Friday, July 11, 2008

Matchbox Shrines for Recovery - Once Again

Once again, I had the honor of guiding Serenity Lane patients through the process of creating a Matchbox Shrine. This time there were seven patients and I had them begin the evening by describing what came to mind when they heard the word shrine. One person thought of a roadside memorial, another has a sister who has a room set up with deities, candles, and bowls filled with rice. One man said that for him, a shrine is when we take what’s inside and represent it somehow on the outside. It wasn’t a trick question and there are no right or wrong answers, but I wanted to explore what came to mind for them as a starting place for our project. After introductions, the patients got busy, no hesitation whatsoever.

When the shrines were completed, we took a little time for show and tell. One woman commented: “When I’m not loaded, my art turns out so much better.”

Another woman said her shrine represented what she was working on and what she is grateful for. A man described the outside of his shrine as representing his “heart inspired, soulful, happy self,” with the inside representing the things he is pursuing: writing, the right partner, games with his family, building computers, and music.

One woman was tearful as she displayed her beautiful, fully embellished shrine, saying the various pieces she chose represented the three children she never had.

Finally, one patient summed it up so well: “I’ve always loved to explore and now that I’m sober, I can explore the world and universe again.” Amen and thank you for the opportunity to be a tiny part of that exploration.

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