Effective Use of Creative Writing in the Treatment of Addiction to Chemical Substances


Series: Alcohol and Drug Abuse

BISAC: PSY038000

It has long been established that addiction or SUD – Substance Use Disorder – ruins lives and leads to illness, destruction of families, and death. Chasing the “high” often brings the user closer to death each time the use is increased even though the person may choose to ignore the risk. Effective treatment is essential to help recovering addicts change their lives and become productive citizens, leading happy lives in perpetual sobriety. Helping them adjust their focus from shame and guilt to improved self-esteem and renewed sense of purpose in life is essential for avoiding prolonged substance abuse.

In addition to traditional approaches, the use of creative writing as a treatment modality can help the addicted person obtain and deploy the tools necessary to remain sober. In this way, creative writing can help actualize the whole person. Inviting people with addictions to share their creative writing with the world helps them to connect their experiences, observations, and recommendations to others.

This book is a collaborative effort between research, facilitation, and contributions of the creative men at St. Christopher’s Inn. Adding to the variety and depth of the creative productions is the incorporation of post-program writing from men who have completed the program at St. Christopher’s and have remained connected in this special endeavor. This allows a window into the minds of the longer-term recovering addicts, especially relating to the tools that help them through life’s persistent challenges. With this book, we hope to show that writing does help in the treatment of chemical addiction.

Table of Contents

Dedication and Acknowledgments

In Memoriam


Preface – Restoration of Interior Strength
(Eric A. Kreuter and Gregory Gilligan)

About the Authors and Collaborators

(Sherry Reiter)

(Kelly Serafini)

Book Review
(Kenneth M. Moltner)

Review Commentary
(Cathleen Olson, R. Kevin Douglas, and A. James Forbes, Jr.)

Chapter 1. Problem Statement
(Eric A. Kreuter)

Chapter 2. Commentary – Teaching and Counseling
(Scott Brenner)

Chapter 3. Writing as a Painter’s Canvas
(Christopher Hendrickson)

Chapter 4. Commentary
(Peter Goodstein)

Chapter 5. Commentary
(Laurie Doppman)

Chapter 6. Commentary
(Constance Knapp)

Chapter 7. Scott Birritella

Chapter 8. Ryan F. McNamee

Chapter 9. G. B.

Chapter 10. Gregory Gilligan

Chapter 11. Quentin McCarthy

Chapter 12. Anonymous I

Chapter 13. Christino H.

Chapter 14. S. R.

Chapter 15. S. H.

Chapter 16. M. N.

Chapter 17. D. B.

Chapter 18. E. D.

Chapter 19. J.

Chapter 20. Jason K.

Chapter 21. Donald Vitek

Chapter 22. Ramell S. Bohler

Chapter 23. Rodney Selby

Chapter 24. Russel Frigand

Chapter 25. Christopher Hendrickson

Chapter 26. Christopher Hendrickson and Nathaniel Longtin

Chapter 27. Nathaniel Longtin and Christopher Hendrickson

Chapter 28. Sherard Julian

Chapter 29. Anonymous C

Chapter 30. Robert M. Giardina

Chapter 31. Brian Clifford

Chapter 32. V. B.

Chapter 33. John Meade

Chapter 34. Eric Fernandez

Chapter 35. Anonymous D

Chapter 36. Aaron G.

Chapter 37. Justin Minolt

Chapter 38. David Axelrod

Chapter 39. Richard Mullaney

Chapter 40. Anonymous E

Chapter 41. Brett DeGregoria

Chapter 42. Anonymous F

Chapter 43. Stanley Gibson

Chapter 44. Nathaniel Longtin

Chapter 45. Jason Wager

Chapter 46. Brian Gamard

Chapter 47. Kenneth Castillo

Chapter 48. Thomas Pasquale

Chapter 49. Robert Spear

Chapter 50. Edward J. Dowd

Chapter 51. Richard Downey

Chapter 52. Thomas Dysard

Chapter 53. J. S.

Chapter 54. Ryan Clark

Chapter 55. Gregory Gallagher

Chapter 56. Timothy Taylor

Chapter 57. O.

Chapter 58. Clarence Downing

Chapter 59. Vito S.

Chapter 60. Gregory Gilligan

Chapter 61. Anonymous A

Chapter 62. Roger Casuso

Chapter 63. Jahn Xavier Bonfiglio

Chapter 64. Devin Fox (Part 1)

Chapter 65. Devin Fox (Part 2)

Chapter 66. Foxhole Prayer

Chapter 67. K. M

Chapter 68. Richard Jordan

Chapter 69. R. W.

Chapter 70. Joseph Bachini

Chapter 71. Trevor H.

Chapter 72. J. W.

Chapter 73. James Owens

Chapter 74. Brendan Rini

Chapter 75. Constantinos Doonan

Chapter 76. Nathaniel Longtin

Chapter 77. Trevor Hughes

Chapter 78. Anonymous C

Chapter 79. Sherard Julian

Chapter 80. Epilogue
(Eric A. Kreuter)

Books by Eric A. Kreuter




“I love this book which uses writing to honestly explore self-knowledge, to achieve optimal treatment for addictions. The spiritual component of honesty is key to the process of overcoming subconscious, involuntary, and defensive responses to addictive momentary euphoric experiences. We need to look beyond the (often genetically predisposed) self-deluding brain conditions. Statistically, 10-20% of our population is unknowingly predisposed to chronic, progressive, and eventually fatal addictions. The steepening of the slope of this progression varies, but on crossing the invisible line, symptoms become obsessive-compulsive, the brain deluding itself in its desperation for the substance. Addictions became treatable, as the pioneers developed the effective structure of AA and, later, the Minnesota Model. Carl Jung (1931), through his patient, Rowland H., first realized that psychiatry by itself, cannot help a person stop the perpetual relapses: ‘Align yourself with some spiritual movement! The structured choice of spiritual principles is the only way to heal these behaviors.’ Rowland H. and Bill W., later the founder of AA (1935), inspired the organization’s 12 Steps suggestions. Amazed, Jung received a letter from Bill (1961) thanking him for that advice. Jung responded: ‘Spiritus [alcohol]contra spiritum [genuine spirituality].’ As the brain of an addict causes loss of touch with truth, often due to shame in the conscious or subconscious, treatment needs to be at the earliest opportunity and be objective about the deluding condition. When an addict becomes ‘sick and tired of being sick and tired’ of themselves and the consequences of their behavior, the choice is to surrender or die in self-delusion. Through group validation, self-revelatory writing becomes an effective tool towards truth in treatment.” – Monica Getz, Founder of SCAA (Swedish Council on Alcoholism) and The Coalition for Family Justice, Irvington, NY

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