Alcoholism/Recovery oil pastel on paper
This pair of drawings is a response by F., a middle aged woman who proclaimed, “I can’t draw!” the minute she heard the words “art therapy”. I asserted my disclaimer – that I was not looking for talent or training – which did not put her at ease. The funny thing is that you don’t need artistic talent or training to benefit from art therapy. Almost anyone can benefit. You’ll see what I mean. This is F’s art response to the directive “Draw a picture of your disease. Then draw a picture of what your recovery may look like.” She used oil pastels on folded paper. It can be helpful to imagine alcoholism or addiction as an entity – be it male, female, creature, person, inanimate object or even cloud of smoke. Just so long as it is obviously NOT THE PATIENT and is separate from the patient. Some people even name their disease to gain further distance from it. At the same time it is helpful to imagine sobriety as a way to move forward in that direction.
F. complained again that she couldn’t draw and then drew this spot-on picture of how she was headed down a road going nowhere, her only companions being the devil and a can of beer. Her alcoholism is a deathly looking blackness everyway she turns. It looks like being stuck in a dark and empty life and headed for death (Left side of the drawing). Conversely her drawing of recovery is bright (Right side of the drawing). She thought of her life sober and drew her literal response. The basics; getting her life back together. What she didn’t count on was the way that Dr. Bob and Bill W. had organized the Twelve Steps to assist her literally and figuratively. Her drawing shows the sky is the limit. She wants to be able to trust herself, to think and feel again (the happy face); Steps 1-3. She wants a clean house (the tidy little house); Steps 4 and 5. She wants better relationships with her family and friends; (smiling stick people) Steps 6, 7, 8 and 9. She wants her Higher Power to be the foundation of her life (the cross at the bottom center); Steps 10, 11 and 12.
Even if you are sure you’re no artist, art therapy works. F’s drawing was inspired by the same power that inspired the Twelve Steps! The Right Brain Artist brought her a demonstration that she was in touch with a God of her understanding and that He was in touch with her.