All humans are creative, however, I think it’s safe to say that some are more creative than others.
In addition to this, not all humans value creativity the same.
For some, creativity is only sort of important — for others it’s moderately important — for others still it’s very important — and for a certain population, creativity and creative expression are in the top tier of their “Hierarchy of Values.”
For the highly-creative folks, their overall fulfillment and sense of purpose is often tied to creative expression.
Table of Contents
The Super-Creatives and Drugs
These “super-creatives” also appear to be a high-risk population for developing substance use disorders (SUDs) and mental health disorders…
And often in combination (eg self-medicating mental disorders with/substances).
The super-creative types can be prone to neuroticism or depression, and the creative mind left un-parented can result in chronic anxiety, depression, or even suicidal ideation.
The highly-creative individuals that are prone to these often use alcohol, drugs, or both to cope with these undesirable feeling states.
Additionally, many highly-creative people will use drugs to enhance their creative abilities.
Biohacking their brain chemistry with psychoactive substances is prevalent, for instance, in the musician population (cannabis being the most commonly used substance).
From the ages of 15-32 I probably used drugs thousands of times before playing guitar, surfing, playing disc golf, and participating in many other creative endeavors.
In moderation, use of psychoactive substances to induce altered states of consciousness can have positive benefits to a person’s life.
Used in excess, these substances can take over a person’s life and even lead to them giving up their creative outlets.
This reminds me of 10 years ago, when I pawned my American Fender Stratocaster valued at $1,700 for a pathetic $100.
Exactly enough compensation to pay for 2 grams of black tar heroin (which is what I spent it on).
8 Creative Outlets for Addiction and Mental Health Recovery
Whether or not you define yourself as a super-creative, creative, or not doesn’t matter (labels can be useful as a tool for communication but often these box us in and prevent expansion).
What does matter is your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.
And creative outlets like the following 8 examples (and many others) can be an integral part of helping you achieve higher levels of wellness in these areas.
When I was a little boy in elementary school, I told my parents that “When I grow up, I want to be either an architect, a writer, or a boxer.”
Even at such a young age, I intuitively knew that I wanted… no, needed, to do something creative for a living.
Since I was horrible at math and hated it… no designing houses and other buildings for a living.
And since I realized in high school that I didn’t enjoy fighting, boxing was out too!
Nowadays, here are the ways I create with writing:
- Show notes for podcast episodes
- Email tips
2. Video Production
When I was 17, I invested $500 in a custom-built water housing for my Canon video camera.
This was in the late 1990s so it was before Go-Pro cameras came out!
My friends and I would take turns recording in-the-waves footage of us surfing and getting tube rides.
I remember getting pissed a few times when I was recording a perfect wave and none of my surf buddies could catch it!
“What a WASTE OF A PERFECT WAVE!” (Screamed at the top of my lungs).
I would edit the compiled surf footage along with the skateboarding footage, then make an action-sports video with music in the background.
It was an awesome creative outlet…
Especially since the surfing in the videos was a result of creative expression, too!
Nowadays I create videos on addiction recovery and related topics.
I’ve even designed a 6-module video course called Ultimate Opioid Detox 5.0 — which was a highly-creative project — and one that has helped thousands of people.
3. Music Composition
After a very long break from playing music, I’ve started writing songs again. I sold all the gear from my days of playing in bands.
I don’t even own an acoustic guitar, which is a bit sad.
However, my mom is letting me use her classical guitar until I buy myself a new “axe.”
I’ve been jamming every night after work and have been really loving it.
And once I get an axe with a multi-effects processor that I can listen to with headphones on…
I will be SERIOUSLY ROCKING OUT!!!
I’m also planning a project where I’ll be incorporating music I’ve written, video production, writing, and several other forms of artistic expression woven together.
My older brother, Tom Finch, is the best guitarist I know.
You can see, feel, and hear the passion in his music.
Several years ago, Tom suffered from a finger injury and long-lasting tendonitis.
Not being able to play guitar is like not being able to breathe for people like Tom.
Fortunately, he got through that “growth period” long ago and has been jamming since (pictured below).
One of the peak experiences of my life was getting to watch Tom and another musician open for the guitar-legend, Joe Satriani, before a crowd of thousands.
When I close my eyes, I can still remember the dazzling performances and the unbelievable creative expression the talented performers delivered that night.
I quit drawing and painting when I was 11. Even then I realized that although my natural talents were many, drawing, painting, sketching, and arts/crafts in general were not among these talents.
In fact, I was quite awful, and still am to this day.
I had no desire to get better because I was talented at other things that I was more passionate about because I was progressing faster.
My girlfriend, daughter, mother, and sister are all phenomenal artists.
My good friend Mark is an extraordinary artist with thousands upon thousands of hours of experience.
Mark and I were roommates for a few years around 2 decades ago.
He was always working on a new drawing or painting…
And he still is to this day (image below by Mark Anthony).
He’s one of the super-creatives that only feels vital and alive when he’s creating on a regular basis, thus living in congruence with his values and higher-purpose needs.
In our current age of technological advancement, taking great photos is easier than ever before.
We need only our phone and a good eye for photography.
My nephew, Zach Finch, has an enormous passion for photography.
His innate talent in this area, multiplied by his passion, experience, and skills is no doubt the reason he’s been able to become a professional photographer.
When a super-creative like my nephew can turn his passion into his work, this is the ultimate fulfillment.
And since his creative work adds tremendous value to the lives of his clients, this leads to a life of meaning and contribution.
Zach is also one of the best writers I know, and a damn good musician, too.
Dancing is a form of creative expression that is also excellent for your health and fitness.
It’s one of the creative outlets that literally uses your whole body.
I suck at dancing.
Yup… no good.
But, I LOVE watching skilled dancers perform their art.
Being able to use your entire body for creative expression is dynamic.
My niece, Makenna Finch, has been dancing since she was a young girl.
In college, she improved her knowledge, skills, experience, and wisdom, and as a result she has become quite the epic dancer (pictured below).
For her college graduation present, I gifted her a new Go-Pro kit that she said would really help to boost the quality of her creative endeavors.
I love helping to nurture creative expression in my daughter, Willow Finch, too.
Recently she did some housework to earn money for things she wanted to procure for the creative work she does.
My girlfriend, Ashlee, is the type of cook that experiments with ingredients, flavors, textures, and other parameters involved in food prep, cooking, baking, etc.
She is very creative and has cooked me some of the best meals I’ve eaten.
I’m a basic cook.
I can create some nice dishes, but I usually go for utility and speed rather than flavor when I’m preparing meals in the kitchen.
Ashlee has thousands of pictures in her phone of past meals she has cooked.
She not only makes absolutely delish meals…
But the presentation is always epic, too.
My meal-presentation looks about par for a 41-year-old male.
I use cooking as a meditation and most of the things I make are not new.
Ashlee uses cooking as a big-time creative outlet.
She is constantly creating new dishes that both taste great and boost health.
Ashlee even starred in my YouTube video on nutrition for addiction recovery (pictured below).
My parents have both been teachers for close to 4 decades. They own and operate the Self-Heal School of Herbal Studies & Healing, where they teach virtual classes on herbal medicine, nutrition, and other alternative healing modalities.
Due to their word-of-mouth popularity as alternative health educators, their biggest form of marketing is done by their raving fans.
When a person really loves a product or service, it’s natural to tell others about it.
The best teachers are often the ones with a strong need for creative expression.
When a teacher is passionate about the topic, intelligent, and highly-creative, this is almost always a predictor for greatness.
Both of my parents have been featured on the Elevation Recovery Podcast and both have taught my podcast audience some awesome tips.
Here’s the recent episode with my mom teaching about alternative health, psychology, spiritual science, nutrition, inner-peace, codependency, trauma, addiction, and more.
Those episodes were family-collaboration creative projects.
Nowadays, anyone with a YouTube account and smartphone can utilize teaching as a form of creative expression.
I love learning from people teaching their topic(s) on YouTube for free.
Plus, I get cool ideas for video production by watching many of these teachers, too.
One of the most influential books I’ve read is The War of Art: Break through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, by Steven Pressfield.
The author describes resistance as an internal force that tries to stop us from producing creative work — and that resistance can show up in different forms (eg self-sabotage, addiction, procrastination, anxiety, binge-drinking, depression, promiscuity, and much more).
The book was written to help amateur creatives turn pro.
Pros don’t give in to resistance.
They schedule the creative work into their routine.
When it’s scheduled, they do the work (regardless of whether they feel like it or not).
My creative abilities and life fulfillment increased significantly when I committed to a set-in-stone content creation calendar.
Nowadays, I don’t create content simply when I feel like it.
I publish new articles Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and new podcast episodes Tuesdays and Thursdays.
And guess what?
I hardly ever feel like doing it beforehand.
However, as soon as I sit down and START…
I instantly get into it and quickly into the “flow state.”
If you’re lacking creative outlets in your current lifestyle and feel it’s a missing link to well-being and happiness, I hope this article inspired you to take some new actions.