The creative life in recovery is made to be action-packed. You have to do stuff in order to recover.
There are many people who are successfully working various programs of recovery, all of them enjoying sobriety because they are fueled with action and purpose. The exact program that they are following is secondary to the fact that they are proactive and enthusiastic about being sober.
Let’s take a look at what the lack of creation really looks like:
1) Victim mentality
There are some who are either in recovery or who are still looking to try to get clean that are stuck in victim-thinking. They believe that the world has done them wrong and thus owes them something, and this mindset has a detrimental effect on their recovery.
The reason victim mentality is so bad for recovery is because it blocks creation. The victim refuses to take creative action because they believe someone else should do it for them. Instead of working towards a goal or attempting to grow personally, the victim mindset believes that others are responsible for providing them happiness.
The victim believes that if someone would come along and drop a million dollars in their lap, that they would finally be happy. What they don’t understand is that they would still be miserable even if it happened, because they sabotage their own happiness by not creating for themselves.
How creation fixes this: What happens with creative recovery is that the burden of creating happiness shifts back on to the individual. They accept responsibility for creating their own future and thus no longer demand that others sacrifice for them. Also, the creative theory has a large emphasis on building self esteem, which has a direct effect on the tendency to lapse back into this dangerous mindset.
Those who are not actively creating run the risk of being apathetic in their recovery. This is the blatant indifference to things that would normally be important to people. Apathy erodes purpose and passion for living. It is an opposite of creation. If someone is indifferent to recovery and cannot summon real passion about growth and progress and their own future potential, then that person is experiencing apathy.
How creation fixes this: The creative life can lead to both purpose (the need to do something specific with your talents and strengths) and passion (a high level of enthusiasm and excitement about one’s purpose).
Unfortunately, you can’t just flip a switch and decide to become passionate about life all of a sudden. The creative theory is a process that unfolds as you walk the path. An emphasis on personal growth and caring for self lay a solid foundation in early recovery with which to discover a person’s purpose. It is through active creation that purpose is exposed, not the other way around. You can’t wait for divine inspiration to sweep you off your feet and drive you to this life of purpose. Instead, you have to dive in to creative recovery and take the initiative to make something happen.
If you have severe depression, then you need more help than what this article can provide. But milder forms of depression can creep into the life of the recovering addict or alcoholic, leading to a lack of activity and a general attitude of apathy as well. One this is certain: the depressed individual is not actively creating a new life for themselves. Instead, they are stuck in a rut, unable to find their way back to purposeful living.
How creation fixes this: I don’t think creative recovery is necessarily a magic cure for any person who is diagnosed with depression, but creation is definitely the opposite of depression. Those who suffer from a milder form of depression can find purpose and passion in their lives again by living the creative theory.
This happens over time through the following processes:
1) Caring for self – the addict puts their well being first and starts taking care of themselves on a number of different levels (physically, mentally, emotionally, etc.). This builds self esteem over the long run, makes life important again, and helps fuel the passion/life purpose feedback loop.
2) Personal growth – with creative recovery, there is a push for personal growth. This inspires action (which directly combats depression) and also helps build self esteem.
3) Networking with others – creation demands social interaction, especially in early recovery. This also combats depression directly through interactions with others.
Take an honest look at your recovery and see if you don’t suffer from any of these things (apathy, depression, victim-thinking). If so, the creative approach could help you to overcome these conditions, provided you put forth a serious effort and follow some basic strategies.