Authors, musicians, artists, and some of the most creative people in the world have been addicted to a host of substances from alcohol and drugs, to pain medications and over-the-counter products. Because of that, there is a commonly held myth that addiction helps bring out creativity, or at the very least, addiction and creativity go hand in hand for successful artists of all genres.
The good news for all of us, though, is that myth is flat out incorrect. Addicts who link creativity to their addictions not only fail to understand that addiction actually hampers creativity, they are simply using that excuse to continue their addiction with what they see at the time as no consequences. Former addicts like author Stephen King now point out how silly their reliance on addiction was in regards to their perceived creativity, and realize the excuse was a crutch more than anything.
While it’s true that many creative people have addiction problems, the link is not as strong as people realize. Instead of the two being linked inseparably, it is more likely that creative people also have personality traits that make them prone to addiction, but when they cut out the addiction, they can still bring forth their inner creativity. Many famous artists, like Jackson Pollock and Stephen King, are proof of this, as they produced their best work at times when their addictions were the most under control. Addiction many times simply clouds creativity.
In recovery and rehabilitation, creativity can be increased and maintained to the point where the former addict doesn’t even realize what he was missing before. People who experience months of sobriety concurrently experience mental clarity like never before, through techniques and tools new to them and beneficial to their lives. In fact, there are specific techniques a recovering addict can use in treatment to bolster creativity and still stay clean of any substance abuse problems.
Meditation is one example of a technique to increase creativity, allowing former addicts to get in touch with their subconscious thoughts and goals. Other former addicts find that long, peaceful walks help clear the mind, set up the table for a creative outlook, and bring forth new ideas. Writing and journaling is another positive way to promote creativity in an addict’s new life, as well, so it’s a good idea to have a notebook handy. For others, simply sitting in silence allows the mind to work unfettered and in total clarity to bring new ideas and plans.
Creativity is not inextricably linked to addiction. Former addicts should not fear the loss of their creativity when they get clean. In fact, addicts will find that once clean, their mental capacities are so greatly improved that they are more creative, more productive, and come up with better ideas and pieces of art than they did previously. A strong and consistent commitment to positive, clean, and thoughtful techniques to bolster creativity will do wonders for the creative person seeking treatment from addiction and substance abuse.