© by Robin M. Gilliam
Reclaiming our lives and building our dreams is one of the miracles of recovery. In one of my 12 step meetings we read the story, Grounded, page 522 of AA’s Big Book (4th Edition). One of my fellows shared that she loved this story because it shows how we can lose everything in our addiction/alcoholism and can gain it back again when we work our recovery. That is why I created the mixed media artwork, Growing Strong Recovery to symbolize how recovery can change our lives.
When I started to work the 12 steps in 1991, I started to create art again – mixed media, abstract art. I love to collect things and used 12 antique keys and jewelry chains to build a ladder representing the 12 steps of recovery. I added charms to represent gifts that we get along on our journey of recovery.
I loved using blue as the background because it is a color that calms me. I used acrylic paint to transition from a dark blue to a light, shiny blue to represent moving from the dark into the light.
The suns represent serenity—peace and quiet in my head—that I strive for daily in my recovery. The bottom sun is made out of a star quilt block that I made and the top sun is mounted on double foam core that I created on a T-shirt out of puff-paint years ago.
Ohhh! And the most exciting symbol in Growing Strong Recovery© is my signature symbol the Heart-Tree©. The HeartTree© is sculpted out of shredded packing material (if my husband only knew that I store this stuff and don’t throw it away!) and a stiffener glue by Golden. The HeartTree© represents growth, strength, flexibility, and love for ourselves and what we are willing to do to help ourselves get better without using substances from the outside to fix past traumas and hurts on the inside.
One day when I was building a big resentment towards someone and feeling the poison build inside; I called a fellow in program to complain. She asked what step or tool was I using to release the resentment and practice forgiveness. And, if that doesn’t work, what is the next step or tool am I going to pick up? That guidance was a miracle of recovery that helped me to grow my recovery strong and not use any substances that day.
What steps, tools, or slogans are you using today to help grow your recovery strong?
Growing Strong Recovery© is owned by Ashley Addiction Treatment for their private art collection. Fine art prints will be available at when the Recovery Art Studio on-line store opens soon.
Robin M. Gilliam is an artist and author in long-term recovery since February 6, 1991. Robin uses the healing power of art and the spiritual principles of the 12 steps to maintain her recovery and teaches these amazing transformational tools and techniques through her workshops. She is also a keynote speaker where she shares her recovery journey.
If you like this blog, you will love her novel, Gift of Desperation, where you will meet Claire and journey with her out of the darkness and into hope – inspired by over 20 years of true addiction/recovery stories – and available in eBook or softback at Amazon.