If you’ve ever justified your drinking or drug use by claiming that these substances help you tap into your creative side, you aren’t alone. From Vincent van Gogh to Kurt Cobain, many of the world’s most creatively gifted people have famously struggled with addiction. The idea that drugs and alcohol fuel your imagination is a myth; indeed, these substances can inhibit your inspiration and prevent you from achieving your best life. However, you can use your creativity to overcome your addiction. Here’s how.
1. Art Helps You Express Your Emotions
One of the nearly endless benefits of creating a piece of art – whether that’s a song, drawing, painting, photograph, poem or work of fiction – is that it can help you work through complex emotions. Many recovering addicts struggle with intense feelings of guilt and shame because of their past behaviors, but discover that they have trouble conveying them after years of suppressing emotions through substance use.
Artistic expression gives you a healthy outlet for processing these feelings and avoiding a relapse. If it’s difficult for you to communicate in one-on-one or group therapy, creative approaches can help you find your voice again.
2. Creativity Is Meditative
Many artists describe an ability to get fully immersed in their work. Creative flow – a state of mind when you feel fully immersed in the task at hand – is an experience that brings both psychological and physiological benefits. One study of classical pianists found that they experienced decreased heart rate and blood pressure while performing a piece several times. For these artists, playing the piano even activated the facial muscles that allow us to smile. If you’re feeling anxious or upset, doing something creative can improve your mood and bring a sense of clarity and focus to your life.
3. Being Imaginative Gives You a Hobby
Drinking and drug use is a time-consuming pursuit. One of the hurdles in early addiction recovery is finding healthy new ways to occupy the hours you used to spend getting high or drunk. Boredom is often a relapse trigger, so having a creative diversion is an ideal way to escape from reality and discover a new passion at the same time.
4. Inspiration Brings Vitality Into Your Life
As addiction progresses, it can gradually rob you of everything you love. Being creative frees you from the fear and sadness that held you back while you were drinking or using drugs. Activities like dancing, listening to music and finger-painting can restore your sense of joy and playfulness.
5. Closure Can Come From Creativity
Addiction is essentially a long-term relationship – albeit a toxic one – with your substance of choice. When ending any relationship after a sustained period, it’s natural to feel a sense of loss and grief. Creative pursuits can help you bring that chapter of your life to an end and find inner peace. One way to create closure during the process of letting go is by writing a “goodbye letter” to the substances you are leaving behind. In the process, you can freely disclose all your thoughts and feelings – it’s a therapeutic way of releasing your innermost tensions.
Your Life Is a Blank Canvas
There’s no one-size-fits-all pathway to addiction recovery, which is why accredited treatment facilities such as Vista Taos Renewal Center take a tailored approach to helping people achieve lifelong recovery. We believe lasting sobriety is worth pursuing, and that you can rewrite the story of your life with our holistic addiction treatment program. The stunning mountain scenery of Taos has inspired many artists, and it can serve as a foundation for your healing. Contact us today to learn more.