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How Engaging in Creative Activities Can Help Reduce the Urge to Drink
Drinking Less

How Engaging in Creative Activities Can Help Reduce the Urge to Drink

June 12, 2024
6 min read
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Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
June 12, 2024
6 min read
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
June 12, 2024
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
June 12, 2024
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Reframe Content Team
June 12, 2024
6 min read

In the journey towards building healthier drinking habits, discovering alternative approaches to drinking plays a pivotal role. One such approach is engaging in creative activities. This article delves into how creative pursuits can help reduce the urge to drink, offering practical insights and examples to inspire you on your path to sobriety.

The Science Behind Creativity and Reduced Alcohol Cravings

Neuroplasticity and Habit Formation

How Engaging in Creative Activities Can Help Reduce the Urge to Drink

Our brains are incredibly adaptable, thanks to a phenomenon known as neuroplasticity. This ability allows the brain to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. When we consistently engage in a particular behavior, such as drinking alcohol, our brains form strong neural pathways that reinforce this habit. However, replacing drinking with creative activities can help form new, healthier pathways.

Dopamine and Reward Systems

Alcohol consumption triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. Creative activities, such as painting, writing, or playing music, can also stimulate dopamine release, providing a similar sense of satisfaction without the negative consequences of alcohol consumption.

Creative Activities to Try

Visual Arts

Painting and Drawing: These activities allow you to express emotions and thoughts that might otherwise lead to drinking. The process of creating art can be meditative, providing a healthy outlet for stress and anxiety.

Photography: Capturing moments through the lens can shift your focus away from drinking. Exploring nature or urban landscapes with a camera in hand can be an immersive and fulfilling experience.

Performing Arts

Music: Learning to play an instrument or composing music can be incredibly rewarding. Music stimulates the brain, enhancing cognitive functions and providing a sense of accomplishment.

Theater and Dance: These activities require full body engagement and can be excellent for relieving stress. Joining a local theater group or dance class can also help you build social connections without the presence of alcohol.

Literary Arts

Writing: Journaling, poetry, or creative writing can help you process emotions and experiences. Writing can be a therapeutic way to explore your thoughts and gain clarity without turning to alcohol.

Reading: Immersing yourself in a good book can be a great way to escape and relax. It can also provide new perspectives and inspire you to pursue your creative interests.

Practical Tips for Incorporating Creativity into Your Life

Set Aside Time for Creativity

Dedicate specific times in your week for creative activities. This regular practice can help you build a routine that supports your goal of reducing alcohol consumption.

Create a Supportive Environment

Surround yourself with tools and materials that inspire creativity. Whether it's a sketchpad, musical instrument, or a collection of books, having these items readily available can encourage you to engage in creative pursuits.

Join Creative Communities

Participating in workshops, classes, or online forums can connect you with like-minded individuals who share your interests. These communities can provide support, motivation, and new ideas to keep you engaged.

Real-Life Stories: Creativity as a Path to Sobriety

Many individuals have found that engaging in creative activities has helped them reduce their urge to drink. For instance, joining a photography club or a painting class has provided them with a sense of purpose and fulfillment, reducing the need to seek comfort in alcohol.


Engaging in creative activities offers a powerful alternative to drinking. By stimulating the brain's reward system, fostering new habits, and providing a healthy outlet for emotions, creativity can play a crucial role in your journey towards healthier drinking habits. Embrace the creative process, explore new interests, and discover the joy of a life less reliant on alcohol.

Find Your Creative Escape with Reframe

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet millions of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol. 

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today!

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At Reframe, we do science, not stigma. We base our articles on the latest peer-reviewed research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral science. We follow the Reframe Content Creation Guidelines, to ensure that we share accurate and actionable information with our readers. This aids them in making informed decisions on their wellness journey.
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