Stress: Coping through art, gardening, and exercise at a local Alcoholics Anonymous Group
Authors: Mary Grace Alley, Alison McNamara, & Mallori Wickard
Nicole Masano, MSN, RN, CNM, CNE
Stress, more universal than taxes, must be coped with by all members of our species. Deficiencies in coping have been related to increased incidence in substance abuse, predominately alcohol, and increased relapse upon becoming sober. Cognitive and behavioral therapy techniques are the current promising approach to treating alcoholism. Non-traditional modalities such as art, gardening, and exercise were taught and explored with the Saint Simons Alcoholic Anonymous group. Art allows for expression providing for relaxation; painting of pots was used allowing for combination with the gardening exercise. Gardening provides unique opportunities for interaction with nature that promotes calm and a sense of completion. Exercise’s benefits include establishment of a routine, promoting control, mood elevation and dependable community. Even those participants that were initially reluctant found the activities to be beneficial. The end product was calmer participant with new options for stress control, and a beautiful landscape to be enjoyed in the future.