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Why Every Addict Should Consider Making Art

I recently ran into a woman I hadn’t seen in a few years. We’re both addicts, and she had been in and out of abstinence and sobriety for a long time. She looked great and I told her so.

“What’s made the difference?” I asked.

“Painting most days,” she said. “It makes me so happy. I don’t worry about making great art. I’m not out to sell it. I just like doing it and it keeps me grounded and sane.”

I know what she means. Incorporating art-making into my daily life has made all the difference to my abstinence and sobriety. I get a daily dose of joy and full engagement and satisfaction. It engages my mind in learning and problem-solving; it satisfies the child in me (and there’s one in all of us) who just likes to make stuff.

I started with coloring books, moved to drawing and painting. Took a few art classes from kindly and encouraging teachers. Now I have a studio at home and paint most days. I’ve no intention of becoming a professional artist. I give most of my work away. But I love the doing of it.

Not sure where to start? Check out my book, Sober Play: Using Creativity for a More Joyous Recovery.


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