Getting Creative

Art and Music Therapy for Addiction

Addiction recovery is a different journey for each person and traditional treatment models are great but when art and music therapies are added to the mix, things get a whole lot brighter. Music and art reduce the stress that often accompanies the recovery process and you might just find a new hobby along the way. If you are looking for more ways to add fun, exploration and stress reduction to your life during recovery, consider pursuing art or music therapy.

The Benefits of Art Therapy

Art exploration doesn’t require any special skills and the materials are often cheap at the local store- even the grocery store has simple art supplies. You don’t need to take a class or have a background in art to see the benefits. It’s a way to express your emotions without the burden of words, and it can be a gateway to understanding how you feel and why. Art Therapy is often included in intensive treatments plus you can easily find local art therapists or traditional therapists who use art in their regular practice. Art Therapy combines psychotherapy with artistic expression so you can not only begin to analyze how you are feeling, but you also learn how to deal with those emotions as well.

Photo by  Anna Kolosyuk  on  Unsplash

Often, we look to our addictions as a means of handling any imbalances in our emotional states. For example, work-related stress (layoffs, problems with the boss or coworkers, etc.) can often lead to the abuse of drugs and/or alcohol. However, with addiction treatment and art therapies together, you can learn how to healthily handle any strong or confusing emotions.

Pick Up a Paint Brush

First, you can explore the different paint mediums and consider which one might be the best one for you. Acrylics are a good place to start, as they can be slow-drying or quick-drying, allowing you to express yourself instinctively or with reflection and time. Oils allow you to change your mind over and over or add to a painting slowly and thoughtfully. Watercolors are easily accessible (my local grocery store sells them) and they are a quick way to put some color on the page. If you would like to relieve your stress in a way that does not require any background or continual practice, try painting as a means to delve into your emotions and heal. It can be something you do in the evenings after treatment or on weekends when you need an emotional boost. To make the most of your new pastime, try to dedicate a portion of your living space (garage, spare bedroom, etc.) as a workshop/studio. Even if this is just an area in the corner of your bedroom, make sure it’s organized (complete with spots for your paints, paintbrushes, and whatever else you need to create), distraction-free, and optimal for your artistic needs.

The Benefits of Music Therapy

The healing abilities of music cannot be understated, especially to someone in addiction recovery. Addiction drains a person; it can make you lose yourself, the things you enjoy. Music can be a bridge to your past and your future. Music can calm you, especially when you’re in the middle of a craving. While creating your own relaxing playlist is an option, a trained music therapist can better help you harness music as a means of supplemental healing. Music is, after all, one of the best ways of stabilizing and calming turbulent emotions, as well as processing those emotions in a healthy way.

Photo by  Kelly Sikkema  on  Unsplash

Incorporate Music

There are many ways you can approach music therapy. Your therapist may have activities planned out, including group musical projects such as singing, or video discussion, where you talk about various music videos and what they may represent to yourself. You may find one style of music to be more relaxing and better at lessening cravings than others. Some studies suggest that tribal music is an excellent tool in helping recovery, especially during withdrawals. However, you may find another genre to be better at giving you peace or channeling your emotions. You may even discover a new passion in creating your own music as a way of dealing with any hurt or chaos still remaining during treatment. Music therapy can be scheduled to go tandem with your recovery, but it can itself be used anywhere and at any time.

Making the Journey more Enjoyable

Healing takes time. No matter what your addiction, recovery is a lengthy process that can leave a person feeling emptied or tired. That’s why supplemental therapies such as art or music are so important to incorporate. Not only can they help you learn to cope, but they can be instrumental in understanding yourself and your emotions.

MEET THE AUTHOR, RUFUS CARTER

Hi! I’m Rufus. I’m 47 and I have been in recovery for 9 years. I’ve been working as a personal trainer for the past 6 years. My first 3 years of recovery, I felt a little lost and like I was just getting by. I discovered my personal passion and career calling when I decided to focus on my physical health and also became a personal trainer for others who want to grow in strength and health.

Finding a meaningful way to live your life is essential when you’re in recovery – I’m living proof of that! My passion is to provide resources for anyone in recovery who is trying to choose their career path. There are many careers that can cultivate your unique skills.

It is my goal to make your professional journey go smoothly, for you to feel supported, to feel excited to walk into an interview and crush it. Know that rather than stop us from achieving our goals our experiences set us apart from other people. Take pride in yourself!

You can find me at http://recoveringworks.com/