Art Recovery


Why You Should Consider Art and Music Therapies as Supplements to Your Addiction Recovery


When you’re recovering from substance abuse, you employ a number of methods to maintain your sobriety. It could be attending a support group, private counseling, following a fitness regimen and/or spending time with friends and family. While these are all effective means for staying sober, they’re not the only ones. Art and music therapies can also supplement your recovery. Though each stands on its own as an effective treatment method, they also work well together. Read on to see why you should incorporate these therapies into your daily life.




Both art and music are considered “expressive therapies.” Often used in the context of rehabilitation, counseling or psychotherapy, art and music therapies are most effective when the participant uses the outlet to release pent-up emotions and thoughts. For instance, learning to play or sing a song can help you deal with emotional conflict while challenging your mind and boosting your self-esteem.




Another characteristic of art and music therapies is that they can help you become more self-aware. This is vital to your recovery because you can’t self-improve without self-awareness. Art and music therapies encourage introspection, through which you basically get to know yourself in a deeper way. It helps you to better recognize your desires, needs, habits, strengths, weaknesses and so on. As you learn to better understand yourself, you’ll know how to make the necessary changes in your life and set yourself up for success, whether it be changing your environment, discovering new hobbies, or minimizing triggers.




Art and music therapies also play a major role in alleviating stress and depression symptoms. While they ultimately help you become more self-aware, art can also serve as a temporary distraction from the stress in your life, because it’s hard to keep thinking about your problems when you’re focused on creating something. Similarly, playing or listening to music can provide a healthy distraction while simultaneously helping you explore emotions. Processing thoughts, emotions and old stresses can lead to alleviation of unhealthy stress and depression, and it promotes better sleep as well.




The importance of relaxation for those who are recovering from addiction cannot be overstated. The problem many people in recovery face is that they have used drinking or drugs as a way to relax for so long, it can take a while to figure out new, healthier methods. Naturally, as art and music therapy help alleviate stress, they can also lead to relaxation and become a go-to hobby. You can play an acoustic guitar pretty much anywhere—whether it’s in your apartment or in some public places—and it’s portable enough to take with you to the beach or on your hike in the mountains. Likewise, with just a few supplies, you can draw, paint, or color wherever you are and whenever you need a bit of relaxation.


People who create also tend to benefit greatly from a workshop that allows them to focus solely on their projects. This area could be in the garage, or if that doesn’t work, set things up inside an unused closet or laundry room. Regardless of the space, you choose, ensure you remain organized and that your workshop gives you a place where you can be creative without worrying about anything else.




Along with all the other positive aspects of art and music therapies, they also give you an activity to do with others that doesn’t involve drinking or using. While doing therapy by yourself has its benefits, many therapists will recommend you to create in a group setting at some point. This helps you to foster creativity and expression with the added benefit of sharing ideas and feelings with others who are pursuing the same overarching goal—getting better.


Art and music therapies help many people who are recovering from substance abuse. They help you to express thoughts and emotions while improving your self-awareness. They can relieve stress and provide a healthy way to relax, as well as give you a chance to create something with others. If it sounds like something you’re interested in, ask your therapist or counselor today about making it a supplement to your treatment.


Michelle Peterson


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