Art and Addiction at the Girls Recovery Lodge

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Girls Recovery Lodge Painting

Angela’s Painting

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”, said Pablo Picasso, quoting Berthold Auerbach, a German-Jewish poet and author, who, many years before, was referring to music. Angela was 17 when she entered the Girls Recovery Lodge program at Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic, and painting was a great way for her to start a journey of recovery.

By the time Angela was 15, she was taking drugs and drinking alcohol. She was very afraid of personal failure. The expectation of failing at most attempted tasks would develop in anxiety that kept her from completing her projects. To prevent any possible failing she would quit every project she started, so that she would not have to deal with her own mistakes. Forgiving herself and showing her feelings was too hard for her.

As low self-esteem may affect the life of people who are struggling with addiction, and their ability to find happiness when they become sober, it is very important to help them increase their personal self-esteem. Staff at the Girls Recovery Lodge suggested Angela start painting. Art helps people with low self esteem express themselves, reduce stress, and increase self-awareness. As Wassily Kandinsky used to say, “there is no ‘must’ in art because art is free”. Art frees us of all the restrictions that the reality imposes and connects us with our deeper emotions. Creating art helps our fear of others’ judgments dissolve and our negative thoughts go away. When Angela finished her first beautiful painting she felt great about herself. She finally felt she completed something successfully, and she was proud of herself and her great accomplishment.

Located inArlington, the Girls Recovery Lodge programprovides high-quality care for 13 to 18-year-old girls. The program offers services designed to help youth overcome addiction and develop the habits they need to remain drug-free. From the first days in the program, youth follow a structured daily schedule of activities including counseling, addiction and life-skills education, family services, and exercise/recreation. The program model and the small program size allow the girls to develop a sense of community and to help each other throughout the treatment process. Educational services are offered on-site through a separately licensed school program that includes online and classroom instruction.

Angela’s wonderful painting is now hanging prominently in the girls’ classroom. After exploring different options for her future, she said she might decide to become a chef or study public relations. We hope all the best for her and her family.

Find out more about programs and services at Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic, or call us today at: 1 888 671 9392.

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