Month: February 2015

Fight Addiction by Respecting Artistic Craft

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artistic craft over addictionOne of the amazing things about the arts is, though it attracts personalities who struggle with addiction, the arts themselves are actually a remedy for addiction. Art creation is a known way of sorting out one’s thoughts on addiction in order to overcome it, which makes it a therapeutic tool, but art creation is also a source of pride for those who are skilled at it, which makes it a motivating tool. These are two major necessities to implement into one’s life when they are working to recover from addiction.

Art as therapy is a frequently utilized addiction recovery tool in the mental health industry. There are many ways that art therapy helps a person work through their addiction issues in order to overcome them. Art allows an addict total freedom and control over their art project, which is liberating after being ravaged by and subservient to their addiction for so long. Recovering addicts are free to express themselves however they want to, whether it is through drawing or painting, literal images or abstract ones. One commonality that has been observed throughout the art projects of addicts is that the art represents the addiction like an entity – a malicious, conscious force that is wreaking havoc on their lives. This does a lot to separate the addiction from their own identity.

Those who have a passion for visual art can reap another kind of reward from creating it: that of motivation. When addicted artistsĀ honor their talent enough to put aside their addiction and pursue it seriously, they have a strong motivation for seeing their recovery through. This is a form of believing in one’s self, which is always a nod towards good mental health. As an addict shifts their focus from indulging in their addiction to creating worthwhile, meaningful art, their mind, time and talent is occupied, which naturally transitions them away from their addictive tendencies. This has been found to be a very effective method of recovering from addiction.

Common Addictions that Artists Struggle With

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common artist addictionsAddiction is frequently found within the arts community because many traits that lead to addiction are also traits that lead to creative, artistic abilities. These traits are not healthy or unhealthy inherently, but rather can be used for healthy purposes or unhealthy purposes. When people apply these traits to goals and purposeful endeavors, such as art creation, they are using them in a healthy way. But when they apply them to indulging in an addiction, they are using them in an unhealthy way. There are several addictions that are notably particular to the arts community.

Alcohol is a very common addiction among artists. A majority of alcoholics adopt their addiction in an attempt to self medicate. Alcohol is known for numbing the mind and alleviating it of thoughts. Emotions remain and often increase, but the burden of troubled thinking is lifted. This offers many people temporary relief from negative thought patterns that they do not know how to cope with otherwise. Unfortunately, this is also why it is so addictive: it is a false, easy way of coping with problems.

Street drugs are another common addiction in the arts community. Drug use represents a different side of an artist’s personality: the experimental side. Artists are naturally experimental because art is born of experimentation. This leads artists to try new things so that they can expand the limits of their minds and experience a completely alternate perspective onĀ the world. This tendency can be harmful when experimentation leads to addiction. In seeking new perspectives and realities, artists often discover something they cannot stop coming back to and it begins to take over their lives.

And lastly, an addiction to sex is another problem behavior that many artists struggle with. Sex is often embraced as a liberating act by artists. Free sex often represents liberation from power structures or moral hierarchies and much of the arts community does not believe in restricting sex. This can become problematic for some though. Sex is equally as pleasurable as alcohol and drugs, and many people cannot resist its charms. Sex addiction is capable of ruining lives, reputations, relationships and careers.

Why Artists Become Addicts

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addiction visual artistArtists are a very unique and talented group of people whose skills enrich the lives of everyone who experiences them. Art is one of the oldest professions on earth, and while it may not be necessary to our survival, it is necessary to our humanity. To be an artist means to be very visually charged and to see the world in terms of shapes, colors, angles, lines and other visual layers. It also connotes a sensitive, experimental personality. An artist’s personality can take them to the philosophical depths of existence, but it can also be prone to addiction and mental disorders more so than in other professions. The reasons for this are complex.

One of the primary reasons artists are prone to addiction is that all creative people, artists, musicians, actors and so on, are experimental by nature. Creativity requires experimentation in order to thrive and to keep one’s perspective original. Unfortunately, this quality of an artist’s personality is also one of the ways addiction gets in the door. Artists often dabble in addictive substances and activities in order to expand their minds and alter their thinking to keep their perspectives fresh. However, as many people discover, moderating and limiting one’s use of addictive substances and activities is not so easy.

Another contributing factor to the problem of addiction among artists is their sensitive, emotional nature. Because artistic endeavors require a person to be tuned in to subtleties and sentiments, people who are sensitive by nature gravitate toward the arts. This quality makes them excel in the arts, but can hinder them in life. Sensitivity mixed with an extended unhealthy environment can result in addiction and mental disorder. One of the most common reasons for people to become addicts is in an attempt to cope with mental hardships, such as stress, anger, anxiety or depression. Sadly, these attributes are often found among artists.

If you know an artist who is struggling with addiction, help them by making them aware of addiction treatment that is tailored to the artistic mind. They can receive help from fellow artists who have recovered from addiction and know what they are going through. No one should have to suffer through addiction alone. Reach out for help today!