Get Crafty! 10 Ways to Incorporate Art Into Your Recovery!
Addiction recovery is all about learning to cope with the world without turning back to old crutches like drug and alcohol abuse or other negative behaviors. This is why sobriety is a journey- it’s all about learning who you are all over again (or for the very first time!) Part of that self exploration is discovering hobbies- both new and old- and passions to keep your sober life fun and active.
While it’s important to keep physically active, exercising your mind and feeding your spirit with artistic pursuits is equally fulfilling! (Stay tuned for our list of tips to stay active in recovery, too!)
Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered! Here are 10 ways to incorporate art into your recovery!
Poetry and Prose
Most people are intimidated by the thought writing poetry or prose because they think it is an artform with dozens of rules: limits to the number of lines, syllables, rhyme schemes, and even shapes. But the one thing about rules in poetry is they are meant to be broken! The purpose in writing poetry– or anything- is to express a thought, emotion, or immortalize a moment in time. You can’t do that wrong. Besides, freeform poetry has no rules, so start there.
Short stories are perfect way to escaping the stress and challenges of life when you’re reading them- writing them is just as effective! You don’t need a creative writing degree or any previous experience to write your own story; just let your imagination run wild! You can write a story based in the real world, or create an entirely different reality if you want. Give it a shot and remember, these stories don’t have to be for anyone else’s eyes if you don’t want them to be. However, if you create something worth sharing, don’t hesitate to do so! You can even get published if you want to! Send it to us!
Personally, I find painting incredibly therapeutic and relaxing. The simple task of focusing on the paint strokes and watching your work come to life is a calming, tranquil experience- even if you aren’t trained. Just like writing, painting is about evoking a feeling or moment. Of course, if you want to take a course or learn any specific techniques, that’s great too! YouTube is a great resource for instructional videos; you can also check to see if your local craft store or community college has free courses available.
If you want to explore sculpting as an artistic outlet, I highly suggest looking into a class- they are so much fun! If you don’t want fully invest in the complete process of sculpting a piece from scratch just yet, that’s fine too; a number of great establishments allow one to purchase and paint pre-made pieces. They even glaze and fire it for you- you can have a brand new piece of art for your home or give it as a gift to a loved one.
Just like the other art forms featured on this list, contemporary dance is a way to express negative thoughts and emotions in a positive way. Not only is dance great exercise, dance classes are a fantastic place to make new friends, socialize, and overcome social anxiety. You can take dance as far as you want; rather it’s just a hobby or you want to explore dance further, give it a shot. Dance studios and gyms often offer complimentary introductory classes- grab a friend and get to it!
Hip-Hop Dance Styles
Hip-hop dance styles are fantastic ways to keep in shape and release frustration. From breakdancing to krumping, there’s dozens of styles you can explore until you find the one that best suits you. Hip hop dance is all about self-expression and fun! If you’re not so sure hip-hop is for you, you can do the same thing as with contemporary dance- try a demo class, or just come in and watch.
Plenty of people love to sing- but if you want to pursue it as an art form, training your voice is a must! Contrary to popular belief, singing isn’t necessarily all about natural talent (not that you aren’t talented, of course!) Vocal lessons are a great place to start if you want to break into a career in the entertainment industry. Even if the only people you want to sing to are close family members and friends (or yourself in the shower), building your voice and honing in on your craft will build your confidence in ways you never thought possible!
Recording Original Songs
Singing and writing can go hand-in-hand! If you find you have something to say that can only be said with the right melody and rhythm, bring it to life! Songwriting marries poetry and music in the most beautiful ways, evoking feelings like no other art forms simply can not. Again, if you aren’t comfortable with performing for others, you don’t have to- but it could be a fantastic opportunity! If you want to share your creativity, there are plenty of platforms to choose from: YouTube, SoundCloud, and other social media outlets. You never know who will hear your song and be inspired (maybe even to sign you to a record deal?)
What helps you step outside of your own troubles than taking on character of someone else? Acting exercises are wonderful tools for learning to explore one’s emotions and how to control them. Sign up to take improv classes or join a theatre troupe- for fun and leisure or to begin a career on the stage! Each performance is a new and unique experience that helps to keep life fun while maintaining your sobriety.
Not so interested in theatre? Maybe film is the way for you! Some stories are best told through the lens of a camera, after all. Beyond acting, the world of film has dozens of other creative positions: directing, set and costume design, filmography, editing and much more. If you have an interest in the media, you may be interested in pursuing a degree in film or related subjects. Outside of schooling, there are opportunities for amateur filmmakers to explore the craft- like the 48 Hour Film Project!
What artistic projects have you taken on in your recovery? Let us know in the comments!
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About the Author
Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.