Thomas Merton, a monk, writer, theologian, mystic, poet, social activist and scholar once stated, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
For centuries, people have used art as a way of communicating thoughts, ideas, and feelings. From the time we created stone carvings to now, we’ve found that artwork is a beautiful way to explore different modes of expression. Even today, one of the biggest struggles we face is communicating our emotions. We were either raised to hold our pain deep inside, or we drowned out that pain with substances or another form of addiction. Art can help us get back to that place of vulnerability – to that place of authenticity, where we can discover more of who we are and make more sense of our life experiences.
Those in addiction recovery have much to gain from art therapy. In 2015, a study published in the International Journal for Research, Policy and Practice assessed 59 individuals for their mental health and addiction recovery after participating in weekly outreach sessions related to art and craft activities. Researchers found that participants improved on all areas that were assessed:
Learning and Skills – art therapy truly ignites almost all of our senses. We’re touching different materials, we’re moving, and we’re learning new skills to achieve our desired outcome.
Levels of confidence – when an art project is completed, those in addiction recovery often feel proud of themselves. It’s a creation that shows just how talented they are – and it’s a beautiful reminder that they have something wonderful to offer this world.
Sociability – with art projects, those in recovery are able to connect with their peers as they work together on making something meaningful. Simply assessing pieces of art can inspire those in recovery to talk to one another – which could be the start of an incredible support network.
A 2015 thesis titled “Colorful Recovery: Art Therapy for Substance Abuse and Addiction Treatment” highlights that art can build a sense of spiritual connection as well as reducing shame, anxiety and other painful feelings that may linger throughout treatment.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.