A few months back, I shared my story of my past struggles with alcohol dependency. 

You can read it here. The Day I Quit Drinking – rightbrainedmom


Since posting that blog, I have received a lot of messages from readers who are also dealing with addiction. I have loved reading your stories of success, strength and good health. 

There were also, of course, messages of lost hope, defeat and a broken spirit.  These messages made my heart hurt – I know how it feels to think you’re in a dark hole that you won’t find your way out of.  All I can say is, keep trying. Day 1 sucks. Just get through it and take it a day at a time. 

As I have said many times before, I use art as a form of therapy.  I also spoke briefly about my experience with the Expressive Arts course at Fleming HSAD. I was asked to elaborate on that experience. 

First off, visit https://www.facebook.com/flemingHSAD/ and inquire about the Expressive Arts course. It’s incredible. (If you do sign up and take part in this program, you will no doubt leave with invaluable tools, lighter shoulders and a feeling of being a part of a tribe) 

You do not need to consider yourself an artist to benefit from this program -but I’ll bet that after a few weeks, you’ll find your inner artist.  And it’s not paint and paper. It’s journaling, poetry, dance, drumming, sculpting, acting …. 

Here are a few examples of the work that I did during my experience at HSAD. 

By the way, this is very personal stuff that I’m choosing to share. You can just do these creative things for yourself, with the intention of showing no one (think – writing a letter to someone who hurt you and ripping it up rather than sending it – still some great therapy in that!) 

Who I Was Then – Who I am Now.

I’m not a big crier but I cried while creating the picture on the left. I must have looked like a mess that day – black charcoal hands wiping away big fat tears. Never once did I feel self conscious though. The amazing tribe around me shared quiet smiles or a light hand on my shoulder. I was ‘art-ing this shit out’ as we said. 

Sometimes we carry around heavy feelings, that we aren’t even aware of. Guilt, shame or anger -causing us to be mentally and physically un well. Stomach aches, shoulder pain, headaches and anxiety. Unfortunately, in our society, we are more likely to hand you a tissue to quickly dry your tears, then to say ‘Yes! Cry! Get it out!’  We push it down and find fast ways to get over it, never really allowing ourselves to just feel our feelings. So we eat or we drink or we shop. Getting drunk, overweight and in debt. Never actually getting better but in reality, getting worse. You’re sad? Okay. Feel sad. Be sad. (And no, I’m not going to say ‘but don’t stay there’ because again, that would be me saying ‘get over it!’ ) Give yourself permission to ‘feel your feelings’ and find healthy ways to express those feelings.

My pregnant belly. I was around 7 months pregnant while attending the Expressive Arts program.

I was 7 months pregnant while attending the Haliburton School of Art and Design Expressive Arts program. In the above photos, you can see the outside and inside of my belly – a project that I made during those first few weeks.  It may just look like a simple cast, but in reality it was an expression of my intense fears of potentially facing a battle with Postpartum Depression again, as I had in the past.  But here’s the thing… When I created this, it took hours, and during those hours I did nothing and thought of nothing but -those feelings. Feelings that I wasn’t even aware that I had. A few times I would catch myself saying ‘ooooooh!’ Or ‘huh!’ Like when I added the bubble wrap and realized that I was scared ofthat moment of my baby meeting the outside world – in all of its wonderful but terrifying ways. 
We also did some ‘Sand Tray Therapy’ and I’m going to be very honest… My first thought, that day was ‘Oh dear Lord, I’m playing in sand (eye roll)’ … but Wow! It was amazing. Seriously amazing. At one point, while I was telling my story in the sand (no spoken words) I had to go outside to catch my breath. And while watching my partner tell his story, I had the most wonderful sensation of light fingers on my body. Like someone lightly rubbing my back or playing with my hair.( No – I wasn’t smoking anything, remember – I was pregnant! 😉) 

And listening, experiencing, watching and quietly supporting others as they ‘art their shit out’ is a very powerful and enlightening experience in and of itself. 

People travel from all over the globe for this program. And it’s worth it. 

Today I want to challenge you to try using art in a therapeutic way. 

So try this. 

Create something with the title of ‘The View From Up Here Is Incredible’ This is the place where you are your best version of yourself. What does it look like? How did you get there? How will you stay? What if you fall? 

Write it. Draw it. Sing it. Sculpt it. Act it out…

When you’re ‘finished’…

Share it. Burn it or keep it in a special place. You may even want to add to it over time. 

And please, reach out if you need help. Send me a message and if I can’t be the support you need, I’ll help you find it. 

❤️reach me on my FB page https://m.facebook.com/rightbrainedmom/

or email me at brandonboutin@hotmail.com