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Art Therapy

Can Creative Therapies Really Help You Recover from Addiction?

If you are recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, you may be surprised to learn that the process can involve more than just traditional treatments. Several supplemental therapies are gaining favor with addiction recovery specialists, but the most popular seem to be music and art therapy. Wondering how these treasured pastimes could help you with your treatment? Here are a few ways music and art can improve your recovery from addiction.


Music and Art Therapy Really Work

Most people enjoy art and music but never think about these creative influences as a means for therapy. Studies have shown that creative arts therapy, whether it involves music, art, drama, or some other outlet, can have a positive overall effect on those being treated for a variety of conditions. Music and art are typically easily accessible to most people, and both forms of therapy have been proven to aid in the treatment of depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and substance addiction. Many treatment programs have incorporated creative arts therapy into their patients’ routines, and the positive results have been undeniable.


The Right Tune Can Put a Smile on Your Face

The benefits of music are endless. Music has a way of playing at our emotions and stirring up old memories. Use this power to your advantage to promote positive emotions. The next time you’re feeling down, try listening to a song or two to cheer you up. Just be careful of songs that are triggering or bring back memories of your drug or alcohol use or find ways to make new memories with these songs. Having an upbeat playlist can help you get through even the toughest of days during your recovery, but more mellow music can also help you relax and unwind after a difficult day. Spend some time putting together a few mixes so that you have a soundtrack to suit any occasion.


Playing an Instrument is Good for the Mind and Body

While listening to music can set your mind at ease, picking up an instrument can bring the same benefits and so much more. Learning how to play an instrument offers physical, emotional and mental health benefits while instilling a sense of discipline.

When musicians learn to play, they learn to focus on their breathing and improve their posture, but they also improve their concentration and time management skills. You can find secondhand instruments to begin or even look into renting the best trumpets, flutes, and saxophones available at your local music shop until you determine which one is a perfect fit. Playing your own music will give you a sense of achievement much-needed in recovery, while offering positive connections to other people.


Painting Puts Your Mind at Ease

Whether it’s watercolor, acrylic or oils, painting is a wonderful way for those suffering with addiction to cope. Not only is painting a quiet, soothing activity, it allows an artist to bring out whatever emotions they’re dealing with onto the paper or canvas and leave it there. Because drugs and alcohol can dull a person’s emotions, painting can bring you back to yourself.

The sound of the stroke of a brush on canvas can be enough to calm your mind and the finished product can leave you with a sense of accomplishment. Remember to be patient with yourself and enjoy the process. Wondering where to start? You can find helpful lists of online essential supplies and simple tutorials for getting the basics of painting down.

Using creative arts for therapy can be a relaxing and fulfilling part of your recovery process. Learning to paint, or to play an instrument or simply how to put together a playlist can also be a welcome distraction from the stress of learning to live without drugs and alcohol. Put the power of art and music to use for you to help ease your transition and calm your mind.


About the Author: A couple of years into my recovery I was going through a rough patch – I was sober but burnt out on going to AA meetings and therapy sessions. I felt like my healing had plateaued. Then, on a whim, I signed up for an art therapy workshop. Immediately, I loved it. Getting a chance to be creative helped me get out of my head but was also truly cathartic. I’m a big believer now that art and music therapy can benefit anyone in recovery.

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