Our Writing Program
Writers’ Bloc is our version of creative writing, which can serve as a focus for our residents while in treatment. The process of creative writing has many tropes, but none more well-known than the simple idea of “write what you know.” Through creative writing, whether it be novels, short stories songs, stream of consciousness, or poems, putting pen to paper can allow a person to realize thoughts and feelings they never knew they had.
The telling of one’s own story through writing can provide new perspectives, realizations, truths about their own behavior, and how these things have impacted those around them once put into the context of characters, and not the actual recounting of their lives that they experience regularly in the clinical setting. After all, Herman Melville set out to write a book about a man and a whale, but what resulted was an endless debate of metaphors about the dangerous lengths man will go to pursue the unattainable…a message any recovering addict/alcoholic can both relate to, and find meaning in.
Another benefit to the creative writing is that it allows a resident to explore thoughts, feelings, and experiences that may be too raw, new, and difficult to put into words in the clinical setting. Newly-sober addicts and alcoholics frequently have emotional wounds and scars, and although they are now in treatment and choosing to improve their lives and the way they are living, they are not always ready to dive right in and share their deeper issues with staff, their peers, or even their therapist. The beauty of creative writing is that, especially in these situations, it allows the resident to begin having these conversations with themselves, and explore their own stories. There are a countless number of scientific studies that have shown the therapeutic benefits of creative writing, with results varying from a lift in depression, finding new perspectives on cycles of behavior once they have written them out, and an increased sense of self-awareness from directing one’s attention to themselves deeply and over a sustained period of time.
A final benefit of Writers’ Bloc is that working on a creative outlet each day creates a desire to explore more creative outlets throughout the day. A large piece of building a foundation for long-term recovery is finding new and healthy habits, interests, and hobbies. Basically, how do I replace the time that once was filled by drug and alcohol use? Through our experiences with residents both new and old, we both see and believe that not only does a creative outlet increase mood and well-being the following day, but it also creates a desire for more creative outlets throughout the day, lowering the sense of fear many recovering addicts and alcoholics have towards new experiences, getting out of their comfort zones, and being vulnerable. With creative writing, and in turn, other creative outlets, there is no “good or bad,” no “I can’t do this well so I’m not going to do it.” There is just the act of putting pen to paper for one’s self, and getting the satisfaction of completing something they set out to do. No judgement, no criticism, just doing for the sake of doing. This helps build the sense of self-confidence and self-worth so many newly sober people so desperately need.
Grow By Telling Your Story
Writing out your experiences can be the first step to reflection and personal development. Call (801) 899-3480 to learn more about our Writers’ Bloc program.