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How Can Art Therapy Help My Recovery?

Learning to heal during recovery is a long path. Confronting the traumas that can lead to anxiety or other mental health disorders, which in turn can lead to addiction and self-defeating habits, takes long talks and meaningful conversations with qualified therapists. Talking to a therapist is one of the biggest steps we can take toward recovery. But sometimes, words are not enough and we may need a different modality.

Art Is Expression

Putting our struggles into words can be difficult. Numerous professionals have tried through a myriad of books, articles, and medical journals to try and describe what we experience, but those words come up short for many of us. At their best, words might give a slight idea about what we have experienced. At their worst, they are simply wrong about us entirely.

When the words of others fail, and we cannot seem to find our own, expression through art might be the perfect means to communicate a feeling or experience. Exploring colors, textures, and visual representations might be our best chance of communicating to the people who can help us with whatever we may need help with. Art has been used for ages to express our deepest thoughts and feelings. In that same way, when we struggle with finding the words, a picture might be a better fit.

Art Is Soothing

Mindfulness-based art therapy has been proven to reduce stress when struggling with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), a disorder that can lead to substance abuse and addiction. Beyond that, art therapy can reduce stress when we use it as a mindfulness exercise. Not many experiences in life are more stressful than personal traumas and the attempt to recover from them.

Recovery is one of the more anxiety-ridden experiences of our lives, and at times we may find ourselves anxious about our past, our present, and our future. Where will we go after this? What will life be like? If we uncover this trauma and work through it, will we be able to heal from it? What will sober life be like?

All of these questions circle in our heads over and over again until anxiety seems to follow our every footstep. Thankfully, there is usually someone who can help us on our way. But occasionally, exploring a blank canvas with paint or pencil gives our worried mind the outlet it needs. With each brush stroke, our mind can find relief; before the picture is done, the anxieties have made way for creativity to exert its control.

Recovery is a complicated process. Explaining who we are and understanding how we got where we are is a monumental task and takes a tremendous amount of effort and a very large toll on our psyches. While exploring past traumas and talking about our addictions is commonly associated with using words, sometimes words fall short. In those instances, art therapy can fill in the blanks. Art therapy is one of the therapeutic modalities that The Guest House uses to treat addiction and co-occurring disorders. If you would like to learn more, please call (885) 483-7800.