In addiction treatment, we do our best to give clients ideas and tools for maintaining their recovery, avoiding relapse, and managing stress. Tools like journaling, music, exercise, meditation, mindfulness practices, and many others (you can see some in the links below,) can help at any stage in recovery.

In early recovery they can provide focus, fill time that used to be spent on drinking/using, decrease stress, and balance out fluctuating moods to help avoid relapse.

As sobriety and recovery accumulate, they can be helpful in dealing with stressful times and exploring deeper spiritual balance.

The quality of life, as well as the quality of recovery, is enhanced by adding “serenity” to “sobriety.”

For a long time now, some of us here at RecoverySI have been engaging in a practice that felt serenity-enhancing to us: We color.

Pat does it with markers and coloring books. Cecile downloads mandalas from the Internet and uses a computer tablet with a painting app. It was kind of a “secret indulgence,” because, well…  coloring. Like a kid, you know? Neither of us thought of it, initially, as similar to journaling, or meditation, that respectable, adult stuff.

But we compared results, and noticed we were using the same kind of language to talk about it:  Focusing, centering, in the moment, relaxing, stress-reducing, peaceful. And we started noticing– more and more internet sites are offering downloadable (and free!) “grownup” coloring pages. More and more coloring books that seem targeted at adults are appearing in bookstores.

Maybe we aren’t so weird, after all!  Then the New York Times got into the act.

Pat shared the article around, in a “See, it’s not just me wasting time and being silly” spirit. And Scott said “Well, why don’t you write a post on it for the website?”

So here it is.

Looking for a way to release creativity? Promote tranquility? Enjoy a quiet hour here or there? Keep your focus in the moment? ‘Tune out’ distractions and anxieties?

A small investment in colored pencils or markers, a few coloring books or even free downloadable/printable sheets from the Internet could be a useful new tool.