The “Artist” Stigma

Friday, April 6, 2018 | By Chris Clancy

When it comes to creative people getting sober, there are many stigmas surrounding substance abuse and the concept of what it means to be an “artist” that some will have to face. With legendary authors like Ernest Hemingway touting infamous lines like “Write drunk, edit sober,” or famous musicians like Slash saying “Drugs and sex go hand in hand when you’re a rock and roll musician,” these stigmas have become engrained in creative American culture over the years.  Here are some common issues creative types may find themselves grappling with in recovery.

Your inner-critic is much louder in early sobriety, but it gets better. You know that little voice in your head that tells you you’re not talented? If you’ve had a substance abuse problem, you’re familiar with this voice all too well. After first entering recovery, you may find your head louder than ever when you’re no longer using drugs or alcohol to quiet the voice. This makes for a pretty tough state of mind when you need to be creative. Whether your work and state of living depends on you being creative or if you have projects on the side for a hobby, doing battle with this voice is key for a healthy mental space to work on your art. How do you tackle this voice? Start talking about it. Talk about your fears, talk about your creative failures and shortcomings, talk about what you’re feeling in the moment on a daily basis. Talk to your therapist, talk to your AA group, talk to your friends, talk to your journal, talk to your pets. Talk about everything, and the voice will quiet itself and allow you windows of creativity that will grow larger over time.

You do not need a substance to create. If you’re an artist, you will no doubt hear this from time to time among your creative circles. This is 100% false. While some may argue that alcohol and drugs are a gateway to a different way of thinking (leading you to be rich in creativity), there is also a much richer and healthier way to go about it. Artists in sobriety can learn to draw creativity from positive thoughts and energy rather than a negative place, and a great way to start is by reading a book called The Artist’s Way. Written by author and screenwriter Julia Cameron, herself an alcoholic in recovery, this book will guide you in the ways of creative recovery through daily techniques and exercises that will teach you to ignore the first unhealthy voice in your head and learn to listen the second voice- the voice of artistic truth and strength.

Alcohol and drugs are not required to maintain an image. This is more common among musicians who are seen rather than heard. Sober musicians can face a tremendous amount of pressure from their creative scene. Maybe all their band mates are still drinking and using drugs. Maybe their audience expects them to drink and do drugs on stage. If you’re a working musician in recovery, it may be suggested to you by a manager or band member to “play a role” now that you’re sober. While you have the right to play this role, just note that keeping secrets and lying to others most likely played a huge part in what led you to alcohol and drugs in the first place. It’s much healthier for your sobriety to be open and honest with the people around you. Have a discussion with your team of reps and band mates. Offer to take them to open AA meetings or speaker nights where they can observe and learn more. Try to make a point to let them know clearly what you need from them to support you through this transition.

The Artist’s Way is available on Amazon, Audible, and Google Play.

Get the best treatment for yourself or a loved one.

Fill out the form below and we will reach out to you to let you know how we can help you get your life back!


Blog

Stay Up To Date

  • I Think I’m Addicted to Prescription Meds – Am I an Addict?

    “It’s been prescribed to me, so it isn’t dangerous.”   This is one of the greatest myths surrounding prescription painkillers. When you think of substance abuse, you probably think of street drugs. But did you know prescription medicatio

    LEARN MORE
  • 5 Stress Relief Tools for Recovering Addicts

    Family problems, traffic jams and looming deadlines. Everybody has experienced stress at some point, but for individuals suffering from addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders, stress can be destructive. Stress overload – or an inability

    LEARN MORE
  • 10 Common Fears of Rehab and How to Overcome Them

    Making the decision to enter a treatment facility to get help with an addiction is certainly not easy. There are many common fears of entering rehab that come up when contemplating this decision. The good news is, you’re not alone in feeling this w

    LEARN MORE
  • parent enabling daughter

    How to Stop Enabling an Addict

    Addiction is a tough disease — both for the person with the problem, as well as their friends and families, who may feel helpless in their ability to keep a loved one out of harm’s way. Though addictions only affect the addict themselves on a phy

    LEARN MORE
  • Staying Motivated in Recovery

    Staying Motivated in Recovery

    Addiction is a deadly disease that can sneak up on you when you least expect it. One minute you think you have your life under control and the next minute you realize you are lying to everyone, including yourself. You have difficulty managing your wo

    LEARN MORE
  • 12-Step Meetings: What to Expect

    If you’ve just completed a treatment program and are looking to get connected to people in recovery or if you’d like to stop drinking or using drugs and are looking for some support, 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonym

    LEARN MORE
  • Michaela’s Story: Road to Recovery

    It is estimated more than two-thirds of people that struggle with addiction have experienced some type of childhood trauma. For Michaela S., it was a family tragedy. She was just 9-years-old when she lost her brother in an ATV accident. He was only a

    LEARN MORE
  • Sober Fall Activities Near Bowling Green

    Fall is a great time to get outside and enjoy the cooler weather and head out for some festive family activities. A major contributor in long-term recovery and preventing relapse is steering clear of triggers. The best way to do that is to change you

    LEARN MORE
  • A Guide to 12-Step Meetings

    As part of your continuing care plan, it will be recommended you attend regular 12-step meetings for support and encouragement. Understanding the founding principles and the general meeting guidelines can help ease some fears and anxiety you might be

    LEARN MORE
  • Finding Hope through Family Therapy

    At JourneyPure Bowling Green, we feel very strongly that family involvement throughout one’s addiction treatment is essential for long-term recovery. Organizations including the National Institute on Drug Abuse and U.S. Department of Health and Hum

    LEARN MORE
  • The Heroin Epidemic in Kentucky

    Known as “The Bluegrass State,” Kentucky is home to the world-famous Kentucky Derby, is notorious for its bourbon, coal mines and even fried chicken. What it’s lesser known is the devastating effect heroin is having on families. There is a hero

    LEARN MORE
  • songwriting therapy

    Songwriting Therapy Heals Patients in Recovery

    For many, especially those undergoing treatment for addiction and mental health issues, it can be difficult to express feelings verbally. Addiction is rarely the only struggle one’s facing when they enter treatment; it’s often coupled with some t

    LEARN MORE

Testimonials

  • Everyone who works here is very kind and helpful. They really want what is best for you. The housing is super nice and comfortable. I am very pleased with the time I spent here.

    Emily

    Review

  • JourneyPure Bowling Green has changed my life this is the first time I have ever been to a Rehabilitation Center and while it was not at all what I expected, it was exactly what I needed.

    Angela

    Review

  • Great place. I learned much here about my addiction and I feel that I now have the tools to control it. They have great a great staff and the accommodations are top notch.

    Terry F

    Review

  • My family member is still sober a year and a half after his treatment stay here.

    Brittany

    Review

  • This place was GREAT! I feel like they helped me with much more than I expected.

    Tim M

    Review

  • I loved my time here and I learned a lot about my recovery. All the staff were great and really helped me in the areas that I needed help in.

    Caleb H

    Review

  • The people here are very nice and will do whatever it takes to help you out, they are very helpful, its a great place to start off your sobriety

    Steven

    Review

  • I have enjoyed my stay and feel very confident in my recovery. Everyone here has been wonderful and very helpful. I would recommend Journey Pure to anyone seeking recovery.

    Frank

    Review