Art, music, and creativity, in general, have historically come from human suffering. Specifically, many of the greatest artists in history have suffered from substance abuse or mental illness or both. Tragically, however, too many of the greatest artists have had their artistic contributions cut short by substance use or mental illness. In death, they are lauded, but sometimes it is their counterparts, artists who have sought healing and live long and artistically productive lives who are the real heroes. It is one thing to be able to express the human condition in pain. It is another to be able to convey the healing process in art, music, or other forms of creativity. Can I use my creativity in healing? Yes. Please.
Too much of our famous art and music have their inspiration in pain and suffering. While this is helpful to express and gives us a relatability when we are also suffering, it demonstrates the disproportionate levels of suffering as opposed to human triumph. In the same way that we can feel solace when hearing a song about the pain of substance use, we need more songs about the freedom of recovery. When we admire the artwork of an artist that was notably unwell mentally, we feel admiration that beauty came from such suffering. What we really need is more art to inspire others to do the same as us: recover.
Not only can we receive artistic inspiration from our own recovery process, our music, art, and other creative endeavors can become the source of inspiration for other people. By using our healing as inspiration, we become the reason that others seek healing. We can literally change the world with our creativity. So can I use my creativity in healing? Yes. Please.
Artists know that creativity is a process that is as unique as our art. We can seek inspiration from inside of us, we can find inspiration in the world around us. Some of the most powerful visual art, some of the most impactful music, and some of the most incredible writing and other creative endeavors come from inside of us.
While the art based on suffering sometimes grabs the attention because of tragedy, the art we produce when we are healing can actually be more powerful. The dramatic changes we experience coming out of the darkness of addiction and into the light of recovery are some of the most beautifully documented creative pieces because they document such a significant change in the human condition.
Whatever our art form is, however it is that we like to express ourselves, even if it is multiple art forms, recovery is the perfect time to dig deep into our souls and express what we are feeling. The power in our work can help other people, but the real power belongs to us. As we create, we are processing our healing. And as we process, we document our journey for ourselves.
Art is often very cathartic. All creativity can be. Whether we are sculpting with clay, playing guitar, choreographing a dance, or writing a poem, the process is for us. The process is how we grow, and how we learn to express ourselves. In recovery, the actual process can be particularly cathartic. Our brains are healing, our bodies are getting stronger, and our emotions are changing moment by moment. By doing something familiar and enjoyable to us, we channel the healing throughout ourselves into our creative projects. This helps to reinforce the healing throughout our minds, bodies, and souls, comparable to a holistic salve.
Using our creativity can also help us work through aspects of our recovery, such as when we are “stuck” mentally or emotionally, or when we are resisting therapy or other methods to help us heal. Art can put a face to the resolution of past pain, and creativity can express the hope we feel as we grow stronger in ourselves each day. The healing power of creativity is like the icing on the cake of the healing we experience in recovery, and the actual act of using our creativity can be a big part of the process.
The music, art, writing, or other creative manifestations we produce can be surprising. Whatever body of work we have to compare it to from before our recovery is likely to be very different than what we produce within recovery. Equally surprising, it may end up being the changes within our work during the recovery process. Even if what we produce will not wind up in a museum or win a Pulitzer Prize, it may inspire others and can serve as a constant reminder of our own creative recovery journey.
Can I use my creativity in healing? Yes. Please do. Don’t let your art be cut short like so many who have gone before you. Your creativity is part of you and expressing it will help your healing process. Additionally, your creativity may be the inspiration for others to seek change and improve their lives. The change you seek might be your own, but the creativity you harbor could change the world. Your inner artist is begging to come out. Be the change that your life needs. Be the artist the world needs. Let your recovery be the inspiration.
Be inspired as you heal and be healed by your inspiration by calling AToN Center at (888) 535-1516. Change your world and inspire others, too.