Drug Rehabilitation Blog

Learning Positive Methods of Self-Expression Through Art Therapy

In our Art Therapy group, patients discover a healthy and constructive way to handle negative emotions and stress without needing to use drugs or alcohol

Addiction 

The substance abuse treatment program at Best Drug Rehabilitation is much more than just a way for our patients to get clean and sober. Though some may not quite grasp it, overcoming addiction is not just about dealing with the symptoms of drug or alcohol dependency. True recovery is realized when the underlying causes of a person’s addictive behaviors are uncovered and addressed, and when they are able to discover the tools and skills needed to remain clean and sober after graduation.

One of the root causes of addiction for many of the patients we see at our recovery center is the desire to numb themselves of negative emotions or the stresses of daily life. They have either forgotten how to express those emotions or handle those stresses in a healthy, constructive and positive manner or they never really learned how. As a result, they resorted to using drugs or alcohol to “escape”, and they found themselves locked in a much darker prison with much stronger chains.

Learning how to deal with negative emotions is vital to the success of our patients. It becomes even more important as those emotions begin to re-

emerge after months or years of being suppressed by substance abuse. If they don’t learn effective methods of dealing with those feelings, chances are high that they will fall back into their old coping methods, and addiction will once more take control over their lives.

Recovery 

The recovery strategy at Best Drug Rehabilitation is designed to help our patients find those skills that will help them to remain substance-free when they graduate and return to their daily lives. We offer a wide variety of extracurricular groups and courses that build on the foundation provided by their core program selection. These supplementary groups focus on finding real-life practical applications of the concepts and principles discovered in the core program of the patient’s choosing.

One of the more popular supplementary programs that we offer to our patients is our Art Therapy group. This group concentrates on using visual art to express feelings and emotions and to manage stress in a healthy and constructive manner. The Art Therapy group is an effective program option for anybody regardless of how accomplished he or she may be as an artist. “They have a tendency to say ‘Oh, I’m not good at drawing’,” explains Sue Miller, the facilitator for the Art group at BDR. “I stress that this is not an Art Class. The purpose is to identify feelings, talk about coping skills, so it’s another way for them to express themselves.”

Art Therapy 

Aside from healthy self-expression of negative emotion, the Art Therapy group can also be a great way for our patients to learn how to repair relationships that may have been damaged through their substance abuse. As they work closely with each other, they begin to trust others again, and to trust themselves to work towards a common goal in a team atmosphere. “We’ve done a lot of teamwork building,” Sue says. “You’ll see the big mural on the wall, where they have to come together to complete it.” The ability to form and maintain healthy and functioning relationships also helps tremendously in forming the strong support network that will serve the patient in remaining clean and sober after graduation from our recovery center.

The Art program can be a way for some patients to rediscover an old passion that they once held. As addiction begins to take control over a person’s life, things that were once important to them are forgotten or left behind. Art, music, sports, writing, even friends and family all take a back seat to the desire to get high or drunk. Art Therapy can offer some patients a way to reconnect with something that was once incredibly important to their lives. “I kind of put art aside to do the things that I shouldn’t have been doing,” admits Vanessa M., a very talented artist that found her life being affected by her substance abuse. She was very excited to hear that Best Drug Rehabilitation had an Art Therapy program option, and even bought a new drawing tablet before she came to our recovery center. In a way, it was symbolic of her desire to start over with a fresh, clean slate. “It’s actually really relieving. Anytime I get upset or have a craving, I tend to pick up a pencil and draw. I think it’s cool to finally find me, without a substance.”

The Art Therapy group, along with the other supplemental programs that we offer, such as Music Exploration, Yoga and Meditation, and Beginners Martial Arts among others, give our patients an opportunity to discover what will help them most in recovery from addiction. They are able to find the things that they can turn to in order to handle negative emotions and stress so that they don’t have to resort to drugs or alcohol. Our patients are able to find the path to overcoming addiction that will be most effective for them. They discover a sense of confidence in themselves and their sobriety, and a renewed hope for a healthier and brighter future.

15 Comments

  • Walter McCormick

    I like where I see art being used in therapy to get over mental addictions. This is something that I feel more people should use to get over the struggles that they are struggling with. I think that there is an amazing healing property to art that many people do not realize. I have seen some amazing things from people using art to heal from being stuck in hard times. There are magical effects that music can create. I also think that one of the reasons there are such problems is that art is often perverted to not being constructive to the society as they promote the lifestyle of drugs. I think that there are more people that could use some art to get out of the mess that they have in their lives. I find that doing art is soothing and helps me to think, and I can see how this is a very therapeutic aspect to life. It gives you something to focus your attention on and let you have some time to be creative. I really like to see the positive results that come from this. The other aspects of therapy that are there are very valid are music, and sports and fitness. I think the thing that I like is the fact that it gets you to focus on something that is bigger than yourself. It can be difficult to get focus your attention when you are trapped mentally by drugs, and I say anything that helps with that is good!

  • Johnny Machat

    Art in Recovery really moved me. I work in the entertainment business, which is a business that is saturated with drug use and abuse. I have lost many friends and even my brother in law. I love how this article reminds us that aesthetics and drugs do not need to go hand in hand. There is a myth that exists within society that states that creative types are prone to addiction and alcoholism. Madness and creativity are linked. Creativity is a great tool for expansion of the mind and many of our greatest inventions occur when we are creatively doing nothing. Friederiche Kekula, a famous organic chemist, discovered the actual shape of Benze while daydreaming. “Flow state” which is the state where these ideas exists as a person that is engaged in flow is in between boredom and anxiety, so they are completely present. It is important to be present in life but it is possible top purposefully allow your mind to wander. As culture has created this false belief system of being productive is the result of being constantly busy, art in recovery is the type of training those in recovery crave and need to learn to comfortably let their mind wander which is part of introspection and getting to know oneself.

    • Margaux Machat

      Creativity in Sobriety. A lot of people suffer from the cognitive misnomer that drugs make you more creative. In actuality it is more probable that drug use hinders creativity. Drugs bring us into this abyss of wrongness, which in and of itself takes some serious creativity to get out of. Our subjective reality transposes and we have to change our constitution to survive. This wrongness is the entire way we have lived our life during our addiction, unless you’re a functional addict and you make it into treatment before hitting a rock bottom. Once you let go of drugs you have to quickly invent a new identity and persona for yourself and that takes creativity. The human brain is made to be creative as brain cells, which are your neurons, have the ability to receive signals from 100s of other neurons through thousands of synaptic gaps. So yes, our brains are extremely creative.

  • Margaux Machat

    Creativity is certainly one way to protect oneself from destructive unconscious behavior. My form of creative expression is neuroscience. Through taking this psychology class I have become increasingly curious about what it means to be human. How does the delicate balance of homeostasis defined between a complex series of chemical relationships (action potential, neurotransmitters and neuromodulators) neural networks, and genetic expression (phenotypes) make me the human that I am today? What role does nature play in this? How do the experiences that I have factor into the choices that I make? . Creativity planted a seed of curiosity within me with regards to the complex chemical symphony that is occurring within my brain as I write this paper.
    Creativity means one has the anility to embrace the marvelous mind-body connection and to find out on an individual level what it means to be human as it is essentially an idiosyncratic process. The question then is of an anthropocentric nature, is it special to be human or are the human mental abilities merely extensions of apes. That is the basic question science seeks to answer. I feel that being creative is having the ability to self-actualize and that in order to self-actualize one must take advantage of culture and be present in their life. To be present in life one must find beauty in the mundane. I feel that beauty exists in the laboratory to another that beauty may be found on a beach in Bora Bora or at the New York City Ballet. As I stated above to be human is in itself idiosyncratic in nature. Aesthetics has its own value to each of us. To fully engage in the subject of what it means to be human it is extremely important to examine what it means to be creative.. If one cannot effectively weigh risks and rewards in this cunning world then one cannot operate as an actualized human being and if one is not actualized then one is sub-human.
    Damage to the orbitofrontal lobes can occur as a result of injury, cerebrovascular illness or genetics. This damage is often referred to as orbitofrontal or ventromedial syndrome; many years ago it was called pseudo psychopathic syndrome. This syndrome is in fact a loss of self-control with a neurobiological origin. Those afflicted with this syndrome are no longer able to weigh consequences and they are reduced to being animals. When I think of this syndrome, I look towards thermodynamics 1, which states that energy cannot be created or destroyed it just changes form. I then consider the delicate nature of the homeostatic functions in the brain and that allows me to postulate that once was once positive and human in these afflicted individuals is now negative and dysfunctional. All mental illness manifests itself in that manner as the same traits that makes one person Einstein creates a heroine addiction in another. Energy cannot be created or destroyed it just changes form and for spontaneous reactions to occur they must increase the amount of disorder in the universe. So therefore nature does not follow an anthropomorphic design and it does not care about being human.
    Recently Allan Schore, a psychiatrist from Southern California, has proposed a provocative hypothesis that states that early life stressful experiences may damage the orbitofrontal cortex, predisposing the individual to later life psychiatric diseases (Goldberg 2009). This is a very new way of thinking in neuroscience but I definitely believe that being human is in fact a combination of nature and nurture expressing itself in both genotype and phenotype. As thermodynamics states energy cannot be created or destroyed so the wrong environmental fit can make genius turn into deviance or the prosocial become antisocial. The brain though as an enormous capacity for plasticity and this can always turn itself around with the correct therapy or education.

  • Margaux Machat

    Art In Recovery

    Creativity is certainly one way to protect oneself from destructive unconscious behavior. My form of creative expression is neuroscience. Through taking this psychology class I have become increasingly curious about what it means to be human. How does the delicate balance of homeostasis defined between a complex series of chemical relationships (action potential, neurotransmitters and neuromodulators) neural networks, and genetic expression (phenotypes) make me the human that I am today? What role does nature play in this? How do the experiences that I have factor into the choices that I make? . Creativity planted a seed of curiosity within me with regards to the complex chemical symphony that is occurring within my brain as I write this paper.
    Creativity means one has the anility to embrace the marvelous mind-body connection and to find out on an individual level what it means to be human as it is essentially an idiosyncratic process. The question then is of an anthropocentric nature, is it special to be human or are the human mental abilities merely extensions of apes. That is the basic question science seeks to answer. I feel that being creative is having the ability to self-actualize and that in order to self-actualize one must take advantage of culture and be present in their life. To be present in life one must find beauty in the mundane. I feel that beauty exists in the laboratory to another that beauty may be found on a beach in Bora Bora or at the New York City Ballet. As I stated above to be human is in itself idiosyncratic in nature. Aesthetics has its own value to each of us. To fully engage in the subject of what it means to be human it is extremely important to examine what it means to be creative.. If one cannot effectively weigh risks and rewards in this cunning world then one cannot operate as an actualized human being and if one is not actualized then one is sub-human.
    Damage to the orbitofrontal lobes can occur as a result of injury, cerebrovascular illness or genetics. This damage is often referred to as orbitofrontal or ventromedial syndrome; many years ago it was called pseudo psychopathic syndrome. This syndrome is in fact a loss of self-control with a neurobiological origin. Those afflicted with this syndrome are no longer able to weigh consequences and they are reduced to being animals. When I think of this syndrome, I look towards thermodynamics 1, which states that energy cannot be created or destroyed it just changes form. I then consider the delicate nature of the homeostatic functions in the brain and that allows me to postulate that once was once positive and human in these afflicted individuals is now negative and dysfunctional. All mental illness manifests itself in that manner as the same traits that makes one person Einstein creates a heroine addiction in another. Energy cannot be created or destroyed it just changes form and for spontaneous reactions to occur they must increase the amount of disorder in the universe. So therefore nature does not follow an anthropomorphic design and it does not care about being human.
    Recently Allan Schore, a psychiatrist from Southern California, has proposed a provocative hypothesis that states that early life stressful experiences may damage the orbitofrontal cortex, predisposing the individual to later life psychiatric diseases (Goldberg 2009). This is a very new way of thinking in neuroscience but I definitely believe that being human is in fact a combination of nature and nurture expressing itself in both genotype and phenotype. As thermodynamics states energy cannot be created or destroyed so the wrong environmental fit can make genius turn into deviance or the prosocial become antisocial. The brain though as an enormous capacity for plasticity and this can always turn itself around with the correct therapy or education.

  • Felicia Holmes

    Art is HUGE in handling the addictions of drugs and alcohol abuse. There is a lot to be said about how it keeps you grounded where you can see the great effects that you are creating. I think that art is one of the areas that has been the most corrupted by drugs and addictive substances. That is one of the biggest things that I see this as being a very important avenue with which to help people kick the addictions of drugs. The way I think that it helps is that there is a visualization of what you think that gets put into the artwork that you are creating. I know what happens when I create some art, even though I do not think that my art is that good, but this does not matter. It is more important to get the person to see that they are capable of creating something that they can use to inspire themselves and to expand all of their vision so that they can put themselves higher into the society. It is something that builds the society up, which is the artist, and whether you are a professional or someone who is creating it just for yourself, it makes the ability to create infinite to the individual.

    • Michael S

      I believe that art therapy is a great because there is a link between attitude and behavior and there is often a cognitive lack of correspondence between attitude and behavior, which causes cognitive dissonance, as we know it. Empirically it has been demonstrated that there is only a link between attitude and behavior when the two add up.

  • Armani K

    My name is Armani and prior to going to BDR, I was a heroine and crack addict as well as a sex addict. The first treatment center I went to I was in a different guys bed every night. I had already been exposed to the twelve steps but the treatment center had me on so much adrenal that I was completely manic. A dear friend of mine paid for me to go to BDR as she knows a woman that Drew Pinsk, called, ‘One of the worst drug addicts he had ever seen. “This woman went to BDR in 2012 and she is now married and living a productive and normal life. I am an artist so the art therapy made me feels right at home but I benefitted a lot from the moral recognition and cognitive behavioral therapy. At BDR I discovered that my creativity was not dependent on me altering my states of consciousness and that it was real. I am creative and if I wrote my story then it might not only help me stay sober but it could prevent others from using drugs and alcohol in the first place. The self-discovery inventory is where I learned who I am. Finally at 38, I now know who I am. BDR helped me resolve the conflict between standing out from the crowd and becoming isolated and helped me find my niche in this world. Prior to coming to BDR I wasn’t accepted at home, which is a place that I should of belonged but I was abused quite badly. My mother found all my dreams to be delusional. It was painful. The self-doubt that followed from their difference in the way my parents saw me and the way I saw myself was remarkable. BDR was the first place I really felt accepted or as if I belonged.

  • Emily B.

    I love that best drug rehabilitation has art in recovery it’s an awesome method that helps you express yourself. It’s very therapeutic; it has helped me out in more ways than others. I was a drug addict and honestly had no creative bone in me. But during the time I was at best drug rehabilitation this program helped me express myself and like I said was and still is very therapeutic. I am not an artist at all by any means. I do love to draw now and when I get stressed out,overwhelmed,or even feeling the urge to use I grab my sketch pad and just draw every emotion I am feeling at that time and it does help. Art for some makes a huge life change well an impact to others lives it has for me, with this program it helps you express your emotions and just putting it into art.This blog true points out great facts on this program. And I hope some with love ones or even those going through this I hope that this has helped out as much it has for me.

  • Ash b

    I love the fact that they use art in revovery process. This is very nice, they can re discover themselves and express themselves. They can really express their feeling in the for of art. I think is a great program, it is therapeutic. The teamwork building is also awesome, that could have been so much fun! I am sure that is also helps them to get their attention off of the their cravings and re focuse their energy, i think that any for of art is awesome. Using it in a therapeutic way is just so great. I love drawing and painting myself, so I can just say that it does so much good to you. You feel so much happier and you feel like you are ready to create and make new things and you feel stronger. The lady who is traching it seems really lovely too, this must be a great class to attend! I think that in this rehab facility there is no holistic methid they do not use. They are just incredible, they ar really holistic as they say. Truly.

  • Sophie ann

    I think it is a very great thing to use art therapy in a rehab. Nowadays art is used all around the world as a way to de stress and to feel better. I have seen recently that they get grow up to color and stuff, and honestly that is a great idea, it really does work, it really does have a therapeutic value. And here they do not only do coloring but all kind of other tools in the art therapy. I am sure that it is even more helpful, and I guess they have a certain program that they run the entire art program by, and the team work building is really great. It is important to have a great team and to push each other and motivate each other to get better. This place is really cool. I would totally recommend it to anyone who is looking for a great rehab center, where they use holistic methods and tools to help the people to be sober and live sober. I really like everything they do, I think they have a really fantastic place, they have fantastic programs, and I am alway ps more eager to find out more about them, cause they just seem really caring about their patients and they really want to help everyone to be at their best. The thing that got me mor interested is their completely holistic approach and the way they help people deal with their cravings. They use all the tool available, like art and sports and yoga and what ever else one can imagine to help people. Already in the detox process they do not use other drugs, rather they use like oils and vitamins and they motivate their clients and they help them through the hard time. And they try to get everyone off all drugs and pills, not to put them in something else, I think that this place is really awesome!

  • David H

    I love the idea of art used as therapheutic method. Painting and drawing can be indeed very helpful and fun too, and i can see also how it can be very beneficial in therapy. I guess that just the fact to get the persons mind off of the drug would be very useful. I think that many people can relate to art, everyone has it in them to some point, and they can all engage with it somehow. You do not need to be like perfect in drawing or what not, but everyone could express their feeling with it, or just like when you feel bad could be very helpful. I really like that they do team work building in the art class. That is really cool. That also connects the people more. And i find it very helpful to have a great tema and to have friends, and specially if they are in the rehab, they can motivate each other better. I have to say that I can really relate to the methods they use at BDR, i like them a lot. So far all that i have read and seen, I really like it, and i really like their holistic approach to drug and alcohol rehab. That is also I guess the reason they are also so effective and they have greater results than lets say a place where they just give you other pills. And the art therapy also helps the person to deal with their negative thought differently. I guess that when one is doing the art therapy, they might even get a realization about something concerning their addiction, maybe they get to see why they started it or what causes them to act like this. This can be a really powerful tool if used correctly, but looking at the trained stuff, they know what they are doing and they are doing an excellent job!

  • Sam Lake

    I think this is such an incredible program that they have at best drug rehabilitation. The art recovery is really an amazing program to do. Its really therapeutic and you can express yourself. When I was doing the program it really helped me let all my emotions out while I paint. And I am not an artist at all. But while in this art program really helped me out a lot. I still carry my sketch book with me. When I feel like I am overwhelmed or may want to have a drink I grab my sketch pad and it has helped me out a lot. At best drug rehabilitation I truly love the way they do things especially holistic way. Not like some other rehab centers where they try and give you drugs to get you off of drugs to me that seems like you can end up getting addicted to other drugs. But here at best drug rehabilitation they have so many alternative ways to help you get clean like this one and like said above it really is very therapeutic. The staff members are so wonderful and are so positive and make you feel comfortable there and in the class.

  • Sam Lake

    I think this is such an incredible program that they have at best drug rehabilitation. The art recovery is really an amazing program to do. It’s really therapeutic and you can express yourself. When I was doing the program it really helped me let all my emotions out while I paint. And I am not an artist at all. But while in this art program really helped me out a lot. I still carry my sketch book with me. When I feel like I am overwhelmed or may want to have a drink I grab my sketch pad and it has helped me out a lot. At best drug rehabilitation I truly love the way they do things especially holistic way. Not like some other rehab centers where they try and give you drugs to get you off of drugs to me that seems like you can end up getting addicted to other drugs. But here at best drug rehabilitation they have so many alternative ways to help you get clean like this one and like said above it really is very therapeutic. The staff members are so wonderful and are so positive and make you feel comfortable there and in the class.

  • carcol

    I so love the fact that Best Drug Rehab offers art therapy to their patients. Giving these people something they can do to be creative and actually create things that others can also enjoy. It gives the person a feeling a self worth which is something that goes out the window when being an addict. The more you can get the person feeling better about themselves and seeing that they can be creative and can contribute to society, the more successful they will be in their recovery.

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