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Art helps New Yorkers in their recovery from addiction - Spectrum News

Author: Spectrum News

Source: https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/central-ny/news/2023/10/28/art-helps-new-yorkers-in-their-recovery-from-addiction

Image of Art helps New Yorkers in their recovery from addiction - Spectrum News

Substance abuse continues to be a major problem for many across New York state, as close to 700,000 people have been in some sort of treatment or recovery program.Art is lending a helping hand to those working toward combating their addiction.What You Need To KnowThere are hundreds of thousands of people in addiction recovery programs across New York stateArt is one way to positively distract those in recoveryThe teacher of a class is also in recovery and offers support to othersWing Haight-Wills, 25, has been an artist since he was 2."It's just something that is within me and is natural to do," Wing said."I don't feel like I would be me, without creating art.And I don't personally remember a time that I wasn't creating some type of art."Wing is in recovery after a 10-year addiction to inhalants, alcohol and cocaine, starting at age 8, as well as for various mental health issues.In 2017, the young artist decided to get sober after drawing strength from the Mental Health Association, a statewide agency comprised of more than 25 affiliates with offices in dozens of counties across the state."When I started meeting and interacting with people, not only at the MHA, but just in general in my life that were very positive, I saw hope for my future," Wing said."[I saw] hope that I could have a good future with good people around."Wing is part of MHA's Art in Recovery program.Through their work, artists like Wing can express their feelings, as well as focus on a piece that often serves as a positive distraction and a sense of accomplishment during recovery."And that could bring positive things into my head so the negative things have less room, yeah," said Wing."It's so healing, it's so helpful," said Rose Crocker, recovery peer advocate at the Mental Health Association of Chautauqua County.Rose Crocker, an aspiring art teacher in her own right, also in recovery after battling addiction, there to lend a helping hand as leader of the class."It gives them in a way like a sense of purpose," Rose said."Putting their emotions on to the paper, or the canvas. It is a way to release some of the stress, anxiety, negative thoughts by creating something beautiful that they can feel good and confident about."Those hcreations recently on display at MHA's art show, featuring a number of works including Wings'.and others, leaders say are empowering."It gives us a way to sometimes speak those things that for some of us we don't know how to say, or don't know how to process or communicate," said Steven Cobb, Executive Director, MHA Chautauqua County.Wing is grateful for the chance from those who've lived it."They're not just talking from a book," Wing said."They're really going to understand you and be able to talk to you and hold an intelligent conversation about whatever things you're struggling with.They give me new ideas I may not have thought of.New prompts and the supplies to be able to put what's in my mind actually out there."To inquire about or perhaps start an art program in your neighborhood, you can contact your local MHA.As for services across the state, the Office of Addiction Services and Supports has a comprehensive list of resources

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