Maybe you’ve come to realize that your addiction has gotten the better of you and you decide to enter into recovery via a 12-step program or in some other way. What then? Well, creating itself can prove a threat to recovery. The very act of creating is a voyage into the unknown (which provokes anxiety), a command to send your brain racing (so that it can productively obsess), and an opening to your deeper thoughts and feelings (with all the dangers associated with those depths). Recovery requires calmness and creating requires wildness: and the wildness of creating can endanger recovery. Therefore some smart tactics for creating in early recovery are important to implement.
Last week I presented you with Tip #1
- Let recovery comes first
As much as you may want to get back to creating, you have the job of getting your priorities right: your recovery comes before your creating. If it is a choice between attending an AA meeting or painting for another hour, the meeting is the wise choice. If it is a choice between starting the day with a mindfulness meditation that supports your recovery or starting right in on your sculpting, the mindfulness meditation comes first. This isn’t what your “creative nature” wants: it wants to create. But in early recovery your mantra should be, “recovery comes first.”
Today, here’s Tip #2
- Choose projects wisely
Early recovery is not the time to overwhelm yourself or to add high anxiety to your life. If, for example, you have the choice between executing one painting that is less taxing and another that is more taxing, your creative nature may want to tackle the more ambitious project. But if you keep your recovery needs in clear focus you’ll opt for the less taxing project. Opting for the less ambitious project can feel disappointing but if you remind yourself that you have the opportunity to create a powerful body of work over time, but only if you maintain your recovery, that may help put in perspective why you are choosing a less exciting or ambitious project right now.
More next week!
I almost didn’t read this article because I’m not struggling with addiction but I am struggling with recovering from a coma 8 years ago. I have trouble prioritizing things. I don’t have any commissions so I should feel less guilty now while stepping away from the creative projects I get myself into!