By Holly Romine;
One of the misconceptions artistic addicts and alcoholics have for not giving up their substance of choice is that by abusing alcohol or drugs it makes them more creative. This idea has been perpetuated by an association between drug experimentation, imagination and musical ability. There is an unreasonable fear that when the drugs and alcohol are taken away, the artist will become a boring, uninspired version of themselves.
These wild ideas generated from glimpses of fuzzy- brained withdrawal symptoms experienced whenever an addict or alcoholic managed some time sober just excuse the vicious cycle. While the cloudy thinking that characterizes rehab can hinder creativity for a time, long-term recovery will actually increase artistic ability. The tendency to pick up a guitar or sit down to write may be daunting at first, but like everything valuable, it’s worth a few awkward first steps.
In recovery mental clarity and cognitive ability will improve, and so the ability to effectively express through art will return with energy, strength and most certainly improved skill. The therapeutic nature of music itself is healing and can become a valuable coping mechanism and source of meditation
Another gift of sobriety is discovering the ability to transmit inspiration through music. Typically when using and drinking, our musical expression was a reflection of a self-centered universe. Sobriety promotes engaging with life in ways we wouldn’t normally; venturing outside our comfort zone, confronting who we truly are and finding possibilities we never thought possible before.
The experience of music in recovery can elicit both conscious and unconscious emotions. Through the verbal processing of the musical experience, clients can now identify and put into words emotions they were previously unaware of or unable to express. Music and creativity in recovery can break through walls that restrict their capacity for recovery.