For Relief From Addiction, Tap Into Your Creative Side

Hello everyone,

Here is an article by a guest blogger.

I hope you enjoy.

It’ll make you feel better in so many ways, and that’s why therapists are adding a bit of creativity to their addiction recovery programs: to help patients achieve a greater sense of well-being that goes beyond abstinence. Whether it’s a strum of the strings or a brush to the canvas, the arts heal your damaged psyche and enrich your life physically, mentally and spiritually. Here’s how.

Health

This is the basis for good health. Difficult situations in life, such as being laid off, getting dumped or struggling with an addiction, can lead to stress, which has physical effects such as high blood pressure. That, in turn, causes even more stress. Creativity ends this vicious circle, as it brings peace of mind and helps you become energetically engaged with your body, according to A Lust for Life, a website devoted to well-being.

Tranquility

When you play an instrument, you focus your ears and eyes on what your hands are doing to produce a specific sound. This is a form of mindfulness, or being in the moment, in which nothing outside of you and your music matters, and that includes those worries and anxieties that you’ve been dragging around all day that are compounded by the pressures of readapting to a sober life. You can gain the same benefit from the visual arts.

Release

Artistic expression allows you to let go of the troubles that have been weighing on your mind. Painting is especially therapeutic for some people in addiction recovery. The Treehouse points out, “Whether it’s watercolor, acrylic, or oils, painting is a wonderful way for those suffering with addiction to cope. Not only is painting a quiet, soothing activity, it allows an artist to bring out whatever emotions they’re dealing with onto the paper or canvas and leave it there. Because drugs and alcohol can dull a person’s emotions, painting can bring you back to yourself, little by little.”

Self-Esteem

Start with plucking a string while you tap your foot to the beat. Now, add another string to the mix. Then, place your fingers on the fingerboard, and add new notes to the composition. The next session, you’ll build even more complexity, and as your skills grow, you’ll learn to play songs in their entirety. Do you see how that works? Little by little, you become better and better. That’s how you accomplish things, and accomplishment is how you build your self-esteem.

Structure

Imagine yourself in front of the canvas for the first time, making your first tentative brush strokes. Seeking the same release of negative energy, you come back to the same place at the same time the next day to add to your budding work of art, but this time, with a steadier hand. You’re gaining skill, but also creating a routine, one that’s invigorating to your mind and spirit. This adds structure to your life, which you need to overcome the negative habits you developed in your previous life.

Positivity

“Express yourself in some way you enjoy on a regular basis, just once a day, and benefit from a more positive state of mind,” says a doctor writing in Psychology Today, citing research in which over 600 people were surveyed on their artistic endeavors and the positive and negative emotional responses they felt. The study also revealed that creativity increased happiness in their relationships as well as positivity in the workplace.

Playfulness

There was a time when you were full of hope, before the weight of the world came crashing down on your shoulders. That child is still there inside you, waiting to reconnect. Art offers a way to reach them. Children are masters at creativity, naturally diving into lumps of clay and pots of fingerpaint to bring their imaginations to reality, and here you are doing the same thing, adding a dash of playfulness to your life. “Nothing is more important than creative play through imagination. Never stop playing, and never stop imagining!” says writer Carmela Dutra.

Painting, sculpting, music – any of these creative arts can be added to your recovery efforts, whether in-patient or outpatient, 12-step or holistic. Talk your therapist for some suggestions, or begin your personal vision quest with a trip to the music or art supply store. Either way, it starts with you.

Image via Pixabay.

I hope you enjoyed this article.

You can post any questions or thoughts in the comments section below.

Thanks everyone.

Ian Morrison, Marketing Manager, Institute of Counselling.

https://www.instituteofcounselling.org.uk/ 

Alternative Treatments for Addiction Recovery

Hello everyone,

The following is an article by Kimberly Hayes.

 

This article discusses alternative treatments for addiction recovery.

I hope you enjoy this article.

 

Determining the most effective treatments for addiction recovery isn’t easy, because not all methods work for everyone. Many experts agree that treating the body and the mind effectively helps people focus their minds and relieve stress and anxiety—triggers for substance abuse which often lead to relapses during recovery.

 

You’ll want to explore different methods with your doctor after you evaluate the holistic, non-traditional therapies available. The benefits they offer include:

 

  • A comprehensive approach that addresses your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.
  • A more natural approach to healing by using the body’s ability to heal itself.
  • Accessibility for people who are intimidated by or uncomfortable about the more traditional treatment options.
  • An increased possibility that you’ll uncover underlying issues that talk therapy might not discover.
  • An opportunity to learn new skills and ways to exist happily in the world. You’ll increase your ability to maintain your recovery and more successfully and healthfully handle future challenges.
  • Less emphasis on religion; these alternatives don’t bash religion, but do provide a more secular approach, which increases their appeal for those who don’t follow a Western or Christian religion.
  • More emphasis on self-empowerment by encouraging recovering addicts to channel their own strength to overcome their addictions.
  • A willingness to stay updated with current research in evidence-based approaches, like cognitive behavioral therapy, to treat addiction and incorporate those techniques into their systems.

 

Mental health disorders are often intertwined with substance abuse disorders (SUD), and GoodTherapy.org provides a comprehensive breakdown of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) used in combination with traditional methods to treat mental health and SUD.

 

Alternative recovery methods

If you’re exploring other possibilities besides the traditional 12-step programs to aid in your addiction recovery, this list—while by no means exhaustive—is a good place to start.

 

Yoga. Often partnered with meditation, yoga gently improves your flexibility and helps your body to heal physically from the effects of substance abuse.

 

Meditation. Focusing on inner strength, peace, and connectedness, meditation helps you to narrow and focus your thoughts, block out negativity, and quiet your mind. By increasing your self-awareness, you learn how to embrace that inner strength and reduce cravings.

 

Exercise. Daily exercise, even if only 20-30 minutes a day, boosts your mood and releases endorphins, which increase feelings of well-being and happiness. Exercise improves the functions of your endocrine, pulmonary, and cardiac systems; improves oxygen and nutrient delivery; and positively affects your brain’s executive control processes, which include memory, multitasking, and planning or strategizing.

 

Healthy eating. Healthier food choices can control cravings, depression, anxiety, and other factors that trigger addictive behaviors. This food chart provides a roadmap of options that address nutritional deficits by incorporating more proteins, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory vitamins and minerals, omega-3 essential fatty acids, and fibers into your diet.

 

12-Step group alternatives. There’s no doubt about the efficacy of 12-step group programs; however, not everyone benefits from participating—for many different reasons. Other nationwide programs have existed for decades, including:

 

  • Women for Sobriety (WFS), a national self-help program geared toward women recovering from addiction.
  • SMART Recovery, which uses cognitive behavioral approaches in its 1,200 groups worldwide.
  • Secular Organizations for Sobriety, founded by a recovering alcoholic in the mid 1980s as an alternative to AA.
  • LifeRing Secular Recovery (LSF), which focuses on human efforts and individual motivation to maintain addiction recovery.

 

Regardless of where you are in your addiction recovery, experts agree that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. Recognizing their effectiveness when partnered with more traditional treatments, many treatment centers have embraced alternative therapies. More recovering addicts are using these holistic treatments in conjunction with more traditional methods. While not a panacea for treating SUD, these alternative treatments do have a profound, positive influence on the recovery process—and beyond.

 

Photo Credit: Pexels.com

 

I hope you enjoyed Kimberly’s article on alternative treatments for addiction recovery.

You can leave any questions or/and contributions in the comments section below.

Thanks

Ian.

 

The Missing Piece: How Alternative Treatments Might Be the Key to Your Addiction Recovery

Hello everyone,

The following is an article by Kimberly Hayes.

This article is based upon Kimberly’s work and research on alternative recovery methods.

Kimberly is currently working on a book about when addicts should seek alternative addiction treatments…and when they should be avoided.

I hope you enjoy this article.

 

Each year, millions of Americans have to contend with addiction to drugs or alcohol. You never think that addiction will happen to you, until it does, and then who’s left to pick up the pieces. Everyone’s recovery story is unique. Sometimes you never lose that safety net of a family to catch you and help get your life back in order. Sometimes you are left alone, after addiction has created a rift between you and the people you love. Sometimes there is counseling, group meetings, traditional 12-step programs and on-campus rehabilitation.

 

Even after taking all of these steps to get life back in order, you can still feel incomplete and normalcy can seem so far away. Perhaps it’s time for you to consider alternative addiction treatments to help you find that missing piece. Here are a few treatment alternatives to help get your life back on track.

 

  • Sweating it Out

 

Addiction recovery can be found in a variety of places, one of which can be your local gym. You’ve probably been told many times how a healthy lifestyle can transform lives, and maybe even seen it firsthand in friends or family who started eating better foods, or began training for a marathon. Well, diet and exercise can benefit more than just people looking to shed a few pounds. In fact, many recovering addicts have rediscovered that putting an emphasis on their diet and fitness routine has done wonders for helping them get through the turbulence of addiction and find the silver lining in their life after drugs and alcohol.

 

Exercise on its own is known to reduce stress and anxiety, while eating better foods gives us more energy, and can improve our overall mood. Beyond the immediate effects of healthy living, you’ll also benefit from a more structured routine that balances your fitness with everyday life. After seeing and feeling the results of diet and exercise you might notice that piece you have been missing is finally filled, and you are finally back to living your best life.

 

  • Expressing Yourself

 

Another alternative that may supplement your current addiction treatment can be found on the page, or in the studio. Expression is a powerful form of release. It allows you to get all the thoughts and feelings that have been bottled up inside of you out and in the open air. This is why so many recovering addicts turn to the arts as an outlet for their troubles and past traumas.

 

When expressing yourself, there is no right or wrong way to go about it. Find a medium that speaks to you, be it painting, or singing, or dancing. Start investing in old hobbies like writing or drawing, and harness your emotions as you go about your work. You’ll feel a million times lighter once you’ve put what your feeling into something you made, and you might even discover something about yourself along the way.

 

  • Giving it Back

 

Another way you can assist your addiction recovery is by reaching out and giving yourself back to others. In the past few weeks or even months, you’ve spent a lot of time focused on yourself and your needs. Looking inwards is important to understand who we are and figuring out how to make ourselves better, but sometimes we need more. The answer lies in looking beyond ourselves.

 

Volunteering in the community is the logical next step for recovering addicts who have dealt with their own issues, and are in need of some perspective. Serving people in need is a great way to see the bigger picture and find a deeper meaning and purpose for your life now that you’ve overcome addiction. You may find that your experiences are not mistakes, but valuable lessons that you can pass on to others so that they can live fuller, happier lives and in the process you, too, will feel proud and satisfied.

 

These are just a few alternative treatment ideas. By choosing to quit giving in to your addiction, you’ve already proven that you have what it takes to fulfill your recovery. It’s not if you will find that missing piece, but when.

 

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

 

I hope everyone enjoyed Kimberly’s article.

If you have any comments about this subject then you can post them in the comments section below.

We would be happy to hear from you.

Thanks everyone

Warm regards

Institute of Counselling