Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"I Gotta Have Geegaws"

I continue to be amazed at the creativity and willingness Serenity Lane patients have when they are informed they will be making a Matchbox Shrine. In many instances, the patient has been in their addiction for years and all parts of their life have suffered: family, social, recreation, art, and most of all self. When patients finally reach treatment and healing begins, their lives are transformed. I am the lucky one who gets to step in with a fun project. For some, however, it can seem overwhelming or a daunting task, the very idea of being creative is scary. I try and set the tone that we are going to spend a couple of hours “playing,” and that was the case last night when I walked eight lovely ladies through the process of making a personal Matchbox Shrine. Last night’s group was a women’s group at the Albany Serenity Lane. Of course, the guys were interested and kept poking their heads in the room as I was getting set up. One guy said, “I wanna be a woman, I wanna do art.” He told me if one of the ladies left, to call him in!

Although there were a couple of women who expressed anxiety or resistance to the project, all of them were at the tables gathering embellishments before I even told them what we were doing – they intuitively began hunting and gathering. It didn’t take long for me to give instructions and they were off and running. By the end of the evening, the two women who had expressed a lack of enthusiasm admitted they had enjoyed themselves, going so far as to say they had fun. Some of the other comments:

“My shrine is directed toward my sobriety and since I am a word person, I chose words to reflect my recovery: change, new, live, feel, can, and positive.”

“This project has been awesome. It has been three years since I’ve done anything artsy and I loved doing this.”

“This box represents me and my recovery. I want to be fearless. I want to dream. I want to laugh.”

“I’m kind of a hippy chick and my shrine is a hippy chick thing, I’m calling it my Hippy Chick Box.”

“I made my box for my mom who has been sober for over two years.”

On a lighter note, one woman commented that she loves purple and loves sparkles (and her purple glitter encrusted box reflected just that). My favorite? "I gotta have geegaws."

Cute Michele, counselor at Serenity Lane (and friend), who invited me to do art with her patients:

Let the fun begin:

Ta Da:

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