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Breaking the stigma of addiction with art – Spectrum News

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RALEIGH, N.C. — This Saturday, Healing Transitions, a recovery center in Raleigh, will host its first Art of Recovery event.
What You Need To Know
Each featured artist at the event has been impacted by addiction. The hope is to break the stigma of addiction with art and conversation.
One of those featured artists is Chad Aultman. He’s been winning his battle with addiction ever since he discovered the power of art.
“When I start creating I get lost, and all that stuff from today starts to melt away," Aultman said.
The 39-year-old is now sharing his love for abstract art with a small group of people who have stories similar to his.
"I’ve been where you guys are. I know what it’s like to walk in here every single day and how difficult it is," Aultman said.
Aultman is a volunteer at Healing Transitions and a former participant.
He shows them how to use unconventional techniques to create abstract pieces.
Their canvas is a door, which is the logo for Healing Transitions and a representation of walking through it with a new lease on life.
“I had to fall so many times in my addiction to get to the point where I actually learned ‘hey, I can’t do this anymore,’ and just with art, the same thing, you learn what works and what doesn’t. It teaches you just like life does," Aultman said
For nearly two decades, Aultman abused his arm and himself.
Heroin controlled his life.
“I was 16 years old. I had my wisdom teeth pulled out," Aultman said.
Pain medications led to feelings of euphoria, which led to an addiction.
“I became physically dependent on it. I sought out more painkillers and stuff on the streets when I couldn’t get it from a doctor anymore," Aultman said.
Things changed when Aultman’s wife passed away in 2019 and Aultman became a single father of two.
He says without his kids, he’d be dead.
"Honestly, like they’re the reason. This guy specifically, he was 5 months old when my wife passed away and seeing him and how innocent, blameless he was in the situation and everything, I knew I had to do something different," Aultman said.
Aultman turned to art, which is something he and his wife did together. Now, he doesn’t take a single day for granted.
“I get to. My wife doesn’t get to. I get to be their dad. A lot of people take that for granted everyday, but that’s something I never want to forget — I get to be their father, I get to provide for them, get to be sober. Everyday’s a gift for me and I try to treat it as such," Aultman said.
Aultman lives his life with one Pablo Picasso quote always in mind. “The meaning of life is to find your gift and the purpose is to give it away," Aultman said.
Aultman’s gifts are his art and his story.
He hopes sharing both can inspire others to walk through their own door.
“Yeah, I know she’s proud of me. I’m living a life that she always envisioned, not only for herself but for us as a family. Unfortunately we experienced that together too but it didn’t last long, now it’s gonna last forever," Aultman said.
You can check out more of Aultman’s abstract work by clicking here.
Saturday’s Art of Recovery event will be held at Greg Poole Jr. All Faiths Chapel in Raleigh.
A $10 donation is suggested, but tickets are free. To learn more about the event, click here.


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