Addiction Management Blog

Archive for the ‘Create’ Category

Theater as a force of creativity, inspiration, and healing

Monday, July 15th, 2013

I am big believer in balancing our efforts to intervene on the pathological side of the equation of life issues, with efforts to enhance individual strengths, talents, and creative life energy. When we solely focus on problems, like addiction, depression, and trauma, we often – quite surprisingly and opposite to what you may think – get more of the same. The reason has to do with how systems operate in life, and the fact that there is a big difference between interventions aimed at reducing and stopping addictive behavior, and taking action to creatively bring something cool into the world that gives your life meaning and purpose.

One of my favorite books on this topic is The path of least resistance: Learning to become the creative force in your own life by Robert Fritz. He says: “There is a profound difference between problem solving and creating. Problem solving is taking action to have something go away – the problem.  Creating is taking action to have something come into being – the creation.” He goes on in the book to explain how the actions are very different, and why spending time creating cool things may in fact lead to better outcomes than focusing on getting addiction to go away. Now I say all of this because I believe one of the most creative, inspiring and healing forces in life can be found in theater. Yes, you heard me correctly, theater!

Whether you watch theater, decide to get into acting, or engage in set design, lighting or some other aspect of the production, being involved in theater is a way for the soul to nourish creative desires. While I am fortunate to have the opportunity to experience amazing theater multiple times a year in New York City, I can honestly say that theater in my home town of Portland, Oregon rivals the best of what I have seen on Broadway. Some of the most amazing productions come from Portland Center Stage that recently put together the following video in honor of theater and all that it can provide us. Enjoy!

Hitting Rock Bottom: New docu-drama about addiction needs your help!

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

I don’t think I have ever done this before on a post, but here goes. I need your help.

Not long ago I was contacted by some folks who have been working hard on a show called Hitting Rock Bottom. It tells the real stories of people who have struggled with addiction, hit rock bottom, and found a way out. Unlike reality television that often turns tragic stories about addiction into entertainment, this show has a far more noble and broader reaching aim. The creater and Director, Corey Snyder, who has been in recovery for the past five years and also happens to be a very talented film maker, wants to instill hope (and action) in those who still struggle. He portrays challenges with addiction through docu-drama storytelling that utilizes actors to dramatize real stories. He and his team have already completed the first four episodes of season one which you can watch right now for free on the Hitting Rock Bottom homepage. Each episode is a few minutes, so watching them all will not take you that long.

HRBThe first season tells the story of Daryl Brown, a very likable young man who sets out in life with no idea of what is ahead for him. The show is more than engaging, and realistically captures the underlying risk factors that contribute to going down a path of addiction. It is real, scary, and unfortunately a story that plays out far too often.

Fortunately, the story of Daryl has a positive ending, but that is where I need your help!

The show is need of funding to finish filming the first season and complete the story of how Daryl overcomes addiction. It’s the best part of the story and has the potential to motivate many struggling souls to seek help. To complete the season, the crew are presently running a fund-raising campaign on Indiegogo. The goal is $57,500 which will cover all costs to finalize filming the remaining episodes. Even with these funds, many involved in this project are giving their time and energy to see this project to its successful completion. By contributing whatever you can, be assured that your donation will go towards a project that has the potential to transform how we understand, treat, and address addiction in this country. Also, there are only 13 days left in the campaign, so please contribute now. And be sure to check out some of the cool perks at various donation levels.

Thank you.

The power to create and move beyond addiction

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

Long-term success in dealing with addiction requires more than a focus on pathology and problems. It requires time and attention to building a life worth living, where intimate relationships with people play a crucial role in happiness. It also necessitates a deepening sense of humanity, empathy for our fellow human beings, a sense of wonder, engaging our creative natural talents, and perseverance to deal with all that life throws our way. The actor, Robert Downey Jr., when asked about his addiction not long ago, said:

rdj“Life is 70% maintenance. I think of myself as a shopkeeper or bee keeper. I’m learning the business of building a life. Instead of getting instant gratification by getting high, I push my nose as far into the grindstone as I can. The honey, the reward, is the feeling of well-being, the continuity, the sense that I am walking toward the place I want to go.”

Unfortunately, many who struggle with addiction have no idea where they want to go in life, or what they might want to create. If you are an artist or musician creativity comes with the territory, but for the rest of us -  the power of creativity can remain illusive. One reason is that the process of creating is not taught in our educational system, and in fact, Sir Ken Robinson has spoken out strongly on how our current system actually does the opposite (please watch this amazing presentation – you will not be disappointed). But all is not lost…

metowe1Recently, I picked-up a book at a bake sale that brilliantly answers the question of what we should create in our life and how to go about making it happen:  Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World by Craig and Marc Kielburger. These two Canadian brothers reveal through their own journeys how a focus on gratitude, empathy, and creating community leads to a life of happiness and fulfillment beyond any material possessions. From their personal encounters with Mother Teresa in the slums of Calcutta, to helping those dying of AIDS in Thailand, to creating one of the largest non-profit foundations for children, Free the Children, these guys provide the broad brush strokes for how to create a life more powerful than addiction. The essence of me to we is that by helping others we help ourselves find meaning and purpose in life – and we make the world a better place. What I like most about me to we is that it ultimately is about creating nurturing relationships with people – exactly what needs to happen if we are to move beyond addiction.