Fighting Addiction in the Arts

fight addiction arts communityThere are many struggles that are unique to artists. Addiction is universal, but many artists have very similar experiences with addiction, and therefore turn to one another for help and understanding when combating addiction. Just like every other type of vocation, artists have unique brains and personalities which often times only other artists can understand.

Artists frequently develop addictions in similar ways. Because artists are experimental by nature, their curiosity often leads them into substance abuse, sex acts and other fascinating, addictive behaviors. Many artists are naturally prone to addiction, either because it makes for an excellent escape from their volatile emotions, or because their artistic drive stems from their craving for exhilaration which can be met through highly pleasurable substances and activities. When they let these substances and activities into their lives, it can become very difficult for them to moderate their use of them.

Once an artist is addicted, they tend to start living very recklessly. In an effort to sustain the thrill of feeling alive through addiction, they engage in more and more carefree acts until they point that they are endangering themselves and others. If they are not living recklessly, they are withdrawing into their addiction, using it heavier and heavier to drown out whatever it is that they do not want to confront and cope with in a healthy way.

Fortunately for addicted artists, the arts community tends to be very tight and supportive of one another so few artists are wanting for a caring support system. Out of concern for fellow artists, it is likely that they will intervene on one of their own who is showing signs of addictive tendencies and assist them in finding ways to defeat them. One aspect of addiction that is unique among artists is their ability to use their art form to end their addictive behavior. Any artist who cares deeply about their art form will have a natural built in compass that will lead them back to devotion for their art and away from the false sense of purpose that addiction creates.


Closeness Within the Arts Community

arts community closenessArtists are a very unique group of people. In some ways, it takes an artist to understand an artist, and this fact tends to bring arts communities tightly together. Artists frequently march to a different beat than the rest of society, expressing their uniqueness through their appearance and their lifestyle. Their professional calling and life purpose is hard to understand to many people who are outside of it, which is why the arts community is often a very tight social unit.

Frequently, artists find spouses, relationships and friendships within the arts community. Artist tend to feel most compatible with other artists because of their unique lifestyle. Many other professionals cannot understand the desire to pursue the arts despite barely making money and contributing to society what might ultimately be considered extremely obscure. Artists seek out relationships with other artists to find camaraderie and kindred spirits.

Because the arts community is so tight, they tend to support each other through life hardships. When an artist is going through a time of grief or loss, their fellow artists surround them with positivity. If an artist receives a scathing review of their work or experiences a professional crisis, the rest of the arts community backs them. If an artist is going through relationship struggles, they receive support from fellow artists. The trust and friendships formed within the arts community is unbreakable.

Another important element of support between artists is in times of addiction and mental illness problems. The addiction and mental health struggles that artists face are often as unique as they are. Artists tend to fall into addiction tendencies through similar avenues and attempt to recover from it in the same ways. Artists who have recovered from addiction can be an incredible asset to artists experiencing addiction and not knowing how to defeat it.

There are a number of social systems that do an impressive job at coming together as a strong network and support system. Artists are one of these group. A number of other social organizations could take a lesson from artists on how to bring people together.


Addiction and the Arts Commonly Go Together

addiction and the artsArtists are known for being unconventional people. The impulse to be creative and to take that creativity seriously as a craft and an art form is found in a unique type of person. An artist’s personality is unpredictable, vibrant and passionate, and many people are drawn to it. An artist’s personality can be problematic, however, particularly in the areas of mental health and addiction. The same personality attributes that make an artist interesting and vigorous can also be the same attributes that prompt them toward addictive tendencies.

Artists are naturally very sensitive people. In order to observe the world as they do and interpret it into art, they have to be. They are also very colorful and unconventional, wanting to test the limits of their understanding and their imaginations. While these qualities are incredibly positive in many ways, they are destructive in others. An artist’s natural curiosity leads them to addictive substances and activities, and in experimenting with them, they get hooked. An artist’s sensitive nature often leads them to having mental disorders and undeveloped coping skills. The pleasure feelings of addictive substances and activities become a much simpler escape from stress than healthy coping skills are. It is not long before an artist feels dependent on the activity or substance in order to feel normal.

It is known through out arts communities that artists are more prone to addiction than other professions and personality types. Many arts communities are directly connected to the addiction services networks in their region and hold support group meetings of their own, specifically for artists. Many artists who have struggled with addiction have recovered from it through personal commitment and quality addiction treatment. Others have lost their livelihoods, their personal relationships, their sense of purpose and even their lives. Addiction is devastating to people regardless of what background they come from, but for those who are willing to work, there is hope. If you or an artist you care about is struggling with addiction, connect with the network of addiction treatment services in your area.