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Stories from the Field
Stories from the Field

Addiction Cycle


Our new transitional support/ community based program offers youth 16-24 the opportunity to explore their interests, unlock their creativity, and look inward to find their strength. We work hard to make them feel safe enough to share their authentic voice with us each week.

James entered our program with a strong passion for abstract art. Often overlooked himself, he prided himself on his ability to see the meaning and beauty in places others didn’t. Reflecting on one abstract project he said, “My eyes do something really immaculate. It shows these different pictures in my art when no one else can see what it is.”

Since the beginning of our program, James has been very open about his struggle with addiction. At only 22, his battle has been ongoing for 14 years. He created this piece a few days after reaching one month of sobriety, a feat he couldn’t have imagined years ago.

“I never imagined one month clean. I never imagined one day clean. I imagined myself being dead at 25 like my doctor said I would. I imagined being dead with a needle in my arm.”

It utilizes melted crayons, paint, and glitter, forming a 3D artwork with protruding “candles” in celebration. A/C stands for addiction cycle.

One of his many strengths shines through when he begins to express his thoughts. He tells his story in a way that exhibits great self-reflection, and evokes heavy emotion in the listener. He views things as not all good or bad, but a shade of grey he appreciates for both its light and dark. Though this piece is a celebration, it also acknowledges his pain.

“The glitter is here in a bad way or a good way. In a good way means I’ve examined what I’ve done in my life to get so depressed. In a bad way, it represents my addiction. I used to black out and see spots. Sparkly spots.”

The theme of transformation is consistent through James’ pieces. Things are not always what they seem. His art reflects the good and bad in his life. It celebrates his triumphs, while always paying respect to the struggles that have made him who he is.