The Power of Entertainment Media
There can be a surprising amount of therapeutic opportunities all around if someone is willing to look for them. Things like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have dominated the home entertainment field as of late, though that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For someone suffering from addiction, anxiety, depression, or any other co-occurring disorders, it can be a great time to try to utilize this tool to one’s own advantage. While seeing cinema and television programming as a luxury, it does check a few essential boxes that can greatly impact a person in recovery.
Someone suffering from addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of the two often turn to drugs, drinking, or otherwise destructive behaviors in order to try to escape from their stresses and tribulations that plague them every day. What often goes overlooked is that there are all kinds of escape outlets around. Escapism is, at its core, the desire to simply take a break from the stresses of reality, and the entertainment industry is exactly defined by that moniker. Seeing this kind of media as something that can be of use can turn a family movie night into something that opens up a new path for expression and recovery.
Everyone who watches television shows or movies has a favorite character. This idea of taking that character and studying their motivations and struggles holds two major advantages. First, it creates a way to identify with another character, and thus supplant one’s struggles onto that character in order to glean much more perspective, conceiving the struggles externally. The second is that they provide a learning opportunity.
Finding a character that speaks specifically to the triggers and trials of an individual can be difficult to find, but acknowledging and learning from that character can help one, in turn, think more about their own actions going forward. Find a character, latch onto them, and learn from their mistakes and successes. Then talk about what that character means for the future.
Community of Viewers
Talking about characters and shows has grown into something much more than a family outing. Cinema has begun to show movies as cultural events, like in the case of James Cameron’s Avatar, or Avengers: Endgame. They are events for the ages, marketing themselves as something everyone wants to be a part of; the next “biggest movie of all time.” They are culminations of years of character development or technological prowess. Netflix specials like Tiger King or HBO’s Game of Thrones all showcase the cultural impact that this kind of media can have, as they dictate conversations and social media outlets.
All of that means that there is always someone to share with and talk about. Isolation is one of the biggest hurdles in overcoming any kind of addiction or mental health disorder. Finding a single outlet where one feels as if they belong can begin to break down the barriers that one erects around themselves when suffering from any of these ailments. The simple act of talking about how a show ended creates a much-needed connection with others, all outside the identity of addiction. It gives an escapist outlet, and a community waiting to welcome them.
Curated for Emotions
Self-denial to express emotions is another aspect of the recovery process that presents a large hurdle. A person may feel as if they are not allowed to be happy or be denying themselves the right to cry when they are sad because they want to seem strong. Movies and television are carefully curated in order to elicit specific emotions in the viewer, whether it be happiness, sadness, anger, or fear.
Each has its place in the emotional spectrum, and each needs to be experienced in a safe way to avoid destructive “bottling up” of emotions. Watching a sad movie gives a person an external excuse to allow themselves to be sad, and experience that emotion in a safe space with a clear reason and a clear endpoint. The same can be done with anxiety, using curated fear to let that anxiety out and place it on an external source. When the credits then roll, one can say that they safely experienced these emotions, and thus begin the long journey in processing all of the emotions that one may have denied themselves over the years.
Denying someone a much-needed outlet during the recovery process can be detrimental. While movies and television shows can be viewed simply for entertainment purposes, there is also a way to experience them with a therapeutic mindset. A person in recovery may be needing a character to latch on to, so they can use them to see more of themselves.
They may need a safe space to experience emotions, or even just to feel like they belong somewhere, anywhere. Addiction and mental health disorders can make an individual feel like they are trapped and looking for an escape. Allowing this media a way to create a new sense of community is paramount. Just a conversation about a popular movie can open the gates to new hobbies and opportunities.
Addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders are a difficult thing to overcome. Support is needed at every step of the way, and proper outlets need to be available for each person to safely experience their own recovery process. Brighton Recovery Center is available to help at any step in the recovery process. Creating and cultivating this sense of community, Brighton creates a space for all to set their own goals for success while addressing your individual needs. To set up an appointment today, contact Brighton at 1-844-479-7035.