Pablo Picasso once famously said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” When you’ve started your journey toward recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, it can feel like the dust built up until it feels like you’re buried underneath an entire mountain of the stuff. But you don’t have to feel that way! One of the best ways to process your feelings and wash away that dust is to delve into art therapy.

What is Art Therapy?

According to Wikipedia, art therapy…can focus on the art-making process as therapeutic in and of itself (‘art as therapy’) or it can be ‘art in therapy’ (art psychotherapy),” meaning that creating art can be part of the process of therapy, or as an insight into psychological problems connected to addiction. Lest you think you have to be an artist like Picasso in order to create a work of art, don’t let the brush and canvas fool you: the only limit is your imagination. In fact, the brush and canvas aren’t just the only forms of art you can create – sketching, collage, sculpture, and other forms or art are just as therapeutic.

How Art Therapy Helps in the Recovery Process

No matter which medium you prefer, art therapy gives you important insight into the effect addiction has had on your life. If you have trouble giving a voice to your feelings, creating art can help you process your emotions. It can also be a helpful tool in documenting how far you’ve come in your recovery by documenting your journey. Because of the freedom of expression in art, many people in recovery have turned to art in order to build trust within themselves as well as their therapist. Those breakthroughs help to build a foundation for a successful recovery. In fact, you can look at art as a focus point when you hit a trigger or find yourself tempted to relapse – knowing you can give a voice to those feelings though a piece of art helps you avoid giving in to your addiction. As an added bonus, creating art has a calming effect that can reduce the effects of anxiety and stress, two major factors that can lead to a possible relapse.

It's Never a Bad Time to Create

Whether you’re in the recovery process or are looking for post-treatment options for dealing with getting back to a normal life, art therapy can be a powerful tool to help combat stress while helping you to work through the many emotions of the recovery process. So when you think the dust of life is going to be gathering around you, try creating some beautiful art and wash it away!