Throughout history we’ve seen artists across the globe turn to alcohol and drugs as a type of “muse.”
There is a misconception that by being under the influence, your brain is free to venture endless worlds beyond your sober brain's imagination. This has created the idea that alcoholism and creativity are conducive.
In reality, sobriety and creativity actually benefit one another. By getting creative you’re letting yourself be more attuned with yourself by expressing your thoughts and emotions in new and different forms. The best part is you don’t have to be an artist to dabble in creativity.
Let’s look at how you can get creative in your sobriety.
Myth: alcohol helps creativity
This long-standing belief that creativity is fueled by trauma and hardship has left many famous artists afraid to get sober in worry of losing their edge. The tortured artist archetype is losing its glamour as many artists over the years continue to lose their lives to addiction.
While alcohol or drugs can and have been proven to ignite peoples creative spark, they are not the source of long-term creative success. It is rather the consistency and dedication to putting in hard work that truly makes an artist great.
6 Tips for getting creative
1) Journal or free-write
With sobriety comes clarity, but it doesn’t just happen overnight. For many, early sobriety makes their brains foggy and filled with overwhelming thoughts and emotions. The initial need to escape from these thoughts through substance use can be tempting.
Journaling or free-writing can allow you to free up space and energy from any thoughts you have floating around in your mind. Setting time each day to write your emotions and thoughts isn’t just good for your mental health, it gives you a mental peace that acts as blank canvas.
2) Set time aside to get active
Take a walk around the block. Do a workout. Get dancing. Getting moving and immersing yourself in the present is a great way to clear your head and get your creative side recharged and ready to go.
3) Take a class
Ever wanted to take up pottery or painting? Taking a class can introduce you to new and exciting hobbies that you maybe never thought of trying before. Becoming a beginner in something and trying something new could help fire up that lost inspiration you were looking for.
4) Embrace boredom
In today’s world it’s almost impossible to be bored. Our technology has filled any gaps of our day with mindless activities so we never have to sit and do nothing.
In Manoush Zomorodi’s TED Talk, she says that when we get bored, we actually let our brain go into “default mode” where we are able to form new neural connections so we can connect ideas and solve problems. So, don’t be afraid of boredom, embrace it.
Watch Manoush Zomorodi's TED Talk below:
5) Make time to play
By indulging in something you love, you allow yourself to connect more with your creativity. When you enjoy what you’re doing you can get out of your own head and tap into your subconscious, letting you freely explore new avenues without judgement.
6) Have a routine
Making creativity a part of your routine to get creative may sound less exciting, but if you don’t prioritize it, you’ll never truly find the time to explore your creative side. By carving out time each day to do something creative you’ll actually make it a priority instead of an afterthought.
Karen Pontious is a professional communicator working on her dream to be a freelance writer and editor. She is currently completing a summer placement with Avalon Recovery Society.
Her passion is intercultural relations and communication. She writes about relationships, immigration stories, gender norms, and mental health.