All the unsuccessful social drinkers I’ve met sure are creative. What wonderfully creative excuses we’ve dreamed up. WE even believed ’em!
When I was four, I got polio. I drew all over the sheets and pillowcases on my hospital bed. My drawing materials were taken away, and I remember feeling really angry. An inappropriate place to make art, perhaps, but even then, the need was there!
I was incapable of crying or telling anyone how awful I felt in words then. I considered that being weak.
The act, or process, of making art probably kept me alive. When I felt like I was on self-destruct, I could release all my feelings onto a canvas, or even a piece of paper. Letting them spill out was my personal safety valve, and it helped me feel a bit better.
I made my living making art before recovery. The galleries and art consultants I worked through found me increasingly unpredictable as my drinking progressed. Artists can get away with that for a while — we’re allowed to have strange personalities. I wanted to be in control, though, and I hated myself for not being able to control my behaviour.
Eventually I hated myself so much and my life was so unmanageable that I broke through my own denial. I found out I am an alcoholic and addict and got the help I needed in A.A.
Today, my students and the people who sell my paintings can rely on me. I’m a productive member of society again with a flourishing business.
— Toronto, ON
Send your tips, tricks or coping methods (300 words) to: FYI, Canadian Abilities Foundation, PO Box 527, Station P, Toronto, ON M5S 2T1, or fax us at: (416) 977-5098.
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