How A.R.T.S. Works

A.R.T.S. members support each other in living to follow their Muse. Creating is what A.R.T.S members do. Creating is a way of life. If members are coming to meetings and doing their art, they are considered a success in A.R.T S. In meetings members have an opportunity to affirm the actions they are taking to realize their dreams. Members feel privileged to watch each other grow. The fellowship of A.R.T.S. Anonymous brings hope, support, solidarity, goodness, trust and faith — words of great spiritual strength. These words are strong enough to bring about a new creative lifestyle. Recovery comes through actions no matter how small. The world rewards actions – not intentions.

The Newcomer

Blocked and broken hearted, many a newcomer has come to their first A.R.T.S. meeting and cried for all their lost opportunities and barren years. They are angry because an unfair world did not support their gifts. They are consumed with ambivalence about the worthiness of their talent. They are grieving for an unfulfilled life. A.R.T.S. gives strength and nourishment to that small insistent creative voice that is demanding the right to be expressed and is causing such a racket in the soul of each new member.

Many newcomers to A.R.T.S. are suffering from the effects of severe family dysfunction and they have a desperate need to feel safe from perceived risks. Risks and that a sense of potential harm might show up in different ways all over their life. This need to feel safe takes control not only over their art but also over many other particulars of their life. This fear manifest itself as a compulsive pattern of avoidance. The Avoidant Syndrome paralyzes and blocks the flow of life.

Before blocked artists can pick up their art, somebody has to care that they can be the artist they always dreamed they could be. Well, A.R.T.S. members identify with each other and they do care. Here in A.R.T.S. meetings, members share similar experiences, witness each other’s traumatic memories, and offer unconditional support for each other’s creative process. Newcomers need to build and experience empathetic relationships before they can recover enough to overcome their paralyzing beliefs.

Members learn that what their nihilist mind has philosophically believed to be true is what is now blocking their spirit from material action. A.R.T.S. helps members understand that it is their phobic fears that nip inspiration in the bud and their societal fears that lock work in drawers.

All playwrights, singers, painters, comedians, writers, poets, dancers, sculptors, and actors have their own unique voice and are gifted with a calling to be creative. The tragedy is when that voice is blocked.

How A.R.T.S. Works

Penetrating the patterns of irrational fears, phobias, and obsessions characteristic of the avoidant personality is no easy task. The avoidant behaviors and life choices are as difficult to change as an addiction. In A.R.T.S. Anonymous like-minded harm-avoidant individuals gather to help each other overcome their blocks. A.R.T.S. stands for Artists Recovering through the Twelve Steps. Here members share similar experiences, witness each others traumatic memories, and offer unconditional support for each others creative process.

The A.R.T.S. Twelve Steps

As in all the Twelve Step Programs, A.R.T.S. offers a spiritual path to transcend the past if one chooses to work through the Twelve Steps. Step work requires a sponsor to help a sponsee acquire the linguistic skills to articulate their heart-felt feelings. The Steps of A.R.T.S. Anonymous deal with both the crimes and blessings of life, both the traumas and times of great joy. The Steps provide a way to an enlightened life. They offer a recovery path to find one’s cognitive moral character versus the reactive defensive personality. Recovery provides us with a choice. We can continue forth with our habitual and negative response, and our will to automatically say “No”, to life’s many opportunities or put forth new actions based on our newly acquired insights as to our former personality. With our blinders off, we squarely face our new moral choice: continue on with our self-defeating and defensive behaviors, or step into a new Faith, Trust, and Courage that says “Yes” to life.

Surprisingly there are many spiritual principles one can depend on that will overcome the past and lead to a rewarding life focused on one’s creativity. A faithful promise of a sober, joyous and fulfilling life comes to any member who seriously applies the Twelve Steps.

One Day at a Time and Five Alive

Every Twelve Step Program has a bottom line sobriety where an addictive substance or compulsive disorder is not picked up “one day at a time.” A.R.T.S. does not deal with addiction. A.R.T.S. members do have a compulsive disorder to avoid their art as well as other parts of their life. They block their destined life from happening. In A.R.T.S., bottom line sobriety begins with a humble daily action to pick up one’s creativity, “one day at a time.” Members are asked to do no less than five minutes of art every day.

This may sound easy but in fact it can be for the newcomer impossible to do. No one in those five minutes is required to do perfect art, any art is good enough: improvising on the piano or just sitting on the piano bench; painting sheets of paper red; walking to the museum but yet unable to enter. Beginning with those five minutes, the newcomer is a success! In time, those five little daily minutes will be the door to an hour or two of work …and eventually a lifetime of creativity.

We come to A.R.T.S. seeking a new promise, hoping to find a way to escape our blocks and compulsive patters of avoidance. At the end of our life let us not say “I wrote everyday in my head.” The gifts we were born with were meant to give our life a (a out) meaning and purpose.

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