For many of us in recovery, our interest in creativity and the arts was lost in the depths of our addictions.
Some of us had a preconceived notion that we were inducing our own creativity by using drugs and alcohol, and even feared that by giving up our drugs and alcohol, we would be condemning ourselves to lose whatever creativity we thought we possessed throughout our addictions. Fortunately for us, we couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Sober College clients are given the opportunity to explore and rediscover their creativity throughout their stay thanks, in part to its “Creativity in Recovery” groups. Every Thursday, clients are invited to participate in the group to help them discover their artistic potential in a variety of ways.
During one group led by Mikey M., for example, participants were asked to listen to an instrumental track and write on a specific topic – “the struggle”. After clients had written down a single verse or stanza, they were challenged to get into the music studio’s vocal booth to explore different ways of delivering the words they had put on paper.
As I sat and listened to the words they had written, it brought me back to the beginning of my stay at Sober College. Upon being asked to share, one of the newest clients timidly declined. In my own mind, I saw myself. I felt total empathy for her because I knew exactly how it felt to be in the midst of such a drastic change … feeling completely vulnerable and out of her element.
When I was first getting sober, I felt weak both physically and mentally. I felt like I didn’t have anything to offer anyone. I felt as if I was less than everyone else. But, as I continued to attend creativity groups, I slowly opened up, becoming more comfortable with both my past and my present. I began to write poetry on my own, and as I started to trust my peers, I began to share. Sharing my work and my thoughts helped me break down barriers and trust others. I learned that while we all share the same struggle with our addictions, each of us possesses different lenses through which we view our experiences, giving us opportunities to share our insight and knowledge with one another.
Addicts and alcoholics possess so much potential, however when lost in the disease of addiction we are prevented from seeing and utilizing the majority of it. As we begin to get clean and our length of sobriety increases, our eyes start to open to an entirely new world. A new world in which we can appreciate the subtle beauties that reveal themselves on a daily basis; the power that lies in words and the opportunity that come from being vulnerable. It is when we are at our weakest that we possess the greatest potential for positive change. Only when we are broken do we seek to mend ourselves. It is in our darkest moments that we find the light that leads us to change.