Our very talented members of the Artist Guild of Central Minnesota chose the theme “On the Edge” last year for our current month long exhibit at Gallery Saint Germain in downtown St Cloud. It’s a provocative and very “pregnant” theme that evoked creative responses in painting, sculpture, and photography. Everything from embracing and painting the emotions surrounding a recent diagnosis of breast cancer, to addiction, and animals on the edge of extinction.
This will be part one of two blogs processing the seven new clay creations I presented for our exhibit:
PART 1) “On the Edge of Addiction”
PART 2) “On the Edge of Flight/Self Destruction?” “On the Edge of Claustrophobia”
” A D D I C T I O N ”
We all have addictive behaviors, some healthy while others self-destructive. I am learning to replace my self destructive acting out behaviors with healthy ones. I have been clean and sober from alcohol for almost 9 years, still attending two meetings a week, encouraging sponsees and meeting with my sponsor. I chose another addiction that many struggle with ~ gambling. These four creations are divided into three parts: “Pre-Addiction”, “Deep Addiction”, and “Healing Recovery”.
A) “Pre-Addiction: Hidden Within the Box.”
The “perfect” platter and similar life, with a “ticking time bomb” in the box, closed tight.
I am not here to judge anyone’s life or their potential “addictions”, but to speak from my own recovery and working with hundreds of others who have struggled to maintain a healthy balance in their lives and have often come up short. My AA sponsor, a former chemical dependency counselor who is enjoying active sobriety for the past 42 years often says, “If alcohol (or other addictive substances) have caused repeated problems in your life, it may be a serious addiction for you.” I don’t know when that “addictive switch” got turned on for me where one drink was too many and one hundred was not enough, but I know it got amplified when I needed to escape from job burn out and feelings of guilt and shame. Left unchecked, even gradually over the years, deep addiction can manifest itself.
B) “Deep Addiction ~ The Box is Overturned!”
We begin to rationalize everything and believe our lies, slipping deeper into denial of what’s real and healthy: “Whats wrong with all night long” gambling??? Nothing, once in awhile for a social gambler, but EVERYTHING for one ready to throw in the car keys and bet the house! I have friends who lost everything through such addiction, ‘everything’ that goes beyond physical possessions, including, family, friends, and reputation.
C) “Healing Recovery ~ “Beyond the Box”
Yes, the platter was broken, the addictive box overturned, and life was out of control!” Living was a shambles and there seemed to be no hope with few options left . . . but there can be healing recovery for many. There’s a beautiful Japanese word: Kintsukuroi (Japanese: golden repair) is the art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.
And finally, a healing truth in lasting recovery is that the only way one can truly recover and move beyond the place before their destruction, is to freely give it away to others: “Freely receive; freely give!” Therefore the bowl of dice is joined to this third part in recovery. I made over 100 die simply to give them away to others. It was a joy to see kids and adults up and down the street with dice in hand, playing with them, and for some, jostling them as a kind of therapy.
Art imitates life and lasting healing recovery is a special gift of grace from our Higher Power ~ God as we understand God. That has been my healing and so many other walking miracles I have been blessed to know and to grow beyond the box of self destruction.
~ A few key links: