When we talk about the creative theory of recovery, we are not really referring to what your art teacher in middle school was saying when she told you to get creative while you were staring at a blank canvas. Instead, we’re referring to the idea that you need to create a new life for yourself in order to recover, and this demands action and purpose and possibly some goal setting, etc.
But there are some parallels with recovery and “creative style thinking” as well…more so than what I initially realized. Here is why early recovery can be very similar to the act of creating something from nothing:
1) Creative recovery demands action – just like you have to start pushing yourself to create something in art class, if you just sit there and stare at the blank canvas all day then nothing will happen. You have to push yourself in order to create. It takes initiate, effort, energy. There is momentum involved. Put the brush to the canvas and start doing something, and often the creative juices will start flowing.
The same is true of early recovery. It takes deliberate action that has to come from that same creative energy center in your brain.
2) Creative recovery thrives on inspiration from others – just like we can be inspired by other works of art in order to create something new, we can get the same thing in recovery from seeing those who are working a successful program. “This person is an addict like me and they have found peace. I want what they have.” Thus we can be inspired to create a similar life for ourselves. Art imitates life, as the newcomer imitates someone already established with sobriety.
3) Creative recovery rewards trial and error – just like the artist tries many things and experiments until finding the perfect combination for a piece, we are rewarded in recovery when we try a variety of approaches and focus on what works well for us. “Take what you need and leave the rest.” If we use a holistic approach to growth in recovery then we will discover those things that really help us the most.
So if we approach our recovery like a blank canvas this will force us into action. Creation demands action. If you just sit there and wait for inspiration to strike then you’re not going to get anywhere. Take action, experiment, find what works for you and then run with it. See what is working for other people and try it out for yourself. These are the creative strategies that can bring you to a successful life in recovery.