Linking Creativity and Recovery

Linking Creativity and Recovery. It has long been believed that an altered mind state with drugs and alcohol make people more creative. Writers like Ernest Hemmingway or musicians like Janis Joplin are highly regarded artists that sadly met an untimely demise due to their addictions. The truth is, drugs and alcohol may loosen your inhibitions and allow you to initially create your art, but addiction suffocates creativity over time.

The good news though, is creativity can actually be very effective in treating addiction and a healing approach to sobriety. Here are six ways to use your creativity to stay healthy.

1. Alexithymia is when you cannot put your emotions or feelings into words. Oftentimes, addicts are dealing with guilt or shame which can be difficult to articulate. Using creative expressions like drawing or writing can move people safely through their guilt without triggering relapse.

2. One of the best ways to regulate stress is to get up and move. By dancing or singing you are releasing endorphins, your natural painkillers, and lowering cortisol levels that cause stress reactors in the body. By reducing your stress, you are creating new brain synapses that do not immediately lead to drugs and alcohol cravings.

3. Moving through your pain using role play and acting can be very powerful. This is also a very effective tool for vicarious healing, meaning you can process through your own trauma or pain by seeing another act out a scenario that resonates with your experience.

4. Get lost in your art. Start painting, writing or crafting and get completely lost in the moment.  Getting in the “flow” is a great way to stay present and find purpose.

5. It can often be very hard to talk about loss. Writing about your experience can be a cathartic way to manage your emotions.  The Academy of Management Journal found that unemployed people that wrote about the experience of losing their jobs found new jobs quicker than those that did not express their feelings.

6. Adults often get so caught up in their lives that they forget how to play in a safe and healthy way. Lighthearted play time significantly reduces stress in individuals while also giving them a feeling of control. Group art projects, singing karaoke, or playing board games with friends are all carefree ways to increase playfulness.

At the end of the day we need to find safe ways of expressing our pain.  Using creativity can be a fun and effective way to deal with our past while staying healthy.  AKUA offers creative therapies like harp therapy paired with cognitive, verbal therapy to help our clients find lasting sobriety. Contact us today to learn more.

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