An individual, who commits to attending and participating in one’s own recovery from drug and/or alcohol addiction, is opening up to alternative methods of healing. The individual is admitting the need for outside help and is essentially signing on to be extremely vulnerable. The lessons learned and personal awareness that is typically uncovered for individuals in recovery will be both illuminating and healing.
It has come to light that individuals no longer, and perhaps never did, integrate emotional and physical experiences in a linear way. Nowadays there is a variety of teaching methods and therapy options available, as individuals absorb and learn in an assortment of ways. Providing creative outlets for individuals in recovery is essential. Some people relate best to numbers, some to words, some to colors, some to sounds, some to tastes, some to smells…the list goes on. A well-rounded recovery program will allow space for individuals to explore which type or combination of outlets best resonates with the recovering individual.
Addiction is a physical disease that greatly affects one’s emotions and mental state. Creativity activates areas of the brain that can often be suppressed during one’s active drug use. Exploring creativity and activating the creative areas of one’s brain can help a recovering individual come to terms with his or her addiction. Engaging in one’s creativity can help to surface possible underlying and/or hidden emotions, which in turn, can aid in the understanding of one’s addiction.
It is not uncommon for individuals to initially turn to drugs and/or alcohol when they experience pain or emotional discomfort that is simply too hard to bear. These initial feelings will most likely still be there when the individual gets sober, and must be addressed. The creative process, whether it is through visual arts, musical arts, culinary arts…etc. can be extremely helpful in uncovering these underlying emotions. Additionally, creativity can help the recovering individual gain a sense of control over the initial negative emotions.
Art therapy provides a space for individuals to explore emotions through their hands. The possible directives an art therapist is able to expose to a recovering individual may help that individual experience deep resolution through abstract artistic projects, without ever speaking. Art therapy utilizes a wide variety of art tools resulting in two-dimensional to three-dimensional artwork. Most often it is the process of creating the artwork that can be the most healing aspect, as opposed to the final product. Going through an artistic process, having to make specific artistic choices (color choice, media type, size…etc.) helps the individual gain self-confidence. This can then translate to other areas of the recovering individual’s life, creating a ripple effect of healing.
Dance therapy, much like art therapy, does not rely heavily on verbal communication, but rather focuses mainly on the movement of one’s body. Dance therapy provides a platform for recovering individuals to work out issues through dance and movement. The reduced pressure to verbalize one’s emotions has the propensity to provide enormous healing, simply through one’s movement of body. This healing can then spill over into other areas of the individual’s life.
Similar to art therapy and dance therapy, music therapy minimally relies on verbal communication, and instead places great emphasis on listening to and creating music as a form of therapy. When utilizing music involvement in a therapeutic context, recovering individuals are able to strengthen their sense of selves and abilities. This, in turn, is then transferred to other areas of the recovering individual’s life.
It is imperative to seek help if there is concern for an individual addicted to or abusing drugs and/or alcohol. Drug and/or alcohol addiction can be a deadly disease. There is an abundance of help and guidance regarding drug and/or alcohol addiction available.
Many individuals who are addicts are highly intelligent individuals, often with great creativity and imagination. Treatment plans must uniquely cater towards each recovering individual, which is why a great emphasis is placed on having a variety of creative outlets available to individuals in recovery. One of the goals of recovery is for individuals to integrate and process the experiences that took place before beginning treatment, and learn to integrate new experiences in a healthy, sober way. Most treatment programs will be open to and encourage a variety of creative healing options.
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