds just about everywhere you look.
From classical artists and business moguls to athletes and politicians, getting creative can help in a variety of facets of life, regardless of your needs.
Yes, creative hobbies and activities can provide a great number of health benefits—both mentally as well as physically, even if they are not immediately obvious—but so can creative therapies.
Whether you are looking to work through trauma, overcome anxiety in your day-to-day life, or recover from substance use disorders, using the power of creativity can truly help to unlock and unleash your full true potential.
Mental and Emotional Advantages of Getting Creative
Getting creative and immersing yourself in an enjoyable hobby can help you to free your mind while also decompressing and eliminating stress-inducing thoughts. Some of the mental and emotional advantages of getting creative include:
- Expanding your mind. Exploring new creative activities and stepping outside of your comfort zone can refresh your mind.
- Learning something new. Learn new hobbies, crafts, and various creative activities to exercise new mental muscles.
- Staying inspired. The mind gets stronger the more you work it, such as by doing something new.
- Improving focus. Doing something new keeps the mind stimulated, increasing its ability to concentrate.
- Boosting self-esteem, self-confidence, and a sense of self-worth. Aside from the indirect psychological benefits, mastering a creative activity increases confidence. There is also pride in challenging oneself and developing new skills.
Expressing Emotions Without Shame, Guilt, and Judgment
When you can’t express yourself, let things out, it can lead to feelings of repression that can quickly lead to relapse. Not every thought or feeling should be expressed in all situations or all the time, but you need a safe space where you can.
Creative activities can allow you to express such feelings. You can alleviate feelings of shame and guilt that are most commonly associated with addiction while also providing you with a unique opportunity to express yourself.
Finding a creative outlet can bring great solace and provide you with the peace of mind you need to maintain your sober way of life.
Because art is subjective and varies around the world, you can create individual pieces that have meaning to you without exposing yourself too nakedly to the world. Having an outlet that is just your own is also a way to avoid relapse or turning to negative habits and behaviours, such as using or abusing drugs and alcohol.
How to Begin Using Creativity to Recover
Whether you are unsure of where to begin or if you do not consider yourself a naturally creative person, there are plenty of affordable and easy ways to get started by putting your creative energies to use, such as:
- Painting with traditional acrylics and canvas or paper
- Wood burning
- Resin pouring
- Clay moulding and baking
- Jewelry making
- Building a website
- Creating and developing apps
- Sketching art for others
- Creating wall art and murals in your home
- Decorating your own spaces
- Getting organised and creating a clutter-free space in your home and at work
- Learning how to cook and discovering new ingredients to introduce into your daily meals
Advantages of Art Therapy
Recovering from addiction or any type of trauma is not an overnight process. Similarly, using creativity to heal and to help with the recovery process is also not an overnight process, and requires plenty of work and a commitment to sticking to your own goals.
In a traditional rehabilitation centre for alcohol and drug abuse or addiction, art therapy is common: learning how to sketch, painting as a group, or even glass-blowing.
Creating art with new tools and materials can feel extremely motivating, rewarding, and empowering.
With art therapy, you can dig deeper into your emotions through the use of color theory, color psychology, and thought and consciousness exercises. It is especially beneficial for those who have difficulty communicating about their emotions or inner struggles and for those who need a creative outlet to boost their moods and overall outlook on life.
Understanding the power and benefits of creativity can help those who are grappling with crippling and life-threatening addictions face and overcome their addiction.
With a better understanding of how creativity impacts the mind, body, and soul, you can begin using art therapy and other forms of creative energy to maintain a sober, happy, and fulfilling way of life, free from alcohol, drugs, and other harmful substances altogether.