Amy C. Willis
How Sobriety Birthed My Creativity
Updated: Jun 24, 2019
I never really thought of myself as a creative person. In fairness to my badass, creative self, I think I had a really narrow understanding of what #creativity looked like. For the longest time, I viewed it purely from the perspective of being an artist in the traditional sense. I can’t really draw or paint well, I don’t make sculptures and installations. It’s pretty comical to look back on that incredibly restrictive definition of creative and because I didn’t fit within it, I discounted myself from the category entirely.
Creativity, for me, is making something out of nothing.
Creativity shows up in many different forms and takes innumerable shapes. Putting something out into the world that didn’t previously exist. Some dictionary definitions still allude to creativity happening in artistic or professional arenas, and always involving original thought.
While these definitions are fine, I like this definition, from Merriam-Webster, best: creative (adjective): marked by the ability or power to create. Also from Merriam-Webster: create (transitive verb): to bring into existence. What I like most about this definition is that it’s inclusionary; everyone has the ability and the power to create.
When I think about what my capacity for creativity was while I was drinking, I can’t help but feel it was immensely muted and watered down. Only because I am now on the other side of my drinking and in a place where creativity now feels utterly abundant can I recognize that I wasn’t experiencing my innate creative flow to my fullest capacity. And to be brutally honest, no fucking kidding. How on earth could I expect myself to tap into my creative flow when I wasn’t tapped into any other part of my authentic essence?
That’s what drinking was for me. It was a tool I used excessively to numb myself and to create space between myself and my feelings. What I learned by living through it and reflecting on it, when you numb one part of you, it has a ripple effect. Everything is muted. It can’t be done selectively. In other words, I couldn’t numb my intense feelings without also numbing my creative capacity. And that’s what I did. Repeatedly and for years.
How on earth could I expect myself to tap into my creative flow when I wasn't tapped into my other part of my authentic essence?
Soooooo much creativity has erupted from me in my sobriety. My social media posts got more interesting and creativity, I designed and launched this website, I am writing again and have developed numerous 1-on-1 and group coaching programs for my clients. It's hard to know what this would have looked like if I was still drinking. I know definitively that I would not have become a #healthcoach if I was still drinking and so much of my creativity has spawned from my coaching practice.
Ultimately, the creativity came from being present, grounded and fully immersed in the #wholehearted living of my life and that would not have been possible if #booze were still in the picture. I am eternally grateful for my decision every single day to remain committed to my recovery. By extension, I am also eternally grateful for the creativity that become possible for me only through #sobriety.