The Next Round: What happens after you change your drinking?

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addiction support

Matt Steinberg on arts-focused addiction support with Outside Edge Theatre Company

At Club Soda, we encourage a variety of tools and resources that help people on their personal drinking journeys. Whether that’s reading Quit Lit, listening to podcasts, taking courses, or joining sober communities online or in real life. But there are many ways of participating in addiction support services that can also help you to gain confidence, meet like-minded people, and gain a new sense of self beyond alcohol. 

Outside Edge Theatre Company is the UK’s only participatory arts charity that is focused solely on addiction support. Founded in 1999 by actor, writer, and theatre director Phil Fox, Outside Edge was created so that he could support his own recovery from alcohol and heroin addiction. Now, actor and creative director Matt Steinberg is at the helm. He talks to our own founder, Laura, about how creativity, immersion in the arts, newfound confidence, and a sense of belonging are at the core of helping people to change their drinking.

Who are Outside Edge Theatre Company?

A participatory arts charity, Outside Edge Theatre Company focuses on improving the lives of people struggling with drugs and alcohol, as well as offering addiction support to their families and loved ones. The company has offered free drama workshops since its inception to help people to make healthier choices via creative engagement. The peer-led drama company helps to garner a sense of community within the arts for those with a wide range of life experiences. As Matt says, the theatre company helps people to regain centre stage in their own lives.

Why the arts are an important addiction recovery tool.

I’m very passionate about theatre. I know how much participating in performing arts has the power to transform people, and give you confidence that you never knew you had. Participating in something that might, you know, challenge you, stretch your boundaries, and introduce new ideas to you can also be really empowering. And as well as it is a new hobby, a new skill is absolutely where there’s some power to be had.

Laura Willoughby, Club Soda

Addiction support teamed with creative outlets such as theatre, drama, music, art, and other expressive mediums, can help to give us a focus for our energy. It can be the freedom of expression that we didn’t know we needed. Drinking to excess can often drown out the joy and enrichment that creativity can bring. Oftentimes, we use alcohol and other substances to numb pain, but it also numbs everything else. Alcohol is really bad for creativity. When we desensitise to our emotions, we’re stopping ourselves from fully exploring artistic outlets that would allow us to grow emotionally. Organisations like Outside Edge are an important tool in learning to express emotions as well as experience a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

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