Art for Addiction Recovery

Art for Addiction Recovery

You don’t have to be the next Picasso in order for art to make a difference in your recovery. Here’s how anyone can use art to help maintain long-term sobriety.

Are you interested in tapping into your creative side, but don’t know where to begin? Art is a great tool for maintaining your addiction recovery. Not only making your own art, but also viewing art can be beneficial for your overall wellbeing and aid you in keeping on track. As Pablo Picasso once said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

How can you integrate art into your recovery maintenance plan?

Make a vision board. A vision board is a creative visual representation of your goals and aspirations. Making a vision board is a simple yet powerful way to get your creative juices flowing and bring energy to the things you want in life. To make a vision board collect images from magazines, photos, or the internet that represent your goals. Include images and words that inspire you, reflect positive affirmations, and are motivational. Your vision board can be focused on one aspect of your life such as wanting to exercise more often, or can represent your overall aspirations. Once you have collected images assemble them into a collage, and don’t forget to hang your finished board somewhere you can see it each day!

Create a visual journal. Journaling has many positive health benefits. Getting your thoughts out onto paper can help you bring clarity into your life and reduce stress. In addition to writing, using art materials such as oil pastels or collage to visually depict your thoughts and feelings can be a valuable addition to a journal. Try using collage to symbolise what you are grateful for instead of writing a gratitude list. Writing about feelings of anger, shame, and sadness can be helpful in reducing the intensity of these feelings. In your art journal use colour, shape and line to express how you’re feeling – you may be surprised at how creating a drawing of your feelings offers a different type of release.

Colour a mandala. This is a great way to incorporate both art and mindfulness in your recovery. Very simply, mandalas are pieces of art created within a circle. The process is meant to be meditative and give the artist insight into how their brain works. Traditional mandala practices are found in religious and spiritual teachings around the world that sometimes involve complex chants and rituals – but making your own doesn’t have to be complex at all. Before creating or colouring a mandala do a simple mindfulness meditation to begin the process. You can choose to colour a pre-drawn mandala or create your own design. Either way it’s important not to plan or think about what colours you use or lines you draw. Let your mind go and accept whatever comes.

Attend an exhibition opening. Or visit your local art museum. Not only do these activities give you an opportunity to meet new people, but viewing art can enhance your wellbeing. Viewing art is also the best way to get inspired to create something yourself!

Taking care of your mind and body is essential to long lasting recovery. Make some art to reduce stress, and become more mindful and creative in the process.