A Swindon substance abuse and addiction charity now has an additional £231,000 to put to use to help those in need, thanks to a grant received from the Big Lottery Fund. Swindon and Wiltshire Alcohol and Drug Service (SWADS) routinely helps about 250 people every year recover from different levels of substance abuse and addiction.

SWADS director Chris Stickler says his organisation is very pleased to receive the grant. The money will be used to further fund the charity’s programmes, including their creative arts therapies. SWADS is unusual in that they use things such as music and graphic arts to provide some of the therapies their clients need. The current art-line and music-line projects only run three days a week. However, that will change with the new funding. They hope to expand both programmes to five days per week.

Art as Therapy

The news of the Big Lottery funding is not only good for SWADS and their clients; it is also good for the substance-abuse recovery community as a whole. Over the years, we have learned that there is not a single treatment method that works equally well for every individual. Some people flourish in a creative environment while others do better with more regimented disciplines.

The concept behind using art as a therapy is to provide a new kind of lifestyle for the recovering addict. As Stickler puts it, substance abuse becomes the whole life of the person abusing drugs or alcohol. Taking away the substances of choice without replacing them leaves recovering addicts with a tremendous sense of loss that can lead them right back to addiction. Art therapy, be it music or the visual arts, provides a replacement in the lives of those who are creative.

Music, for example, is both artistic and mathematical. It is artistic in the sense of creating beautiful notes and lyrics that work well together. It is mathematical in the sense of writing down musical notation. Both practices require recovering musicians to apply themselves in a way many have never done before. They become so wrapped up in creating beautiful music that they simply forget about their former lives as substance abusers. Achieving such a significant mental shift is one of the greatest hurdles in the recovery process.

Better Approaches to Recovery

We sincerely hope that the grant from the Big Lottery will enable SWADS to treat substance abusers and addicts even more successfully than they are today. We hope that their success will rub off on others looking for a better approach to recovery. Let’s face it; the idea of putting an addict through a seven-day detox programme and then sending him or her on their way without further assistance is unhelpful in most cases. The problem is that detox only deals with the physical aspects of addiction; it does nothing for the thoughts and emotions.

At Addiction Helper, we tend to refer our clients to private clinics offering residential treatment. We do this because private clinics are more likely to use creative approaches such as visual arts and music. If the idea behind residential treatment is to address both the physical and mental aspects of addiction, and it is, doing so treats the whole person rather just focusing on the physical.

If you, or someone you know, are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, we want to help. We are an independent organisation offering free evaluations, advice, and referrals to treatment providers across the UK. When you call, we will do everything within the scope of our mission to help you obtain the treatment you need to overcome substance abuse or addiction.

Sources:

  1. Swindon Advertiser 
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