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5 Amazing Art Projects to Jump-Start Your Recovery

Emotional trauma often accompanies addiction, and even after one becomes sober, unresolved emotional distress can still remain. That means that when I set down to create each piece, I reflected on my work with a specific client, and then created the artwork with that experience in mind. All efforts were made to comply with HIPAA law and confidentiality and privacy of all clients.

recovery painting ideas

Art therapy can be a great way to marry the mindfulness practices often taught during SUD treatment with a focus on a healthy outlet for your feelings. For example, if you have the urge to reduce stress by returning to drinking alcohol, this is where art therapy can become involved. At your next opportunity, you could illustrate how you felt when you wanted to drink, as well as any emotions or concerns you had at that moment. A profound realization many of us have when utilizing art as therapy is that you can express yourself in many different ways.

Make a painting with no tools but your body

How did something so seemingly restorative turn into something so incredibly stressful? Instead of promising yourself to floss more or eat less, focus some attention on an invisible accomplishment, something that’s either too big or too small to see with your eyes. Instead of writing it in the The Missing Piece: The Spiritual Malady notebook with the rest of your resolutions, devote some time to making your personal goal into a beautiful object, a visual mantra that inspires you just upon seeing it. Create a power mask, filled with symbols that make you feel strong (think of an actor’s costume or athlete’s helmet).

As they fill the jar with these emotion-evoking items, they’ll remember positive moments in their lives and bring up good sentiments. Art therapy provides a path to connecting with ones inner voice and can be a tool for those who need something to turn or help sustain their sobriety, long after professional treatment has ended. Considering that life is full of the unexpected, having an outlet for emotional expression and an overabundance of energy is vital to overall wellness and avoiding potential triggers for drug relapse.

Drawing A Life Timeline

This post is based on a series of art therapy roundups we’ve published throughout the past year. If you’re having trouble embarking on an artwork itself, how about starting with the artistic medium instead? You can make a DIY stencil from a cardboard box, playing card, cereal box — the list continues. Use scissors to cut out a shape all your own and you can make your imprint, quite literally, on any future artworks or random pieces of paper you happen to encounter. Don’t worry about straight lines and perfect proportions; with a handmade stencil, the more rugged the better.

recovery painting ideas

For those experiencing substance abuse and addiction from a co-occurring position, relief from these symptoms may be the key to shedding the desire to escape through substance use. For some, treating psychological and physical pain is the key to recovery. Here are some benefits of exploring art therapy projects for addiction recovery. So much of the stress we experience when making art comes from the judgments and criticism that seem unavoidable every step of the way. Try creating artwork in total darkness to make art free from that art critic inside your head. You’re suddenly freed up to create lines, shapes and patterns simply because you feel like you should.

The Inner Voice Needs a Healthy Outlet

I came up with this art therapy directive while working with a parent who was stuck in a pattern of self-defeating thoughts and behaviors. Her meaning around her ability to be a good mom was wrapped up in guilt about her past drug use. Her immense guilt seemed to rule her decision-making more often than not, and it seemed to extinguish any instincts she may have felt with regard to self-care. In my experience, it’s most helpful to leave some parts of the activity open-ended.

Children, for example, often benefit from art therapy because it helps them to process their emotions and learn the art of self-soothing. Adults benefit from the positive mental health impacts and the elderly benefit from the self-expression and social aspects of doing art therapy with others. The availability of art therapy approaches will vary according to the treatment center.

Drawing or Painting Emotions

Our goal is to inspire hope and create lasting change while you or a loved one are coping with the challenges of mental health and addiction – one client at a time. Hayley is a licensed counselor, art therapist, certified family-based therapist, and trainer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Hayley has worked in the mental health field for 20+ years, helping both clients and clinicians.

recovery painting ideas