Jim Morrison. Earnest Hemingway. Vincent Van Gogh. Charles Bukowski. These guys were just a few of my many excuses to keep drinking. They were, after all, creative and famous. And I was certain they got that way because they drank. So I had to keep drinking to achieve the same.
Heck, if Bukowski’s real life was anything at all like the movie “Barfly,” all I had to do to be discovered as a gifted poet was sit in a bar and get drunk.
So I did.
This went on for many years. No major literary magazine came clamoring for my latest haiku. No book publisher sauntered on over to offer a contract with my next beer.
Near the end, I don’t think many people dared to come near me at all, save for the bartender to keep refilling my glass to stop me from yelling.
Fear of losing creativity in sobriety
Yet even near the end, I used creativity as an excuse to keep drinking and drinking away. I insisted alcohol kept my creative juices flowing. I was convinced my writing and art would be absolute dog dung without it.
It was actually the opposite.
Rather than crafting gifted poems or amazing illustrations, my drunken attempts at creativity typically bombed. I’d wake up the next morning to find papers scrawled with illegible poems, messy doodles and really dumb ideas (which must have sounded great the night before).
Even so, I kept up the denial for years. Too afraid to put down the drink. I was sure life without beer would totally kill my creativity, annihilate my unique take on life, and slaughter my sense of humor. I’d end up boring and unimaginative. I’d no longer like spiders and skulls or creepy things. Heck, I’d probably end up being a nun.
That’s not what happened.
Recovery enhances creativity
After I settled into my first few months of sobriety back in 1999, a strange thing happened. Dozens of poems started flooding into my head. And when I wrote them down, things got stranger still.
They were legible. They kind of made sense. And wouldn’t you know, they were STILL full of creepy things like spiders, skulls and the undersides of subway trains.
I dove headfirst into the New York City poetry scene, snagging several featured performances. One New Year’s Eve performance was even on the famed CBGB stage.
I put together chapbooks with collections of my poetry. People actually bought them! I sent out poems that got published in anthologies, poetry reading newsletters and a publication somewhere in India.
A couple of teachers from random places across the U.S even contacted me to ask if they could use some of my poems in their lesson plans and text books. Yessssssssssssss!
Major creativity overhaul
The big lesson I learned was that excessive drinking did NOT enhance my creativity. And my using it as an excuse to keep drinking was just BS. My creativity is actually enhanced when I’m able to think, feel, ponder, absorb, enjoy and interact – things that I can ONLY achieve if I’m not drinking.
Once the big deluge of pent-up creativity passed, I still wanted more. So I devised other ways to keep the creative spark alive, especially when I’m feeling in a slump. Some spark-inducing tactics include:
- Doing ONE LITTLE creative thing each day.
- Keeping a high vibe environment that allows positive energy and creativity to flow.
- Staying inspired.
If I’m not consistently creating, I tend to get cranky. I know others who feel the same way. That’s why I wove writing/art projects into my coaching packages – so you can ward off crankiness while you’re refreshing your life.
I believe EVERYONE has a creative spark, and fanning its flames is one of the coolest things we can do for our souls.
Book a free 30-min coaching discovery call so you can get your own creativity revolution rolling.