http://www.ccsa.ca/Resource%20Library/CCSA-Life-in-Recovery-from-Addiction-Report-at-a-Glance-2017-en.pdf

The Drug Class Blog

Mar 08

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On the Addiction Recovery Path? Art and Musical Therapy Could Help

The addiction recovery journey is often one of forgiveness, self-discovery, and healing. While you may be seeing a counselor, participating in group sessions, and/or attending an outpatient therapy treatment program, there is evidence to suggest supplemental therapies can prove highly beneficial to your recovery process. In particular, visual and musical therapy can increase self-esteem, can reduce stress, and often is a means of personal expression.

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of art and music therapy during the recovery process.

Communication



The recovery process is often a time of deep reflection and evaluation. With everything happening in your life, it may be difficult to communicate how you feel. Art has the incredible ability to promote non-verbal communication and help individuals learn more about themselves and their thought process. Because art and music are highly creative, people often find that they are able to express who they are and what they feel without actually having to speak.

Music therapy has the added benefit of helping enhance listening skills, attention to detail, and information processing, all of which can aid in the communication process. Because the majority of art therapy is taught in a classroom setting, individuals may become more proficient at communicating their thoughts and emotions with others.

Stress Reduction

The addiction recovery process can be stressful. Often, individuals are required to re-evaluate and rebuild their lives completely. Stress often manifests in the form of irritability, lack of focus, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and physical soreness. Because stress is a common trigger for addiction, experiencing stress can increase the likelihood of relapse. Visual and musical art therapy can be a powerful stress-reduction tool. Art has the ability to place individuals in a meditative state where thoughts, worries, and fears, become secondary to the immediate task at hand.

Painting is particularly effective at easing stress, particularly since it helps those in recovery reduce the chances of relapse. What’s more, getting into painting (or the arts, in general) can help people make friends if they decide to pursue this activity in a group setting. The goal, of course, is to find something that will help those overcoming an addiction find happiness, which can be difficult toward the beginning of the process.

Self-Esteem



Individuals with a low sense of self-worth can be substantially more prone to addiction. While addictive substances and behaviors can temporarily relieve negative, self-deprecating thoughts, these feelings almost always resurface. On top of that, addiction can further diminish self-esteem thereby creating a dangerous cycle. Individuals with low self-esteem may also be more prone to obtain encouragement and support from other individuals, regardless of how healthy this support is. Lastly, low-self esteem often leads people to believe that they destined to fail throughout life. As a result, they may be hesitant to take on new, unfamiliar activities.

Art and musical therapy can help individuals rebuild their self-worth one painting, drawing, and song at a time. Art therapy encourages individuals to complete relatively small tasks with the intent that each small task will help rebuild a sense of self-worth. The artistic process requires individuals to take on new challenges and find viable solutions. The sense of accomplishment one feels after mastering a piece of art can contribute to self-reliance as well as personal independence.

Incorporating art and musical therapy into your treatment process can be highly beneficial. Not only will art and music therapy enhance your skills in communication, but you will also set yourself up for recovery success by improving self-esteem and reducing stress. Best of luck on your journey toward self-discovery, learning, and sobriety.

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